Many people enjoy eating oranges due to their refreshing flavor and nutritional benefits. Maybe you’ve thought of giving this common citrus fruit to your pet bunny. However, can rabbits eat oranges? Are they suitable for your furry friends? Find out the answer and a lot more in this article.
Your Rabbit and Oranges
Where do oranges come from?
The origin of the largest citrus crop globally traces back to China. However, Brazil is the number one producer of oranges, contributing to about 30% of the world’s harvest.
The US ranks second, producing around 10% of international output. Most of the oranges that Americans enjoy come from California, Florida, Arizona, and Texas.
How healthy are oranges?
Oranges are composed mainly of water and carbohydrates, just like most fruits. They are relatively low-calorie and contain a small amount of fat and protein. Oranges are also a rich source of dietary fiber and folic acid.
This well-loved citrus fruit contains many bioactive plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. These compounds include carotenoids, flavonoids, and Vitamin C.
Please check out this chart that shows the nutritional content of a 140-gram orange.
86% by weight
9% of the daily value
92% of the daily value
5% of the daily value
5% of the daily value
Can rabbits eat oranges?
Yes, rabbits can surely eat oranges! However, just like any bunny-friendly fruit, you need to give them in moderation. It would be best to provide this citrus fruit as an occasional treat and not a large part of your bunny’s diet. Fresh hay is always the best primary meal for your furry friends.
The orange’s vitamin and mineral content may suit your rabbit’s health, but its high sugar content can also harm them. Sugar can mess up the natural balance of good bacteria found in the bunny’s cecum. It can also negatively affect how nutrients are absorbed in the gut.
Here’s a video of an adorable bunny eating an orange.
Can rabbits eat different kinds of oranges?
There is a wide variety of oranges available in grocery stores and markets. Since most of these varieties have the same nutritional value, you can feed any orange to your rabbit as an occasional snack.
The Risks and Benefits of Feeding Oranges to your Rabbits
Any fruit or vegetable that you can feed your rabbit has risks and benefits. It is important to note that what is good for humans may not suit bunnies. Always proceed with caution when giving them food aside from hay.
What are the advantages of feeding oranges to your rabbits?
1. It provides essential vitamins and minerals for your rabbit’s healthy growth
Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, supporting your bunny’s immune system. It also contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium that can strengthen their bones, joints, and nerves.
Oranges also have beta-carotene to enhance the coat and skin and lower blood pressure. The orange’s vitamin B6 and B12 content can also boost the bunny’s metabolism.
2. It contributes fiber to the bunny’s gut health
Citrus fruits such as oranges have vast amounts of soluble fiber called pectin. It can help aid a rabbit’s digestion and relieve constipation. Fiber is an integral part of a bunny’s diet, so slipping in some oranges once in a while can help them maintain good gut health.
What are the risks of giving your rabbits oranges?
1. Excessive vitamin C can cause kidney problems
Unlike humans, rabbits don’t need vast amounts of vitamin C or ascorbic acid because they can produce it within their bodies. Too much ascorbic acid can lead to kidney problems.
2. The high sugar content can cause health issues
We’ve mentioned earlier that too much sugar can disrupt a rabbit’s digestive system and cecum function. Unhealthy gut flora can cause GI stasis or diarrhea, both fatal diseases. It can also make them obese or overweight-conditions that may lead to more health problems in the long run.
Excessive sugar intake can also damage your bunny’s teeth. We all know that a rabbit’s teeth are essential for survival, so they should be given extra care.
3. Too much acid in the rabbit’s stomach can be harmful
Giving your rabbits too much acidic food, such as oranges, can harm their mess up the ideal pH of their stomach, which is 1 or 2.
7 Tips on Giving Oranges to Your Rabbits
Even if there are risks involved in feeding oranges to your rabbits, you can still let them enjoy this sweet treat. The key is always in portion control and feeding schedule.
How do you feed oranges to your bunnies?
Here are some tips that you can follow so your rabbits can safely enjoy sweet and juicy oranges.
- Give your bunnies a tiny piece for the first time. Observe their reaction to see whether they love it or not. If you notice any dislike, don’t force it on them. You may try giving it again some other day. If they don’t like it, then move on to other fruits.
- Avoid filling their diet with oranges. Their primary source of food should always be fresh hay. Giving your rabbits too many sugary treats can make them lose their appetite for hay and pellets.
- Choose a plump and fresh orange. If the fruit looks dried up, don’t give it to your rabbits anymore since it might be bitter. Then wash it carefully to remove any pesticide residue, if any.
- Peel the orange and remove as much white pith as possible. Pick the seeds and dispose properly to avoid any choking incidents.
- It would be easier to give oranges split into wedges than one whole fruit.
- Avoid feeding other fruits or vegetables with oranges. New kinds of food should be introduced one at a time to observe any adverse reactions. Giving a variety of food in one sitting mya upset their stomachs.
- Keep observing your rabbit every day for any unusual bodily functions or behavior. If you notice anything wrong, stop giving oranges immediately.
At what age can a rabbit eat oranges?
Please wait until your rabbit is seven months old before giving it oranges. Younger bunnies than this age could not correctly digest excessive sugar due to underdeveloped gut flora. If younger rabbits ingest oranges, they may suffer from GI stasis or diarrhea. These digestive diseases can rapidly kill your pet.
Your Guide to Feeding Your Rabbits Oranges
To maximize the nutritional content of oranges while keeping your rabbits safe, here is a guide that you can follow.
How many oranges can I give my bunnies?
Check out this chart below for the appropriate amount of oranges you can give your pet.
Example of breed
Amount of oranges
1.1 to 3.5 pounds (small breeds)
1 to 2 times per week
6 to 10 pounds (medium breed)
1 to 2 times per week
9-12 pounds (large breed)
1 to 2 times per week
Can lactate or pregnant rabbits eat oranges?
Rabbits who are pregnant or lactating can have an occasional orange treat, but it would be best if you avoid giving it. Mama Rabbits need to consume more nutrient-dense food over sugary fruits. You must focus on providing them with fresh hay and vegetables to make their motherhood journey healthier.
When is not the right time to feed your rabbits oranges?
Avoid giving your bunnies oranges or other fruits when they’re already suffering from stomach issues. If you observe changes in your rabbit’s stool color, size, or consistency, refrain from giving it other food except for fresh hay.
Bring your pet immediately to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Digestive issues can worsen quickly, so early intervention is the key to keeping them safe and healthy.
Can You Feed Orange Peels to Your Rabbits?
While there’s nothing wrong with giving your rabbits orange peels, some veterinarians advise against it. Orange peels may have some nutritional value, but they might still have traces of pesticides. The harmful effect of these toxins is what experts are concerned about.
If you want to feed your rabbits orange peels, make sure they are organic and pesticide-free. Washing alone can’t ensure the safety of these peels, so it would be best to purchase them from reliable sources.
Is orange juice safe for rabbits?
Store-brought orange juice contains high amounts of sugar, so it’s a no-no for rabbits. Please follow the prescribed amount if you plan to give your bunnies freshly-squeezed OJ.
So, can rabbits eat oranges? They sure can! But as with any other fruit, it would be best to give them in moderation. Oranges contain high amounts of sugar, which can be harmful to your rabbits. So, an occasional citrusy treat will be enough for your furry pals.