High fiber grasses are the cornerstone of your rabbit's diet, but it's common to supplement timothy or oat hay with rabbit food pellets, which provide crucial nutritional balance.
“Some rabbits do better on certain diets than others, but as a general rule, timothy-based pellet diets are ideal for most adult rabbits,” explains Dr. Anthony Pilny, DVM, DABVP, the Assistant Medical Director/Education Program Manager of the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital. “Pellets should be the smallest part of a rabbit's balanced diet, with a variety of hays being the staple.”
In researching the best rabbit foods, we looked for the optimum combination of proper nutrition, quality ingredients, and manufacturer transparency. Our favorite overall rabbit food matches closely with nutritional guidelines provided by the House Rabbit Society.
Here are the best rabbit foods.
Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food
Nutritionally complete, with high fiber for good digestion
Includes prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health
Does not include fruits or sugars
No artificial colors or flavors
Can be dusty by the time you reach the bottom of the bag
Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food is nutritionally complete, affordable, and made from quality ingredients in the United States. It exemplifies the consistency that makes rabbit pellets a valuable contributor to your pet's diet. When calorically dense seeds, nuts, and fruits are available, your rabbit will selectively overeat those pieces, eating less of the grass fiber that should make up the vast majority of their diet. By using uniform pellets, you ensure your bunny gets its proper nutrition first.
This food meets all the requirements for optimal nutrition in rabbit food for adult rabbits. The primary ingredient is timothy grass hay, recommended by veterinarians as the best source of fiber to promote healthy digestion in adult rabbits. Additional ingredients include oat hulls, ground wheat, flaxseed, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin E, niacin, and other macro- and micronutrients.
Kaytee's Timothy Complete pellets are between 22 and 27 percent fiber. An additional 13 percent of the pellets are crude protein. Chewing these firm pellets is also good for your rabbit’s dental health.
Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food is available in 4.5-pound and 9.5-pound bags.
Form: Pellets | Nutrition: Crude protein 13%, crude fat 1.5%, crude fiber 22% to 27%, moisture 12% max. | Key ingredients: Timothy grass hay, soybean hulls, dehulled soybean meal, wheat middlings, ground flaxseed
Best Hay for Adults
Vitakraft Premium Timothy Sweet Grass Hay
Hand-selected and harvested for top leaf and stem quality
No pesticides, artificial colors, or preservatives
Supports good dental hygiene
Can be dusty
Hay should make up about 80 to 90 percent of your bun’s diet. There are several factors to consider when choosing the right grass hay, depending on your bunny’s age, health and weight. Second cutting timothy grass hay is an often-recommended staple for adult rabbits in good health.
This well-rated timothy grass hay is packed with the ideal amounts of protein, fiber, and vitamins your adult rabbit needs for healthy digestive and immune systems. The compressed mini bales are single-serving sectioned, so they’re less messy.
Luckily for pet owners, top brands Kaytee and Oxbow also offer excellent grass hay options. Check the What to Look for In Rabbit Foods section for more detail on the science behind choosing the right grass hay for your fur baby.
Form: Hay | Nutrition: Crude protein 8%, crude fat 1.5%, crude fiber 30% to 35%, 14% moisture | Key ingredients: Sun-cured timothy hay
Best Hay for Juveniles
Rabbit Hole Hay Ultra Premium Alfalfa Hay
Hand-packed for less dust
Available in a variety of sizes
Northern California mountain-grown
Slightly more expensive
Alfalfa hay is a legume hay that is higher in protein, calcium, fat, fiber, and calories than grass hays like timothy. That makes it optimal for growing babies and juveniles six months and under or rabbits that are underweight.
Rabbit Hole Hay rates its crop each year for quality and then shares the report with customers so you can know more about the exact product you’re buying. Customers report that the hand-packing results in greener and less dusty hay compared to other brands. Baby bunnies love it.
This hay is also in longer strands that promote proper chewing for excellent dental health. The extra protein and calcium promote healthy growth. Since alfalfa hay is recommended for rabbits under seven months old, you’ll want to transition to timothy and other hays around seven months and on into adulthood.
