All rabbit owners want to ensure our bunnies safety and well-being. What your rabbit eats surely falls into this category. The learning curve involved with becoming a pet owner can be steep at times and we often have several questions we want to find out the answers to ensure we are only caring for our bunnies in the most ethical and safe manner. We don’t always have time to cover everything A-Z with the pet store clerks or experts. This leads us to turn to other avenues to find answers. During this process, I had some questions about raising my bunny pop up as well. Can bunnies eat gerbil and hamster food? After some research, here is what I’ve learned.
So, can bunnies eat gerbil and hamster food? No, you should not feed your bunnies gerbil or hamster food. These are two different species. Rabbits are herbivores and primarily consume fiber which consists of vegetables and plant-based foods. Gerbils diets include an entirely different mix and balance.
Considering the answer to that question only tells you what not to do, we also wanted to include what you should do to care for your rabbit and break down the best practices you should exercise when caring for your rabbits diet. Let’s dive into some other considerations.
More About Your Bunnies Diet as Opposed to Gerbils and Hamsters
Rabbits and bunnies have completely different anatomy to their digestive systems. Due to rabbits being herbivores, they have specific needs that need to be met. As stated previously, rabbits need to be consuming a large quantity of fiber. A rabbit is not going to be nutritionally balanced eating gerbil and hamster food.
In most circumstances when individuals are tempted to use gerbil or hamster food, it’s a situation where you may not have rabbit food easily accessible, and you are the owner of multiple pets. However, alternatives can be exercised as opposed to using gerbil or hamster food to feed your pet rabbit.
Don’t Ignore Online Ordering Options
Some people state that a reason for considering hamster or gerbil food for their bunny is due to the local pet store being out of the rabbit pellets they typically purchase. With how fast the world is these days, this is not only un-ethical but poor judgment being exercised to care for your bunny but somewhat ignorant.
It’s just as easy to for you to order the necessary pellets necessary for your bunny on a platform such as Amazon or even through your frequently used pet-stores online options. With proper planning and ordering your pellets in quantities that align with your bunnies feeding schedule, this should never be a problem you need to worry about.
So, we already know what you shouldn’t feed your bunny, but what about some other foods that you can feed your bunny that’s not only healthy but will make your furry friend very happy.
Safe Foods to Feed Your Bunny, A Natural Balanced Diet
Understanding that you shouldn’t use gerbil or hamster pellets is one thing but learning the best foods your bunny can eat is an entirely different story. Let’s look at some of the top considerations and food you can provide your rabbits and have no worries or fear about the health repercussions.
Your bunny is just like you and me. They need balance in their diets. If you provide your bunny a nice blend of hay, rabbit pellets, and vegetables with some fresh water, you are well on your way to a healthy, loving and pleased rabbit.
Here are all the food options broken down for you and your bunny.
Hay is going to the bulk of your rabbits’ diet and nutritional needs. Hay is the one item you should always have on hand. As your rabbit matures, you can transition into using timothy grass to feed your bunny. You can also consider oat hay.
Younger rabbits will begin by consuming alfalfa hay. Once your rabbit matures, you will want to discontinue the use of alfalfa hay. Alfalfa hay contains higher sugar and protein content which during adulthood, is no longer as vital as it was when your bunny was young and developing.
Hay is going to be the primary driving force for providing your rabbit with the fiber needed to grow and mature correctly. It also plays a vital role in the development and wears down of your bunnies’ teeth.
More Bang for Your Buck
With hay, a lot of owners like to use the hay to double as a potty-training tool. Take your hay and place it at the end of the litter box. This can encourage your rabbit not only to eat the hay but to do while sitting in the litter box and going poop. It’s the best of both worlds.
An adequate healthy diet and a clean way of pooping. You can’t beat that.
Vegetables, Your Second Food Group
Vegetables should be your go-to food group number 2.
Yeah, doesn’t sound like my favorite food group either. However, the same benefits as to why humans should make vegetables a priority apply to your bunny as well. Vegetables need to be a large part of this process. You can vary the vegetables you provide your rabbit. Your primary goal is always to find fresh vegetables that are free of pesticides.
Just like when we eat vegetables, you need to take the 30 seconds to wash the vegetables before feeding them to your bunny. Feed in relatively small amounts and pay attention to how your rabbit reacts to the food offer. You can begin to get a gauge of your rabbit’s favorite choices using this method.
Here are some top vegetables you can feed your rabbit that he or she will enjoy
- Water Cress
- Mustard Greens
- Lettuce- Including Romaine or Dark Leaf
- Dandelion Leaves
- Collard Greens
- Carrot Tops
- Bok Choy
A Special Side Note on Carrots Before Moving On’
While watching this video, I learned something that I was not aware of. The dangers of too many carrots. You see, it’s important to allow your bunny to eat carrots, but it’s also essential to learn nutritional data about certain foods to be the best bunny parent you can be.
In the video above, if you take the time to view it, you will hear the individuals discuss that carrots are often misused with rabbits. Just meaning, rabbit owners give their furry friend too many of them. What do carrots have a high concentration of? Sugar!
Sugar in high doses isn’t good for me, it’s not good for you, and it’s not suitable for your rabbit. Exercise caution to remain a responsible, ethical pet owner, and understand what you are placing in your bunny’s digestive system.
Don’t Forget About the Treats. We Want Our Bunnies to Like Us Right?
Treats with bunnies should be treated the same way you handle treats with your dog or even 2-year-old son if you are looking for some peace of quiet. No need to go overboard but it’s good to splurge from time to time. You only live once right? Here are some everyday treats your rabbit will sing your praises for.
- Apples (remove all seeds)
Going back to what we mentioned about the carrots. What do all these treats have in common? High sugar contents. So, what do we do? We don’t overdo it. Apply the same principle to your fruit treats that you did for your vegetables. Search for organic fruits and wash them to ensure chemicals are removed.
If you ever have doubts if a fruit or vegetable is safe for your pet, consider giving your vet a call to double check. Better safe than sorry in these situations.
Time to Eat Some Rabbit Pellets
Rabbit pellets are the most universal form of rabbit food outside of the options we have already covered. This is where owners often take a shortcut if need be if they own other pets who also consume pellets.
We talked about pellets at the beginning of this post. You should be timing this to make sure pellets remain fresh for your rabbit and, so you don’t run out of pellets. Pellets that contain high quantities of fiber and protein are the best option.
As your bunny matures, you want to limit pellet intake to ensure your rabbit doesn’t get too plump or obese. Also, avoid mixture pellets or cheap off-brand that use additives. They can be unhealthy and damaging to your rabbit’s digestive tract.
The Final Word, No Gerbil Food and Keep the Diet Balanced
To wrap things up, the main point we wanted to emphasize is that gerbil and hamster food for your rabbit is a 100% no go. It shouldn’t be used even in desperate measures. Additionally, you should be careful and thoughtful of the avenues you do take and the foods you do choose to feed your rabbits.
They aren’t the pickiest of pets, but they do have nutritional needs and natural balances that need to be maintained to live long, healthy, balanced lives and keep the rabbit digestive tract and system functioning at peak levels.
Do you have any recommendations for the best food groups or options to feed your pet bunny? What’s your take on gerbil food and hamster food being used as an emergency food source for your rabbits? Drop a comment below.