It seems a common belief at present that rabbits should not be fed seeds of any kind. I believe this is a misconception from a number of different sources, the campaigning that a museli style diet is bad for rabbits (rightly so) and mono-component feeds should be fed instead (an easy option but not necessarily better than creating a varied natural diet - see the selective feeding article for more info). Secondly from the fact that rabbits cannot digest wheat grain (however many other forms of grain and seed are safe), and finally from the unhealthy - 'seed treats' that many shops market, it is in fact not the seeds themselves that make these bad and indigestible but the sugary honey or molasses substances used to bind the seeds together.
It has become common place (especially in continental Europe) to provide a seed mix when feeding a natural diet as it is simply not possible to provide as many of the vitamins and minerals that a rabbit requires - seeds are an excellent way to make this up. These mixes are nearly always home-made (there are no suitable ready made mixes available) from straight seeds, the mixes are made up of at least 5 different seed varieties (remember variety is the key to a balanced natural diet) from two different categories: oil seeds - for vitamins, minerals and supplemental qualities, and hot seeds - for energy and fattening properties.
The following guide gives you a rough indication as to how much of a seed mix should be fed daily to rabbits in different situations, this however is a guide only and you should adjust based on observations of your own rabbits weight and energy level. This guide is what I use to determine how much seed mix and the proportion of oil seed to hot seed in the mix for my own rabbits, you will need to adjust accordingly for your own.
The top ration represents how many parts oil seed to hot seed i.e. 1:1 would be 1 part oil seed to one part hot seed (or a 50/50 mix in other words) 2:1 would represent twice as much oil seed at hot seed.
The measure below is the amount of seed i feed in either tsp (tea spoon), dsp (desert spoon) or tbsp (table spoon)
To the left you can see my finished seed mix. I include as many of the seed varieties on this page as I can in each mix - although not all of them in every mix, and obviously not all will appear in each feed - but will balance themselves over time. I am constantly researching new seeds and further information on the seeds listed, so keep checking back to see if I've added any more information.
You can find straight seeds from many health food suppliers or pet food suppliers (often in the bird section). I purchase many of my seeds from 'Rat Rations' a pet food supply website - find the link on our links page.
Oil seeds are usually small seeds and are primarily 'oily' rather than 'fatty', these seeds are used to add a wide range of trace minerals and elements into a rabbit's diet that you cannot provide from hay and greens alone. I've tried to include many of the known benefits and considerations of each seed to help you tailor your mix to the requirements of your individual rabbits. When mixing oil seeds with hot seeds make sure you include at LEAST 3 different varieties of oil seeds. If you plan on feeding oil seeds exclusively include a minimum of 5 varieties.
'Hot' seeds (sometimes known as 'flour' seeds and often as 'grain' - although neither are complete descriptions for this group) are ones that give off extra energy when been digested. These seeds are useful in the winter, for rabbits raising babies, those needing to put on weight and growing youngsters. They need to be carefully regulated in the maintenance diet of adult rabbits, and completely absent from the diet of indoor neutered house pets. Feeding too may hot seeds can lead to health problems and obesity. When including them in a seed mix you should make sure you include a minimum of 2 different varieties. Many of the grass or grain seeds can be fed 'on the plant' for example when picking grass, choose seed heads as well, pick or grow barley or oat heads - these can be hung up and the rabbits will love stretching for them.