Form: Pellets | Nutrition: Crude protein 15%, crude fat 1.5%, crude fiber 40% to 49% | Key ingredients: Alfalfa beanstalk
Best Budget Pellets
Purina Complete Rabbit Feed
Complete daily nutrition
Free from fillers, preservatives, and artificial colors
Pellets are small enough for dwarf rabbits
25-pound bag is the smallest size available
You can often save if you can buy in bulk. That’s truly the case for this rabbit food. The price for the 25-pound bag is around $0.50 to $0.75 per pound, depending on where you buy it, while the 50-pound bag brings that cost down to about $0.40 per pound. Compare this to the typical price for rabbit pellets of about $2 to $4 per pound. However, you should also consider the shelf life of the food—if it gets too stale, your rabbits may not eat it. Also, be sure to include any shipping costs in your consideration.
This food is approved for all ages and life stages of a rabbit. It contains alfalfa grass hay as the first ingredient, which is more appropriate for buns under a year old. If you use these pellets for adult rabbits, make sure to offer a lot of timothy grass hay for ideal digestion. Customers report that their bunnies like the taste. A bonus is that the food contains prebiotic ingredients and probiotic bacteria for healthy digestion and Yucca schidigera plant extract that improves the odor of their droppings.
Form: Hard pellets | Nutrition: Crude protein 16%, crude fat 1.5%, crude fiber 17% to 20% | Key ingredients: Alfalfa meal, wheat middlings, ground soybean hulls, dehulled soybean meal
Kaytee Food from the Wild Nature’s Foraging Blend
Complete daily diet
Natural foraging ingredients for variety and enrichment
No added sugar, fillers, or artificial preservatives
Ingredient proportions don’t match the picture on the bag
Some rabbits could eat pieces selectively for less than balanced nutrition
Your bunny will feel wilder with this food that includes flowers and vegetables in addition to timothy hay as the first ingredient. It was designed to approximate what a wild rabbit might forage while also being nutritionally complete and high in fiber. Buns love it.
It has added probiotics and essential nutrients to maintain a healthy gut and promote digestive health. Recommended for bunnies over six months of age, this food, like the Purina brand above, contains Yucca schidigera plant extract to improve the odor of their droppings.
Form: Pellets plus timothy hay and flower petal inclusions | Nutrition: Crude protein 13%, crude fat 2.5%, crude fiber 22%, moisture 12% | Key ingredients: Timothy grass hay, soybean hulls, dehulled soybean meal, wheat middlings, rose petals, marigold, carrots, spinach, probiotics
Best for Baby and Young Rabbits
Oxbow Essentials Bunny Basics Young Rabbit Food
No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors
Also available in Simple Harvest and Garden Select varieties
Not organic fruits
Foods designed specifically for younger rabbits use the words baby, young, or juvenile on the label. Always check the label for the appropriate age range before buying.
This food is designed specifically for rabbits under a year old and is not appropriate for adults. Young rabbits that are still growing need a different balance of fiber, protein, and fat than adults. Most food for young rabbits will be alfalfa-based. Alfalfa hay provides a balanced higher protein source with essential amino acids and more calcium than timothy hay for growing bones.
When supplemented with free-choice grass hay, these pellets may also be fed to pregnant or nursing rabbits and those with problems maintaining weight due to age or illness. Oxbow also makes a wide variety of top-quality rabbit foods for all life stages.
Form: Pellet | Nutrition: Crude protein 15.0%, crude fat 2.5%, crude fiber 22% to 25%, moisture 10%, calcium 0.6% to 1.1%| Key ingredients: Alfafa meal, soybean hulls, wheat middlings, soybean oil
Brown’s Tropical Carnival Natural Behavior Grain-free Pet Rabbit Daily Diet
Optimal for dental health
No preservatives and grain-free
Even picky rabbits love it
Ingredients may not be well mixed in the bag
Formulated specifically for maximum digestive support and balanced fiber for rabbits, this food contains three types of natural high-fiber hay, including pure timothy hay pellets, pure timothy hay mini cubes, and long-strand, pre-cut timothy hay. The variety provides the optimal chewing, taste, and texture by providing both short and long-strand fiber sources that are essential for healthy teeth and gums.
