Vegetables

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Fresh vegetables should usually make up approximately 10% of your adult rabbit's diet. Hay should consist of 80% of your rabbit's diet. Vegetables provide additional nutrients and different textures and tastes -- an enriching experience for your rabbit. Wet vegetables are also a good source of water if your bunny does not drink very much from his water bowl or bottle.

Amount to feed

A good rule of thumb is approximately one cup of packed greens for every five pounds of rabbit. You may decide to feed more or less but keep an eye out for any change in litter habits and behavior. Some vegetables will cause diarrhea or gas. If you are introducing new greens to a rabbit, introduce only one type one day. This way you can easily tell if the food will not agree with your bun. Wait 24 hours to make sure there are no soft stools or gas problems before adding another vegetable to your rabbit's diet. If the droppings are soft or the rabbits are gassy, discontinue the vegetable.

Be aware that every rabbit is different, and it is up to you to find the right balance for a healthy bunny. Some rabbits may not react well with greens at all and can thrive on a pellet/hay only diet.[1]

Serve your vegetables wet to increase your rabbit's intake of liquid. It will help keep his GI contents moving.

Do not serve your bunny spoiled vegetables. If you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't feed it to your rabbit. Rabbits can be even more sensitive to spoiled food than humans.

Acceptable Vegetables

A Flemish Giant rabbit eating a piece of kale.

Care should be taken when feeding some of these as some vegetables may cause gas or other issues in some rabbits. Vegetables with a high water content can cause diarrhea and runny stool. Other vegetables contain higher amounts of sugar and so should be fed in moderation and best as a treat.

There are vegetables and flowers that a bunny should not eat and are covered in Vegetables to Avoid. Detailed nutrition for rabbit-safe vegetables can be found at Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Data.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens should make up approximately 75% of the fresh vegetables fed daily.[2]

The following list contains leafy greens known to be safe to for rabbits to eat.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

  • Arugula (Eruca sativa)
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Beets tops/greens (Beta vulgaris)
  • Bok choy / Pak choi / Pak choy (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis)
  • Borage leaves (Borago officinalis)
  • Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) - may cause gas. Too much can cause enlargement of the thyroid and digestive problems.[8]
    • Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra)
    • Savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea convar. capitata var. sabauda L.)
  • Carrot tops (Daucus carota)
  • Chicory greens (Cichorium intybus)
    • Witloof / French endive / Belgian endive
  • Collard greens (Brassica oleracea var. Acephala)
  • Coriander / cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Cucumber leaves (Cucumis sativus)
  • Dandelion greens (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Dill leaves (Anethum graveolens)
  • Endive (Cichorium endivia) - may cause gas.
    • Escarole (Cichorium endivia var. latifolia)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) - leafy tops and base
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • Gai choy / Gai choi / Mustard greens / Kai choi (Brassica juncea)
  • Goutweed (Aegodopium podograria)
  • Kai lan / Gai lan (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra)
  • Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) - may cause gas.
  • Komatsuna / Mustard spinach (Brassica rapa var. perviridis or komatsuna)[10]
  • Lamb's quarters / White goosefoot (Chenopodium album)
  • Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
    • Butterhead lettuce
    • Cos lettuce
    • Frisee lettuce
    • Green leaf lettuce
    • Red leaf lettuce
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Lollo rosso lettuce
    • Lollo lettuce
  • Mache / corn salad (Valerianella locusta)
  • Mint (Mentha spp.) - some plants in the mint family Lamiaceae may be toxic
    • Apple mint (Mentha suaveolens)
    • Chocolate mint (Mentha × piperita)
    • Orange mint (Mentha citrata)
    • Peppermint leaves (Mentha × piperita)
    • Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens)
    • Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
  • Mustard greens (Brassica juncea)
  • Napa cabbage / Pe tsai (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis)
  • New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides)
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)[11]
  • Raspberry leaves (Rubus spp.)
  • Radicchio (Cichorium intybus)
  • Radish tops and sprouts (Raphanus sativus)
    • Oriental radish / Daikon (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus)
  • Rucola / Rucculo salad (Eruca sativa)
  • Rutabaga greens (Brassica napobrassica)
  • Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
  • Spring greens
  • Sprouts
    • Alfalfa sprouts (Medicago sativa)
    • Lentil sprouts
    • Pea sprouts (Pisum sativum)
    • Mung bean sprouts (Vigna radiata)
  • Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris cicla)
  • Thistles [bull, milk, sow][12]
  • Turnip greens (Brassica rapa rapifera) - may cause gas.
  • Watercress
  • Wheatgrass (Poa spp.)
  • Yu Choy

Non-Leafy Greens

The remaining 25% of your rabbits vegetable intake may come from non-leafy greens, around 1 tbsp per 2 lb of bun.

