What Fruits Can Rabbits Eat?
Some of the Best Food for Rabbits Includes Fruit
A frequent question I’m asked is “What fruits can rabbits eat?” It’s a good question. While there are a variety of fruits your rabbit can safely eat, there are a few that you should steer away from feeding. There are also parts of popular fruits that might poison your bunny. Luckily, most of the fruits you might grow or commonly find at the grocery store are perfect for your bunnies.
We like to offer our rabbits fruit as a small part of their diet because it’s always a good idea to offer your livestock a variety of foods to meet their nutritional requirements. It’s also a lot of fun to watch them get excited at the possibility of treats.
Fruits, in particular, are great training tools since rabbits love the natural sugars. A great bonding activity is to feed your bunny fruit when spending time together. While most of the fresh food your rabbits eat should be leafy greens, there are several fruits you can give them that are also a nutritious treat.
Fresh fruits are also a great alternative to overly processed treats you might find at your local grocery stores. Avoid these types of treats, if possible, in favor of fresh foods full of vitamins.
Some fun rabbit facts are that in the wild, our fluffy friends will willingly indulge on whatever fruits they find, such as strawberries. Bunnies certainly love the natural sugars. Unfortunately, they also don’t know when to quit when it comes to fruit, so that’s where you come in.
When it comes to feeding fruits to rabbits, only offer them in small quantities and don’t introduce more than one variety at a time. Because of the sugars, your rabbit’s gastrointestinal system can easily be thrown out of whack by too many new foods at once.
If you want to start feeding your rabbit fruit, it’s always a good idea to make sure his diet is well-established with a high protein feed in addition to a quality hay. It’s best to only offer about 2 tablespoons of fruit per two pounds of weight.
Offer new, fresh fruits slowly to make sure the sugars don’t upset his GI tract. If your rabbit shows signs of soft stool or an upset tummy, then stop feeding the treats, and offer only his regular grain and hay.
You can safely offer your rabbits the following fruits:
Apples (without stems or seeds. The seeds are poisonous.)
Bananas (without the skins)
Peaches (without the pit)
Pineapple (without the skin)
Pears (no seeds or stem)
Berries such as blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
Cherries (without leaves or pits because those parts of the plant contain cyanide, and are very poisonous.)
Grapes and apples are a particular favorite on our farm, and the rabbits get very excited when they see I’m carrying some for them! I offer them cut into slices, mainly so the rabbits can indulge their desire to chew, and chew on something that’s good for them.
When it comes to grapes and bananas, however, only offer them very sparingly. We offer just one or two grapes a couple times a week, and a half-inch slice of banana every few days. These two fruits are so high in sugar that they could easily damage your rabbit’s GI tract if not offered in moderation. If you have offered a large piece of banana, then consider not offering fruit for a few days.
If you want to give your rabbits dried fruits, you should remember that they contain concentrated sugars. Dried fruits contain about three times as much as fresh fruit, so you should take this into consideration when offering them to your bunnies. As always, fresh is better, and I think rabbits prefer fresh fruit over dried, anyway.
We offer fruit frequently, but not every day because of the sugars in them. The Humane Society of the United States suggests that rabbits fed fruits too often might start to turn their noses up at other foods that are more nutritious, so we try to keep their intake down while still offering fruit as treats. After all, fruits do contain many of the vitamins rabbits need.
If your goal is to breed your brood for a sustainable supply of meat, then you might be wondering what to feed meat rabbits. Small amounts of fruit each week are a good idea to make sure your rabbits get all the vitamins necessary for reproduction. At one point in our rabbit breeding career, our rabbits did not want to breed, and after some research, I determined the problem was they were likely not eating the right amount of nutrients. We made some small adjustments to their diets, and haven’t had a problem since.
One idea to incorporate fruits into your bunny’s diet is to offer them a treat daily, such as a favorite fruit, leafy green, or herb, and use it as a way to determine health status. For example, if every day you offer a piece of fruit to your bunny, but one day he turns his nose up at it, you know it’s time to call the vet.
To make treat time more exciting, you can also offer a small piece of fruit mixed with a favorite herb. If you’re not sure what herbs can rabbits eat that might mix well with fruit, consider dandelion leaves.
If you’re wondering “What fruits can rabbits eat that have a skin?” then apples are a good choice, as are pears and melons. It’s always best to wash the skin before offering it to your bunny. If you think the fruit may have been exposed to pesticides, then it’s better to remove the skins, or just offer only organic, pesticide-free fruit to them.
Giving your rabbits a treat they’ll find tasty is always a good idea. When it comes to fruits, moderation is best, and using the list above, you’ll be able to show your love for your furry friend while still offering an ideal diet.
If you’re interested in learning more about raising rabbits, then grab my free checklist “10 Tips to Raising Healthy, Happy Rabbits!”
What treats do you give your bunnies and how often do you give them? Let us know in the comments below.