Best Fruits For Rabbits

1

The Best Fruits For Rabbits. Rabbits are herbivores, which means their diet is made from only fruits, vegetables, and vegetation. They have a special way of getting some vitamins and minerals from the plant so their systems will not absorb the toxins. With this information, you can feed your pet rabbits with the best fruits for rabbits just like human beings.

Rabbit Diet: What to Feed a Bunny

Cupid the white rabbit eating some lettuce

What should pet bunnies eat? Contrary to popular belief, rabbits need to eat more than just carrots and lettuce. They require a balanced diet of hay, fresh veggies and fruit, and a few pellets. Rabbits have very sensitive digestive tracts, so the transition to hay or pellets, or the introduction of new fruits and vegetables, must be done gradually to allow the rabbit’s system to adjust.

Hay: The staple of a rabbit’s diet

The bottom of a rabbit food pyramid would contain long-stemmed fiber, in the form of hay, which makes up 80 to 90 percent of a rabbit’s diet. As grazing animals, rabbits need to have an unlimited supply of fresh hay daily.

You’ll want to feed your rabbit grass hays. Good types of grass hay for bunnies are timothy, orchard grass, brome and oat hay. You can feed your bunnies either one type or a mixture of different grass hays. Buy the freshest hay possible and check for the presence of mold or dust, which could make your rabbit sick.

Alfalfa hay is not a good choice for an adult rabbit, since it’s a legume, not a grass, and as such is too rich to be fed on a daily basis. Alfalfa can be given to rabbits once in awhile as a treat. Rabbits under one year of age can be fed alfalfa hay, but as they get older they should be switched to grass hay, especially if they are also being fed alfalfa pellets.

Pellets: Feed a bunny small quantities

Timothy hay pellets can be given to bunnies in small quantities. An average-sized (6-10 pounds) adult rabbit only needs one-quarter cup of pellets daily. If your rabbit is under five pounds, feed just one-eighth of a cup. Rabbits larger than 10 pounds do not need more than a quarter of a cup, since it’s not a crucial part of a bunny’s diet.

Rabbits under one year old can be fed alfalfa pellets. Be sure to feed grass hay (rather than alfalfa) if you are feeding your young rabbit alfalfa pellets. Look for pellets with a high fiber content — the higher the better. Also, be aware that many foods marketed to rabbits aren’t actually healthy for them and can sometimes be harmful, so please read the ingredients. Do not buy the rabbit pellets that have dried corn, nuts and seeds added, because those foods can potentially be very harmful for rabbits.

Vegetables: A rabbit’s favorite foods

Rabbits count vegetables and herbs among their favorite foods. Most greens found in a supermarket are safe for rabbits, with a few limitations and exceptions. (See the list of foods to avoid below.)

No more than two cups daily of fresh vegetables should be given to adult rabbits. Dwarf breeds and rabbits under five pounds should get just one cup of fresh veggies per day. A variety of two or three vegetables is ideal. Add one new vegetable at a time, and watch for signs of loose stool or diarrhea because, as mentioned above, bunnies have delicate digestive systems. Certain vegetables can be given every day, while others should be fed sparingly, one or two times a week.

Do not feed your rabbit potatoes, corn, beans, seeds or nuts. These foods are difficult for rabbits to digest and can cause serious digestive problems.

Vegetables that can be fed to a rabbit daily:

  • Bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrot tops
  • Cucumber
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
  • Lettuces: romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston bibb, arugula, butter
  • Okra leaves
  • Radicchio
  • Radish tops
  • Sprouts: alfalfa, radish, clover
  • Watercress
  • Wheatgrass
  • Zucchini

Vegetables and plants to give sparingly (one or two times a week) to a bunny:

  • Broccoli (stems and leaves only)
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Clover
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens (pesticide-free)
  • Flowers: calendula, chamomile, daylily, dianthus, English daisy, hibiscus, honeysuckle, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, rose
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Fruit: Give to a bunny once or twice per week

Fruit should be given to your bunny one or two times a week. The appropriate serving is one to two tablespoons of fruit (either one kind or a mixture) per five pounds of body weight. As with vegetables, fruit should be introduced slowly and one at a time.

Fruit to feed your rabbit (one or two times a week):

  • Apple (no seeds)
  • Banana
  • Berries: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
  • Cherries (no seeds)
  • Grapes
  • Melon
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Watermelon

Treats: Feed to a rabbit sparingly

Like lots of people, many rabbits have a sweet tooth. As with humans, treats are at the top of the food pyramid for bunnies and therefore should be fed sparingly. Healthy treats for your bunny include small pieces of fresh or freeze-dried fruit (the approved fruits listed above); natural, unprocessed mixes that include hay and dried flowers (the approved flowers listed above); and Oxbow brand rabbit treats.

Always read the ingredient list on store-bought treats because not all of them are safe for bunnies. Avoid treats that include added sugar, preservatives and artificial coloring, and never give your rabbit human treats.

Foods to avoid giving a rabbit

Some foods are not good for rabbits under any circumstances because they can make rabbits extremely sick. Here are foods to avoid giving your bunny completely:

  • All human treats
  • Beans
  • Beet greens
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cereal
  • Chocolate
  • Corn or corn-cob treats
  • Crackers
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Legumes
  • Mustard greens
  • Nuts
  • Pasta
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Seeds
  • Sugar  
  • Turnip greens
  • Yogurt

Fresh water: Unlimited supply for a bunny

Finally, rabbits need to stay hydrated, so they should have an unlimited supply of fresh water, which should be changed daily. The water container should be cleaned with soap and water every few days. Water bottles are not easy to clean and can be difficult for rabbits to use, so bowls are better. A heavy ceramic bowl is ideal, since it doesn’t tip over easily.

Best Vegetables and Fruits for Rabbits

Rabbits in the wild all over the world successfully consume a wide variety of plants. Various types of dry and fresh grasses and plants with leaves comprise the largest portion of the wild rabbit diet. Rabbits will also eat bark on trees, tender twigs and sprouts, fruits, seeds and other nutritious foods in much small amounts. This is important to know when we decide what is a healthy diet for our house rabbits.

What kind of food is best for rabbits? Rabbits need a balanced diet of hay, fresh greens, a little fruit, and a few pellets. Veterinarian Dr Susan Brown takes a detailed look at the best diet for our bunny friends.

Hay Is The Most Important Rabbit Food

The majority of the house rabbit diet should be composed of grass hay (any variety). Grass hay is rich in Vitamin A and D as well as calcium, protein and other nutrients. Eating hay promotes healthy teeth and gastrointestinal tract and should be available to your rabbit at all times. Varying the type of grass hay or mixing hays is a great idea (such as timothy, orchard, oat hay, brome, etc). Avoid the use of alfalfa hay as the primary source of hay due to the fact it is very high in calories and protein, far more than the average house rabbit needs. Alfalfa is not a grass, but rather a legume (in the pea and bean family).

Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet and they provide additional nutrients as well as different textures and tastes, which are enriching for your friend as well. Fresh foods also provide more moisture in the diet, which is good for kidney and bladder function. The bulk of fresh foods should be made up of leafy greens (about 75% of the fresh part of the diet). Any leafy green that is safe for a human or a horse to eat is safe for a rabbit to consume.

An approximate amount to feed would be around 1 cup of greens for 2 lbs of rabbit body weight once a day or divided into multiple feedings a day.

List of Possible Fruits and Vegetables

It is always preferable to buy organic produce if at all possible. If collecting wild foods such as dandelion greens, make sure they are from a pesticide-free area. All fresh foods regardless of the source should be washed or scrubbed (in the case of hard vegetables) before serving them to your rabbit.

Leafy Greens

These foods should make up about 75% of the fresh portion of your rabbit’s diet (about 1 packed cup per 2 lbs of body weight per day).

Leafy Greens I

(need to be rotated due to oxalic acid content and only 1 out of three varieties of greens a day should be from this list)

  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Beet greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Radish tops
  • Sprouts (from 1 to 6 days after sprouting, sprouts have higher levels of alkaloids)

Leafy Greens II 
(low in oxalic acid)

  • Arugula
  • Carrot tops
  • Cucumber leaves
  • Endive
  • Ecarole
  • Frisee Lettuce
  • Kale (all types)
  • Mache
  • Red or green lettuce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spring greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Mint (any variety)
  • Basil (any variety)
  • Watercress
  • Wheatgrass
  • Chicory
  • Raspberry leaves
  • Cilantro
  • Radicchio
  • Bok Choy
  • Fennel (the leafy tops as well as the base)
  • Borage leaves
  • Dill leaves
  • Yu choy

Non-leafy Vegetables

Non-leafy vegetables should be no more than about 15 % of the diet (About 1 tablespoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day).

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli (leaves and stems)
  • Edible flowers (roses, nasturtiums, pansies, hibiscus)
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers (any color)
  • Chinese pea pods (the flat kind without large peas)
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage (any type)
  • Broccolini
  • Summer squash
  • Zucchini squash

Fruits

These should be no more than 10% of the diet (about 1 teaspoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day). unless otherwise stated it is more nutritious to leave the skin on the fruit (particularly if organic), just wash thoroughly. IF you are in doubt about the source of the fruit and you are concerned about chemicals in the skin, then remove it.

  • Apple (any variety, without stem and seeds)
  • Cherries (any variety, without the pits)
  • Pear
  • Peach
  • Plum (without the pits)
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Berries (any type)
  • Berries (uncooked)
  • Pineapple (remove skin)
  • Banana (remove peel; no more than about 2 1/8 inch slices a day for a 5 lb rabbit…they LOVE this!)
  • Melons (any – can include peel and seeds)
  • Star Fruit
  • Apricot
  • Currants
  • Nectarine

Alkaloids and Other Worries

Many plants contain a naturally occurring chemicals called an alkaloids, which are mild toxins that protect plant in the wild.

