Rabbits are obligate herbivores, which means that they should only strictly consume plant-based food. But it’s not as simple as it sounds—not all greens and veggies are healthy options. These fluffy, petite mammals need fibrous meals to keep their intestines happy and wear down the constantly growing teeth, among other reasons.
We’ve always seen illustrations of rabbits crunching on root vegetables like carrots and parsnips. But did you know, carrots are high in sugar and carbs and not really good for rabbits? So, what about parsnips? Let’s find out – can rabbits eat parsnips or not?
Can Rabbits Eat Parsnips? Parsnips are diuretic food and are low in calories. However, they’re rich in sugar and phosphorus and a little fattier than some vegetables. Like all root vegetables, parsnips should only be given moderately in the form of an occasional treat. Remember, they should never replace your rabbits’ day-to-day diet.
Yes, parsnips are safe for rabbits, but there’s a catch.
Like all root vegetables, parsnips should only be given moderately in the form of an occasional treat. Remember, they should never replace your rabbits’ day-to-day diet. They should be added to their diet in small portions or given as a treat.
Thus, you should give parsnips sparingly, in the same manner, you would feed them other root vegetables like carrots, beetroots, swede, and turnips.
Whether or not rabbits can eat parsnips also boils down to several other factors like giving it cooked or raw, its nutrient value, and overfeeding. Let’s check them out one-by-one.
Can Rabbits Eat Raw Parsnips?
Yes, rabbits can eat raw parsnips, but once again, in a moderate amount.
Parsnips are sugary and crunchy. Your rabbits will love to munch on this veggie not just because it’s sweet but also because it will satiate their ever-growing bunny teeth!
They can eat on and on if you don’t intervene. If they have been good during handling or a trip to the vet’s, you can reward them with a small piece of parsnip for good behavior.
Can Rabbits Eat Parsnips’ Peelings?
Yes, they can eat parsnips’ peelings as well, but it’s not always advisable. There are a number of things you want to know before that.
Peelings are particularly high in phosphorus and sugar, besides being acidic. The thin, soft peels will also pose a problem to your bunnies’ strong, large jaws. Thus, it can be a little tricky for your rabbits to chew peelings.
When given in a small quantity, parsnip peelings aren’t harmful in themselves, but your rabbits are better off munching through a full slice of the vegetable itself.
Can Rabbits Eat Parsnips’ Tops?
So far, there’s no scientific evidence available if rabbits can eat parsnip tops.
But there are two opposing views shared by rabbit owners in online forums. While some report they’ve had no issue at all, some avoid feeding the tops to avoid potential complications.
In humans, parsnip leaves can sometimes trigger skin conditions like dermatitis. As no studies have been conducted on its effects on rabbits, some owners choose not to give it despite the high fibrous content.
Nutrient Content of Raw Parsnip
Before we get into what’s good and bad about parsnips for rabbits, here’s a quick breakdown of the nutritional content.
Every 100 grams of parsnips contains (but not limited to):
- Carbohydrates (18 grams)
- Dietary fiber (4.9 grams)
- Sugar (4.8 grams)
- Calories (75)
- Sodium (10 milligrams)
- Phosphorus (71 milligrams)
- Potassium (375 milligrams)
- Vitamin C (17 milligrams)
- Vitamin E (1.49 milligrams)
- Water (79.53 grams)
Now, let’s move on to the pros of feeding parsnip to rabbits.
Parsnip’s Benefits for Rabbits
Parsnips are low in calories
As stated above, parsnips contain just 75 calories per 100 grams. On top of that, this vegetable releases energy slowly, proving that a tiny piece goes a long way.
Parsnips are diuretic
Parsnips are naturally diuretic food. To put it simply, diuretic foods will make your rabbits urinate more frequently. If you have one suffering from urinary tract infection or kidney stones, a little parsnip treat once in a while will do relief.
Parsnips keep the heart happy
As diuretics, parsnips also contribute to good heart health in rabbits. By removing excess water from kidneys, parsnips make it easier for your rabbits’ heart to pump. It also lowers the chances of enlargement of blood vessels.
Parsnips are filling and tough
Because of the carbohydrates present in parsnips, it will keep your rabbits full for a long time. Also, gnawing on this tough vegetable will soothe their ever-growing teeth. It will help to wear down the teeth, and thus avoiding dental complications.
Still, the debate on – can rabbits eat parsnips or not – has some reservations. Let’s address these concerns too.
- High sugar content in parsnips can upset the microorganisms in the caecum and cause stomachache and soft stools
- Vitamin C present in parsnips can hamper kidney functions, as rabbits can self-produce the required amount of Vitamin C
- Parsnips contain high levels of phosphorus that can be damaging to liver and bones
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Parsnips?
No, you shouldn’t give your rabbits cooked parsnips.
Cooked parsnips, like any other cooked food, will be soggy and may contain sauce or other ingredients.
It won’t only be hard for your rabbits to chew and digest but can also cause serious harm to their health, depending on what ingredients are used.
For example, while cooking, parsnips are often glazed with honey or other sweet sauces. Now, if you feed that to your rabbits, the consequences can lead from an upset stomach but can also lead to fatal conditions like colic.
Recommended Rabbit Food
Yes, your rabbits can eat parsnips, when given in moderate amounts occasionally.
As long as given sparingly, parsnips, including their peelings and tops, can make refreshing treats. However, don’t feed cooked parsnips as they’re too soft, sweet, and ‘dangerous’ to suit your rabbit’s palette.
When deciding whether or not can you give rabbits parsnips, there are various factors to consider, like age, weight, health status, and so on. Start with a tiny amount at first, and if they respond positively, you can include it in their diet more often in the future.
Hutch and Cage.com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim is to provide the reader with information to enable them to make a good decision when making a purchase or caring for their pet. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you’re concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.