Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?

Rabbits Jun 23, 2021
Written by | Updated Oct 15, 2021
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Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?

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You listened to your mom, and you eat lots of broccoli each week.

After all, it’s one of the best vegetables for you! The question is, can rabbits have broccoli?

The answer depends on a few different factors. Broccoli is a “gassy” vegetable (at least until you get used to it) and some rabbits really do not tolerate the “flower” portion well. Others love it and experience no tummy troubles whatsoever.

So, should you feed broccoli to a rabbit? Let’s take a closer look. There’s quite a lot of info to digest so get comfy!

You’re about to learn all the ins and outs associated with broccoli for rabbits.

Broccoli Nutrition Stats

Anyone who knows anything about nutrition will tell you that broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables around! It’s low in calories, nutrient-dense, and absolutely delicious.

In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends cruciferous vegetables including broccoli as part of your regular diet. So even if your rabbit can’t eat broccoli, you’ll want to consider upping your intake!

A one-cup serving of broccoli contains:

  • 55 calories
  • 11 g carbohydrates
  • 5 g fiber
  • 4 g protein
  • .3 g fat

Broccoli Nutritional Facts

There’s a reason why broccoli is such a highly desirable superfood. It is absolutely brimming with essential nutrients that can help you stay healthy by lowering oxidative stress and protecting your cells.

It’s full of minerals to help maintain strong bones and promote proper muscle function, and it’s great for your heart.

A cup of broccoli offers:

  • 100 mcg vitamin K
  • 120 mg vitamin A
  • 457 mg potassium
  • 168 mcg folate
  • 101 mg vitamin C
  • .4 mg vitamin B6
  • .4 mg manganese
  • 62 mg calcium
  • 33 mg magnesium
  • 105 mg phosphorus

Can Rabbits Have Broccoli?

Here’s the thing. While there’s some disagreement on the topic of broccoli for rabbits, most bunnies love it and can have it in small amounts. So technically, rabbits can have broccoli.

Now for the tricky part: Most do best when treated to just the broccoli leaves and small stems. The thicker stalks and flower portion of the broccoli can cause your rabbit to get gas, particularly if you feed too much all at once or forget to introduce them slowly over time.

Since rabbits cannot pass gas, excess buildup gets trapped in the intestines, where it causes intense discomfort and creates toxicity.

If your bunny has had digestive issues in the past, they might have an even more sensitive tummy than average, and broccoli might not be a good treat.

Your vet can provide you with a knowledgeable opinion and more advice – and we’re here to tell you that if they’ve seen your pet for digestive trouble in the past, they’re likely to take a cautious stance and advise against giving your rabbit broccoli.

Is Broccoli Good For Rabbits?

Yes and no. Broccoli offers lots of nutritional benefits for your bunny’s entire body, and if they’re one of the lucky ones that can eat the tougher stalks and florets, then broccoli might even be good for your rabbit’s teeth as it can help promote dental wear.

While we’re on the topic, here’s a quick reminder: Do remember to give your bunny chew toys – food alone normally isn’t enough to allow for essential dental wear!

How Much Broccoli Can A Rabbit Eat?

People who love broccoli can eat lots of it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for rabbits. Broccoli needs to be consumed in moderation even if your bunny rabbit tolerates it well.

Here’s a quick guide to how much broccoli to feed a rabbit:

Age Amount
Baby rabbits None
Juvenile rabbits None
Adult rabbits Maximum: 1 tablespoon of broccoli per 2 pounds of body weight per day

As with other new foods, you’ll want to introduce broccoli slowly over time, particularly if you’re handing out stalks and florets. Try a single small broccoli leaf at first, see if your rabbit likes the taste, and don’t push it if your bunny turns their nose up at it. Not all rabbits like broccoli, after all!

If your rabbit likes broccoli leaves, watch carefully for signs of tummy trouble for then next 24 hours. If you notice diarrhea or if your rabbit seems at all uncomfortable, don’t offer any more broccoli.

It’s not worth the risk. If, on the other hand, your rabbit has normal stools and is as energetic as always, you can try feeding a little more broccoli leaf and a small amount of stalk – about a teaspoon – the next day.