Oxalic Acid

The one most talked about with rabbits is oxalic acid and it is completely harmless to animals or humans when consumed in small amounts. The amount of oxalic acid within each plant can vary significantly due to several factors including the composition of the soil the plant grew in, the time of year and the age of the plant. Most of the fresh vegetables we feed rabbits have a low to zero level of oxalic acid, but a few, most notably parsley, mustard greens and spinach have relatively high levels. (Note that kale, which is often implicated as a high oxalate food is actually very low in oxalates). The toxicity of oxalic acid comes with feeding large quantities of foods high in this chemical and can result in tingling of the skin, the mouth and damage to the kidneys over time. These foods are nutritious and do not need to be excluded from the diet if you feed them appropriately. I recommend feeding a minimum of at least 3 types of leafy greens a day (and only one of them should be from the group listed above) Don’t feed the same greens all the time from week to week if possible, mix it up. For instance if you feed parsley this week, then leave it out of the diet for next week and use something else. Rotating the greens will also give your bunny variety in taste, texture and general nutrition!

Vitamin A

Some folks are concerned that you rabbits need to acquire a significant amount of vitamin A from greens. As mentioned above, hay is rich in vitamin A, so it is unnecessary to be concerned about the specific vitamin A content of the greens. Just for information though, kale is extremely rich in vitamin A as well as most of the leaf lettuces. And while we are on the subject of vitamins, rabbits make their own vitamin C in their bodies, unlike humans who have to get vitamin C through their diet. You may know that dark green leafy vegetables and red peppers have more vitamin C per weight than citrus fruits!

Concerns About Gas

Some people are concerned about feeding foods that cause gastrointestinal (GI) gas in people such as broccoli. A rabbit’s GI tract is not the same as a human’s and many of the foods that may cause gas in a human do not cause gas in a rabbit. The most common types of foods that do create havoc in the rabbit’s GI tract are those that are high in starch and sugars because they create a change in the pH of the cecum and eventually can throw the whole system off. The result can be serious GI disease. Foods that are notorious for causing rabbit GI problems when fed improperly are grains of any kind and legumes (beans, peas, etc). Even starchy root vegetables and fruits if fed to excess with their high load of sugars and starch could be a problem and should only be fed as a very small part of the diet.

There has also been discussion about feeding vegetables that are goitrogenic in humans (causing a goiter) more notoriously those in the broccoli/cabbage family. One study done on rabbits indicated that it would take several weeks of exclusively feeding huge quantities of these foods to see any abnormalities in the blood. This is so far removed from normal feeding instructions for rabbits that there is no cause for concern in feeding these nutritious foods.

Vegetables to Limit

Beyond leafy greens you can feed other vegetables such as root vegetables or “flowers” such as broccoli and cauliflower. These foods are often higher in starch or sugars and should be fed in lesser amounts than the leafy greens. Avoid foods in the onion family such as leeks, chives and onions because eating these foods could cause blood abnormalities. A good amount of “other” vegetables (non leafy greens) to feed your rabbit would be about 1 tablespoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day in one meal or divided into two or more.

 Rabbit Diet and Nutrition › Vegetables and Fruits for Bunnies

The following are lists of good vegetables to feed your rabbit as part of their daily healthy diet and nutrition.  Fruits and oats are good as an occasional treat rather than a main part of their diet.

Vegetables

You should feed at least three different vegetables a day – any combination of lettuces counts as ONE veggie for that day. NO LEGUMES, NUTS, SEEDS, CORN COB TREATS, OR YOGURT DROPS! These are not natural foods for rabbits and they can be very dangerous to gut function.

Vegetables that should be considered as part of your rabbit’s diet:

  • Alfalfa, radish, and clover sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Beet greens
  • Bell Peppers (green, red, yellow…)
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
    • Some bunnies may find this a rather “gassy” veggie. If diarrhea occurs, remove from diet
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrot tops (organic)
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Dandelion Greens (Pesticide Free!)
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Grass
    • Freshly cut from your backyard only
    • If you are sure there are no chemicals, fertilizers, or poisons (park grass usually has one or all of these)
  • Mint
  • Mustard Greens
  • Okra leaves
  • Parsley
  • Pea pods (AKA Chinese pea pods)
  • Peppermint leaves
  • Pumpkin leaves
  • Radicchio
  • Radish tops
  • Raspberry leaves
  • Squash: Zucchini, Yellow, Butternut, Pumpkin
  • Various lettuces
    • Romaine, butter, green leaf, Boston, bibb, arugula, etc
    • Avoid very light hearts
    • No iceberg
  • Watercress
  • Wheat grass

Vegetables that are higher in calcium should be used sparingly (once or twice a week).
For older buns, or those with bladder or kidney problems, avoid these, unless otherwise directed by your rabbit vet.

  • Collard greens
  • Kale
    • High in either oxalates or goitrogens, which can cause or exacerbate bladder sludging, and other calcium/kidney problems
    • Use sparingly!
  • Turnip greens

Fruits

You should only feed fruits once or twice a week in small amounts. NO SEEDS OR PITS!  Sugary fruits, such as bananas and grapes should be fed only as occasional treats, and NO fruit should be fed to an overweight rabbit.

  • Apple
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberry
  • Pineapple
  • Melon
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Plum
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Grains

A small amount of oats are fine as an occasional treat, or if recommended by your rabbit veterinarian for underweight rabbits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Like
Close
TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.
Close