Can Rabbits Eat Sweet Potatoes? 9 things you need to know.

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can rabbits eat sweet potato

Last Updated on August 23, 2021 by Rei

Quick Facts About Sweet Potatoes:

  • Scientific name – Ipomoea batatas
  • Also known as – Kumara, yams,
  • Origin – Central and South America
  • Average weight – 113 grams
  • Most commonly found in – United States, Netherlands, and Egypt 

Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious and versatile foods out there. No wonder it’s almost always available in our kitchen.

Me, being a farm boy, grew up having sweet potatoes available on the table ALL THE TIME. I’m serious, my mom loves this stuff! Whether it’s fried, steamed, or baked, sweet potatoes are always on our table no matter what.

While sweet potatoes are not toxic to rabbits. We always avoid feeding our rabbits any because sweet potatoes contain too much sugar and starch. Rabbits that are fed too many sweet potatoes(sugar and starch), could lead to GI stasis because your rabbit is not eating enough fiber for their GI tract to move.

In this article, I would be discussing what you need to know about sweet potatoes and their relation to your rabbit’s diet.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

How much sweet potato can a rabbit eat?

While sweet potatoes are safe for rabbits, it’s still better to not give them any. The reason being, rabbits have a sensitive stomach and they need a diet that is high in fiber while sweet potatoes are high in starch.

Sweet potatoes or kumara on the other hand are mostly starch or sugar, which are bad for rabbits when fed large amounts. Feeding rabbits sugary food could cause digestive issues like uneaten caecotrophs, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal stasis.

Adult or fully grown rabbits

If your adult rabbit accidentally ate some sweet potatoes it’s fine. Just make sure that they eat enough hay.

While sweet potatoes are not poisonous to rabbits, it’s still not recommended because of its high starch content.

Young or growing rabbits

Young or growing rabbits have a sensitive stomach and should only be feed hay that is high in fiber like alfalfa or timothy hay. Do not give your young rabbits food that is high in starch like sweet potatoes.

When you feed your rabbit foods that are high in starch or any food that is considered “low fiber” it could cause a lot of digestive issues like diarrhea, uneaten caecotrophs, or ”Soft caecotrophs”, and gastrointestinal stasis.

Pregnant or lactating rabbits

Pregnant or lactating rabbits should focus on eating hay. We don’t recommend feeding them unnecessary food like sweet potatoes because it’s poor in fiber and could cause problems if fed in large amounts.

When should you not feed sweet potato to rabbits?

When should you not feed kumara/sweet potato to rabbits?

Gist:

Don’t feed your rabbit sweet potatoes when your rabbit has diarrhea or any digestive issues.


When your rabbit already has diarrhea or any digestive issues, feeding them low fiber/high starch food like sweet potatoes could make the problem worse.

What you should do instead is to only feed your rabbit hay and water. This would ensure that your rabbit is getting enough fiber to move its bowel.

Finally, you should still bring your rabbit to a veterinarian if your rabbit is having any kind of digestive issues. Digestive issues like diarrhea and gastrointestinal stasis can be fatal to rabbits extremely fast.

Risk of overfeeding sweet potato to rabbits.

Risk of overfeeding kumara/sweet potato to rabbits.

It’s critical for a rabbit to meet its required nutrition for the day. This includes hay, protein, and calcium.

Overfeeding your rabbit’s kumara/sweet potatoes, which are high in starch and low in fiber, is dangerous to rabbits because it could disrupt the balance of gut flora.

Here is the risk when you overfeed your rabbit sweet potato:

Gastrointestinal stasis

Gastrointestinal stasis or GI stasis happens when a rabbit is fed large amounts of carbohydrates and a diet that is low on fiber. When you feed your rabbit too much sweet potatoes/kumara, it could lead to an imbalance in your rabbit’s gut flora and slow down the passage of food in their stomach.

If you suspect that your rabbit might be suffering from GI stasis, don’t hesitate to bring your rabbit to a veterinarian because GI stasis could lead to organ failure and dead extremely fast if not treated.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is also possible when you feed your rabbit large amounts of sweet potatoes/kumara because it lacks fiber and rabbits are bad at digesting starch.

If you notice any changes on your rabbit’s stool or when your rabbit is suffering from diarrhea, immediately remove any other food except hay and water. Also, bring your rabbit to a vet because diarrhea is dangerous especially to bunnies.

Uneaten caecotrophs

Uneaten caecotrophs are usually caused by a diet that is low on fiber like sweet potatoes or overfeeding foods that are high in water content.

Sweet potatoes/kumara alone could not meet the daily fiber requirement of rabbits, Sweet potatoes/kumara should only be fed in small amounts as a supplement to a hay-based diet.

Obesity

Another risk of overfeeding starchy foods like sweet potatoes to rabbits is obesity. The daily range of starch a rabbit should eat is between 0-140 grams, while sweet potatoes contains 14 grams of starch per 200 grams.

While the limit of starch per day is 140 grams, it’s still a bad idea to feed any starch to rabbits because they are bad at digesting it.

Great alternatives to sweet potato.

Kumara or sweet potato being high on starch and low on fiber should not be fed to rabbits in large amounts.

The alternative to this diet is any herbs or vegetables that are high in fiber like:

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can rabbits eat cooked sweet potatoes?

Cooked sweet potatoes are not poisonous to rabbits. But, it’s still better to not give your rabbits any because sweet potatoes contain a lot of starch and could upset their stomach if eaten in large amounts.

Can rabbits eat sweet potato skin?

Yes, rabbits can eat the skin of sweet potatoes. But, it’s still better to not give your rabbit any sweet potatoes and their skin because sweet potatoes are known to cause stomach upset in rabbits due to the amount of starch.

Can rabbits eat sweet potato leaves?

Yes, fresh sweet potato leaves are not poisonous to rabbits. But make sure that you give them sweet potato leaves and not the normal potato leaves because it’s poisonous to rabbits.

Can rabbits eat sweet potato vines?

Yes, sweet potato vines are not poisonous to rabbits. But make sure that you give them sweet potato vines and not the normal potato leaves because it’s poisonous to rabbits.

Conclusion

Although not toxic to rabbits, sweet potatoes are still not recommended and should be avoided. The reason is that sweet potato have a lot of starch and sugar, which are bad for your rabbit’s GI tract that needs a lot of fiber to function properly.

So it’s best to avoid giving your rabbit too much or any sweet potatoes and focus on feeding your rabbit hay and veggies.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (October 15, 2021) Can Rabbits Eat Sweet Potatoes? 9 things you need to know.. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-sweet-potatoes/.
"Can Rabbits Eat Sweet Potatoes? 9 things you need to know.." Bunny Horde - October 15, 2021, https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-sweet-potatoes/

Sources

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  • Basic Rabbit Care
  • Gastrointestinal stasis
  • Diarrhea

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