The following are some known rabbit-safe foods in this category.[3][4][6][8][13]

  • Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
  • Beets (Beta vulgaris) - high in sugars.
  • Banana peppers
  • Bell peppers / Sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum) - high in sugars.
  • Broccoflower - may cause gas.
  • Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) - may cause gas.
  • Broccolini (Brassica oleracea var. italica x alboglabra) - may cause gas.
  • Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) - may cause gas.
  • Caraway
  • Carrots (Daucus carota) - high in sugars.
  • Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) - may cause gas.
  • Celery (Apium graveolens) - cut in 1" pieces due to concern about choking on the strings or having them wrap around teeth; high in water content.
  • Celeriac (Apium graveolens) - celery root.
  • Chinese pea pods (the flat kind without large peas)
  • Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) - high in water content.
  • Fresh legumes - high in protein and calcium.
  • Fresh peas - may cause gas.
  • Garden pea pods (Pisum sativum)
  • Globe artichoke / French artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
  • Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
  • Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) - high in water content; may cause gas.
  • Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
  • Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) - high in sugars.
  • Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo)
  • Radish (Raphanus sativus)
  • Squash (Cucurbita pepo) [summer or winter: acorn, yellow summer / straightneck, crookneck, zucchini] - high in sugars.
  • Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) - high in water content; ripe fruit only, unripe and greens are toxic.
  • Turnip (Brassica rapa rapifera) - may cause gas.

Edible Flowers and Plants

These plants and flowers can also be used to spice up a rabbit's veggies. Rabbits have more taste buds than humans and will appreciate food that actually tastes strong.[14] You can also grow them fresh indoors in a pot if you'd like. If you pick them from outdoors, make sure they have not come in contact with cat, dog, or fox feces or treated with pesticides and chemicals.

Below is a list of known rabbit-safe flowers and plants.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

  • Apple (Malus spp.)
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Borage (Borago officinalis)
  • Buchan weed (Hirschfeldia incana)
  • Burdock (Articum minus)
  • Brambles (Rubus spp.) - includes raspberries and blackberries.
  • Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius)
  • Caraway (Carum carvi)
  • Cat's Ear (Hypochoeris glabra)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Chickweeds / starweeds / starworts (Stellaria media)
  • Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
  • Clover / trefoil (Trifolium spp.) - specifically, white clover (Trifolium repens) and red clover (Trifolium pratense)
  • Cockscomb (Celosia argenta cristata)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Common chicory (Cichorium intybus)
  • Common snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Common zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
  • Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
  • Coriander / cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Cornflower / Bachelors button (Centaurea cyanus)
  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
  • Curled dock (Rumex cripus)
  • Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgaris)
  • Flatweed (Hypochoeris radicata)
  • Fireweed / Rosebay willowherb / Great willow-herb (Chamerion angustifolium)
  • Garden cress (Lepidium sativum)
  • Garden nasturtium / Indian cress (Tropaeolum majus)
  • Garden Verbena (Verbena x hybrida)
  • Gladiolus (Gladiolus spp.)
  • Greater plantain / Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major)
  • Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
  • Hibiscus (Malvaceae spp.)
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
  • Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)
  • Irish moss (Sagina subulata)
  • Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
  • Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
  • Knotweed / smartweek / hogweed / wireweed / lady's thumb (Polygonum aviculare)
  • Lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
  • Lady's smock (Cardamine pratensis)
  • Lamb's quarter / fat hen / goosefoot (Chenopodium album)
  • Lavender (Lavendula spp.)
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Lily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Lovage (Levisticum officianle)
  • Mallow (Malva spp.) - specifically, common mallow (Malva sylvestris)
  • Milk thistle / lady's thistle / holy thistle / St. Mary's thistle (Caduus marianus L.)
  • Moss-rose (Portulaca grandiflora)
  • Mustard (Sinapis spp.)
  • Mustard greens / Kai choi / Gai choy / Gai choi (Brassica juncea)
  • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.)
  • Nettle (Urtica urens) - feed dried or wilted to reduce sting, but rabbits generally have no trouble eating fresh either.
  • New England aster (Aster novae-angliae)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Orchid (Phalenopsis, Sophrontitis, Oncidium, Cattleya spp.)
  • Oxeye daisy / Marguerite (Leucanthemum vulgare)
  • Pansy (Viola × wittrockiana)
  • Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)
  • Petunia (Petunia x hybrida)
  • Plantain / ribwort (Plantago spp.) - specifically, broad-leafed plantains (P. major) and narrow-leafed plantains (P. lanceolata)
  • Pot marigold (Calendula) (Calendula officinalis)
  • Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola)
  • Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
  • Ribbon plant / Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Rose (Rosa spp.)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Sage (Salvia spp.)
  • Salad burnet / Small burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
  • Sand rocket / Lincon weed (Diplotaxis tenuifolia)
  • Shepherd's purse / caseweed / shovelweed (Capsella bursapastoris)
  • Snow / Sugarsnap peas (Pisum sativum)
  • Sow thistle / milk thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
  • Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
  • Tall morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) - seeds are toxic
  • Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
  • Thyme (Thymus spp.)
  • Turnip weed (Rapistrum rugosum)
  • Treasure flower (Gazania rigens)
  • Viola (Violaceae spp.)
  • Vetch (Vicia spp.)
  • Wild lettuce (Lactuca satigna)
  • Wild pansy / Heartsease (Viola tricolor)
  • Wild strawberries (Fragaria spp.)
  • Wild turnip (Brassica tournefortii)
  • Wishbone flower (Torenia spp.)
  • Wood cranesbill / Woodland geranium (Geranium sylvaticum)
  • Woodland Goosefoot (Chenopodium standleyanum)[23]