Your bunny will love the variety of selected, high-quality, naturally grown flowers and leaves. It includes natural sources of vitamin C with added vitamin A, C, D3, and E.
Form: Three forms of timothy hay with flowers and leaves | Nutrition: Crude protein 13%, crude fat 1.3%, crude fiber 30%, moisture 12% | Key ingredients: Marigold, hibiscus, chamomile flowers, rose petals, blue cornflowers, nettle, birch and raspberry leaves
Higgins Sunburst Berry Patch Freeze Dried Fruit
Free of added sugars, sulfites, preservatives, gluten, and GMOs
Blend offers variety of flavors and nutrients
Lasts for years when stored unopened in a cool, dry place
Blend inside doesn’t look like the package photo
Many commercially packaged rabbit treats are not truly healthy for our bunnies because they contain processed white sugar as the first ingredient. Instead, stick to natural treats like fruit as an occasional goody less than once a day. But don’t overdo it so they’ll maintain a healthy weight.
When you don’t have fresh fruit around, these treats are just right. Rabbits love this blend of four delectable berries. Freeze-drying fruit doesn’t damage the natural vitamins and minerals your fluffy friend needs. There’s no moisture, so they don’t need to be refrigerated and have an incredible shelf life.
Form: Freeze-dried fruit treat | Nutrition: 5% crude protein, 6% crude fat, 6% to 12.5% crude fiber | Key ingredients: Freeze-dried cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry
We like Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food because it's affordable, tasty nutrition that’s complete, balanced, and backed by 150 years of experience. Higgins Sunburst Berry Patch Freeze Dried Fruit—a mix of cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry–makes an excellent occasional snack.
What to Look for in Rabbit Foods
About 80 to 90 percent of a rabbit’s diet should be hay—just like their wild ancestors. Agricultural science shines when you discuss hay for rabbits. You can go down the figurative rabbit hole researching the many common types—timothy, alfalfa, oat, meadow, and orchard hays—which can be derived from grass or legumes (beanstalks). Each differs nutritionally, and that balance also changes depending on whether it’s the first, second, or third cutting.
Rabbits have very sensitive digestive tracts, so the transition to hay or pellets, or the introduction of new vegetables and fruits, should be done gradually to allow their system to adjust.
Pellet Ingredients & Nutrition
Look for a food that has the optimal nutritional balance for your rabbits based on age and life stage. “Just like the variety of dog and cat foods available, each brand of rabbit pellet has different ingredients and nutritional analysis but should be based on known minimum requirements for feeding,” explains Dr. Anthony Pilny, DVM, DABVP, the Assistant Medical Director/Education Program Manager of the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital.
“High fiber content from 18 to 20 percent minimum with 12.5 percent as indigestible fiber is ideal for most adult pet rabbits. Protein levels range from 12-14 percent, with fat content from 2 to 5 percent. Calcium generally ranges from 0.5 to 1 percent. Keep in mind that young, growing rabbits, geriatric bunnies, or lactating females have different nutritional requirements.”
“It is recommended to buy a pelleted diet that contains only plain green pellets, no seeds or puffs,” explains Dr. Sari Kanfer of Exotic Animal Veterinary Center in Pasadena, California.
“Avoid any of the mixes (often called muesli) that contain seeds, corn, or dried fruits,” adds Dr. Pilny.
“The basis of most commercial pellet brands will be either timothy, alfalfa, or both depending on the company and their nutritional beliefs about rabbit nutrition,” says Dr. Pilny. “Alfalfa has more calories and less fiber than timothy hay in general and is fine to feed in moderation.”
“Alfalfa is used for baby bunnies, geriatric rabbits, and rabbits that need to gain weight or be tempted to eat,” adds Dr. Kanfer. “There are many different brands, some of which are higher quality and more reputable than others. But pellets should only be a small portion of a rabbit's diet. We recommend choosing a pellet with high fiber content.”
“Choosing a premium quality brand that is only pellets may cost a little more, but typically means better quality ingredients and fewer fillers,” says Dr. Pilny.
What fresh foods can you give a rabbit?
