Mealtime is one of the best times of the day for a rabbit. And when these veggies are on the menu, they’ll jump for joy when they hear the produce bags moving!
Pellets and hay are must-haves for a bunny’s diet. They need adequate amounts of both to thrive and live a long and healthy life. But what about the extras like fruits and vegetables? Are they essential? Can they eat all the veggies or just certain ones? Well, if you’re wondering what else your rabbit needs in his or her diet, you’ve come to the right place!
Do rabbits need veggies?
In a word, yes! Vegetables help balance out the nutrition needs of a rabbit. Think of it like this: a diet of just pellets and hay provides nutrients that are found in those things, but things like dark leafy greens and carrots provide vitamin A which your rabbit needs also. And zucchini is high in fiber and vitamins B6, folate and Vitamin C, which are also essential.
Let’s take a look at the categories of vegetables that your bunny needs:
The list of leafy green vegetables is a long one! But that’s a good thing because there are many options to choose from.
Every Bunny Welcome tip: Also keep in mind that not all rabbits will like all vegetables. Yours may not touch bell peppers, but devour romaine lettuce. And that’s ok. Being picky about vegetables is one thing, but if your bunny refuses his favorite veggies, you might want to reference this article on what to do if they stop eating.
Squash is a category on its own because there are several types of it. Squash varieties like zucchini and other summer squash where the seeds are small and easy to digest can just be sliced and given, but with something like pumpkin, you’d need to only give the soft (not seeded) part.
But the list doesn’t stop there! Things like cucumbers and celery also make excellent food for rabbits.
Every Bunny Welcome tip: If you’re finding conflicting things about carrots and wondering if they are good or bad, you are not alone! Carrots seem like something that would go with a rabbit hand-in-hand right? Well, the answer is in moderation… yes! We give our rabbit a small baby carrot daily. But he’s also almost 5 pounds and he tolerates it well. Smaller rabbits may really only need a tiny carrot every other day.
Certain veggies should only be fed every so often to bunnies. The reason? Many of these veggies are higher in calcium than others. And too many calcium rich foods can wreck havoc on a rabbit’s digestive system. Others, like broccoli are cruciferous vegetables and, even though they are super healthy, they also tend to create a lot of gas and bloat, which can be dangerous for a small bunny. On the flip side, something like romaine lettuce could be on the menu daily.
Every Bunny Welcome Tip: In our experience, most buns don’t love these greens anyway.
How much should they have?
It’s a good thing rabbits can’t open the refrigerator themselves because they’d be eating veggies all day long! An average rabbit only needs about a cup of veggies per day. So it’s not a whole lot, but enough to give them all the nutrients they need.
How to serve the vegetables
The easiest way to serve a delicious collection of veggies is to use a bowl separate from their pellet bowl and place the cut up veggies in that. Use the same bowl every time so your bun gets used to this being their veggie bowl as opposed to the pellet bowl. Feel free to chop up any large pieces of vegetable, but keep in mind that bunnies are nibblers so they will nibble their way through a large piece of lettuce in no time!
What we have to say
These lists of veggies for rabbits may be a bit surprising – either for how long they are or for ones you didn’t think would be an issue for your little bun. But when you actually go to offer these, you’ll probably find that your bunny loves just a few varieties of vegetables. Many or most of the others he or she won’t even like. As long as they are the safe ones, veggies are a nice, welcome addition to their daily meal of pellets and hay.