Rabbit Care and Feeding: Can Bunnies Eat Chicken?
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.