The storybook illustration of a rabbit cheerfully munching away in a vegetable garden is a really cute one. All vegetables that you can imagine are just within their grasp, from their beloved carrots to the heads of lettuces and cabbages. But does this picture depict an accurate one?
Whenever you’re trying to feed new food to your pet rabbit, investigating its safety and health benefits first is always a great idea. Rabbits are natural herbivores and their digestive system and diet are significantly distinct from ours.
So, today we’ll be solving all the mysteries about whether rabbits can eat cabbage.
One type of vegetable in the brassica genus, cabbage, is linked to broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. But is it a great choice to fill your rabbit’s appetite?
Read on to find out why you can serve your rabbit cabbage, as well as why you have to limit the serving you’re giving them. Talking about the nutrition facts and health benefits of cabbage, we’ll also reveal to you just how to feed your pet rabbit with cabbage, including safe preparation.
By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how to safely introduce cabbage into your rabbit’s diet.
Skip to section
- Is Cabbage Safe for Rabbits?
- Rabbits and Cabbage
- Yes! Rabbits Can Eat Cabbage
- Health Benefits of Cabbage For Rabbits
- The Pros and Cons of Cabbage for Rabbits
- How to Feed Cabbage to Your Rabbits?
- How Much Cabbage Can I Feed My Rabbit?
- Are All Cabbages Created Equal?
- Can Baby Rabbits Eat Cabbage?
- Can Bunnies Consume Cabbage Every Day?
- Rabbit Cabbage Treats
- Alternatives to Cabbage for Rabbits
- Final Thoughts
Is Cabbage Safe for Rabbits?
We all know that rabbits love their veggies. But if you own a rabbit, then you’ve probably caught that some are not as great for them as others.
As stated earlier, cabbage is great for rabbits. But before you begin serving your bunny with cabbage, remember to go slow. That’s because rabbits rely on the bacteria found in their guts to digest their food.
So whenever you introduce a new food to your pet rabbit, that bacterial population is needed to adapt as well. As a result, abrupt dietary shifts frequently create stomach upsets in rabbits.
In the same vein, you have to make sure that your rabbit eats cabbage regularly once it has been introduced to make its gut capable of digesting it.
Let’s now examine cabbage for rabbits in more detail.
Rabbits and Cabbage
Rabbits are natural herbivores. This means that they eat plants. Their diet consists mainly of grasses, leaves, tree barks, and even roots. They also consume lettuce and cabbage, as well as grains, seeds, and nuts.
People around the world cultivate cabbage for food. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations calculates that people grew a tremendous 70 million tons of the same vegetable in 2012. Cabbage is rich in many essential nutrients for rabbits, as we’ll explain to you later.
This is absolutely fine to us humans as cabbages are regularly sold in different stores all year round. They also don’t come at an expensive cost and it even lasts for several days if placed in the fridge.
The UK animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, supports feeding rabbits an adult-sized handful of different leafy green vegetables and wild plants twice a day. This would amount to about 15% of their total diet.
Leafy green vegetables carry essential nutrients for your bunny. Plus, the way how rabbits eat them helps trim down their ever-growing teeth. Moreover, cabbage is often suggested as a part of the fresh vegetable element in a rabbit’s diet.
Yes! Rabbits Can Eat Cabbage
In short, rabbits can definitely eat cabbage. Mind you, some of them enjoy its crunchy texture.
Unfortunately, all the brassica types of vegetables dispense a very huge amount of sulfurous compounds that can agitate some rabbits’ digestive systems. This can lead to diarrhea or gas. And because rabbits find it hard to effectively pass gas if given in large quantities, they will eventually produce gastrointestinal disruptions that can be harmful or even fatal to your pet rabbit.
If handled properly, cabbage can furnish ample nutrients and valuable roughage to your rabbit’s diet. Keep on reading to discover the amount of cabbage that is safe for your rabbits to eat.
Health Benefits of Cabbage For Rabbits
Cabbage also carries calcium, which is perfect for rabbits who must continually regrow their teeth. Additionally, it holds lots of potassium, which acts an important role in the nervous system.
It is also a great source of vitamin K which is perfect for sows. Most pet rabbits don’t require additional vitamin K in their diet under natural conditions. However, it is crucial for a healthy pregnancy, so vets frequently prescribe supplemental sources of vitamin K for breeding sows.
