Cabbage is probably one of the most popular and most accessible vegetables that never misses landing a spot on everyone’s grocery list. An article in The New York Times even honoured cabbage as an “inexpensive, nutritional powerhouse” that you can use in a variety of kitchen recipes. So, can rabbits eat cabbage? Let’s find out…
Can Rabbits Eat Cabbage?
Yes, rabbits can absolutely eat cabbage and they love its crispy texture. Cabbage is also good for rabbits in terms of its nutritional impacts. It is a rich source of calcium which helps rabbits regenerate their teeth. It is also a provider of potassium which ensures a healthy nervous system for them.
Cabbage also contains vitamins B6 and K which are both essential for a rabbit’s healthy growth. Vitamin B6 helps in building proteins for muscles to function well. Vitamin K, on the other hand, is a significant nutrient for breeding pregnant rabbits. Cabbage is also primarily composed of fiber and water which makes it a top food choice for your furry, herbivore pets since they need to consume fiber on a daily basis.
Can rabbits eat cabbage of all types and colors?
There are different types and colors of cabbages which lead to the question if rabbits can eat all kinds of cabbages? Basically, rabbits can eat almost any type of cabbage but not all types of cabbage contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals that rabbits need in their nutrition.
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For example, white cabbage is the most common type of cabbage that you can buy in any market but, compared to the darker-coloured cabbages, it doesn’t have the same nutrient punch. Still, white cabbage is a safe option for rabbits and besides, its availability makes shopping for pet food very convenient.
Green cabbage is also a prominent type in the family of cabbages. Just like white cabbage, it’s available in many stores and it’s also a safe snack packed with vitamins and minerals for rabbits.
Red or purple cabbage might have strong, striking colors but don’t let its appearance intimidate you as a dangerous food for rabbits. In fact, red or purple cabbage contains more antioxidants than other cabbage types which protect rabbit tissues from oxidative damage. Somehow, this makes it a better choice for rabbits but it’s less available compared to the first two colors of cabbage. It’s also rich in minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin K which is an important supplement for pregnant rabbits. That’s why red or purple cabbage can be considered a top choice for breeding sows. Just take note that a possible side effect of red or purple cabbage among rabbits is green urine but this is perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about.
Aside from the four usual colors of cabbage, Savoy cabbage is also a safe option for rabbits. It contains almost the same amount of vitamins and minerals as the other types of cabbage. It has lesser vitamin C compared to other types but that’s alright since rabbits don’t necessarily need too much vitamin C. As a matter of fact, too much vitamin C on their food can cause them kidney damage.
Another safe type of cabbage that you can feed your rabbit is Chinese cabbage or Bok Choy. This makes up for another healthy diet for rabbits, however, it’s not accessible everywhere. The same goes for the sweetheart cabbage, a pointed, heart-shaped cabbage which is also safe for your rabbit. Just in case you only have Bok Choy or sweetheart cabbage available, don’t hesitate to let your rabbit have them. They might have lesser vitamin C as well but the rest of their components are vitamins and minerals that will benefit your rabbit.
Can rabbits eat cabbage core?
It’s also important to know which parts of the cabbage are safe to give to rabbits and which should be left in the refrigerator or better yet, the garbage can. The safest part to consider is the cabbage leaf since texture-wise, it is the most edible portion. You can give one whole leaf to your rabbit or have it chopped as you prefer.
Consider avoiding the core of a cabbage which is the part with a woody texture. This cabbage part has become a topic of discussion among rabbit owners and enthusiasts. While rabbits can absolutely tear the core apart with their powerful front teeth, many owners claim that this part can cause digestive problems. With that said, it’s better to leave the core of the cabbage aside or just make it a puree to your soup, but not for your rabbit.
Can rabbits eat cabbage everyday?
We all know that too much is not good and the same applies to feeding cabbages to rabbits. Make sure to introduce cabbage slowly to your rabbit. Giving them too much the first time around will make them sick. Afterall, a rabbit’s daily diet should always consist of around 15% fresh foods, the category where cabbage falls. The 80% of the diet should come from the best rabbit food which is hay, while the rest from rabbit pellets.
Try to limit the amount of cabbage to only five pieces of leaves at the beginning. Don’t force your rabbit if it doesn’t seem interested with the cabbage. You can replace it with hay and just try feeding it with cabbage some other time. Remember that even if rabbits are not the daintiest animal, they can still be extremely sensitive when it comes to changes in their diet.
On the contrary, rabbits may experience diarrhea or loose stools if they excessively ate cabbages. It’s because cabbage is known to also produce gas and cause bloating in the rabbit’s digestive system. Rabbits should eat cabbage no more than four times a week, anything over than that can increase the risk of gas and bloating in their stomach.
