Can Rabbits Eat Goat Food?

Categorized as Bunny Diet Tagged

Last Updated on August 2, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Rabbits should not eat goat feeds because most brands contains grains. Rabbit’s diet should consist of mostly fiber, feeding them grains (high in carbs) could lead to dangerous digestive distress such as GI stasis.

It’s fine if your rabbit accidentally ate goat food, but make sure that you don’t make it a habit.

Rabbits and goats have different nutritional needs.

As an example, most goat foods have the following nutritional percentage: 16-18% protein, 2.5% fat, 1.3% calcium and 9% fiber.

On the other hand, rabbit foods needs to have 18–22% fiber, <3% fat, <1% calcium, and 14–18% protein.

As you can see, goat feeds doesn’t meet the fiber requirements of rabbits and it has too much calcium.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat goat food long-term:

Risk of feeding goat food to rabbits.

A rabbit next to goat feed
“ellie rabbit eating rocket leaves” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by [nivs]

Because rabbits and goats have different nutritional needs, feeding your rabbits goat foods has risks if fed long term.

Here are some of the risks associated with feeding your rabbits large amounts of goat food:

Gastrointestinal Stasis

Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of goat food, which is high in carbs (due to grain content of most goat feed).

GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a low-fiber diet or when fed the wrong 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:

  • Depressed
  • Hunched posture
  • Bruxism
  • Decreased appetite/anorexia

If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.

Obesity

Overfeeding goat food to older rabbits, whose metabolism is slower, could lead to obesity due to the high-carb content of goat food.

Obesity could also lead to uneaten cecotropes, or “poopy bottom,” because obese rabbits wouldn’t be able to reach their cecotropes to eat them.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. 

Feeding your rabbit large amounts of goat food would check those two boxes I mentioned.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little bit of goat food?

While it’s true that rabbits should not eat goat food, taking a small bite of goat food is not a problem.

Rabbit food and goat food are actually quite similar; it’s just that goat food contains a grains and has less fiber.

As long as you’re not feeding your rabbit a lot of goat food intentionally, then you should be fine.

Observe your rabbit for any behavioral changes or any changes in their poop.

What to do if your rabbit ate goat food?

Observe their behavior, poop, and urine for any changes.

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If you did notice something after your rabbit accidentally ate goat food, call a veterinarian for proper advice.

Conclusion

Goat food should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because rabbits’ nutritional needs are different from goats’.

Rabbit food needs to have 18-22% fiber, <3% fat, <1% calcium, and 14–18% protein.

Most goat foods have 16-18% protein, 2.5% fat, 1.3% calcium, and 9% fiber.

As you can see, goat food has less fiber and is high in calcium.

Feeding your rabbits goat food long-term could lead to all kinds of digestive problems like GI stasis, diarrhea, and renal problems.

If you have noticed some behavioral, urine, and poop changes, call a veterinarian for proper advice.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (August 9, 2022) Can Rabbits Eat Goat Food?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-goat-food/.
"Can Rabbits Eat Goat Food?." Bunny Horde - August 9, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-goat-food/

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By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.