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Rabbit Care and Feeding: Can Bunnies Eat Chicken?

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I have kept a variety of pet rabbits and enjoy sharing what I've learned about bunny care with others.

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Xena wrote in with the following question:

"My bunny, Floppie, always gets really hungry after breakfast and dinner, then it goes into the bin and eats the chicken scraps—only the chicken scraps. Is this okay?"

No, Xena, this is not okay, for several reasons that we'll cover below.

1. A Rabbit's Stomach Cannot Process Meat

The first reason is that a rabbit's tummy can only process grass, hay, vegetables and other plant materials. Whilst rabbits will get into foods that they would not normally have access to in the wild, it does not mean it is good for them, and I would hate for Floppie to get sick and die because you have been letting her into the bin to eat chicken scraps. Keep your bin away from your bunny or your bunny away from your bin!

A Bunny's Curiosity May Get Her Into Trouble

Remember, though, rabbits are curious. I am sure Floppie loves to explore and nibble on things, so you have to make sure that she cannot get into anything or chew on anything she shouldn't. This includes the bin and also any electrical cords you have lying about the floor of your home. Some rabbits will even eat paper and cloth! But as I said before, just because they will, doesn't mean they should.

2. Your Rabbit Should Never Be Hungry in the First Place

Secondly, your rabbit should never be getting hungry. Bunnies have very interesting and special tummies that need to have food in them all the time. This is why so many sites and pet stores tell you to always give your rabbit hay. No matter what time of day it is, whether it is in the middle of the night or in the afternoon or any other time, your rabbit must have hay to eat. If a rabbit's stomach gets empty, it can shut down and make your rabbit very sick. Make sure your bunny always has hay to eat!

What Else to Feed Your Bunny (and What to Avoid)

You can supplement the hay with a little bit of pellets, if you like. Sometimes, little pieces of apple or carrot are okay as well, but never give your bunny lettuce. Lettuce gives bunnies a bad kind of diarrhea that can also make them very sick.

All you really need for a healthy bunny is to feed it lots of hay, a small amount of good-quality pellet feed and lots and lots of water. If you provide these three things, your bunny will be very healthy and very happy, and it will never be hungry again.

You Need to Help Your Bunny Stay Safe and Healthy

Bunnies were designed to live in burrows in fields, not in human houses, so they don't always know what is good for them and what is not good for them in a house. It is up to you to make sure that your bunny is always safe by making sure she cannot chew or eat things that are not hay, pellets or perhaps a little carrot or apple.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

I.G.S on September 16, 2019:

I didn't know about the lettuce so thank you.

Serena and Lillia on April 15, 2019:

i just got a bunny and it dosen't like me what do i do?

lily on March 02, 2019:

what is the best place for a bunny cage

Annabelle G. on April 19, 2018:

Can rabbits eat chicken??

Nicola on March 29, 2018:

Soooo, my beautiful boy eats non stop. And he’s still tiny. He has all the hay , rabbit pallets and sweet capsicum. Loves lettuce. Hates carrots and any other veggies you give him . He loves hot chips and fried chicken. Mostly the skin. He’s healthy and so filled with energy. Iv read all I can find online. I don’t want to hurt him, no want. But those foods come out and he’s running to my plate. I don’t believe he’s your average rabbit. He loves hugs . And does the opposite to everything I read. Thoughts?

bookpaw on February 11, 2018:

no chicken

lily on June 11, 2017:

We have awild and a regler bunny we always feed it rabbits pelets and we give are bunny s leticrme and they never get sick

hwkieju on April 04, 2017:

our pet shop said to give them chicken

sierra on March 22, 2014:

Be specific on what kinds of lettuce they can have iceburg lettuce that's the only one they can't have

mikeandnicky on July 14, 2012:

In response to the answer to Xenas' question. Our rabbit Jellybean that we have had for 2 or 3 years is very healthy and has never been sickShe likes to eat meat,chicken,fresh vegetables, paper towel tubes, donuts, ice cream, and just about any junk food she can her teeth on. So we think that you may be a little misinformed. We are also pretty sure that those wild rabbits aren't running to their local pet store and buying pellets and hay, and they whatever they can find.

rania on November 26, 2011:

yeah i kinda figured they poop 500 pellats a day since im the one who has to clean it up since Waffle has decided he's too cool for his litterbox :/

any advice?

iknowaboutrabbits on May 01, 2011:

in answer to Amy,

no, diaria can be caused ,by lettace but otherwise, rabbits poop A lot!!! did you know rabbits poop 500 pellats a day?

Amy on December 28, 2010:

Thanks for this information. My bunny always eats cardboard, electric wires, us and lettuce. She really is a poop machine! Is this because of the lettuce?

lionheadrabbitowner101 on April 25, 2010:

thank you for posting this information and do you know any information on lionhead rabbits thanx a lot and if you do then can you post it once again thanx bye