It is no secret that your furry friend is accustomed to munching on tasty fruit and vegetables. Whether that be the stereotypical carrot or tasty pellets, there are many options for feeding your pet rabbit.
Now, you might be wondering where cabbage falls in the mix. As a rabbit owner, you no doubt want to ensure your rabbit has a well-balanced and nutritious diet. It only makes sense that you would wonder: can rabbits have cabbage?
The answer is yes — all the best indoor rabbits can enjoy this tasty green vegetable. However, there are still a few things that you need to know before giving heaps of cabbage to your fur baby. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of cabbage for rabbits.
Can I feed my pet rabbit cabbage?
If you have a bunch of cabbage sitting around and you’re wondering whether you can feed it to your rabbit, then worry not. You certainly can feed your pet rabbit cabbage.
Cabbage is a nutritious vegetable that could benefit your rabbit in the long run. This leafy green vegetable is packed with minerals, vitamins, and fibers that are essential to a rabbit’s health.
Although, like people, rabbits each have their quirks and particularities. Not all rabbits take to cabbage the same way. That is why when introducing cabbage to your furball, you should start with small quantities to see how they react to the new food.
Can rabbits eat cabbage safely?
Like most good things, cabbage is best fed in moderation. While nothing is toxic about cabbage, it should not take up a massive portion of your rabbit’s diet.
Rabbits still require a good diet consisting of plenty of hay and grass that is low in calories and high in fiber. In the interim, they may also enjoy an occasional treat like a fruit or vegetable like cabbage.
So, yes — cabbage is perfectly safe for your pet rabbit. However, it is best to keep note of your rabbit’s reactions and monitor how much cabbage you feed them.
How often can I feed my rabbit cabbage?
When introducing cabbage into your rabbit’s diet, it is best to start with small amounts. Some rabbits might enjoy it and show no adverse reactions, whereas others might immediately show symptoms of discomfort or indigestion.
However, if you notice that your rabbit friend has taken a liking to cabbage, you can continue feeding it to them. According to the RSPCA on what rabbits should eat, rabbits should get a handful of leafy green vegetables daily to be at their best.
However, be careful of too much cabbage specifically. The best amount to feed your rabbit is a handful of cabbage once a day. This should be done three to four days a week. Generally, cabbage should comprise around a third of your rabbit’s total fruit and vegetable for the day.
So, remember to supplement cabbage with other essential foods like enough hay and grass.
Which varieties of cabbage are best for rabbits?
As you may know, many different types of cabbage are out there, but which ones are best for rabbits? Typically, you’d want to feed your rabbit the more dark and leafy varieties, like savoy cabbage, spring greens, or cavolo nero cabbage. Other variants like bok choy, purple cabbage, and red cabbage are also great options.
The darker type of cabbage tends to have a higher nutritional value, making rabbits less prone to adverse effects. White cabbage, on the other hand, has fewer nutrients and can cause unnecessary bloating and discomfort.
Can rabbits eat cabbage leaves?
Yes — rabbits can eat cabbage leaves. It is well known that leafy greens are essential to a rabbit’s diet, making the cabbage leaves perfectly safe. Whether or not your rabbit will enjoy the leaves is another question. Not all bunnies have the same tastes.
Can rabbits eat cabbage stalks?
If you are keen on not wasting any part of the cabbage, then you’re in luck. You can chop up the stalk of the cabbage into bite-sized pieces and safely give it to your furball. However, always make sure that it is properly cleaned and prepared first.
Can rabbits eat cooked cabbage?
No — you don’t want to feed your rabbit any cooked cabbage. Rabbits are herbivores, and their food is often provided to them in its raw form.
By cooking the cabbage, not only will you deny your rabbit the freshness from the vegetable, but you will also be stripping away essential nutrients. At the end of the day, rabbits are not made to digest and eat cooked foods.
So, rather than going through the trouble and cooking the cabbage, stick to raw cabbage that is properly prepared. Your hopping friend will thank you for it.
