Can Rabbits Eat Orange Peels?

can rabbits eat orange peels

Can rabbits eat orange peels or are they best left off the menu? Although rabbits love fruit and vegetables, there are some that aren’t as safe as others. Today we take a closer look at the pros and cons of orange peels for rabbits, including the safest ways to serve this treat. We’ll check out the nutrition of orange peels and oranges as a fruit, and the potential risks to bunnies that eat them.

When people ask if oranges are safe for rabbits, they often mean the flesh of the fruit. But, what about the peel? Can rabbits eat orange peels? Opinions differ quite a lot on the answer! Some owners and researchers believe that small amounts of orange peel can be a nutritious treat for our bunnies. Others suggest it’s not possible to completely remove pesticides from orange peel. Let’s take a closer look!

Rabbits and Oranges

Rabbits are popular modern pets for families and individuals alike. Some are kept in hutches and gardens, but others have access to entire homes! All rabbits are herbivores that need a balanced, nutritious diet to ensure their best health. This includes constant access to fresh hay or grass, as the high fiber levels help to keep their teeth ground to an appropriate level.

Since our bunnies can share certain foods with us, many owners love exploring new options for treats and snacks. Generally, most veterinarians recommend a daily variety of fresh greens and veggies, often to top up nutritious pellets. But, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that rabbits will enjoy.

Oranges are one of those options!

Can Rabbits Eat Orange Peels?

Oranges can make a tasty treat for our bunnies, pulp, peels, and all! But, this fruit should not make up a large part of your rabbit’s diet. Orange peels can be served on their own, or with a piece of the fruit. But, only as a treat. Rabbits need a wide variety of nutrients, and orange peels can provide some of these. But, they should only be served as a small treat to accompany a wide selection of leafy green veggies and fresh hay.

And, though rabbits can eat orange peels that have been properly prepared and cleaned, not all rabbits will enjoy the taste of orange peels. Especially if the flesh of the fruit is on offer. The peels will be less sweet than the rest of the food, so some rabbits may leave or avoid this part of the orange, and others might chomp away happily!

Are Orange Peels Good for Rabbits?

There are plenty of nutrients that oranges and orange peels can offer to our bunnies. This extensive list includes vitamin C, fiber, and polyphenols. In orange peels, these nutrients are found in higher concentration than in the fruit itself. So, a small amount of orange peel can be a healthy snack.

Rabbits produce their own vitamin C, but, studies have suggested that their vitamin C requirements can increase during periods of stress. Additionally, fiber is a very important part of a rabbit’s diet. And, some studies have suggested that polyphenols can help to combat heart disease.

Other studies have suggested that orange peel extract in rabbit feed can help to combat the symptoms of heat stress. So, this treat can have a number of benefits for our bunnies.

can rabbits eat orange peels

Are Orange Peels Bad for Rabbits?

Though orange peels are nutrient-dense, and can offer some important health benefits, there are some downsides to this fruit peel. Primarily, orange peel will often contain pesticides, or traces of pesticides. These pesticides can be really harmful to our bunnies. And, some opinions suggest that these chemicals cannot be completely removed by simply washing your oranges.

The only way to avoid pesticides on orange peels is to either grow your own, or choose organic oranges. Store bought oranges will often have traces of pesticides on their peels.

How Much Orange Peel Can Rabbits Have?

Oranges and orange peel should not make up a large part of your rabbit’s diet. In fact, it’s best to offer it as an occasional treat in a varied diet. The bulk of your rabbit’s calories should come from leafy green veggies, nutritious pellets, and plenty of fresh hay.

The ideal serving size will vary from one rabbit to another. Small bunnies will need smaller servings of orange peel than larger rabbits. But, even larger rabbits won’t need a full peel. Especially if you’re choosing large oranges. Generally, it’s best to offer a small segment of orange peel. See if your rabbit likes it first, and make sure they have no bad reaction. If they finish the peel, offer them a similar sized piece next week.

Can Rabbits Eat Dried Orange Peel?

Drying fruits will remove their water content, concentrating the same nutrients in a smaller package. Bear this in mind if you offer your rabbit dried orange peel. They will need an even smaller amount than usual.

And, be cautious if offering dried orange slices with their peel attached. The dried slice will have a high sugar content, due to the flesh of the fruit. Too much sugar can lead to obesity and dental issues. Generally, your rabbit will prefer fresh peel to dried peel.

How to Serve Orange Peels for Bunnies

The most important part of preparing orange peels for bunnies is thoroughly washing them. Even if you have chosen organic, or home grown oranges. Once you have done this, you can get creative when it comes to serving them! Here are some of our favourite ideas:

  • A small section of peel on its own.
  • Peel attached to a segment of an orange
  • Small pieces of orange peel hidden among leafy greens
  • As part of a small fruit salad (a very occasional treat!)

Can Rabbits Eat Orange Peels?

Does your rabbit enjoy the taste of orange peels? This treat can offer some important nutritional benefits, but should be served in moderation. What’s your favourite way to serve orange peel to your bunnies? We would love to hear your tips in the comments!

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