If you are part of the amazingly lucky group of people who own rabbits you will know that there is a wealth of information out there on rabbit care and in particular on feeding your rabbit. However, when it comes to feeding, much of it is general e.g.: rabbits can eat fruit.
As bunny lovers, we know that sometimes you need to know about a specific item. So we’ve put together a list of some of the most common food (and non-food!) items we get asked about.
So, what do rabbits eat? Can they eat apples? Celery? What about carrots, mushrooms or even nuts? Find out below.
Do rabbits eat…
Apples? Yes, in small quantities (see ‘Fruit’) but not the pips as they are toxic to bunnies.
Bananas? Yes, refer to ‘Fruit’ for more details
Basil? Yes, bunnies love basil.
Berries? Yes, refer to ‘Fruit’ for more details
Bread? Yes but only as a super special treat. Some owners may disagree with this but bread can be used as an extra treat for example when toilet training. Just don’t let it become a habit as while it is not harmful to buns in small doses it is definitely not on the ‘regular food’ list.
Broccoli? Yes, but in small amounts. This family of vegetables can produce gases which could upset your bunny’s tum.
Bugs? No. Rabbits are vegetarians so don’t eat other animals.
Cabbage? Yes, but as with broccoli just in very small amounts.
Carrots? Yes, but in small (1-2 tablespoons) amounts. Carrots are high in natural sugars so are a rabbit ‘treat food’. However, the green top part of the carrot can be fed frequently.
Celery? Yes. Just ensure you cut it into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces so that the stringy outside fibres aren’t too long as these could cause problems with your bun’s digestion.
Cucumber? Yes, but only occasionally and in small amounts.
Flowers? Yes and no depending on the specific flower type. There is a huge variety of flowers and we can’t cover all the types here so do some research before ever letting your bun eat flowers are some may be extremely toxic. A few safe ones are: geraniums, marigolds, roses, nasturtiums, sunflowers, daisies and carnations.
Fruit? Yes, rabbits love fruit. It is however a treat food and for adult rabbits only. Limit feeding to 1 tablespoon per 3 pounds of body weight per day. Baby rabbits (under 6 months) should not be given fruits as it may cause diarrhea.
Geraniums? Yes, ask any gardener who also has rabbits! See ‘Flowers’ for more details.
Grapes? Yes, see ‘Fruit’ for more details.
Grass? Yes, provided the grass hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers. The bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be dried grass – see ‘Hay’ for more details.
Grasshoppers? No. Rabbits are vegetarians so don’t eat other animals.
Hay? Absolutely! Fresh hay should always be available and should make up the bulk (70%) of your bun’s diet. Hay is high in fibre and low in calories. It is absolutely crucial for a rabbit’s digestive system as well as for keeping teeth worn down naturally. Timothy hay (from Timothy grass) is the best kind to feed.
Herbs? Yes, rabbits love fresh herbs (not dried from your store cupboard!) Basil, peppermint, parsley, cilantro/coriander and mint are popular favourites and easy to grow.
Insects? No. Rabbits are vegetarians so don’t eat other animals.
Meat? No. Rabbits are vegetarians so don’t eat other animals.
Nuts? No. Rabbits may like to eat these but they aren’t good for them and shouldn’t be part of a rabbit’s diet.
Onions? No, never. These are toxic to your bunny.
Parsley? Yes, most rabbits love all types of parsley and it can be fed frequently.
Poop? Yes, it’s own. Strictly speaking these aren’t poops but nutrient-rich droppings called caecotropes which look like little peas.
Pumpkin? Yes, in small amounts as pumpkin is high in starch.
Rhubarb leaves? No, never. These are toxic to your bun.
Spinach? Yes but only as an occasional treat as it is high in oxalates which can affect calcium absorption.
Strawberries? Yes, refer to ‘Fruit’ for more details.
Sunflowers? Yes, the whole sunflower plant is edible. Chop the leaves, stalks and flower heads into manageable sized pieces. Bunnies especially appreciate the seeds however these are high in protein so feed sparingly – just 1-2 teaspoons a day for an average sized rabbit.
Sweet corn? No, never. These are toxic to your bun
Tomatoes? Yes, but only red ones and in small amounts. Never feed the vines or leaves.
Tulips? No, bulb plants are poisonous to rabbits.
Watermelon? Yes, see ‘Fruits’ for more information.
Worms? No, bunnies are vegetarians.
Zucchini? Yes, but in small amounts as a treat.
Photo. Elijah O’Donnell, La Petite Femme