See Homeopathy for Rabbits for some more flowers you may feed in small amounts as well as the nutritional and medicinal uses of various plants.

Vegetables to Avoid

Main article: Toxic Plants

Like any other animal, rabbits should not eat certain plants. Our main Toxic Plants article will address the plants that should be kept out of a rabbit's reach. Always check that list first before feeding your rabbit anything new.

The ones listed below should be avoided for various reasons.[24]

  • Bamboo shoots - contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
  • Cassava (Yuca) - contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
  • Chocolate - poisonous to most pets.
  • Coffee plants - contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
  • Corn - rabbits cannot digest corn hulls.
  • Diatomaceous earth - made from finely ground shells, and when ingested or breathed in, can act like razor blades; do not use in litter or food.
  • Iceberg lettuce - safe for rabbits to eat, but low in nutrients and extremely high in water content.
  • Maize - contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
  • Millet - contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
  • Nuts
  • Garlic and onions - See Can my rabbit eat onion and garlic? for details.
  • Potatoes
  • Raw anasazi, broad, common, lima, black, fava, horse, runner, garden, pinto, navy, kidney, soy beans and sprouts - contains high amounts of lectins which can damage intestinal walls and reduce nutrient absorption, but are destroyed by cooking and reduced by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting.[25][26][27]

Storage

Vegetables tend to spoil easily and can be a hassle to prepare everyday. Some products that may help you include the following:

Further Reading

See Also

References

  1. Kathy Smith, Greens and Pellets: Finding the Right Balance
  2. HRS, Suggested Vegetables and Fruit
  3. 3.0 3.1 House Rabbit Society, Susan A. Brown, DVM, Suggested Vegetables and Fruits for a Rabbit Diet
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kathy Smith, The Perfect Salad
  5. Barbi Brown, NUTRITION
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rabbit Advocates, ABC's of Rabbit Safe Vegetables & Fruits
  7. Examiner.com, Phyllis O'Beollain, Lamb's quarters is easily foraged for rabbits or other small pets
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 MediRabbit, Camilla Bergstrøm, Feeding the house rabbit 2: Vegetables
  9. Rise and Shine Rabbitry, Safe Food List for Rabbits
  10. YouTube, marshmallow0219, 小松菜を食べるももさんMomo eats Komatsuna leaves
  11. Phyllis O'Beollain, Purslane is a good choice for small pets
  12. Phyllis O'Beollain, Wild thistles provide healthy benefits for house rabbits and other herbivores
  13. kanin.org, Rabbit-safe vegetables
  14. 14.0 14.1 MediRabbit, Camilla Bergstrøm, Feeding the house rabbit 3: Fresh herbs
  15. Lucile Moore, Rabbit Nutrition and Nutritional Healing, 2e
  16. kanin.org, Safe herbs
  17. kanin.org, Rabbit-safe plants (grass/flowers)
  18. MediRabbit, Camilla Bergstrøm, Feeding the house rabbit 5: Flowers
  19. The Rabbit House, 5 Rabbit Safe Flowers – Annuals
  20. I Must Garden, Plants Rabbits Will Eat
  21. www.rabbitnutrition.co.uk, Rabbits...naturally
  22. 3 Bunnies Rabbit Rescue, Inc., Non Toxic Plants
  23. Illinois Wildflowers, Woodland Goosefoot
  24. 3 Bunnies Rabbit Rescue, Inc., Feeding Your Bunny
  25. Y-Not Bunnies, Diet and Information
  26. Raw Evolution, What not to sprout
  27. The Kitchen Physician, Carolyn Swicegood, Sprouting for Healthier Birds