How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Pellets? {Pellet Free Diet For Rabbits}

My rabbit eats hay and is also adjusted to life with pellets. I know that hay is essential, but how long can rabbits go without pellets?

Can rabbits survive without pellets? How long can rabbits go without eating? What are the best rabbit pellets and can rabbits live a healthy life with a pellet free diet?

In this article, we will discuss and discover how long can rabbits go without pellets and much more.

How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Pellets?

Rabbits can survive without pellets if their diet is adjusted to include more fresh vegetables with a focus on leafy greens. They must always be supplied with copious amounts of fresh hay daily.

Substituting pellets for mixed grains and cereals are not wise options.

Encouraging your rabbit to selectively feed when introducing too many types of food options instead of standard pellets may lead your rabbit to eat less, become nutritionally imbalanced or obese.

Chew toys also work well for rabbits who do not get a full mouthful of pellets each day to crunch on.

How Long Can a Rabbit Go Without Food Before Dying?

Rabbits should never go longer than 3-4 days without eating. There is something seriously wrong in this rabbit who has given up eating.

There could be stomach bugs, parasites or a common condition that is dreadful known as GI Stasis. Within 12 hours of fasting, a rabbit can develop these complications or illnesses and die suddenly.

3-4 days without eating is the absolute maximum, but many rabbits will not make it this long and will succumb to malnutrition or starvation much sooner.

I Forgot to Feed My Rabbit for a Day

Do not be overly harsh on yourself when you forget to feed your rabbit for a day. This happens from time to time, but we learn from moments where we ingrain these memories into our brains to prevent them from happening again.

Now that we reminded ourselves that our rabbit is hungry, it’s time to quickly provide a meal with pellets, leafy greens, and stock up on hay in the cage or enclosure.

A rabbit that hasn’t seen any food in a day is hopefully in a comfortable and trusted space. Any external stimuli equating to stress can seriously spook or cause discomfort in a rabbit that is fasting without a regular meal.

Dying from stress is something we wish to avoid. If your rabbit is refusing to eat, shock could be setting in or intestinal issues such as GI Stasis could be forming. You will need to visit the vet if this is the case.

What Pellets Should Rabbits Avoid?

Pellets to avoid for rabbits are usually the cheapest brands and ones that contain too many preservatives or artificial ingredients. You should also look to avoid pellets that contain:

  • dried fruit
  • seeds
  • nuts
  • colored crunchy things
  • unattractive or unsightly looking shapes
  • humid and moldy pieces
  • dusty and overly dry crumbs and shakes
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Pellet Free Diet for Rabbits

It is possible for a rabbit to live a healthy life with a pellet free diet. You will have to work harder to make sure the diet of your furry friend is nutritionally balanced.

A pellet-based diet is easy, but you may reward your rabbit with fruitful life when mixing in more vegetables and fruits. Most importantly, you will have to opt for the better version of grass based hay on the market.

80% of the diet for your rabbit will come from grassy hay like timothy hay and the rest will be backed up by healthy greens, other veggies and fruits.

Best Pellets for Rabbits

While it is impossible to know which brands are available for sale in your country or region, we wish to list some of our favorite types of pellets for rabbits who remain in this type of common diet.

80% of the meals are still based on our rabbits munching on copious amounts of hay, but pellets are richly fortified to supplement the nutrition that is missing in hay.

Here are our top pellets for rabbits in no particular order:

  • Sherwood Pet Health Adult Rabbit Food – Alfalfa/Timothy Blend
  • Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets
  • Science Selective Adult Rabbit Food
  • Oxbow Animal Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food
  • Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food

In most cases, we must try to avoid the cheapest brands and look for sales, specials, reduced prices or dish out on the most expensive types if we can’t find other alternatives to cut costs.

We should never sacrifice quality for cost savings when it comes to the life and health or our favorite living companions.

What Can I Substitute for Rabbit Pellets?

Instead of using rabbit pellets, you can substitute this major part of a rabbit’s diet with rolled oats and alfalfa hay.

Higher protein and calcium contents in alfalfa hay help to fortify your rabbit’s diet that should continue to consist of 80% hay more than anything else.

Greens, leafy, dark vegetables, carotenoids and fruits are also weekly additions to keep your rabbit healthy and happy.

How Do You Make Homemade Rabbit Feed?

Would you like to make your own rabbit feed and forgo buying big bags of rabbit pellets? Try out this recipe and let us know what you think!

More importantly, let’s see what your rabbit thinks about this substitute for pellets. You will need:

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 3 cups wheat berries
  • 3 cups of barley
  • 3 cups hard red wheat berries
  • 3 cups split peas
  • 3 cups black oil sunflower seed

The contents are mixed together in a large container that is sealed and airtight. Store it in your pantry or another cool and dry location.

Let’s see how your rabbit responds after a 1-2 of adjusting to the change. Continue providing plenty of hay during this transition period.

What Are Rabbits Favorite Food?

1. Rabbits love:

  • hay
  • colorful vegetables
  • mixed fruits
  • leafy greens like lettuce, escarole, chards

2. Rabbits should not eat:

  • potatoes
  • beans
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • corn
  • apples
  • pears

3. Foods that are toxic to rabbits include pits from:

  • apricots
  • peaches
  • plums
  • mangos
  • cherries 

Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.