Rabbits love to eat all kinds of vegetables. They’re not picky when it comes to food, but a healthy rabbit diet should not only include vegetables but also hay, pellets, and some fruits.
As a pet owner, you need to know what do rabbits eat and drink. Even if rabbits indeed love to eat any vegetables, it’s still important to know if it’s safe for them or not.
With this in mind, you might be wondering, “can rabbits eat broccoli?”. In this article, we’ll not only talk about the safety of broccoli for a rabbit’s health but also all the important matters regarding rabbits and them eating broccoli. Let’s get started…
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
Yes, Rabbits can eat broccoli, but only in small amounts. Eating broccoli may be beneficial to us humans, however, it’s not the same for rabbits. Broccoli can cause gas and this is why it’s not recommended for rabbits to have them.
If you really want to let your rabbit have some broccoli, let them eat the leaves and small stems only. The thicker stalks and the flower part have a higher risk of causing gas, especially if you feed them too much.
Why Do Rabbits Like Broccoli?
Now that you know that rabbits can indeed eat broccoli, maybe you’re wondering why they like it. They like it probably because of its taste. After all, as a human, you won’t eat any food that doesn’t please you, right? The same goes for the rabbits as well. Their tastes also differ, just like us. So if your pet rabbit doesn’t want to eat broccoli, then it doesn’t like it.
Rabbits may like eating broccoli if it’s a part of a varied diet recommended by your veterinarian.
Is it Safe For Rabbits to Eat Broccoli?
As mentioned earlier, rabbits can eat broccoli. But is it safe for them? Fortunately, yes. It is safe for rabbits to eat broccoli. However, broccoli can cause gas, especially the thicker stalks and the flower part. So if it’s your first time feeding your rabbits with broccoli, introduce it to them slowly and make sure to observe if there are any adverse effects on them.
Although gas isn’t actually a major health concern for your rabbit, you don’t want your beloved pet to suffer from any digestive discomfort. Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems. So if you’ll introduce them to a new food such as broccoli, you’ll have to start in small amounts. You can slowly increase the amount over time if you see no problem for your rabbit when eating them.
However, it’s still not recommended to make it a part of your rabbit’s regular diet.
Is Broccoli Good For Rabbits?
Yes, broccoli is good and healthy for rabbits, but only when taken moderately. Broccoli is a nutritious food not only for us humans but also for rabbits. It can also promote some dental wear especially if your rabbit can eat the tough stalks and florets.
However, beneficial as it may seem, you still can’t make it a part of your rabbit’s regular diet. Broccoli has higher levels of sugar compared to most leafy greens. This is the reason why you should never feed it to your rabbit on a regular basis.
How to Feed Broccoli to Your Rabbit
Not all rabbits like broccoli, so if it’s your first time feeding them with it, feed them only with a small piece and see if they like them. If your rabbit likes the leaves particularly, watch for any signs of stomach pain for the next 24 hours.
If you see any symptoms of gas, diarrhea, or your rabbit looks uncomfortable, you should not let them have another piece of broccoli. If symptoms persist, it can possibly be a serious medical problem. You should consult your veterinarian immediately.
How Much Is Good For Them?
If your pet rabbit has no problem eating broccoli after observing for one day, you can feed them a little more. A few broccoli leaves and stalks (about 1 teaspoon) 1-2 times every week is enough and you’d still want to keep on observing them.
Rabbits get their needed vitamins and nutrients from a mix of sources. However, you should not feed them with broccoli on the same day as other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage or brussels sprouts.
For a healthy regular diet, most of it includes hay. It is recommended for rabbits to have access to fresh hay all the time. A few pellets supplemented by some fresh fruits and vegetables should also be included in their regular diet.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Stalks?
Although it’s hard for us humans to eat broccoli stalks, it’s one of what can rabbits eat without a problem.
Broccoli stalks have the same amount of nutrients as the florets. They are filled with protein, calcium, potassium, and have high levels of Vitamin A and dietary fiber. They are also crunchy which is why your pet rabbit will surely enjoy eating them.
Before you feed your rabbit with broccoli stalks, make sure to chop them into small pieces. Just make sure that you don’t feed them too much as the stalk is the most fibrous part of the broccoli. Too much of it can upset your pet’s stomach, so make sure to let them have it only in moderation.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Leaves?
Just like the stalks, rabbits can also eat broccoli leaves. Broccoli leaves have high levels of some essential vitamins needed by rabbits, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C. They are also a rich source of antioxidants.
It’s better for your rabbit to have broccoli leaves than stalks or florets. They contain more Beta Carotene which can help promote healthy fur and skin. Broccoli leaves also have less fiber content, which lowers the risk of your rabbit having stomach pain.
