Watercress for Rabbits: What You Need to Know

Watercress for Rabbits: What You Need to Know

Watercress is a leafy green vegetable that can be found in the watercress family. This food is often eaten by humans, but can pet rabbits eat watercress? In this article, we will answer all of your questions about feeding watercress to your pet rabbits and tell you what you need to know.

What is watercress?

Watercress is a green leafy vegetable that grows in fresh water. It is sometimes called “water parsley”. The main components of watercress are chlorine, sulfur, and iodine. Although there is no official daily recommended allowance for humans to consume watercress, the average is about 100 milligrams per day.

How often should I give my rabbits watercress?

Rabbits can eat watercress daily. Some people even consider it a treat because of the delicious taste!

How much watercress do rabbits eat a day?

Rabbits can safely eat about 1 cup of watercress per day. This equates to around 100 grams or 8 ounces.

What is your experience feeding watercress to rabbits?

I feed my pet rabbits watercress and they love it. They will eat a whole bunch of it in one sitting, and they always beg for more.

Is watercress bad for rabbits?

No, watercress is not bad for rabbits. It is actually a very healthy food that contains calcium and xanthophyll, which helps protect the retina of your pet’s eyes.

Is it safe to feed watercress to your pet rabbits?

The verdict is still out on whether or not it is safe to feed rabbits watercress. This green vegetable can contain high amounts of calcium, so if your pet rabbit has calcium absorption issues they should not be fed watercress. It is best to avoid feeding them this food until more research has been done on the effects of watercress on their health.

Where can I get watercress for my rabbits?

Rabbits can be fed fresh watercress straight from the garden, but if there are concerns about pesticides then it is best to buy organic watercress. You can also purchase this green vegetable in most grocery stores.

What to do if your pet rabbits are sick from eating watercress?

If you have noticed that your pet rabbits have become sick from eating watercress, please contact a rabbit veterinarian immediately.

Do rabbits like watercress?

Rabbits love watercress! This green vegetable makes a great all-natural salad that is not only nutritious for them, but is also perfect to add to their diet.

Can pet rabbits eat watercress?

Yes, pet rabbits can eat watercress! Watercress is particularly good for them because it contains a nutrient called “xanthophyll”, which helps protect and support the retina of their eyes.

Food family of watercress. 

Watercress is a member of the cresses, which makes it a cousin to both garden cress and mustard.

5 good substitutes for watercress

Although some pet rabbit owners are concerned about feeding their rabbits too much calcium, there are some ways that you can substitute watercress. So, what are some good substitutes for watercress?

1. Salad Greens

If you are not comfortable giving your pet rabbits watercress because of the calcium content, then you can mix it up with other salad greens instead. Some common salad green choices are romaine lettuce, endive lettuce, escarole lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and green leaf lettuce.

2. Basil

The next substitute for watercress is basil. Basil makes a great healthy addition to your pet rabbits’ diet because it contains calcium and magnesium, which are healthy nutrients that can promote strong bones in rabbits. Besides being good for their bones, the leaves of this plant also contain anti-oxidants.

3. Parsley

Parsley is another healthy substitution for watercress, although it contains less calcium than basil or salad greens. This herb has lots of healthy nutrients that are good for your pet rabbits’ health, but just be careful if they have a history of grass hays because parsley can bring on loose stool.

4. Chamomile

Fourth on the list is chamomile. If your pet rabbits’ diet requires them to get more calcium, then chamomile is a great substitution for watercress because it contains lots of calcium and magnesium too, which are both healthy nutrients for their bones. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Oregano

Oregano is the last substitute for watercress on this list because it contains lots of healthy nutrients that can help rabbits grow big and strong. It also contains calcium, which is good for their bones.

4 steps to prepare watercress for rabbits.

