Last Updated on December 21, 2021 by Rei Garnet
While chestnuts are not poisonous to rabbits, feeding them large amounts of chestnuts could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea, obesity, and GI stasis because rabbits don’t tolerate starchy food well.
100 grams of chestnuts contains 22.3 grams of starch. While rabbits should limit themselves to 0-138 grams of starch, meaning rabbits can be fine with or without any starch in their diet.
Feeding starchy food like chestnuts to your rabbits would do more harm than good, you should focus on feeding your rabbits high-quality hay instead.
If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s stool, both in size and consistency, 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 chestnuts:
Table of Contents
Risk of overfeeding chestnuts to rabbits.
Starchy food like chestnuts should not be fed to rabbits intentionally. They carry certain risks when fed in large amounts because rabbits’ digestive system is not really designed to digest large amounts of food like chestnuts.
Here are some of the risks associated when you feed your rabbits large amounts of chestnuts :
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. Feeding your rabbit large amounts of chestnuts would check those two boxes I mentioned.
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of chestnuts, which are high in starch. GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a high-carb, 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 chestnuts 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 diet are the most susceptible to obesity.
Healthy alternative to chestnuts as treats.
If you planning on giving your rabbits chestnuts 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 ate a little bit of chestnuts?
While chestnuts are not recommended for rabbits, it’s still not toxic. It’s just that chestnuts are too high in starch which is not digested well by rabbits.
Just feed them a lot of hay if you are worried. The extra fiber would likely fix the problem on its own.
What to do if your rabbit ate chestnuts?
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.
A rabbit that’s fed large amounts of starchy food like chestnuts could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea, soft uneaten cecotropes, and GI stasis. It could also lead to obesity, especially to rabbits who are confined in small cages all day without access to regular exercise.
If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of digestive distress, immediately bring them to a veterinarian.