Role of Minerals in Rabbit Nutrition


  1. Are important for bone structure (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium).
  2. Bind oxygen and carry it through the blood stream (iron).
  3. Act as antioxidants to prevent cellular damage (selenium).
  4. I Help to release energy from foods and stores (iodine, cobalt, chromium).
  5. Participate in blood pressure control (sodium, potassium)
  6. Many plants concentrate minerals therefore there is not a big risk that rabbits fed a varied diet including lots of vegetables would develop deficiencies.
  7. Pellets are a good source for minerals.



Excess minerals can be toxic, however, this should not be a concern with most minerals. The one exception is calcium. Rabbits metabolize calcium very differently from other animals. Rabbits absorb calcium from the intestine very efficiently (60-80% of ingested calcium is absorbed into the blood stream), and the major way for them to get rid of this calcium is through the urine. The calcium binds with other things in the urine and forms solids. In some rabbits the solids stay in the bladder and can cause problems, a condition known as bladder sludge. Some veterinarians will recommend removing calcium from the diet of bunnies with bladder sludge. In many cases, this has proven to be ineffective in controlling bladder sludge. Too little calcium may lead to bone loss. If calcium is strictly limited or eliminated from a rabbit’s diet, it may be a good idea to monitor bone density. There is a more in depth discussion of calcium on this site.

Feeding Considerations

Mature house rabbits and Angoras

Should receive all necessary minerals from a diet containing properly balanced pellets, vegetables and hay.

Growing rabbits

May need more minerals than mature rabbits, however, this need should be supplied by the daily allotment of nutritionally balanced pellets.

Sick rabbits

Rabbits who are being syringe fed for a long period of time should have pellets or a mineral supplement added into the daily feedings to meet the mineral requirement.