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Can Rabbits Eat Cabbage? Is It Bad for Rabbits?

sliced cabbage

The storybook image of a rabbit happily munching away in a vegetable garden is a very cute one indeed. Every vegetable imaginable is within their grasp, from their favorite carrots to heads of lettuce and cabbage. But is this picture an accurate one?

Whenever you’re deciding on a new food to feed your rabbit, researching its safety and health benefits is always a good idea. Rabbits are herbivores and their digestion is significantly different from our own – and therefore, their diets are too.

So, today we’ll be answering all your questions about whether rabbits can eat cabbage. One of a variety of vegetables in the brassica genus, cabbage is related to broccoli, cauliflower, and kale – but is it a good choice to feed your rabbit?

In this article, you’ll learn why you can feed your rabbit cabbage, as well as why you’ll  want to limit how much you’re feeding them. Covering nutrition facts and health benefits, we’ll also tell you just how to feed cabbage to your rabbit – and how to do so safely – before covering the different types of cabbage your bunny might enjoy. By the end, you’ll know everything you need to safely introduce cabbage into your rabbit’s diet.

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Yes! Rabbits Can Eat Cabbage

In short, rabbits  can eat cabbage – and many of them love its crunchy texture, too. However, all the brassica vegetables are high in sulfurous compounds that can bother some rabbits’ digestive systems, giving them diarrhea or gas. Because rabbits don’t have an effective way to pass gas, in large enough quantities these gastrointestinal disruptions can prove harmful or even fatal.

Handled properly, cabbage can provide abundant nutrients and valuable roughage to your rabbit’s diet. Read on to learn  how much cabbage is safe for your rabbits to eat.

Nutrition Facts for Cabbage

According to Nutritionvalue.org, raw cabbage is rich in the following nutrients:

  • Moderate amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium
  • High in dietary fiber
  • High in Vitamins B6, C, and K
  • Moderate protein and sugar content

Composed of 84% carbohydrates, 13% protein, and 4% fat, cabbage can be a useful food to feed rabbits because of its relatively high fiber content: 2.5 grams in a 100-gram serving.

Health Benefits and Dangers of Cabbage for Rabbits

The University of California’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources cites fiber as an important part of your rabbit’s diet, but cautions against feeding them cabbage because of the potential for creating gas. Though cabbages’ high vitamin and mineral content may seem to make them an attractive option as rabbit snacks, their relatively high calcium content can cause problems with your rabbit’s kidneys.

So, while cabbage is not poisonous to rabbits, it may not be a great choice for everyday feedings. Keep it as an occasional treat if your rabbit is fond of its flavor but be sure to monitor for signs of gastrointestinal distress.

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How to Feed Your Cabbage to Your Rabbits

No matter what sort of cabbage you choose for your rabbit, it absolutely must be fed to them raw! Cooked and pickled foods (like kimchi or sauerkraut) can cause serious problems with your rabbit’s digestive system and should be completely avoided. Thankfully, this isn’t difficult to remember – your rabbit will almost always turn away from anything that’s not raw.

Well_fed_rabbit
A Rabbit Eating, Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How Much Cabbage Can I Feed My Rabbit?

If you’re just now introducing cabbage to your rabbit’s diet, start very slowly by feeding perhaps one leaf at a time, and not on consecutive days. Different rabbits will react differently to cabbage, with some showing tell-tale signs of indigestion right away. If your rabbit seems sluggish or unhappy, or their poops become runny or infrequent, stop feeding cabbage to them altogether.

Types of Cabbage to Feed Your Rabbit

Typical “American” cabbage as well as red or Napa cabbage all contain similar nutrient profiles and should be fed to your rabbit following the same guidelines as above. Choose only organic produce, as this will keep harmful pesticides out of your rabbit’s digestive system. Then, for good measure, always wash your cabbage under cold running water to remove any dirt.

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Final Thoughts on Feeding Cabbage to Your Rabbit

Though some rabbits enjoy the taste and texture of cabbage, and all rabbits can eat cabbage, it may not be the best choice for their nutrition and fragile digestive systems. Feed it to your rabbit occasionally if at all, and always keep a close eye on your bunny’s poops afterwards.

Thanks for reading today, and we hope this article has been informative for you as you decide on the best diet for your rabbit!


Featured Image: stanbalik from Pixabay

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