Vets and most rabbit sites say rabbits live 6-7 years. That is merely because of poor nutrition (most commercial food) and poor care.
RABBITS CAN LIVE 16 YEARS+ if taken care of properly
PELLETS AND HAY
OXBOW ORGANIC Rabbit Pellets. Photo below.
Sherwood Forest Link: Rabbit Food – Rabbit Food (or: https://www.naturalrabbitfood.com/)
ARE PELLETS NECESSARY? A “hay” based diet supports the stable growth of healthy bacteria that provide just enough nutrition for wild rabbits. But hay and veggies are often deficient in key nutrients rabbits need for optimal health and a longer life, domestic rabbits greatly benefit from a fortified and balanced diet including pellets.
HAY: Oxbow Organic Meadow Hay. Or any other organic hay you can find. Rabbits digestive tract (gut) is the basis of their immune system. GMO’s destroy gut bacteria. That is also why all wheat, corn and soy should be avoided at all costs (all animal feed is GMO). WARNING: GMO Alfalfa has been legalized by President Obama as of 2013. Do not use alfalfa hay unless organic, guaranteed non-GMO.
There are other “organic” brands on the pet store shelves but the ones I’ve seen are full of junk. The regular standard brands really have no real nutritional value. Lots of filler, synthetic added vitamins the body doesn’t recognize. Anything that has WHEAT, CORN and/or SOY is a warning they know nothing about pet nutrition. Rabbits should not eat these things, ever unless you are trying to make them sick, damage their immune system or shorten their lives. Avoid grain/soy-based pellets that contain added synthetic vitamin D3 and A. Instead look for a hay-based pellet without these two vitamins. Ensure the pellets are green and contain whole natural oil seeds rich in vitamin E and higher quality chelated minerals which ensure a longer and healthier life for your bunny.
PELLET FOOD: should be a small percentage of the diet. Lots of organic hay. Rabbits graze, they don’t have “meals” so make sure you have food and hay available to them at all times. Long haired rabbits need extra protien: add some oats (groats, dried, etc), RAW unprocessed sunflower seeds, RAW pumpkin seeds. Goldenberries are fruits but do contain some protein.
SALT LICKS? The round colored ones in the stores are processed salt with nutrients removed and dyes added. Look for Himalayan or sea salt blocks. They contain the full gamut of minerals required for a healthy body. Some rabbits like the salt licks, some could care less.
WHAT REAL FOOD CAN RABBITS EAT?
Little bits of many things: exotic lettuces, herbs, grass, wheatgrass, tiny amounts of fruit for antioxidants and treats (berries: ex. blue-goji-golden, unsulfured raisins, more), pineapple (digestion), carrots, dandelion, raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, papaya (digestion), apples, more. This link has an extensive list: Suggested Vegetables and Fruits for a Rabbit Diet | House Rabbit Society
Warnings on what not to feed: Wheat, Corn, Soy, Iceburg lettuce (too much water, no real nutritional value – causes the runs). Pineapple on Oahu in Hawaii is grown in soil high in arsenic and other pesticides, we should all avoid it. GMO’s (genetically modified food): Simply, GMO’s are hand grenades in the intestinal tract. That is how they kill the bugs who eat the food infused with GMO’s. Rabbits are especially dependent on their intestinal tract balance and if it is off, they can die within days. Adding any GMO’s to the diet will cause a war inside the gut and shorten your rabbit’s life tremendously. Vets think this doesn’t matter and that is part of why they give you estimates of such short life spans (less than half!). Consider the source of your information and go elsewhere when you intuition and common sense tells you something isn’t right.
WHAT DO RABBITS EAT IN HAWAII? Ti Leaves, Rabbit Thistle (thanks for that tip Taisha and sweet Boofy!), Fern, Plantain (weed), Orchids, California Grass, Dandelion, Thimbleberries, strawberry guavas, avocados, Wild Mountain Orchids.
TIPS ON EXERCISE & PLAY
Rabbits need exercise as much as everyone. Run and binky just for fun or teach them tricks and agility. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with your very smart bunny. You tube has some great rabbit agility videos and some books are listed below. Be creative: make your own obstacles, tunnels, more.
BINKY FUN – Images