Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable and is very commonly found in our refrigerators. It is very famous among health care experts due to its surplus nutrients and being low in calories. Rabbits, at the same time, are known to have lots of greens in their diet. So, whenever you start adding cabbage to your salad bowl thinking of its nutritious value, you question if your rabbit can have the same. However, before getting into detail, make sure you know everything about your bunny so that you can make rational food choices for your little friend.
Yes, the rabbit can eat cabbage safely. However, do not feed cooked cabbage to your bunny. It can cause serious digestive issues.
Rabbits love the crunchy texture of cabbage. It is also an excellent source of multiple nutrients, including calcium, for these little creatures. Moreover, it is an excellent source of fibres to keep the gut of the bunny moving. However, you have to remember that you cannot feed any single food to your rabbit, especially the nutrient-dense. This practice will lead to severe malnutrition.
How Much Cabbage Can Rabbits Eat?
Rabbits should not have more than a cup of cabbage. The feeding frequency of cabbage should never exceed more than four times a week.
If your rabbit is new to cabbage or is younger, you must always start with small quantities. Start with a leaf or two, and when your rabbit works well with the quantity, you may then increase. This strategy is to adopt the little gut of your rabbit gradually to new things. Moreover, some rabbits actually do not do well with the cabbage, even in a smaller amount. So, always be patient and know if your rabbit can digest cabbage well. You also need to make sure that when you are feeding cabbage to your bunny, you manage the carbohydrate and fibre content in the overall diet of the rabbit. Side effects of cabbage include frequent loose bowels. If you notice that your rabbit is unhappy and inactive or is becoming lethargic, eliminate it from the diet until the symptoms are gone because it is a negative sign.
Research shows that overshooting the 15% mark for multiple weeks causes rabbits’ thyroid problems and is difficult to treat. This means feeding rabbit only cabbage in the whole month is dangerous. If you are introducing cabbage to your rabbit for the first time, go in a slow manner because rabbits depend on the bacteria present in their gut. These bacteria need to adapt ways for a portion of new food. In this way, sudden changes in the diet cause stomach ache.
So, know you know rabbits can have cabbage but only in small quantities. Precisely, it should only be used as a snack and not as a complete bunny meal.
Nutrition In Cabbage:
Cabbage is a white or pale, red or purple vegetable. It closely belongs to cole crops or brassicas. Most scientists recommend it because it is rich in nutrition. It contains high quantities of vitamins and minerals, which may seem an attractive option for animals’ snacks. A large intake of cabbage can affect blood glucose and cholesterol level in a negative way.
Major Nutritional Components:
In 100g of raw cabbage, we have:
So, we have the following graph (1.1)
We separated sugars from carbohydrates to help you have a better idea of the total sugars in your diet. Altogether, they can be counted in carbohydrate content.
Vitamins And Minerals:
Now, when it comes to minerals and vitamins, these are also essential for maintaining the rabbit’s health and normal metabolism. Cabbage a rich source of antioxidants, multiple vitamins and minerals. In 100g of strawberries, we have
|Vitamin And Minerals In One Cup Of Cabbage|
Cabbage also has a good amount of folate, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, and iron
So, we have :
Insight From Nutritional Content Data:
From the above data, you come to know the following facts:
- Among fruits, cabbage is pretty low in sugars. So, it can be well paired with other fruits, e.g., strawberries, in the diet chart of bearded dragon.
- Cabbage is rich in antioxidants. It has a significant amount of vitamin C, one of the best antioxidant known.
- Cabbage has a good amount of fibre which is one of the essential parts of a bunnies diet.
- Cabbage has a considerable proportion of potassium.
- Cabbage has a low amount of oxalic acid. However, it would be best if you did not preferably feed it with fruits or vegetable with a high to moderate amount of oxalic acid such as spinach, tomatoes, celery
From all these facts, you can now understand that cabbage is one of the most healthy and wise additions to the diet of your bunny. However, if you exceed the recommended quantity, it will do more harm than good. There are multiple health risks associated with a high amount of cabbage in the diet of the bunny, which will be discussed in the later section. Moreover, it is never healthy to have a single food diet. So, we recommend focusing on macros in the diet of your bunny and make a self well-balanced feeding schedule for your little friend.