“Rabbits are strict herbivores, so I always say since they are vegetarian to 'Think Green!’ Rabbits can be fed a variety of green vegetables (in addition to unlimited hay and a small amount of pellets daily),” explains Dr. Anthony Pilny, DVM, DABVP, the Assistant Medical Director/Education Program Manager of the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital.
Pilny and Dr. Sari Kanfer of Exotic Animal Veterinary Center in Pasadena, California, agree that dandelion greens, green leaf lettuce, romaine, fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley, and dill, and fresh grass are good options. “Kale and parsley should be fed only in small amounts, as they are higher in calcium,” adds Kanfer.
“Although fruit is safe, it should be entirely avoided or only fed in very small amounts as an occasional treat,” says Dr. Pilny.
“Carrots are similar,” adds Dr. Kanfer, “and should only be an infrequent treat.”
“Contrary to popular culture, carrots should also be avoided or fed as a rare treat,” explains Dr. Pilny. “However, carrot tops (green part) are ideal. Some rabbits are sensitive to certain vegetables and amounts fed, so work with the individual to see what works best.”
Do different breeds of rabbits need different food?
"The general house rabbit diet is the same or similar despite the breed,” explains Dr. Pilny. “The differences will usually be based on weight (e.g., large breeds like the Flemish Giant will need more calories and consume more food overall), as well as size, growth, and maintenance.”
“Some of the tiny dwarf rabbits may need a larger amount of pellets, and the very large rabbits like Flemish Giants may not need as many pellets for their size,” says Dr. Kanfer.
“Young, elderly, or lactating mother rabbits have different requirements,” adds Dr. Pilny. “Many pet rabbits are 'mixed breeds' and have similar nutritional requirements.”
Is it OK to feed hamster pellets to a rabbit?
Dr. Pilny and Dr. Kanfer agree that although it would be safe to do so, they do not recommend hamster pellets for a rabbit. “The nutritional requirements are very different, and this could result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies or excess and a host of health problems,” explains Dr. Pilny.
“They are not as high in fiber,” adds Dr. Kanfer.
“The rabbit's stomach and gastrointestinal system is very sensitive and requires a species-appropriate diet for overall health and to avoid unnecessary visits to the veterinarian,” continues Dr. Pilny. “We are fortunate to have species-specific diets that meet individual pet needs when fed properly, and thus they should be used as part of a balanced diet plan to ensure optimum health, longevity, enrichment, and well-being.”
Do dwarf rabbits need special food?
Dwarf rabbits are the same species as other rabbits, but they have a gene for dwarfism. So they can generally eat the same foods as other breeds of rabbits. However, their digestive systems can be more sensitive than other breeds so introduce new foods slowly and one at a time so you can be sure it won’t upset their tummy. This breed also does best when it is not allowed to overeat.
Pay attention to pellet size when selecting your food. Dwarf rabbits may prefer smaller pellets that are easier for them to hold and bite.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
The Spruce Pets exhaustively researches and recommends a broad range of products. We also tap a network of experts and testers to help you make smarter purchases.
This piece was researched and written by Lorraine Wilde, who has been a dedicated pet lover and parent for the past 35 years. When researching each product and brand, Lorraine evaluated the type and quality of each product, customer reviews, the company’s research and development, and business ethics. Lorraine also holds a master’s degree in environmental science. She is a firm believer that consumers can make healthy, informed, and environmentally conscious choices to protect their pets and our planet.
Dr. Sari Kanfer, originally from New York City, was able to escape the big city and attend veterinary school at Colorado State University. Shortly before vet school, she became hooked on rabbits and later followed her addiction to the West Coast. After 10 years of building a great clientele in the small mammal community, she opened the Exotic Animal Veterinary Center as a full-service hospital dedicated to high-quality, compassionate veterinary care for avian and exotic pets. In addition to overseeing a team of five veterinarians, Dr. Kanfer sees primarily rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas. Her special interests are dental disease in rabbits and rodents and geriatric rabbit care. She is recommended by the Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation.
Dr. Anthony Pilny is a native New Yorker but joined Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital by way of Los Angeles, California. He is a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Pilny completed internal medicine and surgery internship at Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa, Florida, and a residency in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine and Surgery at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. He is also an advisor for the House Rabbit Society.