Can rabbits eat broccoli may be a question you are asking given its wide availability and perhaps believing all veggies are good for our floppy-eared friends, right? A rabbit's diet is specific and unique to them and consuming greens is a necessity, not a treat.
Rabbits are popular small pets, particularly amongst families and younger children and it is not uncommon these days to find bunnies living as house rabbits as well as those still living traditional life outdoors in one of the best rabbit hutches.
If you are considering mixing some nutritious broccoli into their daily diet then you have made a good choice, as this is a decent vegetable to give rabbits. Let’s investigate a little further about feeding broccoli to bunnies as it does come with a couple of warnings too.
Whether your rabbit is an indoor or outdoor family member, leafy greens are an essential component of their diet. Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they only consume plant based foods and alongside daily hay and rabbit pellets, their diet should include around 10% of leafy green vegetables. Not all veggies and fruits can be fed to rabbits, which might leave you asking; can rabbits eat pumpkin or can rabbits eat tomatoes? It is important that any ‘people foods’ you wish to feed to rabbits are researched regarding their safety but many regularly stocked vegetables in your kitchen are perfectly fine to offer.
Is broccoli good for rabbits?
Certain parts of broccoli can be fed to rabbits but only in moderation and in small amounts. This vegetable also needs to be fed raw and not cooked. However, in some rabbits, even a small amount of broccoli can cause gas to build-up in the digestive system, so although it is suitable to feed, and can be fed in small amounts in rotation with other fruits and vegetables, you should avoid feeding large amounts to your rabbits, and if they have a sensitive digestive system, then avoid it altogether. Your rabbits will have distinctive tastes and preferences and whilst some rabbits enjoy eating broccoli, others may not find it appealing and won’t eat it.
Can broccoli be dangerous to rabbits?
Any sudden dietary changes, such as changing your rabbit’s food or introducing a new food too quickly, can cause serious and potentially fatal digestive upsets to rabbits. It is important to take a minimum of two weeks to introduce a new food into your rabbit’s diet.
If there are any digestive problems, stop feeding it and exclude it from the diet. Signs may include: not eating as much, or stopping eating altogether; fewer or no droppings being passed; not eating caecotroph droppings; liquid diarrhoea; a bloated, gas-filled abdomen; lethargy; painful tooth grinding; and collapse. All of these are very serious signs and you must contact your vet straight away, whether it’s day or night. Rabbits can deteriorate rapidly without correct veterinary treatment.
How much broccoli should I feed?
Too much of anything is never a good thing and broccoli is no different. Avoid feeding it to rabbits with any allergies, intolerances, if it is cooked or picked from the wild. Picking it from the wild might feel au-natural but it carries a contamination and pesticide risk. Otherwise the leaves and thin stems of broccoli are a great addition to the greens section of your rabbit's diet but it does need to be evenly rotated alongside other rabbit safe fruit and veggies. The portion control also requires some attention however this is best checked with your veterinarian or food specialist as to what the correct amount is for your particular bunny. If your rabbit is new to broccoli however, always start with a tiny amount and watch for any adverse digestive reactions and increase (or not) from there. Remember to wash the broccoli first and store any excess in a refrigerator.
Other examples of rabbit safe vegetables to include in their daily greens include parsley, coriander, mint, basil, kale, spinach and celery. Recommended Vegetables and Herbs is a comprehensive list, from the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), of which fresh foods you can feed to your rabbits.
Many rabbits enjoy eating broccoli as part of a balanced and healthy diet but it is always wise to check with your veterinarian if they can consume said food or research questions like can rabbits eat celery. Broccoli, however, if introduced slowly, fed appropriately and in moderation is a safe and healthy choice to give to your rabbit.
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Annaliese qualified as a veterinary nurse from Edinburgh and went on to attain a diploma in advanced veterinary nursing in surgery from London. Throughout this time, she worked in both small and mixed veterinary practices and gained head nurse status. Responsible for training other veterinary nurses she also ran the nursing department, nurse clinics, and patient care protocols.
She has looked after 1,000s of patients and owners and created new higher standard nursing regimes, whilst specializing in surgery and anesthesia. After being asked to co-author multiple veterinary nursing textbooks, Annaliese continued to write for further mainstream publications in the UK and USA and after twenty-plus years in both the veterinary and pet care professions, she hung up her scrub suit and now writes full-time.
- Kathryn WilliamsFreelance writer