Welcome to our complete guide to rabbits and broccoli. Can rabbits eat broccoli? How much broccoli is it safe for them to have?
You and your rabbit are in luck. Rabbits can indeed have broccoli!
Read on to discover the best parts of broccoli to give your rabbit and how much is too much.
Is Broccoli Safe for Rabbits?
Asking the question, “can bunnies have broccoli?” isn’t the same as asking if they can eat this tasty treat safely. Fortunately, the answer to both inquires is a definite, “yes!”
Broccoli can cause gas. So, when you first offer your rabbit a bit of broccoli, be sure to monitor her for any signs of discomfort.
Gas is generally not a major health concern. However, you don’t want your precious pet to experience digestive discomfort. Especially not just for the sake of adding variety to her diet.
Rabbits also have sensitive digestive systems, so you will have to start with a small amount. A tablespoon once a day for the first week would be sensible. If your rabbit’s stools stay the same, then you can gradually increase this amount over time.
Let’s look at Rabbits and Broccoli in more detail.
Rabbits and Broccoli
Rabbits are herbivores, who love their vegetables. They need a high fiber diet to ensure that their digestive systems function properly.
A rabbit’s diet should be comprised of approximately 15 percent dietary fiber. Broccoli, either raw or cooked, is a good source of this.
Your pet’s regularity is compromised and the risk of intestinal disease is increased without a proper amount of fiber.
Your bunny should get everything she needs from her complete rabbit food. That said, it’s still a good idea to make sure that she has a varied diet.
Remember that you should always introduce new food in small amounts. Subsequently monitor your pet for any signs of distress or stomach upset.
Why Do Rabbits Like Broccoli?
So now we’ve answered ‘can rabbits eat broccoli’, we can look at why they like it!
Short of asking our long-eared friends this most intriguing question, I would hazard a guess that the answer is that they like the taste!
After all, how likely are you to eat a food that doesn’t please your palate?
Just like humans, rabbits’ tastes differ. If your rabbit refuses their broccoli then they probably just don’t like it.
But most bunnies love broccoli.
Rabbits may particularly like broccoli when it’s part of a varied diet as recommended by vets.
Is Broccoli Bad for Rabbits?
Broccoli, as part of a varied and balanced diet, is not bad for rabbits.
As long as it doesn’t make up the majority of your rabbit’s diet, broccoli is safe and nutritious.
Be careful when feeding your rabbit cooked broccoli. Yes, it is safe for them but don’t include any other ingredients you think might make it tastier. They may not be suitable for rabbits.
Is Broccoli Good for Rabbits?
When we wonder, “can rabbits have broccoli?” it’s likely for a good reason. We want to ensure that we’re providing our rabbit with the best, most nutritional foods that we can.
We love our pets, and making sure they’re healthy and happy is of the utmost importance.
Rest assured, broccoli in moderate amounts is a healthy addition to your pet’s mealtime routine.
But keep in mind that it has a higher level of sugars than say, leafy greens. Therefore, it should never take the place of those vegetables.
Greens like broccoli are important for providing ‘variety, micronutrients, water and some dental wear’. That being said, because broccoli is mostly water, you need to provide much more food besides.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Stems?
The short answer is, “yes.”
But keep in mind that some pet parents have noticed that the stems cause more bunny gas than the florets or leaves do.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that your rabbit will react in the same manner.
Begin your broccoli experiment by offering each part of the veggie individually, and monitoring the results.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Stalks?
Again, broccoli in moderation is a good add-in to your rabbit’s food rotation.
Some owners have noticed an issue with gas. So, you should monitor how your rabbit responds to the broccoli stalks, leaves and florets.
And, if any part of the broccoli causes diarrhea or loose stools, your bunny’s digestive system is sending a clear message to stop the broccoli experiment!
Can Rabbits Eat Raw Broccoli or Cooked Broccoli?
Yes, rabbits can safely eat raw broccoli or cooked broccoli. Raw foods generally contain more nutrients than cooked foods.
In the case of broccoli the USDA product nutrition website reports the following:
A 100 gram portion of raw broccoli contains 2.6 grams of fiber. Whereas the same amount of cooked broccoli contains 3.3 grams of fiber.
In this case the results are a bit surprising. Though, overall the discrepancy does not constitute a major difference in fiber content.
Always remember to wash raw veggies thoroughly. This even goes for organic ones as well as those you have grown in your own garden.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Plants?
If you’ve ever grown vegetables somewhere there is a wild rabbit population nearby, then you’ll know the answer to this question.
Rabbits will eat broccoli plants happily.
Can you give rabbits broccoli in its entirety? Technically, yes. Although as mentioned before, the stems or stalks might not agree with him. So it’s best to start a little at a time.
