Last Updated on October 10, 2022 by Rei Garnet
Acorns have been used in several studies involving rabbits as a substitute substance in rabbit feeds for fattening rabbits.
What they found was that acorns can be used in animal feed without affecting their health in the short term.
But, the studies I mentioned assume that your rabbit is a meat rabbit.
Meat rabbits need to grow fast for them to be economically viable, so farmers are using all kinds of tricks to make their rabbits grow fast without affecting their health in the short term.
As for pet rabbits, feeding acorns can do more harm than good because they’re too high in fat and starch.
Rabbits that are fed high amounts of fat for long periods of time could suffer some serious health issues like diarrhea, obesity, hepatic lipidosis, and GI stasis.
100 grams of acorns contain 23 grams of fat, rabbits should also limit themselves to 20–50 grams of fat per day.
If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s stool, both in size and consistency, or any changes in their behavior after eating acorns, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat acorns:
Risk of overfeeding acorn to rabbits.
Fatty and starchy foods like acorns should not be fed to rabbits intentionally.
They carry certain risks when fed in large amounts because rabbits’ digestive systems are not really designed to digest large amounts of food like acorns.
Here are some of the risks associated with feeding your rabbits large amounts of acorns:
Fatty liver disease
Most acorns are high in fat, feeding your rabbits acorns long-term could lead to hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease.
A rabbit’s diet should consist of less than 3% fat.
Acorns, on the other hand, have tons of fat in them.
Here are the signs that your rabbit might be suffering from fatty liver disease caused by excess fat:
- Loss of appetite (anorexia) – may be sudden or gradual.
- Weight loss
- Decline in number and size of droppings (feces)
- Depression and lethargy
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast.
Feeding your rabbit large amounts of acorns would check those two boxes I mentioned.
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of acorns, which are high in fat.
GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a low-fiber diet.
GI stasis happens when the balance of bacteria in your rabbit’s gut is disrupted.
This disruption would cause painful gas that would eventually lead to organ failure and death if not treated immediately.
The signs of GI stasis are:
- Hunched posture
- Decreased appetite/anorexia
If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Soft uneaten cecotropes are also possible when rabbits are eating large amounts of acorns instead of hay.
This could lead to softer cecotropes due to the lack of fiber in your rabbit’s diet.
Obesity in rabbits is also possible when fed large amounts of starchy food.
Rabbits that are confined in cages all day without exercise and fed large amounts of high-carb, low-fiber diets are the most susceptible to obesity.
Healthy alternative to acorn as treats.
If you are planning on giving your rabbits acorns as treats, these alternatives are much healthier.
Here are some alternatives that you can give to your rabbits one to two times per week as a treat:
- Apple (remove seeds)
- Cherries (remove seeds)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit eats a little bit of acorn?
While acorns are not recommended for rabbits, they’re still not toxic.
It’s just that acorns are too high in fat and starch, both of which are not digested well by rabbits.
If you are worried, just feed them a lot of hay.
The extra fiber would likely fix the problem on its own.
What to do if your rabbit ate an acorn?
Observe their behavior and poop for any changes.
You should also feed them a lot of hay.
The extra fiber would help balance their gut flora.
If you notice any changes in their poop or behavior, consult a veterinarian immediately.
Rabbits that are fed large amounts of fatty foods like acorns could develop digestive distress like diarrhea, fatty liver disease, and GI stasis.
If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of digestive distress, immediately bring them to a veterinarian.
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