Among other leafy greens, rabbits do eat cabbage. In fact, there are many aspects of this plant that they can find beneficial. For rabbits, cabbages are a source of essential vitamins and fiber.
Too much cabbage, or introducing the vegetable too quickly, can cause your rabbit to experience digestive upset, however. Give your rabbit no more than a leaf or two at a time, and observe. If they react okay, you can offer them another portion, later on in the week.
If your rabbit shows signs of digestive upset, however, you will want to give the cabbage a break.
Let Your Rabbits Eat Cabbage for the Vitamins and Fiber
Let your rabbits eat cabbage, and they can potentially benefit from the vitamin content and fiber. For example, cabbage is a great source of vitamin B6. This is a nutrient that is crucial for helping rabbits break down protein and build protein, and it keeps their muscles functioning, as well.
Cabbage also contains a fair amount of vitamin K. This is an essential nutrient that pregnant rabbits need a lot of. You can supplement breeding rabbits with vitamin K.
Finally, cabbage has lesser amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Cabbage is also comprised of fiber and water. As you probably know, rabbits are designed to consume primarily fiber.
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The Best Types of Cabbage for Rabbits
How can you tell which cabbage is best for your long-eared friends? Look for cabbage varieties that are darker. These contain the highest amount of antioxidants and fiber.
For example, Savoy cabbage, Calvoro Nero cabbage, red cabbage, etc.
You’ll Need to Introduce Your Rabbit to Cabbage Slowly
If your rabbits eat cabbage, you should know that too much will make them sick. Rabbits should have no more than one cup of cabbage, no more than four times a week.
You will want to start out with a smaller amount -perhaps a leaf or two- and work up, however. This will give their stomach time to adapt to the new fare. Sometimes, rabbits will not find cabbage agreeable. When this is the case, cease feeding them cabbage.
Wait a while before you try again with a smaller amount -if they still react negatively, you may want to give it up. Fortunately, there are plenty of other great leafy greens you can offer as an alternative!
How to Prepare Cabbage for Your Rabbit
When introducing your rabbit to cabbage for the first time, you will want to offer it to them plain. This way, if they have side-effects, you will know for certain that the cabbage was the cause.
Once your rabbit has gotten accustomed to eating cabbage, you can start tossing it in with other leafy greens and produce, up to four times a week.
Start your rabbit off with a single leaf. You can offer this whole, or chopped, as you prefer. Provide the cabbage to your rabbit in a dish that’s tip-proof. Cabbage rots quickly, so make sure to clean up as soon as your rabbit has finished their meal.
Cooked or Raw?
A common question when feeding rabbits cabbage is, should it be cooked, or raw? In the wild, rabbits are accustomed to eating their food totally raw. Their fiber-digesting bellies are up to the task!
Cooking cabbage, on the other hand, will sap precious nutrients from the leafy green. Not to mention, rabbits favor free cabbage for its greater crispness and savor.
As a matter of fact, rabbits rely on crunchy food, and cabbage can make a lovely choice -when it’s raw.
Side Effects to Look Out for
You should be able to tell whether cabbage disagrees with your rabbit pretty quickly. The signs are clear: they will experience bloating and/or diarrhea, and as rabbits can’t pass gas, this will cause them some real tummy pain.
Your rabbit may show signs of discomfort, lethargy, and the like. What can you do? Come back to cabbage later. In the meanwhile. give your rabbit something their stomach is sure to agree with, such as Timothy Hay. Keep an eye on them to make sure they feel better.
Usually, it won’t take them more than a day or so to recover. Very rarely, a vet visit may be in order.
As you can see, many owners let their rabbits eat cabbage for the nutritional benefits it can offer. Some rabbits are also extra-big fans of the flavor.
If cabbage agrees with your rabbit, it can be an excellent additional source of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Feel free to toss it into a few-times-weekly salad mix.