Cabbage also carries smaller amounts of magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin E, all of which compose part of healthy rabbit nutrition.
The Pros and Cons of Cabbage for Rabbits
The University of California’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources also mentions that fiber is an essential part of your rabbit’s diet. But you should give it with caution because of the gas it creates for your pet rabbit.
Though cabbages’ may seem to carry essential vitamins and minerals, it doesn’t indicate that it is a winning choice as rabbit snacks, their comparatively high calcium content can create problems with your rabbit’s kidneys.
So, while cabbage is not toxic to rabbits, it may not be an excellent option for everyday feedings. You can only provide it as an occasional treat if your rabbit is enamored of its flavor but be sure to observe for signs of gastrointestinal distress.
How to Feed Cabbage to Your Rabbits?
No matter what type of cabbage you serve to your rabbit, it certainly must be fed to them fresh! Any cooked or pickled vegetables (like kimchi or sauerkraut) can create serious difficulties with your rabbit’s digestive system and should be totally avoided.
Thankfully, this isn’t hard to learn. Your rabbit will surely turn its back away from anything that’s not raw.
Although there should not be any problems when it comes to feeding your pet rabbit with cabbage, there are still those who dispute this account.
According to them, cabbages tend to create gas in your pet rabbit’s digestive system. When gas occurs, it can lead to two things: Your pet rabbit can both bloat or produce runny stools (rabbit diarrhea).
However, this should only occur when your pet rabbit does not completely digest cabbage because it was served in excessive amounts, because it was too quickly introduced, or because your rabbit is more susceptible than others.
When taking care of your pet rabbit, you will discern that they have a general tendency to consume everything that is supplied on their dish. Particularly if what is served on their plate is something that they really like, rabbits will surely tend to eat everything that they see in front of them.
Remember to keep the amount of cabbage limited to 5 pieces of leaves or less. If he is not attracted to eating it, do not force it, remove his plate of cabbage leaves then replace it with hay and try some other time.
Other sorts of green leafy vegetables that you can serve your pet rabbit apart from cabbage can include arugula, beet greens, broccoli, cilantro, dill, escarole, mint, asparagus, artichoke leaves, watercress, turnip, Brussel sprouts, and mustard greens.
You can also serve your pet bunnies some herbs, but make sure to observe their response to it since herbs possess a very strong scent and taste. Some rabbits can consume herbs with the highest enjoyment, while some would avoid herbs simply because of their unique scent and taste.
You can also incorporate fruits and provide them only as a treat.
Fruits that serves to be a great treat for your pet rabbit are apples or pears (without their stem and seeds), blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapples (skin removed), papaya, oranges, banana (served only about the size of an adult’s thumb) or plums (pits removed). Fruits should never be served more than 10% of your pet’s diet. That is about a teaspoon per 2 lbs. of their body weight per day, but not every day).
How Much Cabbage Can I Feed My Rabbit?
If you’re just trying to introduce cabbage to your rabbit’s diet, start slowly by serving perhaps one leaf at a time. And don’t do it daily.
Rabbits will respond differently to cabbage, with some displaying tell-tale signs of pain right away. If your rabbit appears slow or unhappy, or their poop becomes runny or occasional, discontinue feeding cabbage to your pet rabbit altogether.
When serving your pet rabbit some cabbages, make sure to add them as slowly and precisely as possible. This is the only key. Provide your bunny one leaf of cabbage, and observe how it responds to it.
When adding new food to your pet rabbit, it does not mean that they will love munching it the first time. It takes a while for some pet rabbits to adapt to something new before they manifest a strong affinity for it.
At the end of the day, your pet rabbit’s diet should constantly carry off around 10% – 15% fresh foods, 5% – 10% or fewer rabbit pellets, and 80% hay.
Are All Cabbages Created Equal?
Not as far as your rabbit is involved.
It’s ideal to serve dark green, leafier types of cabbage such as spring greens, savoy cabbage, or cavolo nero to your pet rabbit. These types of cabbages carry the highest vitamin content which is great for your bunny and anecdotally seem less likely to produce gas or bloating.
Types of Cabbage to Feed Your Rabbit
Typical “American” cabbage such as the red or Napa cabbage carry similar nutrients and should be served to your rabbit following based on the guidelines stated above.
