Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Admin
Kale is a leafy vegetable belonging to the Brassica Oleracea group, commonly known for their edible leaves. However, one of the questions often asked by bunny owners is, can rabbits eat Kale? And if so, is safe or fit for rabbit consumption? Our article not only answers that but it also looks at the nutritional value kales have if any, and if they do, the quantity to feed your rabbits. It also delves deep into the risk associated with overfeeding Kale.
Can rabbits eat kale?
The short answer is yes; rabbits can eat kale. All kale varieties, whether it’s Baby, Curly, Chinese, Lacinato, Ornamental, Redbor, or Red Russian are fit for rabbit consumption. The kale leaves, roots and stems are all edible and should always be served raw. However, just like any other vegetable, feeding your rabbits moderately is key. The rule of thumb when it comes to quantity is one or two kale leaves twice per week. This is of course alongside other edible vegetables and hay as their primary diet. Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that prior to introducing kale to your rabbit’s diet, make sure that your bunny is at least 3 months old.
Introducing kale to your rabbit’s diet
Before introducing kale to your rabbit’s diet, make sure that the leafy vegetable is fresh and properly rinsed. This basically removes any chemicals or pesticide residues that may be present especially if the veggie is from the store.
When it comes to serving your rabbit kale for the first time, do so gradually, since rabbits generally have sensitive stomachs. Start off by feeding your bunny a single small kale leaf with the stem cut into bits to avoid choking your bunny, then wait for 24 hours to see how its belly reacts. If there are any signs of digestive distress such as your rabbit experiencing diarrhea, bloating, or lethargy, avoid feeding them a Kale diet. However, if your bunny reacts positively to their new kale diet, gradually increase their serving to a larger kale leaf then eventually to two pieces twice per week.
The nutritional value kale provides rabbits
Kale is a highly nutritious vegetable packed with essential nutrients that contribute to the overall growth and development of rabbits. Below is a list of the nutritional value the leafy green contains.
- Fiber– Kale contains fiber which helps keep a rabbit’s digestive system functioning properly. Nonetheless, hay and grass provide your bunny with the most fiber content.
- Vitamin A– Vitamin A is also contained in kale and what it basically does is help improve a rabbit’s immune system and vision. Additionally, it also helps with the proper functionality of their heart, kidneys, and lungs.
- Vitamin C–This particular vitamin helps strengthen a rabbit’s immune system by basically acting as an antioxidant.
- Vitamin K– Another essential nutrient the leafy vegetable has is vitamin K. This basically helps with a rabbit’s bone development and also helps with blood clot acceleration.
- Calcium –One of the minerals kale has is calcium. This basically helps with the strengthening of a rabbit’s bones and teeth. Calcium also contributes to the proper functionality of a rabbit’s heart and nervous system.
- Protein– The other benefit kale provides rabbits is its protein content. This essentially helps build muscle, providing your bunnies with strength, thus contributing to their overall healthy growth.
- Potassium – Helps reduce the risk of rabbits developing cardiovascular diseases or high blood pressure.
- Magnesium– This particular mineral is essential when it comes to maintaining a rabbit’s blood pressure as well as aiding their metabolic reactions.
- Iron-Another mineral kale contains is iron. It basically aids the production of enzymes and blood as well as the production of hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that aids the distribution of oxygen from a rabbit’s lungs to other body parts.
- Water content –Lastly, the high water content found in kale helps keep your rabbit hydrated.
Risks of feeding rabbit’s excessive kale
Although kale is a healthy diet for rabbits, feeding them excessively can have adverse effects on their health. Firstly, overfeeding your bunny kale can lead to gas buildup in its system, as a result causing discomfort. Considering that kale contains calcium, excessively feeding your rabbit can lead to the development of kidney stones which as a result may end up damaging their kidneys.
Although rabbits can eat kale, it only makes up a small percentage of a rabbit’s diet. In other words, they need a balanced diet that comprises primarily 85% hay, 10% greens which includes kale, and the remaining 5% consisting of fruits and pellets as treats.