Wild rabbits spend up to 75% of their time eating. Yup, chewing, sniffing around for the next morsel, crunching, and moving on to the next promising patch of grass. Rabbits need a lot of fiber, and the grasses they eat keep their little digestive systems running smoothly. All that searching and chewing does something else too – it keeps them busy.
Our house rabbits get their grasses delivered right to them in the form of good hay. What they miss out on, then, is the activity of eating…the search, the decisions about what to eat next, all the physical and mental parts of the foraging process.
So our rabbits can get bored. They can even get destructive, and start “foraging” on baseboards. Oh, my. How can we give them something to do, something that comes to them instinctually? And how can we avoid putting on some extra ounces with treats?
We can make sure they ALWAYS have enough fresh, good smelling hay around. We can give them fresh greens, and add in herbs and flowers. We can take those special yummies and place them around the play area (hide them even!) so our rabbits get to look for food, and can enjoy the rabbity satisfaction of finding their snacks. Yup, make them hunt around a bit for their yummies…it gives them something very natural to do, keeps them physically and mentally occupied, and gets them a tiny bit of exercise too.
The process of foraging is part of who these wonderful creatures are – let’s nurture it!