  1. Assemble all needed materials: a bowl of clean, cold water; some ice cubes; and the watercress.
  2. Cut off any limp or brown leaves from the bottom of your bunch of watercress. Remove as much as you can because these parts of the plant contain more pesticides. You can use an organic spray on it like StarSan to help remove any dirt or pesticide residue if you are concerned about this.
  3. Dunk the watercress into the bowl of cold water for around 5 seconds. Then take it out and shake off excess water before giving it to your pet rabbits. This will help prevent your rabbits from getting mildewy cress stuck in their teeth!
  4. Give the watercress to your rabbits as a full serving or make it into two servings. You can also chop them up into smaller pieces if you are concerned about choking hazards.

5 health benefits of watercress for rabbits.

  1. Watercress contains lots of calcium, which is important for healthy bones in rabbits, according to the House Rabbit Society.
  2. Watercress is high in fiber, which helps keep pet rabbits’ digestive systems healthy.
  3. It contains Vitamin C , which gives your rabbit’s immune system a boost so it can fight against bacteria and viruses more efficiently.
  4. Watercress is great for slavering the gums, which helps prevent your rabbit from getting “molar spurs” or other gum problems.
  5. Watercress is good for the heart of rabbits, which means they can have stronger hearts that are less susceptible to serious health problems like heart attacks.

5 possible concerns when feeding watercress to rabbits.

  1. Rabbits need calcium for strong bones, but they need to consume calcium in moderation. Too much calcium can make bunnies gain weight and develop other health problems like bladder stones and excess fat on their bodies. So if you want to give your pet rabbits watercress, make sure not to feed them more than 1 serving of watercress per day because it is high in calcium.
  2. Make sure that you choose a full bunch of watercress when feeding it to your rabbits so they don’t get loose stool from eating too much fiber.
  3. Watercress is safe for rabbits with grass hay allergies, but unlike basil or parsley , which can also be good substitutes for watercress, watercress might make your rabbits’ fur greasy.
  4. Make sure to feed them other sources of calcium like calcium-fortified rabbit food and healthy, safe vegetables like carrots and kale if you don’t want them to get too much calcium.
  5. If they have a history of bladder stones or excess fat on their bodies, don’t give them too much watercress because it is high in calcium.

5 signs pet rabbits are sick from feeding watercress.

  1. If their feces are greasy instead of normal-looking, then they might be having issues digesting the watercress or other foods that contain lots of calcium. You can consult a vet about this.
  2. If a pet rabbit is very aggressive while eating watercress, then they might be having problems with their teeth getting stuck on the leaves of the cress. You can try chopping up their watercress into smaller pieces instead to prevent this from happening.
  3. If your rabbits have excess fat on their bodies, then they are probably not getting enough exercise. You can give them more activities to do like running on a wheel or putting them in a pen outside so they can explore their environment and get healthier.
  4. If your pet rabbits’ fur starts smelling like moldy cress instead of normal cress, then you might need to give them more fresh cress instead of old cress because it can get too moist.
  5. If you are feeding your rabbits watercress and they start chewing on surfaces or wood furniture in their environment, then they probably have an upset stomach because the watercress is not safe to eat for them.

5 tips before giving watercress to rabbits.

  1. If you are new to feeding your rabbits watercress, then you should introduce it slowly by giving them small amounts so they can get used to it at first. Once their stomachs adjust, they will be able to handle larger servings of watercress without issues.
  2. You should give your bunnies cress that has not been exposed to any chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers by either growing it yourself or buying organic watercress.
  3. If your bunnies don’t like the taste of watercress because it is bitter and they refuse to eat it, then you can try chopping up other leafy vegetables like kale, romaine lettuce, parsley, basil, or green leaf lettuce to make them eat the watercress.
  4. If you are giving your bunnies fresh cress but they are not eating it right away because it is too woody or dry, then try storing it in hot water for 10 minutes before feeding it to them.
  5. If your pet rabbits are having issues with the stems because they are too woody or firm to chew, then you can try chopping off the bottom 1/4 of the stem before feeding them the cress.

To Wind Things Up

We hope you found this article insightful and informative. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic! Let us know what you think of watercress for rabbits in the comments below.

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