Quick Answer: Is it Safe to Feed Grass to Your Rabbit?
Rabbits are herbivores that need plenty of fiber in their diet. They can safely eat grass, but make sure it’s high quality and free from pesticides!
Long description of this topic below
Is it Safe to Feed Grass to Your Rabbit?
When you have a pet rabbit at your home or on your property, you’re probably paying close attention to the food that they’re getting as part of their rabbit diet.
For example, they likely consume a diet of fresh hay, fresh vegetables, pellets, treats, and fresh water. If you look outside, then you’ve probably taken notice that a wild rabbit diet is a bit different.
Nobody is filling a food dish for them, and they often feed off the grass that’s growing in your yard. You may not realize that it’s generally very safe for your rabbit to eat grass as part of a rabbit diet, but before you start to feed grass to your rabbit, let’s learn a bit more about this topic.
Can Rabbits Eat Lawn Grass?
Rabbits can eat a lot of grass over the course of their feedings, and it contains a lot of different nutrients that help your rabbit grow big and strong. It also helps them with their digestion thanks to its high fiber content. Make sure that you don’t provide too much grass too quickly. While wild rabbits may base a lot of their diet on grass, your rabbit could experience stomach upset if you don’t give them time to adjust. A lot of people assume that grass is essentially the same thing as hay, so there’s no real need for concern. In fact, the cellular structure of hay and grass can vary quite a bit. They’re also very different when it comes to the different nutrients that are included in their composition.
When you feed grass to your rabbit, they’re consuming a fresh product that still has a lot of density and water in it. Hay is dried, so a lot of the vitamins and nutrients inside of it can be lost during that process. Don’t be alarmed if your rabbit doesn’t appear to be drinking as much water as they usually do once you’ve introduced grass. They’re likely getting a lot more water in the grass, and they don’t need to drink as much.
The Dental Benefits of Lawn Grass for Rabbits
When it comes to the dental health of rabbits, grass can be very beneficial. While you probably are very used to the four front teeth that you see most prevalently, rabbits actually have 28 teeth in total. They need to frequently keep chewing in order to keep these teeth short. There is actually a coating of silica on the grass in your yard, which results in a rough surface that you can’t see with the naked eye. As a rabbit increase their grass in a rabbit diet, the teeth can be ground down by this silica coating. While hay also has a layer of silica on it, it isn’t as rough since the hay has been dried out.
What Grass is Safe for a Rabbit Diet?
It’s generally safe to feed grass to your rabbit, and they’ll eat pretty much any kind of grass that’s growing outside. You’ll find that your rabbit is attracted to the kinds of grasses that are similar to what is used to make the hay that they’re used to eating. This includes:
- Orchard Hay
- Oat Hay
- Timothy Hay
Unfortunately, these varieties of grasses aren’t usually what you’ll find in backyards because of how they look and how they grow.
The types of grasses that we use in our yard don’t always have a very good nutritional composition. Really, we’re usually growing grass for aesthetic purposes, not a rabbit diet. Most homeowners aren’t thinking about the type of grass that a rabbit would like to eat. Don’t be discouraged, you can always take your grasses indoors. You can grow the following grasses inside, and you can then feed them to your rabbit.
- Meadow Grass
- Fescue Grass
- Rye Grass
If you do have patches of these grasses in your yard, harness up your rabbit and let them explore for a few minutes at a time to see if this change in rabbit diet would be preferred.
They may show a great response that would lead you to believe grass in a rabbit diet would be the way to go with your pet.
Can You Feed Rabbits Grass Instead of Hay?
Rabbits are more than able to eat grass on a regular basis, and they enjoy it thoroughly. However, it can be difficult to provide a diet of fresh grass to your rabbit if you live in an area where the grass isn’t growing year-round.
In Northern climates, the grass is often covered by snow all winter long. You may not have the indoor capabilities to grow grass year-round yourself. Even if you had a fresh supply of grass, it takes a while to acclimate your rabbit to this new diet.
Throwing off the balance of your rabbit’s digestive tract can be hard to get back under control. The best thing that you can do for a rabbit diet is to stick to the hay that your rabbit is used to. From there, work a little grass in whenever it’s available.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Grass?
When a rabbit is very young, they will survive mainly on the milk of their mother. As they get older, they have very different nutritional requirements in comparison to adult rabbits. They need a lot more protein, so the grass isn’t necessarily going to be the primary food source they should receive.
They should be eating hay and a good amount of pellets. The pellets will ensure that they are getting the protein and other vitamins that they need. Once the baby rabbit is about six months old, grass may be introduced. They can consume more as they get older.
Can Rabbits Die from Eating Too Much Grass?
A rabbit diet actually consists of spending a lot of their day munching. This is necessary for nutritional purposes, but as we’ve discussed, eating is used to keep their teeth low. It’s a real concern that your rabbit could be overeating, especially grass in a rabbit diet.
If they don’t eat it often, they may be tempted to eat too much due to being excited by something new. Don’t ever encourage overeating, as this could lead to digestive concerns that can cause death.
How to Transition Your Rabbit Over to Grass
As you lower the amount of hay that your rabbit eats as part of their rabbit diet and start to feed grass to your rabbit, you want to do so very slowly and carefully. This isn’t a change that you’re going to accomplish in just a few days. It should take weeks to get your rabbit switched over. You don’t want the rigid cellular structure of grass to shock your rabbit’s gentle system.
Runny stools and GI stasis are two things to watch out for that could signal your rabbit is having issues making the change. Start to pull back a bit, reducing the amount of grass that your rabbit is eating. It’s better to go as slow as you can. Over the course of the first week, your rabbit should only get to munch on grass for about 15 minutes at a time. You can increase that amount little by little.
Don’t forget to think about the availability of grass that you have before you start the transition. It doesn’t make sense to transition your rabbit over to all grass if you’re not going to be able to get your hands on grass in a few months. Think about where you live, and come to a conclusion regarding what you think you’ll be able to provide long term. You may want to stick with grass being more of a treat if you’re not confident that you can consistently provide it. Hay is largely available at different feed stores in your area, so that’s something you can always rely on.
Taking Care of Your Lawn with a Rabbit Diet in Mind
A lot of people use different lawn care products on their property to help the lawn grow healthier and fuller, to reduce the amount of weeds that will grow, and to prevent insect and rodent infestations.
None of these things are safe for grass in a rabbit diet, so you’ll want to stay away from these products if you’re planning on letting your rabbit munch away.
There are natural products that you can use on your lawn, but make sure that it specifically states that you can use those products with pets present. The safest thing you can do is maintain an all-natural lawn that you can feel confident is safe for your rabbit.
If you’re concerned that there may be urine from other animals on the lawn, you can always cut the grass, and wash the grass prior to giving it to your rabbit.
Never use the grass clippings that come from mowing your lawn when you’re feeding your rabbit. The process of cutting the grass using the high-heat mower will actually change the composition of the grass in a negative way.
Understanding the process of feeding your rabbit grass can help you ensure that you’re using the right practices to keep your rabbit safe and healthy by way of a proper rabbit diet. While grass has plenty of benefits for your furry friend, there are also dangerous situations to watch out for.
As long as you take your time and pay attention to the quality of grass that your rabbit is eating, you should be able to make the transition simple from hay to grass. Even if you’re just incorporating a little bit of grass into the mix, this can be successful if you take your time.