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Raising rabbits: Drinking vs eating

Young holland lop
Quietcreek Farm

The amount of water a rabbit drinks is directly related to the amount a rabbit will eat. In other words, the more your rabbit drinks the more he or she will eat. If you have a rabbit that regularly cleans up their food, you may not even realize it, but chances are very good that you also have a rabbit that consumes a good amount of water.

A rabbit is the one animal that will not eat if they can not drink. If their water runs out or freezes they will not eat. If their water becomes contaminated, or even just dirty, they may drink a little but not as much, and you will see a reduction in food consumption too.

If you feel your rabbit does not eat enough or you would like to encourage weight gain or condition, start with their water.

Some tips to encourage better water and food consumption:

  1. Clean out their water and food dishes thoroughly; wash out with a bleach and water mixture and rinse well. Do this often, minimum once a week.
  2. If they have have a water bottle or an automatic water system, try adding a cup for them to drink out of. Some just prefer an open mouth water container; a ceramic coffee cups works well as a test.
  3. Try adding some electrolytes to their water. Adding 1/2 of a teaspoon, per gallon of water, of multi species electrolytes can encourage more water intake.
  4. Make sure their pellets stay fresh. Feed only what they can clean up in a 12-24 hour period. Cleaning out any uneaten pellets every 24-48 hours and every 12 hours if humidity is high.

If you notice that you rabbit's water intake has improved, there is a good chance you will also see improvement in their eating habits.

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