Oranges have an excellent reputation for their nutritional value and taste, with abundant Vitamin C and an enticing aroma being their biggest selling points for human diets.
As herbivores, though, do rabbits enjoy the health benefits of oranges in the same way that people do? After all, a rabbit’s digestive and immune systems are very different from our own.
So, if you’ve seen your rabbit eagerly nosing around an orange while you’re eating it, you may be wondering: Is this safe for them to eat? That’s why we’ve put together a series of articles covering everything you need to know about rabbit nutrition and food safety.
In this guide, we’ll be providing you with definitive answers for whether rabbits can eat oranges, how oranges’ nutrition facts benefit or harm your rabbit, and guidelines on what to do if feeding your rabbit oranges. When you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of oranges for rabbits, this guide has the answers to all of your questions.
Yes! Rabbits Can Eat Oranges
As with all fruits, rabbits most definitely can eat oranges! Of course, this begs the question of whether rabbits should eat oranges; after all, they’re quite high in sugar.
So, while oranges are safe for rabbits to eat, they shouldn’t form a major part of your rabbit’s diet. Instead, the largest part of your rabbit’s nutrition should come from fresh hay and plenty of filtered water, with a daily serving of vegetables. Save fruits and other sweet snacks as an occasional treat, and your rabbit’s weight and digestive system will stay healthy for years to come.
Nutrition Facts for Oranges
Oranges are a primarily sweet and sugary food, according to Nutritionvalues.org. Besides their high Vitamin C content and moderate amount of dietary fiber, oranges only provide very small amounts of other vitamins and minerals. With a calorie composition of 91% carbohydrates, 7% protein, and 2% fat, they are one of the sweetest fruits that you could choose to feed your rabbit.
Health Benefits and Dangers of Oranges for Rabbits
Did you know that rabbits don’t require Vitamin C in the same way humans do? It’s true; and in fact, an excess of Vitamin C can cause kidney damage in rabbits. While oranges don’t have enough vitamin C to be likely to cause this damage, it’s worth noting that they don’t have much else to offer in the way of nutritive value.
Amongst fruits that you could choose as treats for your rabbit, oranges are one of the highest-sugar and lowest-nutrient options. Unless your rabbit has a fondness for oranges, it’s best to choose another fruit that has more vitamins and minerals, like blueberries.
How to Feed Oranges to Your Rabbits
Always be sure to peel any orange that you’re going to feed to your rabbit and remove as much of the white pith as possible. Both the peel and pith are bitter and have very low nutritional value. After this, breaking the orange into segments will make it easier to moderate how much your rabbit eats at any one time.
How Much Orange Should I Feed My Rabbit?
First, let us say again that oranges are one of the highest-sugar treats that you can feed to your rabbit, with a relatively low number of vitamins and minerals that make them less beneficial to your rabbit’s health. Because of this, we prefer to feed other, more nutritionally rich fruits to our rabbits.
If you would like to feed oranges to your rabbits, though, observe strict moderation: Don’t feed it to your rabbit more than once a week, and only in portions about the size of their paw.
Types of Oranges to Feed Your Rabbit
Oranges are one of the most varied citrus fruits in the world, and any visit to a grocery store is likely to turn up half a dozen varieties. As far as nutritional value goes, all these oranges are nearly the same: High in sugar and Vitamin C, but with little else to offer. Choose any variety you’d like to feed as a very occasional treat to your rabbit.
Final Thoughts on Feeding Oranges to Your Rabbit
Because of their high sugar content and relative lack of bunny-specific nutrients, we’re not big fans of feeding oranges to our rabbits. While oranges are certainly safe for rabbits to eat, we prefer to choose treats (like berries) that have more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Thank you for reading today, and we hope you’ve learned everything you needed to know about whether you should feed oranges to your rabbit!
Featured Image: S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay