To ensure that your rabbits get through the winter fit, you can support them with targeted nutrition during the cold season. You can read how this works here.
In winter, the food supply for rabbits looks a little different than in summer. Especially fresh grass is usually scarce in the cold season. Proper nutrition in winter is particularly important for rabbits kept outdoors so that they get through the winter fit.
Dried food for rabbits in winter
It is a good idea to provide variety on the rabbits’ diet in winter with naturally valuable food. In addition to normal hay, which should never be missing from a good rabbit diet and forms the basis of the diet, dried herbs, in particular, are a real delicacy for your rabbit:
- Dandelion and buckhorn, for example, provide important nutrients in times of frequent colds.
- Young nettle and blackberry leaves are considered to be very rich in vitamins. Incidentally, stinging nettles are the only plants that, if you want to feed them fresh, should first wilt for a short time so that the nettle effect of the leaves on your bunny is reduced.
- Yarrow and chamomile, collected in advance, have proven effective in treating flatulence and intestinal disorders thanks to their antispasmodic and calming active ingredients.
- Dried kitchen herbs such as parsley, lovage, marjoram, dill, chervil, and sage are very popular and recommended. They’re great for growing on the windowsill.
Fruits and vegetables in winter
In addition to hay and herbs, you can also feed your rabbits vegetables and fruits (in small amounts) during the winter. For example, apples, carrots, fennel, and celery are suitable. Cabbage is also suitable for rabbit nutrition in winter.
Cabbage has long been considered unsuitable for rabbit nutrition, it has been classified as intolerable for rabbits because it causes gas and digestive problems. But today cabbage is considered quite suitable as long as you keep a few things in mind when keeping rabbits:
- The rabbits must be gradually introduced to cabbage (first a very small amount of easily digestible cabbage, e.g. a leaf of kohlrabi, then e.g. continue with a small amount of broccoli or cauliflower and gradually increase the amounts)
- Otherwise, the rabbits should hardly be fed with dry food, pellets, or fatty, high-energy food.
- The rabbits need a lot of exercises so that the digestion works well.
Some rabbits actually can’t eat cabbage. But that’s rare. Observe your rabbits for any abnormalities or digestive problems after eating cabbage.
Easier to digest types of cabbage are:
- Chinese cabbage
You should be very careful when giving hard-to-digest types of cabbage such as Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, and especially red and white cabbage. Only feed them when your rabbits are really used to cabbage or stick to the well-tolerated types of cabbage.