Cabbage For Rabbits:
Cabbage, if given in moderation, can have multiple beneficial health effects for rabbits. However, greediness and overdoing anything can do no good and can have significant health losses. Learn the health benefits and losses of cabbage, and choose wisely for your bunny.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage:
Excellent Source Of Fiber:
Cabbage contains roughage which is suitable for the digestive tract and helps prevent constipation. Fibre is one of the significant portions of rabbit’s diets. You have to maintain the proportions of macronutrients to give a balanced diet to your bunny. As a matter of fact, a rabbit must have 18-25% of total diet content as fibres to stay healthy. Adding too many fruits and few fibres can result in severe blockage of the gut, resulting in severe constipation. However, an excess of fibre is still a bad idea. It causes the food items to pass through the stomach too quickly, resulting in the malabsorption of essential nutrients from the intestines.
Cabbage has a significant amount of potassium and other minerals that can help maintain blood pressure and manage cholesterols in the body of the rabbits. High blood pressure in rabbits can have a detrimental effect on the overall health of your bunny. Cabbage also helps in lowering the levels of bad cholesterols and raise the levels of good cholesterols or HDLs. Therefore, it helps avoid narrowing of blood vessels, fatty liver and prevent other chronic illnesses. Researches have proved that rabbits who eat cabbage in a balanced way are less likely to have heart issues.
Prevent Blood Clotting:
As you can see from the above graph (1.2), cabbage has a significant amount of vitamin K. This vitamin helps to avoid blood clotting and thickening, which otherwise can have detrimental effects like making blood clots which can clog blood vessels and cause ischemia and so on.
Obese rabbits are at the risk of considerable health damages such as cardiovascular diseases. Cabbage is surprisingly low in calories, so it can be given occasionally to obese rabbits. Tomatoes are rich in potassium which helps to reduce bad cholesterol from the body. So, now you know why we emphasize cabbage for obese rabbits.
Excellent Antioxidant Capability:
Vitamin C is one of the best antioxidants in the world. Free radicals are always produced in the body, which, if not destroyed duly, can cause rapid ageing, which also affects the lifespan of the rabbit. Moreover, they are also the most common cause of cancer in living organisms.
Antioxidants destroy not only free radicals but also have a significant effect on inflammation. Cabbage is loaded with Vitamin C. This antioxidant help in detoxification and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, The actual amount of antioxidant in the diet helps to prevent the formation of blood clots. They also reduce oxidative stress on the body and prevent cancer.
Protect From Chronic Diseases:
Cabbage as a whole is very important in preventing most of the chronic illnesses in rabbits. Along with preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer, it also helps to strengthen the immune system altogether. It results in the prevention of lethal infections and multiple illnesses. In fact, cabbage is loaded with all the essential nutrients that are required to keep your furry friend fit and healthy.
Beneficial For Pregnant Rabbits:
Vitamin K is beneficial for pregnant rabbits. Most of the rabbits don’t have sufficient quantities of potassium K in their bodies under normal conditions, so it is introduced in their diets for the proper development of baby rabbit. Cabbage contains high quantities of Vitamin B6 and pauses down the previously existing proteins, breaks them, and shapes new proteins in the body, which is necessary for the proper functioning of muscles. It also contains phosphorus, zinc, and Vitamin E, which aids in the body nourishment of the bunny. It lowers blood pressure and helps lower cholesterol levels. However, while feeding cabbage to your bunny, you need to make sure you do not overdo it and maintain the quantity well with other ingredients.
Other health benefits:
- Cabbage contains calcium which is excellent for tooth regeneration.
- It contains potassium that is good for the nervous system.
- Cabbage also contains phosphorus in addition to potassium which is responsible for maintaining body cells and tissues along with storing energy.
Harms Of Having Excess Cabbage:
The health hazards of cabbage are pretty alarming.
- Some rabbits do not really love cabbages because it affects the fragile digestive tract of rabbits causing diarrhoea or gas.
- In large quantities, it can be fatal. Of course, cabbage is not poisonous, but you cannot feed cabbage to your rabbits on a daily basis, but occasionally.
- Bloating is one of the most significant issues associated with the cabbage diet. Rabbits are likely to be bloated when their owners feed them with cabbage in abundance.
