Do you ever wonder what vegetables your pet rabbit can and cannot eat? If so, broccoli is probably one of the first things that come to mind. Can rabbits eat broccoli? Is broccoli safe for rabbits? What are the health benefits of broccoli for rabbits? Do you give your pet rabbit broccoli? If so, is it for the nutritional benefits or just because you think it’s cute when your furry friend gets a little green mustache?
We have always been told to “eat your broccoli!” and “broccoli is good for you!” as it is considered a nutritious vegetable. So many people believe that feeding their rabbits broccoli is a good way to provide them with essential nutrients – and well, they are herbivores right?
Well, the short answer to “can rabbit’s eat broccoli” is yes and no… Keep reading to find out more
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. In general, it is not advisable to feed your pet rabbit raw broccoli as the vegetable can cause gas and is high in calcium. Many rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. This means it can produce too much gas in the small intestine. Since rabbits can’t break wind (aka fart) the gas can build up in the small intestines. Causing pain and discomfort till the gas slowly gets reabsorbed through the gut wall.
As a general rule of thumb, you can feed your rabbit the stem and the leaves of broccoli (which is great as most people throw these out or compost them). The stem and leaves have a lot of the fabulous nutrients your bunny can thrive on, without the gas-producing components that the flower (the big green bumpy main part of the broccoli) contains.
However, some rabbits may tolerate broccoli better than others. If you wish to give your rabbit some broccoli, it is best to start with a small amount and observe how they react. If your rabbit gets gas easily, then it is not recommended to give him broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables again. But if he seems fine with it, then the good news is you can gradually increase the amount of broccoli that they eat over time.
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Broccoli?
Broccoli is part of the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetable family), which also includes cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and brussel sprouts. These vegetables are known for their high levels of antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Broccoli is especially rich in Vitamin C and K as well as folate. Broccoli is also high in minerals, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins. It includes large amounts of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants. Vit C, Vit A, Vit B6, Vit K, and Vitamin E are all present in abundance.
Below are the nutritional values of broccoli per 100 grams
- 6.64 grams carbohydrates
- 2.82 grams of protein
- 2.6 grams of total dietary fiber
- 0.3 grams of fat
If you are providing broccoli to your pet rabbit, you should know that 100 grams of broccoli also contains –
- 89.2 mg of Vitamin C which is quite high for a vegetable! It is an important antioxidant with some anti-inflammatory benefits to help improve immunity
- 0.175 mg Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 helps improve immunity and provides energy for your bunny to get up and go.
- 316 mg Potassium: Potassium helps regulate fluid levels in your bunny’s body.
- 361 micrograms of beta-carotene
- 21 mg magnesium: Magnesium assists in regulating muscle and nerve function
- 47 mg of calcium: Broccoli is very high in calcium which is essential for bone health
- 66 mg phosphorus: Phosphorus is needed for strong bones and healthy teeth.
- 102 mcg Vitamin K: Vitamin K aids in blood clotting. When your rabbit is injured, Vitamin K helps to promote bone growth and healing.
- 623 IU Vitamin A: Vitamin A promotes immunity, and eye health and is important for reproduction.
How Much Broccoli Should I Feed My Rabbit?
Although broccoli is considered a superfood for humans, it can cause gas digestive upset in pet rabbits. If you want to give your rabbit broccoli, we would recommend feeding them the leaves only as these are less likely to cause gas and digestive upsets than the florets. Some rabbits may be less or more sensitive to broccoli than others.
Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable but it’s only recommended to feed the leaves only as the florets can cause digestive upsets and gas
You can feed your rabbit one tablespoon of broccoli and observe how they react. Look for signs of gas such as changes in stool or abdominal discomfort. If your rabbit has suffered from gas before, then it is not recommended to give them broccoli or other crucifers such as brussel sprouts or cabbage again. But if they seem fine with it, then you can continue feeding broccoli in limited amounts.
Please do not feed your rabbit large amounts of broccoli as it can cause gastrointestinal problems in rabbits.
What Are The Dangers Of Feeding Broccoli To My Rabbit?
If you are feeding the broccoli leaves and stems (in moderation) then you have nothing to worry about and you are feeding a nutritious, high fiber veggie to your gorgeous bunny. The dangers lie in feeding too many florets (such as a floret daily) or feeding rabbits who have has gas before.
Broccoli is high in Vitamin C which, if fed in high amounts, can potentially cause kidney damage
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Leaves?
Yes, you can feed your rabbit the leaves of a broccoli plant. You can also give him sprouted seeds as they are easier to digest than regular ones and can be considered a green fresh food for rabbits. Just make sure that you wash them thoroughly before giving them to your pet.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Stems?
Yes, you can give some to your rabbit but only in moderation. Broccoli is not a recommended part of your bunny’s diet so it should not be given as part of their regular diet. You can occasionally feed him the broccoli stalks in small amounts.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli Florets?
No, you should not give your rabbit the flowers of a broccoli plant as they can cause gas and gastrointestinal problems in rabbits. Stick to giving him the leaves and stems which are easier to digest.
What Should I Feed My Rabbit Instead Of Broccoli? What Vegetables Can Rabbits Eat?
Below are some alternative veggies you can consider feeding your furry friend instead of broccoli:
- Celery and celery leaves
- Beet greens or carrot tops
- Romaine Lettuce or other dark leafy lettuces such as arugula
- Brussel sprouts
- Mustard leaves
- Radishes including leaves
- Bok Choy
- Cauliflower (leaves and stems)
- Zucchini (skin ok)
- Swiss chard (only small amounts as it is high in oxalic acid)
- Herbs: parsley, dandelion, coriander, basil, dill, mint, thyme
What Should I Feed My Rabbit For A Healthy Diet?
In a nutshell, your rabbit’s diet should consist of:
- Fresh grass hay, such as alfalfa hay and timothy hay
- Moderate amounts of vegetables (2-3 types per day), such as dark leafy greens ( mustard greens, collard greens, carrot tops.
- Small amounts of treats such as small pieces of fresh fruits – such as apples, pears, blackberries, and strawberries. Only give banana 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)
- The same goes for similar vegetables such as cauliflower as for broccoli (only feed the cauliflower leaves)
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
It is not recommended to feed young or baby rabbits under 6 months of age broccoli. Remember, once they are old enough feed them the leaves and some stems and not the florets.
How To Detect Gas In My Rabbit’s Stomach?
It can be quite difficult to tell if your bunny has built-up gas in its intestines. Some things to look out for are:
- Firm hard abdomen below the ribs
- Your rabbit is lying down on its side and curled up (just like humans do with painful gas)
- Rumbling and gurgling sounds from their belly
If you notice any of these signs above please contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible as severe gas build-up can lead to GI stasis which is life-threatening for bunnies.
Although eating broccoli is good for humans, it can cause gas and digestive upset in pet rabbits. If you wish to feed your rabbit some broccoli, it is advisable to give him the leaves and stem only as the leaves are less likely to cause gas than the florets. Some rabbits may be less or more sensitive to broccoli than others.
You can feed your rabbit a small amount of broccoli and observe how they react. If your rabbit gets gas easily, then it is not recommended to give them broccoli and any other crucifers again such as cabbage and cauliflower. But if they seem fine with it, then you can continue feeding them this nutritious vegetable in limited amounts.
Please do not feed your rabbit large amounts of broccoli as it can cause gastrointestinal problems in rabbits. You can check out my extensive article here about feeding your rabbit a healthy balanced diet. Hope I answered your question can rabbits eat broccoli.
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.