Just like our ‘hoomin’ food, not all bunny treats are created equal. There are treats available out there that are not super healthy, and some, like ‘yogurt drops’, are even worse for your little fuzzy companion.
For example, let’s take those colorful muesli-type mixes sold as treats. Those can actually alter the way your rabbit chews food, which could make them predisposed to dental disease. Also, not only does all that sugar cause excessive weight gain, but the high sugar treats are processed in your bunny’s digestive system at the wrong pH level, slowing down the movement of everything in your bunny’s gut, and causing potentially toxic bacteria to grow. Needless to say, those are a HUGE no-no!
Even with 100% natural snacks, there are many things to consider. Take, for example, the Banana; the magical fruit of joy and happiness! Bunnies simply love ‘the nanners’, their little butts twitch in joy the instant they sink their teeth into this wonderful fruit. However, bananas are very, very high in sugar, and should be given only occasionally and in small amounts at that. Carrots, another favorite treat of our beloved onesie-wearing monarchs, also contain decent amounts of sugar and have to be parcelled out sparingly.
The Bunny Diet Basics
The rule of thumb is unlimited hay and water, and per 5lbs of bunny, ¼ cup of pellets, and about 2 cups of loosely chopped bunny healthy veggies (I.e.: leafy greens like spinach, romaine lettuce, frisé lettuce, kale, etc) per day. The ¼ cup per 5lbs rule is dependent on your bunny’s metabolism and/or is proportionate to their veggie intake, it’s not a ‘fixed’ rule, it’s a rule of thumb.
Now, if you have a little ball of love weighing around 2-3lbs, a quarter banana would be the human equivalent of eating half a cheesecake. For a larger bunny, a quarter banana is like a frosting-covered cupcake. For a giant bunny, it’s like a cookie. Either way, it’s empty calories; it’s a treat. We have to keep that in mind.
So, is there a better way of doing this? Should you be giving your little friends treats at all?
Sure! Treats are a great motivational tool, and they make our bunnies happy, which makes us happy. The trick is to stretch the ‘sugar’ in those treats as much as possible!
Delicious Banana Treats
The following is a recipe for the basic DIY bunny treat, but there are many others! In this recipe, we only use 4 little slices of banana. Those would normally be gone in 30 seconds. With this bunny treat recipe, those 4 little pieces of banana turn into 5 large ‘niblet nuggets’, and you can easily make these nuggets smaller if you want, giving you a good 10-15 treats that are nutritious and delicious!
Bunny Treat Quantities
It’s important to track the equivalent caloric value of your treats. The treats in this particular recipe are being made for a 10lbs Harlequin Lop. Since a bunny of that size gets ½ cup of pellets per day: ¼ in the morning, and ¼ in the evening, this treat if eaten in its entirety during the day represents about 1/8th of his total food intake. So, knowing that he’ll be getting this treat later on in the day, he’ll get fewer pellets in the morning to compensate.
Banana Flavoured Niblet Nuggets
1/8th cup bunny pellets
4 banana slices
1. Using a spoon, or your fingers, smoosh the nanners into a paste
2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the pellets into powder. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can put them in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin or wooden mallet
Pour the ground pellets into the banana paste and mix using a spoon
Using your hands, shape the paste into your desired shape and size. Place the shapes on an aluminium sheet.
You don’t need to preheat the oven, since you’re not actually cooking anything. What you’re doing is drying the mixture inside the oven at low heat. Set the temperature to 175F (80C), place the cooking sheet inside, wait about 15-20 minutes, and you’re done!
3 Tips for Better Results
Make sure you grind the pellets well. The finer the powder, the better it’ll stick together.
If your paste is too dry and doesn’t form into your desired shape, add a banana slice.
If you have loose hay, the powdery stuff at the end of a bag, you can add a tiny bit of that to the mix for a more solid consistency. But only a tiny little bit (a tablespoon full is plenty).
And there you have it! A custom tasty treat for your furry overlord! More importantly, you know exactly what your nocturnal zoomer is getting, and in what quantities!
Give us a follow on social media! We’ll be posting more food-related posts in the future! Posts like: how to get your bunny to eat critical care, how to train your bunny to enjoy being fed with a syringe, and of course, more tasty treat recipes!