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Can rabbits eat broccoli?

Rabbit eating broccoli
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Broccoli is one of those vegetables found in many human dishes, but can rabbits eat broccoli? If you’ve invested in one of the best rabbit hutches and are wondering what human food you can pop in there for your bunny to munch on, you’ll be pleased to hear that broccoli is one of them, although rabbits must always eat it raw and never cooked.

Broccoli is usually dark green and belongs to the cabbage family. It has a large flowering head, arranged like a tree structure, stemming from lighter green, thick stalks.  The flower heads are surrounded by small leaves.

Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C, K, the B vitamin folate, manganese, and potassium, as well as being low in calories, making it a useful vegetable for people and rabbits. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this superfood and how much of it rabbits can consume.

Is broccoli good for rabbits?

Broccoli can be fed to rabbits, and in fact all parts of the plant – the stalk, leaves and flowers – are suitable to feed, but this must be raw and not cooked. However, in some rabbits, even a small amount can cause gas to build-up in the digestive system, so although it is suitable to feed, and can be fed in small amounts on a daily basis, 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?

Once you have slowly introduced it into your rabbit’s diet, for an average 2kg rabbit, aim to feed a maximum of 1-2 small/medium sized flower heads, a couple of leaves and a small amount (approx. half an inch section) of broccoli each time. This may be daily or every few days. Alongside this, you can feed other vegetables and herbs, such as parsley, coriander, mint, basil, kale, spinach and celery, as well as freshly picked wild plants. If you pick wild plants, you must make sure you know what you are picking, so you don’t feed something potentially dangerous. Also ensure your rabbit is up-to-date with their vaccination, only pick wild plants from areas not fouled by dogs or wildlife, and wash them before feeding them.

Recommended Vegetables and Herbs (opens in new tab) is a comprehensive list, from the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), of which fresh foods you can feed to your rabbits. 

Conclusion

Many rabbits enjoy eating broccoli as part of a balanced and healthy diet. If introduced slowly and fed in moderation, alongside other safe vegetables, all parts of broccoli are safe to feed to rabbits.

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.