Broccoli, the famous green vegetable everyone either really loves or really hates. To some the taste is horrible, and they have to force themselves to swallow it. For others, the crunchy texture is perfect for dishes that need an extra crunch, or the broccoli can be cooked to improve the texture and flavor.
Broccoli is a vegetable that you either love or outright hate with a passion, but regardless of what your taste is you can’t deny that broccoli is chock-full of important nutrients and vitamins that we need. So does that extend to rabbits? Can rabbits eat broccoli?
In this article, we will explore the relationship between broccoli and rabbits and answer fundamental questions on the addition of broccoli to a rabbits’ diet. Broccoli, and others in the family, is a rather different vegetable compared to others we’ve discussed before.
So we’ll answer the main question, as well as explore other effects of broccoli including the rather unpleasant side effect. And we’ll answer some questions you likely never thought of either!
So, Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
Yes and no. Can rabbits eat broccoli? Yes, they can. Rabbits love vegetables after all, so eating broccoli shouldn’t be an issue to your pet rabbit. And according to the USDA, broccoli is rich in vitamins, minerals, and even fiber. This would make broccoli an excellent treat!
It would make an excellent treat, but there is just one small problem.
Broccoli And Gas
Now should rabbits eat broccoli? The answer is no, they shouldn’t. This is because broccoli can cause gas in a rabbit. And this isn’t something silly like a bunny fart, this type of gas is painful. Have you ever eaten something that caused you cramps? And made passing gas painful? That’s what broccoli does to rabbits.
This isn’t to say small quantities of broccoli will suddenly make your rabbit curl up in pain, as each rabbit is different and will react to broccoli in different ways. Some can eat small amounts without any sort of problem, and others can’t stomach the stuff.
In this regard, it makes bunnies very similar to humans when it comes to broccoli. Except most humans tend to not have gas problems unless it comes to beans.
How Can I Tell If My Rabbit Is Susceptible To Gas?
As said, each rabbit is different so you wouldn’t know if your rabbit will have adverse effects to broccoli or not. Broccoli can be a fantastic treat, but you need to know if your rabbit can eat it with their regular food or not. To start, provide a small piece of broccoli such as the stems. If you rabbit doesn’t get gas, then you’re good!
But, if your bunny does get gas then broccoli is a no-go and you should look at feeding them other veggies. Alternatively, your rabbit may not be susceptible to gas but just doesn’t really care for broccoli one way or the other. This is perfectly fine and expected behavior.
How Can I Tell If My Rabbit Is Having Gas?
Since broccoli can cause gas in rabbits, if you’re feeding them broccoli you’ll want to know the early warning signs that your rabbit is suffering from gas. The first thing to check is if the stomach is producing any loud noises. While checking their stomach, make sure to see if their belly is swollen or hard. This is a sign of gas build up.
Another way to check is to see if your bunny is curling itself into a crunched-up position, as it’s trying to relieve itself of both pain and gas. Finally, your rabbit may stop acting like its usual self and will show no interest in either playing, eating, or drinking. Possibly it’ll have no interest in anything!
If your rabbit is like this, don’t worry! First aid is easy to administer. You’re dealing with a gas bubble after all. Simply rub your rabbit’s stomach to try to break up the bubble, or alternatively rub their belly in circles to work the bubble towards their bottom.
Exercise is another great way to work off a gas bubble, as is hydration. If this isn’t helping, contact your vet A.S.A.P and let them know your rabbit has a gas bubble. They’ll be able to handle it from there including removing the bubble and any possible blockage.
What makes the blockage with a gas bubble bad is that the gas can lead to bacterial infections. This can lead to further complications if not fixed. Which is why if you suspect your bunny has gas, you need to render aid right away. No use in waiting!
How To Prepare Broccoli For Rabbits?
What does a rabbit eat? Plenty of hay and grass. Vegetables should make up a percentage of their diet, but not too much either. The same is true with broccoli. Broccoli can be used as a treat, so long as it won’t upset the health of your rabbit. See above on how to tell if broccoli is right or not.
Feeding broccoli to your rabbit is easy, although the best part of the broccoli is going to be the leaves. Broccoli leaves contain all the healthy stuff like vitamin and minerals, but doesn’t carry as much risk of gas as the stems or florets. So broccoli leaves are going to be your safest bet. They’re also more natural for your bunny!
To prepare the leaves for your rabbit, simply strip them off of the stems and wash them like you would any other fruits or vegetables you would serve. Once they’re clean and dried, present them to your rabbit!
How Much Broccoli Can My Rabbit Eat?
Per day? None at all. But per week, provide a small amount of broccoli if your rabbit can handle it. A stem or a few leaves is all you need to feed your rabbit. Anymore and you put them at risk of gas, which not only makes them uncomfortable and is painful, but might stink up your house!
So, as a rule of thumb with broccoli, only a small amount. You’ll be fine never serving broccoli either, but all rabbits are different so yours may enjoy broccoli.
Does It Matter If The Broccoli Is Organic?
No. Rabbits aren’t exactly picky with their feed so long as proper hay and grass is provided. Give your not going to be providing much broccoli, there isn’t much point to waste money on organic product. So long as the parts you’re providing as foods for rabbits are washed, there should be no problem.
Can Rabbits Eat Frozen Broccoli?
No. Like all frozen, canned, or dried vegetables rabbits should never be allowed to eat frozen broccoli. Even if you thaw it. This is due to the vegetables having tons of unsavory chemicals or added sugars. To keep the product as fresh as possible, companies are will to feed these vegetables whatever it takes.
And canned broccoli is the worst. While fine for you and me, it’s not fine for your rabbits. Raw broccoli can already given them gas, just imagine what canned broccoli will do!
While you can serve cooked broccoli to your rabbit, cooked foods tend to lose their nutritional value. And besides, rabbits wouldn’t be eating cooked foods in the wild! So raw is the right way to go!
What Other Vegetables Can Produce Gas?
Anything in the cruciferous family. This includes brussel sprouts, cabbages, kale, cress, cauliflower, horseradish, turnip greens, rutabaga greens, mustard greens, radish greens, daikon greens, kohlrabi greens, and arugula. This isn’t to say these vegetables are unhealthy. In fact, this family has high amounts of vitamin C!
The problem is that they can all produce painful gas bubbles, so feed with caution. Only small amounts provided daily, if at all. Small amounts on a weekly basis is a much better option and provides you with a varied amount of green treats your rabbit will love. Just be sure they can eat these veggies first.
And there you have it. Can rabbits eat broccoli? Yes, they can without any issue. Should you feed broccoli to rabbits is a different story? To reiterate, broccoli is by no means bad it’s just that it can produce gas bubbles. These gas bubbles are painful to your rabbit, and if left untreated could cause blockage and bacterial build-up.
Always be careful with vegetables from the cruciferous family, including broccoli. Provide small amounts as sampling to see if your rabbit is interested and if they are continued to provide small amounts. Other fruits and vegetables should take priority, but not all rabbits are the same. Some just like broccoli and other gas-producing vegetables.
Finally, never give smaller rabbit breeds or babies broccoli. This could make a bad situation even worse with their much smaller stomachs. A gas bubble that might be mildly discomforting for an adult or larger rabbit may be an absolute nightmare for a smaller one or a baby. No reason to take the chance!
While broccoli may sound scary, it’s important to note that it is safe for your rabbit and not life-threatening. You need to work with your rabbit to see what foods they can and cannot eat to make sure they’re healthy!