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What if your rabbit seems to enjoy cabbage but then gets diarrhea right after eating? It’s already a clear indication that your rabbit is sensitive to cabbage. You should stop giving them cabbage right away. Observe the symptoms, especially in your rabbit’s stool, and then you can reintroduce cabbage again once you see positive changes in your rabbit’s nutrition.
Since you’re going back to zero, start with small quantities of leaves and watch out for symptoms that can still show up. Don’t worry, cabbage itself is very unlikely to kill your rabbit, but their sensitivity to the vegetable can make them feel uncomfortable so pay close attention to the amount of cabbage you’re feeding your rabbit.
Cooked vs. raw cabbage for rabbits.
In a battle between the natural and simulated forms, it is still highly recommended to feed rabbits with raw cabbage. Some people practice cooking vegetables for their rabbits but in general, it’s always preferred to go raw.
Come to think of it, what do rabbits eat in the wild? Rabbits, in their natural habitat, already eat their food completely raw. Aside from it has been a routine for them, their teeth are also accustomed in chewing crunchy vegetables such as cabbages and it’s best to keep it that way with respect to their nature. When cabbage is cooked, it loses the crispiness of its leaves which is totally against the odds for your rabbit. Moreover, keeping it raw will help avoid numerous possible dental diseases which can even spread to your rabbit’s cute cheeks and gentle eyes.
Most importantly, cooking your rabbit’s cabbage may cause nutrient loss especially in the leaves. So, why bother spending minutes preparing your rabbit’s snack when it’s most perfectly served all natural? Just don’t forget to wash the cabbage thoroughly before giving it to your rabbit. Carefully rinsing vegetables for your pets is very important, especially nowadays where more farmers use pesticides and other chemical fertilizers.
Aside from cooked cabbage, there are other worse preparations that you need to avoid when feeding your rabbits. One of these bad choices is processed or canned vegetables. Different chemical components and dangerous preservatives have already been added to these veggies that’s why it will never be a good choice for your rabbit’s food.
You should also turn away from giving your rabbit baked or frozen cabbage. Most of the time, baked cabbage contains spices and oil that don’t have any good effects on your rabbit’s health. Frozen cabbage, on the other hand, is also unhealthy since it’s already processed or blanched even before freezing.
Can bunnies eat cabbage?
Informally, a bunny refers to a baby rabbit and yes, these angelic creatures can also eat cabbage. One important note to keep in mind, though, is that bunnies have a more sensitive digestive system than adult rabbits. Feeding them cabbage requires more attention to details such as the amount, preparation and observation of any possible negative reaction towards cabbages.
What foods are toxic to rabbits?
If cabbage is completely suitable for your rabbits, you might think that other green, leafy or even non-leafy vegetables will do good on your rabbit’s plate. Well, be very careful because there are still some vegetables that are dangerous for your rabbit’s health and that you should never feed them even once.
First up is avocado. Avocados contain a toxic compound called Persin which causes breathing problems among rabbits. Too much Persin can quickly develop to something more fatal like a heart attack or even worse, death. You should also cross out chocolates and other sugary processed foods in your food shopping list for your rabbit as both are tremendously deathly for their diet.
Other foods to avoid feeding your rabbit include fruit pips and seeds, allium vegetables like onion, garlic, and chives, and potato leaves. Surprisingly, iceberg lettuce can also harm rabbits because it contains lactucarium. Can rabbits eat romaine lettuce, though? Yes, dark-colored lettuces are good for rabbits.
Cabbage alternatives that rabbits can eat.
Variety for your rabbit’s diet is good. Since it’s already clear that rabbits can eat cabbage, can rabbits eat lettuce as well? Also, can rabbits eat cucumber? Of course, these are also perfect food choices for your rabbit!
Since you can’t always feed them cabbage seven days a week, here are several alternatives that you might want to know. Rabbits will also enjoy other green, leafy vegetables such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, arugula, celery, beet greens, asparagus, zucchini and artichoke leaves to name a few.
Herbs can also make a wonderful snack for rabbits and bunnies, but note their reaction first when it comes to the strong scents and tastes of certain herbs. Some rabbits will settle with herbs happily while others will run from it because they dislike its scent.
- NY Times, ‘Cabbage, An Inexpensive Nutritional Powerhouse’, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/08/health/nutrition/08recipehealth.html, Accessed – 18 May 2021
- BBC Goodfood, ‘The health benefits of red cabbage’, https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-red-cabbage, Accessed – 18 May 2021