- Cabbage causes swelling in the rabbit’s gastral system. Due to the reason that rabbits don’t have an efficient way to pass gas, this causes severe abdominal pain.
- Long term usage of cabbage can also cause blood abnormalities in rabbits. Due to a large number of minerals in cabbage, it can lead to electrolyte imbalance in rabbits if given in excess.
- Cabbage in excess can also lead to diarrhoea in bunnies.
- The presence of calcium is sometimes dangerous. It leads to death if consumed in excess. If calcium is accumulated in their bladder, it then leads to kidney stones. Moreover, the high amount of potassium can also trouble the normal functioning of the kidney.
Types Of Cabbage To Feed Your Rabbit:
Any typeof cabbage will be good for your rabbit. Most of the common types off cabbage that are fed to bunnies include red (purple), white, savoy, green, and Chinese (Bok Choy).
It is necessary to wash cabbage before feeding to rabbits to get rid of dirt and harmful pesticides and insecticides. Because if they eat cabbage with these harmful chemicals, it leads to serious gastrointestinal issues and can cause your rabbit to die if untreated. For this reason, always go for an organic product. Dark green vegetables should be given preference because they are rich in nutrients.
According to an estimate, red cabbage contains 10% more vitamin A in contrast to green cabbage. Try not to give them too much as they contain natural sugars, which have adverse effects. Vegetables that are okay to be used for rabbits include:
- Beet tops
- They also munch on grass
Can Rabbits Have Cabbage Stalk?
The stalk is the stem of the cabbage and is edible. Of course, you can give it to them as a part of their diet to keep them healthy. However, stalks are harder and difficult to digest, so that they can upset the gut. So, it would be better if you feed only leaves to your rabbit.
Can Cabbage Be Fed To A Baby Bunny?
Cabbage and other veggies are dangerous for baby rabbits. It is good to give them mothers’ milk. If the pregnant or lactating bunny is having enough cabbage(make sure not to exceed recommended dose), you do not need to feed it to the baby rabbit. Only feed cabbage when the bunny has reached adult age.
How To Keep Cabbage Out Of Reach Of Your Rabbit?
Some bunnies really love cabbage and try to munch on it. However, overeating can cause multiple gut issues and malnutrition. So, you need to keep the cabbage away from the reach of your bunny to prevent it from over-consuming it. Moreover, rabbits can also destroy your planted cabbage. Following are the hacks I found helpful in preventing my bunny from reaching cabbage all the time:
- Sprinkle black/red pepper flakes on the cabbage leaf as a repellent. You can then quickly wash it off when you need to use it.
- Rabbits are great sniffers; try dusting cabbage with talcum powder. Remember to wash it off thoroughly. Even if someone ingest a bit, it is not poisonous. So, you can work on this hack if you do not have babies at your home.
- Irish spring soaps also act as a repellent in this regard.
- They usually dislike the smell of onions, vinegar, garlic. So, surrounding your garden with these will help you to scare the rabbits away. This is the best way to keep your rabbits away from munching on cabbage.
- Try to keep the soil of the cabbage moist by watering it once a week.
In conclusion, it can change from Can Rabbits eat cabbage to Rabbits can eat cabbage. Rabbits can eat cabbage, but sometimes it is not suitable for their sensitive digestive systems. In order to maintain their health, you must feed them cabbage occasionally. But if taken in large amount, it causes a disorder named IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). After feeding them monitor their behaviour and poops. After giving them a leaf or a two, observe them, offer them more if they are normal because it serves as an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. If you notice any signs of their digestive upset, discomfort gives it a break. Cabbage has goitrogenic properties that only harm when it is taken in large quantities. Please do not rely on giving only cabbage to your rabbits. Give them alongside their meals.
Hope all your queries related to cabbage are covered in this article. In case you have further questions, feel free to contact us. We would be delighted to help you as much as we can.
All the information in the article refer from
- Rabbit Feeding and Nutrition by P.R. Cheeke
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine.
- The National Research Council Publication on Rabbit Nutrients
- Rabbits Health, Husbandry & Diseases by V Richardson
- Day to day experience and record from clinical practices
- Things and hacks that work for me.
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