Opt for the organically produced, as this will keep toxic pesticides out of your rabbit’s digestive system. Then, for safe measure, always rinse your cabbage under cold running water to eliminate any dirt.
White cabbage doesn’t carry the nutrient as the dark green leafy types. Moreover, rabbit owners have frequently connected it to gas and bloating.
However, if your rabbit digs it, there’s no wrong in giving it. Just make sure it is a bit of a mixed offering of fresh vegetables.
You may ask: can rabbits eat red cabbage? Again, there’s no harm it can do so if you provide your pet rabbit some red cabbage sparingly, but nutritionally, it doesn’t carry very much.
Red cabbage may be great for us humans because it’s a great source of vitamins C and K. However, rabbits don’t require supplemental vitamin C and only breeding sows require extra vitamin K.
If there’s nothing else, then just provide your rabbit something else to trim their teeth down with.
Keep in mind that some rabbit owners describe the pigment in red cabbage as becoming their bunnies’ urine green! (This is natural and nothing to be terrified about.)
Although some people serve their pet rabbits with cooked veggies, it is commonly favored to go raw.
This is due to the rabbits’ teeth benefit from chewing hard or crunchy veggies. High-fiber food will wear down and easily “trim” your rabbit’s teeth. This stops several potential dental issues.
Cooking also results in the decline of some essential nutrients in particular vegetables, including cabbage.
Besides, why spend time cooking, when your bunny is enthusiastic to eat some raw cabbage?
It is always best to wash your vegetables thoroughly before serving them to your rabbit. With more farmers applying pesticides, washing veggies is important, even for pets. So, keep your bunny safe by washing their veggies (as you would yours) before serving them.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Cabbage?
No, it isn’t recommended for baby rabbits to consume cabbage or any vegetables right away.
Experts suggest that baby rabbits adhere mostly to their mothers’ milk for the initial seven weeks. After that time, they may start to consume alfalfa hays and pellets. By six months, they may start to consume grass hays. At this period, they’ll also ease up on the pellets.
So, cabbage for rabbits should only be offered by the end of their initial year.
Can Bunnies Consume Cabbage Every Day?
So, cabbage for rabbits is generally safe. But can bunnies consume cabbage every day? Should they? No. Rabbits should acquire the bulk of their diet from rabbit hay.
Fresh vegetables and wild plants are a precious source of nutrients, but they are not compact enough to carry calories or fiber to nurture a rabbit on their own. Therefore, avoid permitting your rabbit to fill up on more than a handful of cabbage at the risk of consuming enough hay.
An adult rabbit should consume an unlimited quantity of grass hays and only a tiny portion of pellets. Concerning veggies like cabbage, you can feed two to four cups to your pet rabbit of at least three distinct veggies for every 6 lbs of weight.
It may also be a good idea to serve cabbage for a maximum of four days per week, and not all day. This lessens the risk of gas or bloating for your bunny.
Rabbit Cabbage Treats
Even if your pet rabbit will surely consume any type of cabbage you place in front of him, you can still make matters a bit more interesting. Here are a few ideas to jazz up some cabbage for your rabbit.
- Dried cabbage treats: Combine dried cabbage with some other dry herbs or hays for a fiber-packed combination.
- Complete rabbit food with added cabbage: Combine cabbage as a side for your rabbit’s meal.
- Fresh pieces of Cabbage: Given as a snack for your bunny.
Alternatives to Cabbage for Rabbits
Rabbits possess their own tastes and habits just like the rest of us, and they’re frequently quite repellent to change.
Some rabbits will gladly wolf down the cabbage. Meanwhile, others just simply don’t fancy it (or decline to even try it and find out).
Don’t fret if your rabbit can’t stomach cabbage or doesn’t like it. There are a lot of other vegetables he can still have instead.
Though some rabbits appreciate the taste and texture of cabbage, it may not be the most suitable alternative for their nutrition and delicate digestive systems. Serve it to your rabbit occasionally if at all, and always monitor your bunny’s poops afterward.
Hay still creates a very important part of their recommended diet even if green leafy vegetables are generally suggested, given the characteristics of their digestive systems.
Whether your pet rabbit is eating cabbage or not, the most crucial thing to keep in mind is to feed your pet an adequate amount of fiber every single day. So, if you ask whether it is safe to serve your pet rabbit some cabbage, the answer is yes. Although not a requirement like har, you can feed your pet bunny around 5 pieces of cabbage leaves.