Can Rabbits Eat Cabbage? All You Need To Know

Rabbit eating Cabbage

Rabbits love munching and it becomes almost impossible to not share snacks with them when they show up right in front of you with their pretty-pretty looks. Aren’t they just adorable?

Sadly, as a responsible pet owner, you can’t share every snack with them. Blame their delicate digestive system. So it becomes important to understand what snacks or treats are safe for your bunny friend.

One such food that we are going to talk about is Cabbage which has impressive health benefits. You’d be glad to know that it has a high concentration of vitamins ( C and K), Fibres and Folate that make it such a delightful snack for bunnies. 

Cabbage sounds like a great snack for your furry friend but how much Cabbage can you share with them? And is it safe to give them Cabbage every day? Let’s find out.

Is Cabbage a Healthy Snack for Your Rabbit?

A 100% yes. Cabbage is an excellent choice of snack to be included in your Rabbit’s diet. 

Cabbage checks a lot of boxes on the ‘Rabbits Daily Nutrition requirements’ checklist. It is high in many nutrients, including fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and Manganese which are required for the general well being of your pet friend. 

Raw Cabbage contains 6% carbs, 1.3% protein and almost no fat. And it serves only 25 calories per 100 grams. This is exactly what Rabbits need; a low calorie, low fat and high fibre diet. This begs for the follow up question:

How Much Cabbage is Safe For Rabbits?

Cabbage belongs to the cruciferous family which also includes Broccoli, Kale and Cauliflower to name a few. These greens are all rich in vitamins and minerals which makes Cabbage an excellent choice of snack to munch. 

Here’s a general rule of thumb when introducing new food to your pets diet; always start small. Give your bunny a small piece of it and observe if they exhibit any discomfort. If they do not, you can increase the quantity. 

In the case of Cabbage, if it sits well with Rabbits, you can feed them a piece or two once a week. You must be wondering, if Cabbage is so high in nutrients, why only a few pieces a week.

Cruciferous greens tend to produce gas when eaten in large quantities. A Rabbit’s stomach is not equipped with α-GAL enzyme to help break down Raffinose, a compound found in cruciferous greens.  

In the absence of these enzymes, Raffinose which is also found in Cabbage, remains undigested and sits there in the stomach to be fermented by bacteria. This process of fermentation produces gas and they may feel bloated if they eat too much of it.

Producing gas may seem harmless at first but as a pet owner, you’d have to think from your furry friend’s perspective. Rabbits do not have the ability to pass gas which leads to all the gas being stored inside their stomach. This inturn leads to serious health problems of deadly nature.

It is best to practice moderation when feeding them green, leafy vegetables, including even those greens which may seem like a perfect choice for them. Fruits are no different in this case and even the most healthy ones such as Apples or blueberries should only make 5-10% of their daily diet.

Signs That Will Tell You if Your Rabbit has Gas

If you have fed your Rabbit some Cabbage, look out for these possible symptoms to identify if they are suffering from gas:

  • Frequent gurgling sounds coming from their stomach. The sounds are mostly too feeble to be heard from a distance so pay close attention to find out if they have gas.
  • Decrease in appetite.
  • Lethargic and unable to move around.
  • They may sit in unusual positions in an attempt to ease pain.

Source: grow life

How To Feed Cabbage To Your Rabbits

There are only a handful of simple things that you can to make sure that your pet friend receives all your love and Cabbages in the most healthy form:

  1. Wash the Cabbage: Make sure to thoroughly wash it before you feed it to your bunny. The flower and stalks should be free from any pesticides or chemicals that were sprayed while growing them.

    If you want to be extra sure, there are plenty of veggie wash products available in the market which claim to remove pesticides and other harmful bacteria from fruits and vegetables.

    You can also try to buy organically grown ones which are free of pesticides and chemicals.

  2. Practice Moderation: Too much of anything is good for nothing. Rabbit’s digestive system is not capable of handling a large amount of gas.

    Make sure to keep it as an occasional treat and should not make the most of their lunch or dinner.

  3. Start small: When you introduce Cabbage for the first time, start with just one small chunk and look out any potential adverse side effects.

    If they do not behave abnormally post eating it the first few times, you can gradually increase the portion size. Although as mentioned earlier, the portion should be enough to keep it as a treat and not to satisfy their hunger pangs.

A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:

What Does a Typical Rabbit Diet Look Like?

Rabbits are herbivores by nature and need a diet which is high in fibre and nutrients but low in calories. 

Rabbit’s daily diet should consist of an unlimited supply of hay and water while Fruits, Vegetables and other healthy snacks or treats take 10-15% of the share.

Hay is just grass which is cut and dried so that it can be used as animal fodder. It is a common food for a variety of pets like rabbits, sheep, goats etc. It is extremely rich in fibre and Rabbit can munch on it all day long without having to worry about any digestive problems. The fibre from hay is beneficial for 2 reasons:

  1. Fibre has a proven track record for keeping the gut healthy. It also helps in normalising the bowel movements.

  2. Rabbits have open rooted teeth which means their teeth grow throughout their life. If they don’t chew enough everyday, the teeth tend to overgrow. Overgrown teeth can damage the tongue & oral skin(also called oral mucosa) and introduce dental diseases.

    Chewing hay helps with filing their teeth to prevent overgrowth and keeping them in proper length and shape.

Bottom Line

Cabbage contains all the nutrients that your furry friend can ask for. It’s low in calories & fat and high in fibre content. However, the bad side of eating too much Cabbage is the fact that it produces gas and gas is not good for your Rabbit’s well being. A good practice would be to share Cabbage only in moderation, once or twice a week. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can newborn rabbits eat Cabbage?
    Definitely not. Newborn rabbits, just like any other animal, should feed on their mothers milk for an initial diet. Newborn rabbits can start on other food by the age of 3 weeks but that doesn’t mean that they are weaning. It can take them anything from 6 weeks to 12 weeks to get accustomed to foods that you introduce.
  2. Is Cabbage poisonous for rabbits?
    Although not poisonous, it produces gas and can result in bloating which can be a painful experience for Rabbits given their delicate digestive system.

    This, however, should not deter you from sharing some Cabbage with your munching partner. As long as you are feeding it in moderation and closely monitoring the after effects to check if it sits well with them, all should be fine.

  3. Can you feed cooked Cabbage to your Rabbit?
    Although there is no harm in feeding them cooked cabbage, prefer serving them in the raw form. It will help Rabbit’s teeth with filling and trimming given that raw vegetables are much more crunchier than the cooked food.

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