Broccoli is the quintessential vegetable at most American dinner plates. A part of most healthy diets and a staple of vegetarian dishes. It is rich in vital nutrients and even considered a super food. Since Broccoli is so good for us, Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
Yes, Rabbits can eat Broccoli but in small amounts. Rabbits are herbivore animals, they depend on a plant-based diet for their nutrients. A large part of a rabbit’s diet consists of vegetables. So Broccoli is a very practical option. Available throughout the year, in most supermarkets. It contains lots of Vitamin K & C which promote bone and tissue health. It even has lots of digestive fiber which is essential for pet rabbits.
Broccoli can be a regular part of your rabbit’s diet but there are a couple of points you need to keep in mind. Broccoli is part of the cabbage family and contains a high amount of dietary fiber. All this fiber can cause gas, soft stools, and bloating in rabbits if they eat too much broccoli.
So, the best way to give a small bit of Broccoli flower, stem, or leaf and observe if your rabbit can eat Broccoli and tolerate it without showing any signs of gas.
You can identify signs of gas by observing your rabbit’s behavior, if you see them hunched up and bloated. Gurgling sounds coming from their tummy could also indicate signs of gas.
But if everything goes fine and there are no signs of tummy problems then you can give them a couple tablespoons of Broccoli once or two times a week.
Broccoli stalks are the stems that connect the florets and leaves together. These are usually harder for us humans to eat and end up in the trash. But pet rabbits have no problem eating them.
Broccoli stems and stalks contain the same amount of nutrients as Broccoli florets. They are crunchy filled with important nutritional elements like Protein, Calcium & Potassium. They also have a good amount of Vitamin A & Dietary Fiber.
You can give your rabbits Broccoli stalks and they will be perfectly happy. Chop it all up into bite-sized pieces and mix it with other vegetables.
But make sure that you don’t give too much Broccoli stalks as it is the most fibrous part of Broccoli. Too much can cause an upset stomach in your bunny so moderation is key here.
Most of us don’t consider Broccoli leaves to be edible but like the stems and florets, they are quite edible. Broccoli leaves are rich in essential Vitamins such as Vitamin A and C . They also contain a ton of antioxidants.
Broccoli leaves are actually better for rabbits when compared to florets or stalks. They have a much higher Beta Carotene which promotes skin and fur health. As well as much less fiber which reduces the chance of giving your bunny stomach problems.
You can remove any stems and give them the leaves accompanied by other vegetables.
Most adult rabbits would love to munch down some tender Broccoli, their bodies are quite different from baby rabbits.
When rabbit’s are young they are not able to eat a wide variety of greens. Their digestive system as well as their bodies are developing and need a different set of nutrients compared to adults.
The large amounts of indigestible fiber present in Broccoli can cause serious Gut Blockages in pet rabbits. These blockages are also known as Gastrointestinal Stasis or GI Statis.
Baby rabbits that get GI Stasis from eating Broccoli may not survive becuse at that age their digestive system is very fragile. Make sure to never feed any part of Broccoli to baby rabbits.
If you suspect that your rabbit has gas, bloating, or soft stools after eating Broccoli then act fast. Call a rabbit friendly immediately vet and explain the situation. Here is what you should take note of
Cases of GI Stasis in rabbits caused by eating Broccoli are very rare but it can be dangerous. Remain mindful of your rabbits when you give them Broccoli the first few times.
Broccoli Rabe or Rapini may look like leafy stalks of Broccolli but they are closer to turnips. They may be a bit bitter than Broccoli but they are nutritious. Jam-packed with Vitamin A & Calcium.
Treat Broccoli Rabe or Rapini the same way as you would treat Broccoli. Limit the amount to a few tablespoons every week and you should be fine
As you can see, it is perfectly safe for rabbits to eat Broccoli Rabe or Rappini once in a while and they love the taste.
Broccolini is a hybrid of Broccoli and Kale. Rich in Vitamins A & D and good amount of fiber. Similar to Broccoli you can feed your rabbits the flowers and the stems of the Broccolini plant.
Just be carful because Broccolini is also known to case gas in rabbits when fed too much. So keep the amounts down to a few tablespoons a week and never mix together with other gas inducing vegetables such as Broccoli.
There are many alternatives to Broccoli that can be a part of your rabbit’s diet. The ideal vegetables for rabbits are low in calcium and alkaloids. There are easier for rabbits to digest and are more palatable to them. A few examples for alternatives for Broccoli are
Cilantro is a common herb in most parts of the world. It is fragrant when fresh and quite inviting for rabbits. It is a good choice for even picky eaters.
Red and Green Kale are both ideal as a rabbit food. They contain a good amount of Vitamin A & C and high amount of water.
Spinach is similar to Broccoli, it contains a good amount of nutrients but also contain Oxalic Acid which is bad for rabbits in large quantities. You can feed Spinach to your rabbits once or twice a week.
If you like to learn a bit more about what vegetables rabbit can eat then check out our article What Can Rabbits Eat? Rabbit Food Guide
Broccoli may be a superfood for us but it is not perfect for rabbits. Always remember not to feed too many cruciferous vegetables at the same time.
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