Clearly, when "production" is the goal there is considerable pressure for weight gain and maintenance, and very little concern with geriatric matters. Needless to say, no house rabbit lives under these conditions. Most are spayed or neutered, live indoors with minimal environmental stress, and can expect to make it to six to twelve years of age. In these rabbits, the concentrated nature of pellets can lead to obesity and its attendant medical problems.
A good quality rabbit pellet should have at least 22% crude fiber, no more than approximately 14% protein, about 1% fat and about 1.0% calcium. Check the label on the rabbit pellets before you buy. Most commercial pellets are alfalfa-based, which means they're higher in calories and lower in fiber than timothy-based pellets.
A good quality rabbit pellet DOES NOT contain dried fruit, seeds, nuts, colored crunchy things or other things that are attractive to our human eyes, but very unhealthy to a rabbit. Rabbits are strict herbivores, and in nature they rarely get fruit, nuts or other such fatty, starchy foods. The complex flora of the cecum can quickly become dangerously imbalanced if too much simple, digestible carbohydrate is consumed--especially if the diet is generally low in fiber. The result is often "poopy butt syndrome," in which mushy fecal matter cakes onto the rabbit's behind. This a sign of cecal dysbiosis, which can foment much more serious health problems.
The proper amount to feed your bunny is:
5-7 lb of body wt. 1/4 cup daily
8-10 lb of body wt. 1/2 cup daily
11-15 lb of body wt. 3/4 cup daily
We have found that Oxbow pellets meets all the recommendations of correct percentages of fiber and protein for a house rabbit. Recently we found out the Kaytee brand began adding alfalfa to their pellets, so we will be changing than information in our care-kit booklets since bunnies over 6 months do not need the alfalfa.
This can be found in local pet stores on bought online through
Foster & Smith in various sizes.