Feeding a rabbit is an easy but tricky task. We need to provide them with food that contains the nutritional value that they need. However, there are only a select few vegetables that they can eat. Is zucchini part of it? Can rabbits eat zucchini?
What Is Zucchini?
Zucchinis or courgette is a green vegetable that belongs to the summer squash family and is best harvested when the vegetable is still young. The vegetable contains a superb nutritional value that both you and your pet rabbit will benefit from.
What is the nutritional value of Zucchinis?
Zucchini contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your rabbits need. A large raw zucchini that is around 11.05 oz has a nutritional value of the following:
Zucchinis also contain the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
And here are the antioxidants that your rabbits can benefit from eating zucchinis.
The nutritional value that zucchini has is what your rabbits exactly need as it helps help your rabbits build a strong immune system.
Is It Safe for Rabbits to Eat Zucchinis?
Zucchinis are 100% safe for rabbits to eat. However, the zucchini must not be your rabbits’ primary food source as it contains little fiber.
Remember the rabbits’ feeding rule, which is 70%-80% hay and 20%-30% vegetables and fruits. You must continue giving them hay or other food that contains fiber.
Otherwise, your rabbits will not meet the fiber per day requirement, leading them to get severe digestive issues.
How Many Zucchinis Can Rabbits Eat?
Before feeding your rabbits with Zucchinis, you must first know how much they weigh. Why? It is because feeding your rabbits and their weights are needed to get the correct number of zucchinis for your rabbits to munch.
The ideal amount of zucchini you should feed your more than seven months is 128 grams for every 2 pounds or 1 kilogram (rabbits’ weight). Check the example below.
|Rabbit’s Weight Bracket
|Zucchini per grams
|1 pound to 3 pounds
|4 pounds to 6 pounds
|7 pounds to 9 pounds
|10 pounds to 12 pounds
When Can Rabbits Eat Zucchini?
For rabbits below seven months old and those lighter than 3 pounds, the allowed amount of zucchini that you can feed your rabbits is just 15 grams.
When feeding the younger rabbits, or when you are still introducing zucchinis to them, provide them with lesser than 15 grams of zucchini.
You can mix it with other vegetables when feeding them. Once they get acquainted with it, slowly increase the grams until you can provide them 128 grams in full.
The above weight to zucchini ratio applies only to those rabbits that are not pregnant. Pregnant rabbits have a special diet since it carries several kittens inside them. Her diet must be sufficient to feed herself and all the kittens she carries inside.
However, please do so if their vet tells you to include zucchini as their primary source of fiber, other vitamins, and minerals. Just follow the diet strictly, and do not overfeed your rabbits with zucchini.
How to Prepare the Zucchini for Rabbits
Rabbits are natural eaters. They eat both raw and cooked food. Thus, it is not hard to feed them zucchinis as you can just give them raw. But, wash the zucchini first with running water to remove the chemicals and pesticides sprayed on it.
If your rabbits prefer the cooked zucchinis, you may boil it or steam it but keep it natural. Do not add any seasoning to it as it may upset your rabbits’ stomach.
3 Easy Ways on Giving Zucchini to Rabbits
If you are new to rabbitry, or a new rabbit owner, you might be thinking about how you will feed your rabbits with zucchini. Here are the steps you take exactly when feeding zucchini to your rabbits.
- Give them zucchini that corresponds to their weight requirement.
- Chop the zucchini and give it to them as a snack.
- You can also give them chopped zucchinis as a treat when training them.
When Can Rabbits Not Eat Zucchinis?
Though zucchinis are healthy vegetables and full of vitamins and minerals, these green vegetables must not be given to rabbits with issues with fibers, sugar, and other vitamins and minerals that are high in zucchini.
Some rabbits with the conditions listed below must not be fed with zucchinis.
- Urinary Tract Infection
What Will Happen to the Rabbits if They Eat Too Much Zucchini?
