For rabbits to grow well and gain weight quickly, they need a balanced diet. At the end of the melon season, many people ask whether rabbits can be given watermelon and how to properly feed animals with this product. Watermelon is suitable for rabbits as a refreshing summer meal.
However, you should keep a few things in mind when feeding your rabbit.
Can rabbits eat watermelon? A watermelon consists mostly of water. The sugar content is low. This is why in summer it is so delicious, and most rabbits love it. However, you must make sure that you feed such food in small portions and not too often, as it can also lead to diarrhea.
You can offer a watermelon as a whole, including the outer part. You should, however, pay attention to sprayed fruit. It is advised to give your rabbit organic or homegrown produce.
Some rabbit owners recommend removing the kernels of the watermelon before feeding. However, no negative experiences with cores have been reported so far.
When you feed watermelon for the first time, you should watch your animals carefully and also examine their excretions. If everything is OK, then your rabbit will tolerate the new food.
Nutrients acquired by rabbits after eating watermelon
Watermelon has the following nutrients per 100 grams of fruit: 90 grams of water, 8.3 grams of carbohydrates – most of them as sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose), 0.6 grams of protein, and 0.2 grams of fat (most of these are in the kernels).
The kernels of watermelon are said to contain plenty of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as magnesium, iron, calcium, and unsaturated fatty acids. They are also considered to be high in protein.
Can rabbits eat Watermelon pulp?
The sweet pulp of watermelon contains useful substances, but it is too juicy, and such products cause flatulence, which can negatively affect the well-being of the rabbit.
It is better not to include watermelon flesh in the diet, and if given, it should be in a minimal amount and with hay or other fibrous food. Also, sweet juice stains the pet’s face, attracting wasps and other insects to it.
Can rabbits eat watermelon peels?
Watermelon peels are less juicy and more fibrous, which means that the probability of flatulence is less. When rabbits eat it, they do not stain the wool with sweet juice.
You should, however, not give a lot of watermelon peels to rabbits. Consider watermelon peels with a small layer of watermelon pulp if you want to feed a rabbit with watermelon.
Watermelon peels contain dietary fiber, organic acids, and vitamins: A, C, E, PP, and group B,which are very useful for rabbits, trace elements: potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, silicon, zinc and iron.
Even a watermelon of excellent quality, grown on a greenhouse and not containing harmful substances, should be given to the pet correctly.
It is forbidden to give watermelon to a rabbit until he reaches four months of age. You should start with a small piece and monitor his well-being. With the appearance of diarrhea or bloating, the fruit should be excluded from the diet.
Also, viscous fibers of watermelon favorably affect the intestines of rabbits. They are much less likely to have constipation and intestinal upset. However, it is crucial to properly prepare watermelon for subsequent feeding to rabbits.
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Preparation of watermelon and melon peel for rabbits
It goes without saying that if the watermelon peel is dirty, then feeding it to rabbits without prior washing is not recommended. In this case, you can only harm.
The second point is related to the seeds in the watermelon. It is best to remove them before giving the fruit to the rabbits. If the crusts are large, then it is best to grind and cut into small pieces immediately for the convenience of eating.
It is essential to remove all the watermelon leftovers from the cage. Do not wait until the evening when the fruit is already pretty spoiled and can be eaten by a rabbit. In this case, there is a risk of harming the animal and then treating it for diarrhea.
How often can to give rabbits watermelon
For rabbits, neither the crust nor the watermelon pulp should in any way be an everyday food. They can be used only as an additive to the diet no more than 1-2 times a week.
Important! Do not feed rotten or sour crusts to rabbits. This can disrupt the intestinal micro-organisms and damage digestion, which is already weak in rabbits.
At the same time, it is not recommended to give watermelon several times in a row. It is worth alternating them with other fruits, for example, providing a watermelon in one week and pampering the rabbits with apple or pear the next.
When not to give rabbits watermelon
The digestive system of rabbits hardly process juicy berries and fruits, so in some cases, you can’t give the rabbit anything you think of. Watermelon is contraindicated in rabbits in the following circumstances:
- intestinal disorders and diarrhea;
- infectious diseases;
- Pregnant and lactating rabbits. It is better to replace this berry with a carrot or apple, but they should also be strictly normalized;
- Young rabbits. Feeding rabbits with watermelon should begin no earlier than 2–2.5 months. You can start with apples or pears, before graduating to giving it watermelon.
Before giving watermelon to rabbits, you need to know that its flesh can cause bloating. But this is not all, in the process of eating the flesh, all rabbits’ faces get wet, which is not good.
The fact is that if rabbits live in the open air, their wet and sticky face can become the target of flies and other mucks. The wet face may quickly turn dirty, which not ideal when raring rabbits.
Cleanliness is paramount while for rabbits’ health. From the foregoing, it should be concluded that watermelon can and should be given to rabbits, but before that, the pulp must be cut from it, leaving only a couple of centimeters; about as though a human ate it.
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Conclusion: Can rabbits eat watermelon?
If you approach wisely, the waste from watermelons will turn into a practically free and valuable juicy feed for rabbits. It is important to observe a sense of proportion and not over-feed them with this delicacy. Monitor the quality of watermelon; prevent excess nitrates, and signs of decay.