What Vegetables Can I Feed My Rabbit?

Categorized as Bunny Diet Tagged ,

Last Updated on April 19, 2022 by Rei Garnet

The best vegetables to feed your rabbits are those that have darker leaves like: bok choy, brussels sprouts, carrot tops, romaine lettuce, okra leaves, radish tops, endive, escarole, fennel, spinach, wheatgrass, and watercress.

Vegetables that should only be given sparingly are those that are high in starch or water content.

Overfeeding these veggies could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea and soft uneaten cecotropes.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail which vegetables you can feed your rabbits:

What vegetables are good for rabbits?

A white rabbit eating a variety of vegetables that is safe for rabbits like spinach, bok choy, brussels sprouts, etc..

Before I discuss what’s the best vegetables to feed your rabbits, I just want to lay out some ground rules about vegetables:

The best diet for your bunnies is one that’s as close to a wild rabbit’s diet as possible.

(Feeding Your Rabbits – PDSA)

Rabbit experts suggest that the best diet for rabbits is the one that closely mimics what they eat in the wild.

Wild rabbits have the whole forest full of different vegetables to choose from.

You should give your rabbits a variety of vegetables in order to keep them happy and healthy.

Never feed one type of vegetable for long periods of time.

Doing so would increase the possibility of developing nutrition deficiencies or digestive problems.

Diarrhea is a sign of gastrointestinal problems and can have multiple causes including incorrect diet (too high in carbohydrates, too low in fiber, or rapid diet changes)

(Rabbit Problems | VCA Animal Hospitals

When introducing vegetables to rabbits, you should do it one at a time.

This would help you determine if a certain vegetable is making your rabbits sick.

Overfeeding a mixture of veggies too fast could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea.

And because you fed a mixture of different vegetables to your rabbit, you would find it hard to determine which of those vegetables made your rabbit sick.

I know it’s kind of confusing what I laid out here.

I mean, do we feed a mixture of vegetables or not?

What this basically means is that you should feed your rabbits more than one type of vegetable, but spread them out.

For example, this week you can feed your rabbits a bunch of basil.

If all goes well and your rabbit didn’t develop any digestive problems, that means your rabbit can tolerate basil.

The following week, feed your rabbit a different vegetable, and so on…

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are the most recommended vegetables to feed your rabbits:

How much vegetables should a rabbit eat per day?

While the vegetables that I mentioned above are safe for rabbits, you should still limit the amount of vegetables you give your rabbits per day.

Hay should still account for 80% of your rabbit’s diet.

Feeding your rabbits vegetables in lieu of hay could have detrimental consequences for your rabbit’s digestive health.

Here’s a table to help you decide how many vegetables you should give to your rabbits:

Rabbit’s weight based on breedAllowed vegetables per day
Small breed (1.1–3.5 pounds)<128 grams
Medium breed (6 to 10 pounds)384-640 grams
Large breed ( 9 and 12 pounds)384-760 grams
Source: Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.

What vegetables can be given to rabbits sparingly?

A white rabbit eating a lot of broccoli which is high in starch and should only be given sparingly to rabbits.

The most common types of foods that do create havoc in the rabbit’s GI tract are those that are high in starch and sugars because they create a change in the pH of the cecum and eventually can throw the whole system off.

(House Rabbit Society)

Vegetables that are high in starch, sugar, or water content should be given in small amounts or none at all.

The reason is that starchy veggies could lead to digestive distress if they are fed in large amounts or if your rabbit is not eating enough fiber.

Here are the vegetables that should only be given 1-2 times a week, or never:

What vegetables are bad for rabbits?

A white rabbit eating iceberg lettuce, which should never be fed to rabbits because iceberg lettuce would cause diarrhea to rabbits.

Vegetables that are bad for rabbits are those that are poisonous and can cause digestive problems and death, even in small amounts.

These vegetables often contain toxic chemicals that can kill a rabbit or make them sick. 

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The following vegetables should not be fed to rabbits:

  • Turnip greens
  • Rhubarb
  • Potato
  • Peas
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn

Conclusion

The best vegetables to feed to rabbits are those with darker leaves like bok choy, brussels sprouts, carrot tops, romaine lettuce, okra leaves, radish tops, endive, escarole, fennel, spinach, wheatgrass, and watercress.

Vegetables that are high in starch or water content, like kale, spinach, carrots, broccoli, chard, and clover, should only be given sparingly, or 1-2 times a week.

These vegetables could cause digestive distress if fed in large amounts.

And finally, vegetables that should NEVER be fed to rabbits are turnip greens, rhubarb, potato, peas, iceberg lettuce, mustard greens, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and corn.

These vegetables are outright dangerous to rabbits even if it’s only fed in small amounts.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (May 3, 2022) What Vegetables Can I Feed My Rabbit?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/what-vegetables-can-i-feed-my-rabbit/.
"What Vegetables Can I Feed My Rabbit?." Bunny Horde - May 3, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/what-vegetables-can-i-feed-my-rabbit/

Sources and further reading

  • Feeding Your Rabbits – PDSA. www.pdsa.org.uk, https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/rabbits/feeding-your-rabbits. Accessed 26 Mar. 2022.
  • Rabbits Problems | VCA Animal Hospitals. vcahospitals.com, https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/rabbits-problems. Accessed 26 Mar. 2022.
  • House Rabbit Society. rabbit.org, https://rabbit.org/suggested-vegetables-and-fruits-for-a-rabbit-diet/. Accessed 26 Mar. 2022.
  • Understanding the Basics of Rabbit Care
  • Basic-Rabbit-Care

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.