Why is cabbage good for my rabbit?
Cabbage is one of those vegetables that are an attractive choice for rabbit owners as it has many health benefits. It contains plenty of nutritional value, vitamins, fibers, and minerals — all necessities for rabbits.
Green cabbage consists of vitamins like vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K to help with muscle and nervous system functioning. Vitamin K is also vital for a healthy pregnancy in female rabbits. Cabbage also has a good amount of calcium, which helps with healthy bones and teeth regeneration.
In addition, cabbage contains minerals like zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin E. Your rabbit will also benefit from the high fiber content, which is essential for digestive health.
When not to feed my rabbit cabbage
Not everything can be sunshine and roses. Sometimes your fuzzy friend will show signs that cabbage isn’t agreeing with them. You might notice something off about your rabbit’s droppings after feeding them cabbage for a few days.
If you know what rabbit poop looks like, and you see some abnormalities, like diarrhea, then this might indicate that the cabbage is not agreeing with them. In this case, you’ll want to stop feeding them cabbage for a few days to see if the symptoms persist or not.
If the symptoms disappear after stopping, cabbage is not the way to go when feeding your pet rabbit, and you should find an alternative.
Health concerns from feeding rabbits cabbage
While cabbage is safe for rabbits, it has been established that some rabbits might not react the same way as others. The leafy green vegetable does have some good nutritional value, but like most good things, there are risks associated with feeding your rabbit too much.
Let’s look at some potential health concerns associated with feeding cabbage to your rabbit and things to be wary of.
- Pesticides: You must thoroughly clean and wash any vegetable with warm water and a mild, food-safe soap. Cabbage can often contain leftover chemicals and pesticides from their origin farms, which can be dangerous to your rabbit’s health.
- Parasites: Like pesticides, cabbage can also have pests and parasites. Check that the cabbage is free of problems before feeding it to your rabbit to prevent your fur baby from getting sick.
- Gastrointestinal issues: Sometimes, too much cabbage can lead to a build-up of gas and digestive issues, like diarrhea or bloat for rabbits. This is either caused by feeding them too much cabbage or over-ripened cabbage.
- Kidney problems: Given the high calcium content in cabbage, too much can result in several kidney issues. Rabbits do not absorb calcium the same way as other animals, so while calcium is vital to your pet rabbit’s nutrition, too much can be dangerous.
Can baby bunnies eat cabbage?
With all this talk of rabbits eating cabbage, you must wonder if you can feed cabbage to your baby rabbits. Compared to adult rabbits, kits have a much more sensitive digestive system.
Typically, it is best to avoid feeding your kits any kind of fruit or vegetable until they reach 12 weeks. Once they are this age, you can slowly introduce them to fruits and vegetables, including cabbage.
From this point, you should monitor your kit’s reaction to the new introduction over the next 24 hours. If they seem fine, then continue to feed them cabbage slowly, in small portions up to four times a week, to see if they like it.
So, can rabbits have cabbage?
As a rabbit owner, there is always the thought on your mind of trying to provide the very best for your furry companion. No matter how many rabbit breeds there are, fresh vegetables and fruit are vital for their well-being.
Cabbage is an excellent addition to your rabbit’s diet if you know what to look for and how to prepare it adequately. It is filled with valuable nutrients, minerals, and fibers that are great for a rabbit’s health.
However, the most important thing is moderation. Ensure you do not feed your rabbit too much cabbage to prevent any adverse side effects or health concerns. If you have any second thoughts, it is always best to consult your local vet and find the best way forward.
Either way, your fur baby is in capable hands.
Steph Dyson is a travel journalist by trade but a lover of all small pets. She’s been a pet mum to everything from gerbils to guinea pigs, rabbits to hamsters, and fish to dogs of all shapes and sizes. She wants to share her years of experience with small pets and make Small Pet Guides the go-to website for pet owners seeking information and care advice.