Cauliflower is a common vegetable found around the world. It belongs to the family of vegetables in the Brassica family which makes it related to Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, and Collard Greens. Cauliflower is low in calories, rich in Vitamins C & K as well as having Antioxidants that promote tissue health. It is so good for humans that some consider it a super-food. But is it good for pet rabbits as well? Can rabbits eat Cauliflower?
Yes, rabbits can eat cauliflower but it is not the best vegetable for them as it can be hard for rabbits to digest effectively. Cauliflower is known to cause gas, stomach ache and bloating in rabbits, so even though you can feed cauliflower to a rabbit, remember to only feed in sparingly and in small quantities.
Nutritional Benefits Of Feeding Cauliflower To Rabbits
Cauliflower provides a lot of essential nutrients all the while being low in calories and quite in-expensive. Not only is it steeped in vitamins and minerals it also has a good amount of dietary fiber which can be really good for pet rabbits.
Here is the complete nutritional facts of 1 cup or about 100 grams of uncooked cauliflower.
- Calories – 25
- Fiber – 3 grams
- Vitamin C – 46mg
- Vitamin K – 16mcg
- Folate – 57mcg
- Potassium – 303mg
- Magnesium – 15mg
- Manganese – 0.2mg
- Phosphorus – 44mg
Not only highly nutritious, cauliflowers also contains a lot of water by weight. 1 cup or 100 grams of cauliflower can contain as much as 92 grams of water making it more than 90% water by weight, which is a good thing is you do decide to give cauliflower to your rabbit.
How Much Cauliflower Can I Give To My Rabbit?
Even though cauliflower is packed with nutrition, it is not the best vegetable for rabbits. Cauliflower can cause digestive problems in some rabbits if fed too much. A rabbit’s digestive system can be quite fragile and cauliflower is known to cause gas, stomach ache, and bloating in some rabbits.
It is also not recommended for younger rabbits especially if they are less than 12 weeks old as their digestive system is not yet developed enough to digest the fiber in the cauliflower.
You can start off by giving rabbits a thumb-sized piece of cauliflower and observe for any signs of an upset stomach such as loss of appetite, irregular stools, bloating, or your rabbit feeling lethargic.
If your rabbit does not show any of these symptoms within a day or two of eating cauliflower then it is safe to give them a few pieces every week, but remember to keep the amount to a minimum.
Most rabbits do perfectly fine if they are given cauliflower occasionally in small quantities so it can be a regular part of a healthy rabbit diet.
Can Rabbits Eat Cauliflower Stalks Or Stems?
Even though most of us just throw away the stalk and stems of the cauliflower but they are perfectly edible for rabbits. The stems connect the florets with the leaves of the plant and are just as nutritious as the main body of the cauliflower itself.
The stalks and stems of cauliflower contain a good amount of protein, calcium and potassium along with a bunch of vitamins and minerals.
If you want feed cauliflower stalks or stems to your rabbit then just chop it up and mix with other vegetables to make it easier for your bunny to eat as cauliflower stalks and stems can be quite tough.
Can Rabbits Eat Cauliflower Leaves?
Cauliflower leaves are perhaps the best part of the cauliflower plant for rabbits. The leaves of cauliflower are packed with vitamin C as well as being rich in anti-oxidants. They are leafy and most rabbits find them quite delicious.
Cauliflower leaves can provide some essential trace nutrients like selenium and phyto-nutrients which help boost a rabbit’s immune system and overall health.
But be aware that cauliflower leaves do contain quite a bit of calcium in them which may a rabbit’s kidneys if fed too much. Too much calcium in a rabbit’s urine make can give it a cloudy white color and can lead to kidney stones in the long run.
Make sure that cauliflower leaves are given together with other low oxalate vegetables like parsley, lettuce or kale to keep the calcium in your rabbit’s system in a healthy balance.
Can Rabbits Eat Green, Orange Or Purple Cauliflower?
These days there are a few different varieties of cauliflower available to us, the most common ones are yellow cauliflower, green cauliflower, and purple cauliflower.
Even though they are very similar to the traditional white cauliflower, they do offer some benefits which are unique to each of the varieties. Most rabbits can eat all three different varieties but some are definitely healthier than others when it comes to feeding it to rabbits.
