If you are a rabbit owner, you may be wondering if rabbits can eat blackberries? The answer is yes! Blackberries are a nutritious fruit that can provide your rabbit with important fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Wild bunnies are natural foragers and may consume wild blackberries as part of their diet so it makes sense that our pet rabbits may enjoy these tasty morsels as well. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of blackberries for rabbits, as well as how to feed them as part of your rabbit’s diet.
Can rabbits eat blackberries?
Yes! Blackberries are a healthy snack for rabbits and can be fed in small amounts as the occasional treat. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins such as Vitamin C, and minerals that can help keep your bunny healthy. Additionally, blackberries are a great source of fiber, which can help keep your rabbit’s digestive system functioning properly.
If you want to give your rabbit blackberries, start by giving them a small amount and watching for any signs of digestive upset. If your rabbit does not have any problems digesting blackberries, you can gradually increase the amount that you give them but stick to small quantities. You can feed blackberries to your rabbit either fresh or frozen (then thawed).
How many blackberries can you give your pet rabbit?
Blackberries are considered a treat and so you should only give them to your pet bunny three to four times per week in small amounts as outlined in the what to feed rabbits article.
- Adult rabbits can have 1-2 blackberries. Either one large blackberry or two small blackberries.
- Always wash the blackberries with plenty of fresh water to remove any residual pesticides
- Choose dark, ripe blackberries and avoid the red (unripe ones) as they can cause upsets to your rabbit’s digestive system
- Don’t offer blackberries to baby rabbits or to young rabbits (rabbits under 7 months) as their digestive tract is not mature enough yet – stick with grass and hay.
- If you are introducing them as a new food – start with one and see how they go.
What is the nutritional value of blackberries?
This delicious edible fruit can be a good source of nutrition and a healthy treat because they are packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Fresh blackberries are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
Here are some of the essential nutrients of this super berry: Each 100g of blackberries contains:
- 43 calories
- 9.6 grams of carbohydrates with 4.9g of this as fruit sugar: Blackberries are pretty low in sugar compared to other fruits so they are a great treat option
- 5.3 grams of dietary fiber which is fairly high for a fruit: If you’ve read my other article you know that we aim for 80% of a rabbit’s diet to come from high fiber foods such as leafy greens and unlimited amounts of fresh hay
- 1.4 grams of protein
- 0.5 grams of fat: very low fat
100 grams also contains:
- 11 micrograms of Vitamin A: Vitamin A promotes immunity and is important for reproduction.
- 0.64 mg of Manganese: Manganese promotes liver function and aids in the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.
- 20 mg of Magnesium: Magnesium assists in regulating muscle and nerve function.
- 22 mg of Phosphorus: Phosphorus is needed for strong bones and healthy teeth.
- 29 mg of Calcium: Blackberries are surprisingly high in calcium which is essential for bone health
- 162 mg of Potassium: blackberries are a great source of Potassium which helps regulate fluid levels in your bunny’s body.
- 21 mg of Vitamin C: Vitamin C can be found in various fruits and veggies, including blackberries. It is essential for healthy eyes and a strong immune system.
- 19.8 Micrograms of Vitamin K: Vitamin K aids in blood clotting. When your rabbit is injured, Vitamin K helps to promote bone growth and healing.
Healthy alternatives to blackberries.
Blackberries have a very short growing season – so if your pet bunny has a sweet tooth here is a list of alternative fresh fruits and berries you can try offering as a treat 3-4 times per week as part of your rabbit’s healthy diet:
- Honeydew melons
- Apple (remove the apple seeds)
- Pineapple – but be careful as it is a sugary fruit so only give them small pieces
- Cherries (remove seeds)
- Oranges (small amounts)
Can rabbits eat blackberry leaves and blackberry plants?
Yes; rabbits can eat blackberries leaves and wild rabbits would do so. A few nibbles of this natural leafy green is a great way to increase their fiber content. Notwithstanding, it is constantly essential to check with your veterinarian before offering new sustenance
You should never feed your pet rabbit blackberries or blackberry leaves that have been sprayed with any pesticides and herbicides as these can be toxic to rabbits.
Are wild blackberries safe for rabbits?
Yes of course they are. Just ensure they have not been sprayed with any pesticides or chemicals as these can have potential dangers to your precious pet.
What can happen if I feed my rabbit too many blackberries?
While blackberries are an excellent treat and one of the best fruits you can feed your bunny, too many can cause problems as rabbits’ digestive systems can be quite sensitive. The same goes for any fruit – too much fruit can cause digestive issues
If your bunny consumes too many berries it could have diarrhea and digestive problems so watch them closely.
Too many treats such as blackberries can lead to dental problems and may damage your rabbit’s teeth. I also don’t recommend treats for obese or overweight rabbits as they can have too many calories.
What should I feed my rabbit for a healthy diet?
- Fresh grass hay, such as alfalfa hay and timothy hay should make up 80% of your rabbit’s diet.
- Moderate amounts of vegetables (2-3 types per day), such as dark leafy greens (mustard greens, collard greens, carrot tops etc) that are high in fiber can also be part of their daily diet.
- Small amounts of treats such as small pieces of fresh fruits – such as apples, pears, blackberries, and strawberries that are high fiber fruits. Only give banana or orange as an occasional treat as it is very high in sugar.
- Provide plenty of fresh, clean water for your bunny
- Avoid foods such as beans (eg kidney beans, broad beans) as they can cause bloat and gas
Blackberries can be a fabulous healthy snack for your rabbit – but only feed them as a treat. Always ensure they have an unlimited supply of fresh hay and plenty of dark leafy greens to munch on every day. Make sure you don’t overfeed any treats, especially if your bunny is getting a little chubby or has a sensitive stomach.
Always check with your veterinarian before introducing any new food to your pet’s diet. And remember, moderation is key!
Dr. Elly Cameron is a veterinarian who has always loved animals. She grew up with cats and rabbits, and knew from a young age that she wanted to help animals in whatever way she could. After completing veterinary school in New Zealand, she and her husband moved to North Carolina in 2009. There, she worked as a small animal veterinarian, seeing cats, dogs, and of course her favorite patients – rabbits! In the last few years, Dr. Cameron has been working as a locum vet while she concentrates on raising her two young daughters. She also started writing this blog to help other rabbit lovers out there.