Repeat the watching and waiting period and if all goes well, consider testing about a teaspoon of broccoli floret to see if your rabbit enjoys it. If they do well with the florets, you can start adding small amounts of broccoli (no more than a tablespoon per two pounds of body weight per day) to your rabbit’s daily salad.

If you’re offering other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage or brussels sprouts, then you’ll want to skip the broccoli that day.

How Often Can A Rabbit Eat Broccoli?

Once you’ve confirmed that your rabbit likes broccoli and tolerates it well, you can give them a maximum of one tablespoon of broccoli per two pounds of rabbit body weight per day. Most people prefer to err on the side of caution and give far less than this – perhaps a few small leaves and maybe a small floret or two, along with a short, crunchy section of stalk.

Remember to mix things up and don’t substitute broccoli for your rabbit’s daily portion of hay!

The Correct Diet is Important

Wild rabbits spend their whole lives nibbling on native grasses, clover, and other green plants. If they have the opportunity to get into a garden and feast on young, tender broccoli plants, they will do so happily – but it’s worth noting that they tend to focus on the leaves rather than the florets.

Here’s a quick guide to rabbit nutrition. Every day, make sure your rabbit eats:

  • Fresh hay – no limit; make sure hay is always available
  • Fresh water – unlimited amount; refill your bunny’s waterer at least once per day
  • A serving of age-appropriate rabbit pellets at least once per day (The food’s label is your guide to serving size)
  • Bunny salad containing approximately 1 cup of mixed leafy greens for every two pounds of body weight along with a few crunchy vegetables (see the list below for some ideas)
  • A few treats, different items each day, but no more than about a teaspoon of rabbit-safe fruit per two pounds of body weight. Apples, pears, peaches, bananas, and berries are a few favorites.
  • About one tablespoon of large seeds, i.e. pumpkin, squash, and sunflower seeds unless they’re already blended into your rabbit’s food

What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Broccoli In A Rabbit’s Diet?

Whether you’re looking for natural rabbit treats and ideas for your bunny’s daily salad, or if you’d rather avoid feeding your rabbit broccoli altogether, you’ll be glad to know that there are lots of healthy vegetables for rabbits!

Try offering:

  • parsley
  • basil
  • endive
  • cilantro
  • carrot tops
  • swiss chard
  • radish tops
  • beet greens
  • spinach
  • romaine lettuce
  • arugula
  • butter lettuce
  • bibb lettuce
  • cabbage
  • brussels sprouts
  • dandelion greens
  • escarole
  • bok choy
  • fennel
  • yu choy
  • squash
  • mint
  • wheatgrass
  • beets
  • turnips
  • turnip greens
  • carrots
  • okra leaves
  • clover
  • bell peppers

Remember to treat your rabbit to a varied diet, and always introduce new foods one at a time, slowly. Different foods provide a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals that can help your bunny enjoy a healthy, happy life!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is broccoli safe for rabbits?

In general, yes – but not all rabbits tolerate it well. Watch for diarrhea and lethargy. If you notice that your rabbit has loose stools or seems to have no energy, get to the vet. Introducing broccoli in very small quantities, beginning with the leaves only as recommended is the best way to keep your bunny safe, comfortable, and happy. It’s fine if you’d rather not take any risks! After all, there are plenty of other natural treats that are good for rabbits.

Can I give broccoli to a baby rabbit?

No. Don’t make the mistake of giving broccoli to a baby bunny. In fact, don’t give your baby bunny treats other than small amounts of dark green lettuce such as romaine! Baby rabbits should only eat hay and age-appropriate rabbit food, along with plenty of fresh water. Their sensitive digestive systems simply can’t handle anything else.

Can broccoli make my rabbit sick?

Yes. Too much broccoli all at once is a recipe for serious trouble. If your rabbit doesn’t seem to tolerate broccoli well, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

What are signs that broccoli gave my rabbit gas?

Since rabbits cannot pass gas, any buildup can cause serious discomfort. Signs that your rabbit has gas include:

  • Swollen stomach that feels hard
  • Lying in a curled up position
  • Pressing their tummies flat against the bottom of their hutch or the floor
  • Gurgling noises coming from your bunny’s belly

If you are at all worried, be sure to call your vet – and avoid feeding broccoli in the future as gas is a clear sign that your rabbit simply cannot tolerate it.

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Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens.
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