These cauliflowers are a really good source of vitamin A along with beta carotene which can help to improve the quality and shine of a rabbit’s fur. The vitamin A in orange cauliflower also promotes good eye health in rabbits.
Green cauliflowers are quite similar to broccoli in both its taste and its nutritional benefits. They are rich in vitamin K & C which help to strengthen a rabbit’s bones. Since even the florets of green cauliflower are green it is also a good source of phytonutrients like chlorophyll, which is good for rabbits.
Purple cauliflowers get their purple color from natural anthocyanins which are antioxidants similar to tannin in green tea. They help to purify the blood and maintain a healthy ph balance in rabbit’s body.
Can Rabbits Eat Romanesco Cauliflower?
Romanesco Cauliflower or Romanesco Broccoli is perhaps the most unique looking vegetable that rabbits can eat. Similar to green cauliflower it has florets which are tender and green but they all form in spiral shapes.
Romanesco cauliflower or romanesco broccoli is perfectly safe for rabbits raw and in small quantities once or twice a week but you need to be a bit cautious when you inrodce your bunny to Romanesco cauliflower or broccoli.
The high amount of fiber can easily upset a rabbit’s stomach which could lead to bloating, gas, stomach ache in a rabbit. Be extra careful with Romanesco cauliflower as it is known to have more fiber in them when compare to the common white cauliflower so it can easily upset the stomach of a rabbit if given too much. Always keep the quantity to one or two florets when you start of giving Romanesco cauliflower to rabbits.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Cauliflower?
No, unfortunately baby rabbits have quite fragile digestive systems that are not suited to eating and digesting cauliflower or similar vegetables like brocoli.
Baby rabbits need a highly nurtitious diet which can be easily digested by them as well as provide the correct macro and micro nutrients they need to grow up. A baby rabbit’s diet by age should be
Upto 8 Weeks Or 2 Months Old
Only mothers milk and alfalfa pellets. During this time baby rabbits grow rapidly and need a lot of protien. They their digestive system has not fully developed yet so they cannot digest other foods like vegetables or hay.
2 – 6 Months
Hay, Timothy pellets, Green leafy vegetables and some occasional fruit as treats. This is the time when a rabbit is going through adolescence, during this time they need quite a bit of calories and eager to try out different types of foods. So if you want to feed cauliflower to your rabbit this is the correct time to start introducing some to them.
Above 6 months
After 6 months most rabbits can eat some cauliflower and be perfectly fine especially if you have introduced them to it earlier. But remember some rabbits may just not like to eat cauliflower at all.
Learn more about what baby rabbits can eat by checking out Feeding Your Rabbit by Laurie Hess, DVM; Rick Axelson, DVM
Can Wild Rabbits Eat Cauliflower?
Yes, wild rabbits can eat cauliflower just like pet rabbits. Their diet and digestive system is quite similar to domestic rabbits and they can eat a lot of the vegetables and fruits that we give to pet rabbits as well.
Wild rabbits are known to munch on cauliflowers in the field or back yard gardens. They can safely eat all parts of the cauliflower plant including the florets, stems and leaves.
Even though cauliflowers are not something wild rabbits would eat normally, most of them would happily eat some especially during the winter when food for them is really scarce. If you want a detailed list of
Alternative To Cauliflower For Rabbits
One of the best leafy vegetables for rabbits, it provides all the basic nutrients that a rabbit needs. All varieties of kale are perfectly good for rabbits to eat.
Ever popular, spinach is a great vegetable for rabbits to eat as it is rich in Vitamins and minerals.
Closing Thoughts About Can Rabbits Eat Cauliflower
There you have it. Now that you know the answer to question of Can rabbits eat cauliflower, you should easily be able to manage a healthy diet for your rabbit and give them the best and most nutritious food available.
Cauliflower can be a good addition to a rabbit’s diet but remember to keep the quantity to just a few pieces, also give cauliflowers to your bunny only once or twice a week.
To learn a bit more about what other vegetables and fruits rabbits can eat check out some of our other posts below.
- Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli? Stalks, Leaves & Flowers?
- Can Rabbits Eat Cucumber? Fruit, Leaves & Flowers?
- Can Rabbits Eat Chocolate? Is Chocolate Safe For Rabbits?
- Can Pet Rabbits Eat Apples – Fruit, Skin & Seeds?
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