Can Rabbits Eat Raw or Cooked Broccoli?
Yes, rabbits can eat raw or cooked broccoli. The raw ones are generally more nutritious compared to the cooked ones. Just like any other vegetables that you’ll feed to your rabbit, don’t forget to wash the raw broccoli thoroughly.
Is Broccoli Bad For Rabbits?
Broccoli, just like cauliflower, can cause gas for some rabbits. Just like any other green veggies, introduce it to them slowly. So you only have to feed small amounts of broccoli and closely monitor your rabbit. If you see that your rabbit shows no bad reaction to it, you can give it a bit more.
On the contrary, if your rabbit can’t tolerate broccoli and gets gas easily, stop feeding it with broccoli or cauliflower.
Just like us humans, every rabbit is different when it comes to what vegetables it can eat. Some rabbits show no bad reaction after eating broccoli, while others can’t tolerate it and get gas.
What Can Rabbits Eat as Alternative For Broccoli?
There are a lot of vegetables that can be a good alternative for broccoli.
Here are some healthy alternatives to broccoli in a rabbit’s diet.
- Beet greens
- Leaf lettuce
- Radish leaves/tops
- Swiss chard
- Brussels sprouts
- Dandelion greens
- Bok choy
- Turnips / Turnip greens
- Okra leaves
- Bell peppers
If you’re wondering, “what can rabbits eat?” and “what can rabbits not eat?”, take a look at this article.
Can Baby Bunnies Eat Broccoli?
Most adult rabbits like eating broccoli, however, it’s not the same for baby rabbits. Baby rabbits are not capable of eating a variety of green veggies. They have a lot more sensitive digestive systems compared to adult rabbits.
Broccoli contains a large amount of fiber which can lead to the gut blockages of your rabbit also known as Gastrointestinal Stasis or GI Stasis. Baby rabbits that suffer from GI Stasis may not survive because of their fragile digestive systems. This is why baby bunnies cannot eat broccoli.
Signs That Broccoli Gave Your Rabbit Gas
Gas can cause severe pain for your rabbit.
Here are some of the signs if your rabbit suffers from gas after eating broccoli that you should observe carefully.
- If your rabbit has a swollen stomach
- If your rabbit is lying in a curled-up position
- If your rabbit is pressing its tummy flat against the bottom of its hutch
- If your rabbit is gurgling noises coming from its belly
If you see that your rabbit shows one of these signs, bring it to your veterinarian right away. You should also avoid feeding broccoli to your pet rabbit since its digestive system can’t tolerate it.
Summary: Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
Rabbits can indeed eat broccoli, but only in small amounts especially if it’s your first time feeding it to them. Broccoli is good and healthy for rabbits, however, excessive feeding of it can cause gas to your pet rabbit. After feeding broccoli to your bunny, make sure to observe them carefully to see if its digestive system can tolerate eating broccoli.
There will be no problem for your rabbit when eating broccoli stalks as well as broccoli leaves. In fact, they are filled with essential nutrients needed by rabbits such as protein, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Unlike broccoli stalks, broccoli leaves have a lower chance of causing gas to your pet rabbit since they have less fiber content.
Rabbits can also eat raw or cooked broccoli, but the raw ones are more nutritious than the cooked ones. Wash the raw broccoli thoroughly first, then cut it into small pieces before feeding it to your pet bunny.
If your rabbit has a swollen stomach, lying in a curled-up position, pressing its tummy flat against the bottom of its hutch, or gurgling noises coming from its belly, it is possible that it has gas. If you see any of these signs from your rabbit after eating broccoli, bring it to your veterinarian immediately.
There are some rabbits that can eat broccoli without a problem, but there are also some that cannot tolerate it. If your rabbit is one of those who can’t tolerate eating broccoli, stop feeding it to your pet.
Adult rabbits can eat broccoli, while baby rabbits cannot. Baby rabbits are not yet capable of eating a variety of vegetables since they have more sensitive digestive systems compared to adult ones. In case your baby rabbit suffers from Gastrointestinal Stasis or GI stasis after eating broccoli, it may not survive because of its weak digestive system. So you should never feed baby rabbits with broccoli.
- VetWest, ‘Rabbits – Feeding and Nutrition’, https://www.vetwest.com.au/pet-library/rabbits-feeding-and-nutrition, Accessed – 18 May 2021
- Rabbit, ‘Gastro-Intestinal (GI) Problems: Gas and Stasis’, https://rabbit.org/chapters/se-pennsylvania/GIStasis.htm, Accessed – 18 May 2021
Bestfriends, ‘Rabbit Diet: What to Feed a Bunny’, https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/rabbit-diet-what-feed-bunny, Accessed – 18 May 2021