When given in moderation, broccoli is a healthy, fresh addition to your bunny’s diet.
Once your rabbit is used to broccoli, you can feed 1 tablespoon of broccoli for every 2 pounds of your rabbit’s body weight, per day.
You can provide this amount in one meal or divvy up the portion across two or more feedings.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Leaves
In short, yes they can. There is not part of the broccoli plant a rabbit can’t eat. Broccoli leaves might actually be their preference.
Some believe that broccoli leaves are less likely to give your rabbit gas. So, if gas has been a problem your rabbit, maybe try the leaves.
As always, start off with a small amount and see how it suits her.
My Rabbit Ate Broccoli, What Should I Do?
If your bunny has hopped her way into your groceries, don’t worry.
Broccoli is safe for rabbits. If you are worried, keep an eye out for loose stools or diarrhea. Unless your rabbit has a particular allergy or dietary requirement, she will be okay.
Each animal has a different sensitivity to individual foods, and broccoli is a known gas producer.
Signs of gas in rabbits include going into a curled-up position or pressing the stomach flat against the floor.
Loud, rumbling tummy noises as well as a swollen, or hard stomach are other signs to watch for.
As always, if you do notice something that worries you, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.
Can Broccoli Treat Heart Disease in Rabbits?
A small study was carried out on the effect of a compound called sulforaphane in rabbits. Sulforaphane is found in broccoli!
The rabbits studied had high blood pressure and a condition called Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a kind of heart disease.
The results of the study found that broccoli has a positive effect on damaged blood vessels in the heart.
However, this was a single study in a lab setting and is no match for your vet’s best advice!
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
Baby Rabbits (or Kits) have different dietary needs than their parents. It’s important to make sure you keep an eye on a Kit’s diet.
Up until 6 months, it is not recommended to feed baby rabbits fresh vegetables. So, this rules broccoli out until after 6 months when they are considered an adult.
You can read our guide to feeding baby rabbits here.
If you’re worried that your kit has been nibbling on broccoli after his eyes have opened, don’t worry too much. Experts are divided on when the best time to start babies on fresh produce like broccoli. Some argue that tiny amounts early on are acceptable.
So, while it might not be best practice to feed your baby rabbit broccoli, an accidental nibble isn’t the end of the world.
As always, be sure to consult with your vet before making any dietary decisions.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Everyday?
Rabbits are herbivores. This means vegetables make up a considerable amount of their diets. It’s important that rabbits have access to fresh vegetables daily.
However, it is not recommended that broccoli be the only source of vegetables for your rabbit.
Like humans, rabbits like variety in their diet. Different vegetables provide different nutrients and minerals.
So, make sure you provide variety in your vegetable servings!
Rabbit Broccoli Treats
- Add small amounts of broccoli to pellet feed for a burst of freshness
- Hide small cuttings of broccoli leaves in for your rabbit to find
Alternatives to Broccoli for Rabbits
There are plenty of veggie alternatives for your rabbit to chow down on. This is great news because variety is the spice of a rabbit’s life!
Additionally, there are some who do not recommend broccoli for rabbits. So, if you’d rather skip it completely here are some tasty alternatives.
- Beet greens
- Leaf lettuce
- Radish leaves
If you’re curious about what else to feed rabbits, have a look at these articles
Can Bunnies Eat Broccoli? – Summary
Can rabbits eat broccoli? Yes, they can!
The cruciferous vegetable adds a crunchy, tasty, and economical addition to the usual mealtime routine.
But caution should be used when introducing this lovely green veg. Each animal has a different sensitivity to individual foods, and broccoli is a known gas producer.
Switching up your rabbit’s diet can be tricky. So, be sure to consult with your veterinarian prior to making significant changes, or if you observe any of the symptoms listed above.
So, are you now eager to acquaint your rabbit to broccoli? Or does your bunny already adore broccoli? Please share your comments below.
This article has been extensively revised in 2019.
Resources and References
The nutritional needs of rabbits, Speight, C. Veterinary Nursing Journal, 2017
Rabbit nutrition-an overview, Meredith, A. Veterinary Ireland Journal, 2011
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, USDA Food Composition Databases
Brown, S.A., DVM, Suggested Vegetables and Fruits for a Rabbit Diet, House Rabbit Society
‘Rabbits – Feeding and Nutrition’, Vetwest Animal Hospitals
‘Sulforaphane attenuates the development of atherosclerosis and improves endothelial dysfunction in hypercholesterolemic rabbits’ Shehatou & Suddek, 2016, Experimental Biology & Medicine.
‘Rabbit Nutrition and Nutritional Healing’ Lucile Moore, 2017
‘Rabbit Nutrition: What You Need To Know’ Smith, et al, 2009. University of California