In the wild rabbits consume large amounts of nutritionally poor grasses, shoots, and ground covers. They have numerous adaptations that allow them to thrive eating foods that other herbivores cannot. One of these are open rooted teeth that grow for their entire lives. These teeth grow continually to ensure that they are not worn down to an unusable size from eating tough grasses. The digestive system of rabbits has also adapted to the fibrous foods and peristaltic action (movement of the intestines that pushes food through) only works properly if the intestines are stimulated by fiber found in nutrient poor foods.
The most important part of a rabbit diet is hay and they should ALWAYS have a fresh supply. You cannot overfeed your rabbit on hay so never let it run out. There are many types that you can offer but Timothy hay is the most common. Some other good selections are: orchard grass hay, prairie hay, oat hay.
Stay away from alfalfa hay as it is too high in calcium and calories and can cause bladder stones and other health issues in adult rabbits. Giving your rabbit a variety of hays is good for them. The fiber found in them helps wear down their teeth which prevents dental disease and also keeps the G.I tract functioning properly.
Vegetables & Greens
These make up the second most important part of a healthy rabbit diet. A good rule of thumb is to offer about 2 cups of vegetables daily for every 5 pounds (2.2 kg) your rabbit weighs. Again, variety is key so don’t offer the same greens all the time. Rotate them out and mix them up. Good ones to choose from are: endive, parsley, carrot tops, romaine lettuce, radicchio, basil, dandelion, squash, baby greens, mustard greens.
Very small amounts of fruit can be given as treats but in general they are too high in sugar and can cause diarrhea so they should be avoided. They love the green tops of strawberries though and these make a great treat.
Pelleted diets were invented to quickly grow and fatten up rabbits kept for their meat. Pet rabbits do not need them at all and will live long healthy lives on nothing but hay and greens. If you still want to feed a pelleted ration get one that is made of Timothy hay and does not have corn, seeds, or other grains mixed in. Provide a maximum of ¼ C of pellets per 5 pounds (2.2 kg) of body weight per day.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid anything with dairy (yogurt drops, milk, ice cream, cheese, etc.) Breads, pastas, grains, should all be avoided. Also do not give sugary treats.
Rabbits drink much more water for their size than dogs or cats and should always have access to fresh water. Change out their bottle every single day and wash it not only to cut down on bacteria that grow in the bottle but also to make sure that the sipper is still functioning and doesn’t have a clog. Some rabbits prefer drinking out of a bowl and studies have shown they actually drink more if provided one instead of a sipper bottle.
In addition to food items rabbits should have access to things they can chew to help keep their teeth worn down and provide them with something to keep them occupied. You can purchase wooden rabbit-safe toys or make your own for free. You can give them toilet paper tubes filled with hay, empty cereal boxes, paper towel tubes, etc.
My Rabbit Won’t Eat!
Rabbits are always hungry and if you notice yours isn’t eating as much or at all this is very serious. Bring your rabbit to the vet ASAP if it has a decreased appetite.
Earlier, a 70 year old woman came in to get her grandson’s bike fixed. She saw my Flash shirt, got this look on her face, proceeded to dig around in her purse for a minute, then pulled out her keys. On her keyring along with her keys and a couple of little scanner tags were a really battered looking metal Wonder Woman symbol, and a newer looking metal Loki’s helmet.
She then told me a story that I’m pretty sure will stay with me the rest of my life.
She had been born at the tail-end of 1944, one of the original baby boomers. She was the eldest of three kids, and the only girl in a house of brothers. Her brothers were five and eight respectively when their classmates introduced them to comic books and she, at ten, used to take them to the dime store to blow their allowances. That was where she discovered that Wonder Woman existed, as she hadn’t been one of the comics that her brothers would bring home. After that, she worked out a pooling system for the three of them, to ensure that they got the most comics for their money with enough left over for sodas and candy, if they wanted them. The woman then paused in her story and laughed, saying that she should have spent fifty years as an accountant, instead of a nurse.
By the time she was fifteen, her middle brother had left comics behind, and their allowance pool had shrunk just in time for superhero comics to really make a comeback. She remembers getting yelled at for reading the first appearance of Barry Allen at the corner store, and deciding not to buy it in favor of a Superman story. “I never liked the Flash much.” She confided in me, looking nervous, as if I’d tell her to leave. “My brother loved him, though. Flash and Thor were always his favorites. I liked Wonder Woman, and the X-Men.”
Unfortunately, her youngest brother had been the keeper of their comics and went he went to fight in Vietnam in 1968 and never came back, their mother had been so consumed with grief that she burned everything of his other than his baby blanket, his high school diploma, his wallet (which contained various identification cards), his birth certificate, and a handful of family photos. The woman was devastated, both by the loss of her brother, and the loss of the collection that had kept them close for so many years, and didn’t speak to her mother, or pick up another comic, until the late 1970s.
She fell out of comics again in the early 90s when she retired, saying that she found so much of the art ugly and the stories angry. It wasn’t until her first grandchild was born, a girl, that she decided to start again. It was 2003, and she, a 59 year old woman, went into a comic shop and bought the latest issues of Wonder Woman and X-Men.
It took me a second to dig through my mind and remember who was on what at that time, but then it clicked. “Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman run!” I said, and she nodded excitedly. We then spent a few minutes talking about the things that we’d liked about that run, and a few more talking about the things that were still in continuity that came out of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, and then her phone rang. She, at 70 years old, had a Captain America phone case!
She apologized, that was her son. She was supposed to be meeting him at the theater with his kids to see the new X-Men movie. I warned her that there was some gore, and a couple of bad swears, and she laughed again. “They know that if they try and copy the things they see in movies, nana will wallop them, but thank you!”
I told her that I’d try and get her bike done as soon as possible, and she left.
I should have gotten a picture to go with this story, because that was the raddest old lady I’ve ever met in my life.
Here are three elements we often see in town names:
If a town ends in “-by”, it was originally a farmstead or a small village where some of the Viking invaders settled. The first part of the name sometimes referred to the person who owned the farm - Grimsby was “Grim’s village”. Derby was “a village where deer were found”. The word “by” still means “town” in Danish.
If a town ends in “-ing”, it tells us about the people who lived there. Reading means “The people of Reada”, in other words “Reada’s family or tribe”. We don’t know who Reada was, but his name means “red one”, so he probably had red hair.
If a town ends in “-caster” or “-chester”, it was originally a Roman fort or town. The word comes from a Latin words “castra”, meaning a camp or fortification. The first part of the name is usually the name of the locality where the fort was built. So Lancaster, for example, is “the Roman fort on the River Lune”.