Overfeeding your rabbits with zucchini is okay since it is a vegetable. However, what is not okay is its side effects that can kill your rabbits. Here is the list of the most common side effects that can be fatal.
They will not eat their poop.
Hold on, this one may seem absurd, but this is true, and it is very typical to the rabbits.
Overfeeding your rabbits will result in an uneaten caecotroph. Caecortroph is technically a poop that helps rabbits digest their food thoroughly. It may be gross, but the rabbits need to eat the caecotroph to help their digestive system.
Caecotroph usually occurs if the rabbits’ diet doesn’t have enough fiber. This is why zucchini must not be given in large amounts since it contains more water fiber than the rabbits badly need. Their diet must contain at least 70% fiber.
They will have an upset stomach.
Another reason why you should not overfeed your rabbits with zucchini is that it upsets their stomach, which may lead to severe diarrhea. Diarrhea to rabbits is very deadly. It can cause dehydration and organ problems.
It can cause them GI Stasis.
GI stasis or gastrointestinal stasis is when the rabbits have issues passing the food in their gastrointestinal tract. This is mainly caused by the number of bacteria in their GI tract due to high carbohydrates.
Thus, your rabbits must have a balanced diet, and it must contain at least 70% hay.
Check this video to see how to take care and prevent rabbits from getting GI Stasis:
How to Treat Rabbits That Overeats Zucchini?
Saving your rabbits from the deadly effects of overeating zucchini may be challenging, but here are the best things you should do.
- Give them hays to eat once you notice that your rabbits are acting weird after eating the zucchinis. Continue feeding them until they get enough fiber, and their digestive tract’s number of bacteria is back to normal.
- Always have clean water for them. Giving them access to clean water will minimize the chances of your rabbits getting dehydrated.
- If the symptoms persist, bring your rabbit to the vet. Let them check and see if any organ failures or other diseases affect your rabbits’ recovery.
- If the rabbits surpass the health challenge and fully recover from it, remove the zucchini from their diet and avoid giving it a snack or treat.
They might not survive the second time they will get sick.
What Should You Feed Your Rabbits During the Recovery Period?
When feeding your still recovering rabbits, give them the diet they used before providing them with zucchini.
You should continue feeding your rabbits with fresh vegetables. However, be cautious and be vigilant, check the nutritional value of the vegetables, and make sure that it will not affect your rabbits’ health.
Fruits are primarily high in vitamin C. If not, it is high in sugar. So, before you start giving them one, re-evaluate your rabbits’ health. If they have issues with their sugar, do not give them any high sugar fruits as it will increase their chances of getting organ damage.
Rabbit pellets are one of the safest foods to feed your rabbits. However, always check the label and see if the rabbit food is compatible with your rabbits’ health and diet.
There must be something in the water that helps your rabbits to recover. So, always give them clean and fresh water every meal.
It is also essential that their food bowl, water bowl, and water bottle or container are always clean. Thus, make sure to clean the bowls before you pour water into them.
What Vegetables Can You Give to Your Rabbits?
There are a lot of vegetables that you can give to your rabbits; here are some alternatives to zucchinis.
This is the safest vegetable that you can give your rabbits. They will also love the crunch when they start munching the carrots. Plus, these vegetables contain beta-carotene is beneficial to your rabbits.
Cucumber is another vegetable that is rich in water. This can be a good snack for your rabbits. But, do not give out the whole cucumber to them. Chop them and just give 1 or 2 bite-size cucumbers.
Oh, your rabbits will love the celery’s crunchiness. Celeries are also an excellent food for rabbits as it contains vitamins and minerals. They are best given when mixed with your rabbits’ meal.
Lettuce contains a number of fibers. So, if you want an alternative to the hay, you might need to consider lettuce to be part of your rabbits’ diet.
Your rabbits can eat zucchinis but do not overfeed them. Follow the weight to zucchini ratio when giving zucchinis to your rabbits to avoid any health issues resulting from the rabbits eating too many zucchinis.