Recently, there has been a lot of talk about feeding raw kale to rabbits. It is important that you understand the pros and cons before deciding on this course of action. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know before feeding your pet rabbit some fresh kale!
Food family of kale raw.
Kale is a member of the food family of cabbage and is closely related to collards, broccoli and cauliflower. It contains large amounts of beta-carotene, Vitamin A and iron. It also has very few calories per cup (36 calories) cooked or raw, which makes it an excellent choice if your rabbit needs to lose weight.
How often should I give my rabbits kale raw?
You should feed your bunny their greens every day, if possible. If they are picking at them throughout the day you can consider that eating some! It is also important to be careful not to overfeed your rabbit kale or other vegetables high in calcium or oxalic acids. These foods should only account for about 1/4 of their daily diet.
How much kale raw do rabbits eat a day?
It depends on the weight of the rabbit, but they tend to enjoy eating about 1/2-1 cup per day. This may increase or decrease according to their size and age.
What kale raw is safe for rabbits?
Once again, you should avoid feeding your bunny any type of cabbage family vegetable that is raw. If it is cooked, there should be no problem.
What is your experience feeding kale raw to rabbits?
I feed my rabbits kale sprouts several times per week. As long as I make sure to cook them, they love the taste of it and feel much better after eating their greens!
Is kale raw bad for rabbits?
Kale does contain thiaminase, so if you feed your rabbit large amounts of kale on a regular basis, thiamine deficiency may develop. However, this can easily be prevented by cooking the kale sprouts before feeding them to your pet.
Is it safe to feed kale raw to your pet rabbits?
Raw kale is very healthy for your bunny if it does not contain thiamine-destroying enzymes. However, some types of kale do have the enzyme so it is important to know which ones are safe to feed to your pet. As mentioned above, you should avoid feeding your rabbit any type of cabbage family vegetable that is raw.
If it is cooked, there should be no problem.
Where can I get kale raw for my rabbits?
You can buy kale raw at many grocery stores and health food markets. However, it is also very easy to grow your own kale in your garden or on your patio! Just place the seeds in loose, well-drained soil and keep them watered until they sprout.
What to do if your pet rabbits are sick from eating kale raw?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix if you find out your rabbit has been eating large amounts of kale raw. The good news is that thiamine deficiency is both manageable and preventable. Just avoid feeding your rabbits foods high in thiaminase, which includes raw cabbage family vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and Brussels sprouts.
Do rabbits like kale raw?
When it comes to making a food decision for your pet, it is always best to ask whether or not they would eat the food themselves. Many people have noted that their rabbits seem to love kale and will eat as much of it as you give them! That being said, there are some equally enthusiastic rabbit owners who would never consider feeding kale to their rabbits. The main reason for this is that the thiaminase enzyme can cause health problems if it is not destroyed by cooking.
Can pet rabbits eat kale raw?
If you are feeding your rabbit fresh kale from a garden or store, the first thing you need to be aware of is that some varieties might not be safe for rabbits. In fact, many green vegetables can be bad for bunnies if they contain thiaminase. This enzyme breaks down Vitamin B1 and causes a debilitating disease called “thiamine deficiency.”
4 steps to prepare kale raw for rabbits.
- Remove kale leaves from central stem.
- Rinse under cool water until no dirt remains.
- Pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- Steam kale for 5-7 minutes or saute in oil on medium heat until slightly tender (Do not use high heat, as this will destroy the nutrients).
7 health benefits of kale raw for rabbits.
- Provides a great source of fiber that helps keep their gut healthy and moving.
- Helps prevent obesity due to the high fiber content, which makes them feel full with fewer calories!
- Contains many vitamins and minerals that help support overall good health like vitamin A, C, E, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
- Helps reduce constipation.
- Contains many antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals that cause cancer and other diseases.
- Provides lots of energy because it is packed with iron to keep muscles healthy! Iron also helps form red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Increases appetite because it contains vitamin A, which is important for taste and smell.
4 Possible concerns when feeding kale raw to rabbits.
- Kale may contain oxalic acid, an organic compound that blocks calcium absorption in the gut by forming calcium oxalate stones in the kidneys and bladder. This is most often seen in rabbits with poor diets that contain little calcium and high amounts of oxalic acid vegetables like kale.
- Kale may cause thiamine deficiency when fed too often because it contains an enzyme called thiaminase which destroys vitamin B1 (thiamine). Thiamine is necessary for healthy neurological and metabolic function, so feeding your rabbit kale too often may lead to health problems that relate to these functions.
- Kale contains kaempferol and isorhamnetin which can cause damage to red blood cells called Heinz bodies with large intakes over a long period of time. This mostly occurs in rabbits who have been fed kale for months or years instead of being fed a species appropriate diet. Long term feeding is not recommended because it may lead to problems like anemia and the inability to transport oxygen throughout the body.
- Kale can be high in sodium and should therefore be avoided if your rabbit has kidney disease, as excess fluid retention could lead to an increase in pressure on the organ and eventually cause failure.
7 signs pet rabbits are sick from feeding kale raw.
- Loss of appetite or sudden food refusal after eating kale for a period of time could indicate that they have been eating too much kale or it doesn’t agree with their system anymore. You should immediately decrease kale consumption and increase hay, water, pellets and other vegetables like carrots if they are eating these again.
- Diarrhea can indicate that kale is causing irritation or an imbalance in gut bacteria which could lead to inflammation of the intestines. You should decrease their kale intake to half of what they eat now for 7-10 days then slowly increase it again.
- Not consuming enough water could mean the diet is too dry, which means they are not getting enough nutrients, so be sure to offer plenty of fresh hay and pellets in addition to kale. It could also indicate an issue with the kidneys since rabbits need high fluid intake in order for their kidneys to function properly. If you notice your rabbit is drinking less water than usual, take them to a vet right away.
- Diarrhea and constipation can also both be signs of gastrointestinal parasites if they come on suddenly after eating kale for a long period of time. You should immediately reduce kale intake and feed only small amounts of hay and pellets until the stools are soft and regular.
- Not pooping for multiple days without any change in diet could mean that kale is causing blockage or physical damage to the gastrointestinal tract which can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. Take your rabbit to a vet immediately if they have not gone to the bathroom after 6-12 hours of eating kale.
- Weight loss can be caused by kale’s low calcium to phosphorus ratio which causes mineral imbalance in the body over time if fed too often, leading to muscle spasms and eventually death. Decreasing kale intake should help improve appetite and weight gain again.
- Falling over for no reason or lack of balance can indicate thiamine deficiency caused by kale which can be fixed by adding thiamine supplements to the diet.
7 Tips before giving kale raw to rabbits.
- Kale is very high in oxalic acid which can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate stones if too much is consumed over time, so it should be fed sparingly (especially to young rabbits and old rabbits) and never in large amounts.
- If you notice any digestive issues while feeding kale to rabbits, you should immediately limit kale consumption to half of what they currently eat for 7-10 days and slowly increase it again.
- Never feed kale to a rabbit who has been diagnosed with kidney disease or anemia, as kale can cause fluid retention leading to increased pressure on the organ.
- If you notice your rabbit is drinking less than usual, take them to a vet right away.
- If you notice any changes in eating habits or stool patterns, take your rabbit to the vet immediately.
- Never give kale to rabbits under 12 weeks of age as it can cause serious damage to their intestines and respiratory system due to high levels of fiber.
- Always be sure to offer plenty of fresh hay and pellets in addition to kale so your rabbit gets the nutrients they need.