Do you want to switch rabbit food for some reason? Then it’s very important you don’t make the transition too quickly .
Why should you switch rabbit food?
Rabbit food is mainly available in two varieties: muesli and extruded pellets. Both have the same nutritional value: which one you choose depends on your preference, and on that of your rabbit. But sometimes you need to switch. For example, some finicky rabbits refuse to eat part of their muesli, meaning they’re missing out on essential nutrients. This is a good reason to switch to extruded pellets.
Why you need to switch gradually
Rabbits have a very sensitive digestive system, which makes stomach and intestinal problems very common. A sudden change of rabbit food can disrupt the delicate intestinal flora, so that the necessary nutrients are no longer absorbed. This reduced bowel function can lead to diarrhoea, which in itself can also have harmful consequences.
In addition, rabbits are creatures of habit. They will no doubt notice that you’ve changed their food, so it will take some time for them to get used to the new muesli or extruded pellets.
Step-by-step plan for switching rabbit foods
Build up the amount of new food slowly, over one to two weeks. Some rabbits will accept the new food a little faster than others. So the timing is not an exact science, but one week is the minimum. In the meantime, give your rabbit its trusted hay: this will provide some stability and keep the animal busy during what might be a stressful period for it. And follow this handy step-by-step plan for more tips on how to make the switch.
In the meantime, keep a close eye on your rabbit's droppings during the switchover. Are there about as many as before? Are they more runny than usual? If you notice that your rabbit has diarrhea or is constipated, temporarily increase the amount of old food again until its stools return to normal.