Rabbits are sensitive animals, and as a responsible rabbit owner, you need to be careful what you feed your bunny. It’s easy to assume asparagus would be part of a rabbit’s leafy green food but that doesn’t mean these veggies are safe for your rabbit.
So can a rabbit eat asparagus?
Rabbits can eat asparagus, but since this is a stem vegetable, rabbits should only eat small amounts occasionally. Feed your rabbit 2 tablespoons per 5 pounds of body weight, since eating too many asparagus spears lead to diarrhea, gastrointestinal stasis, and uneaten cecotropes.
Curious to know more about how much asparagus you should be feeding and everything related to this topic? Continue reading.
Can Rabbits Eat Raw Asparagus?
Rabbits can eat raw asparagus, and this slightly bitter stalky vegetable (that’s part of the onion family) is a firm favorite among many bunnies – wild rabbits and pet rabbits.
It’s best to choose asparagus that’s been organically grown as it doesn’t contain any pesticides, insecticides, or other chemicals. However, it’s always recommended to wash veggies in running water to remove chemicals, soil, and residue.
You can feed raw asparagus or cooked asparagus spears to your bun.
Cooking the stem veggie makes it easier for your rabbit to chew and digest, but there isn’t such a massive difference between cooked versus raw asparagus that you shouldn’t give your bun the raw vegetable.
However, asparagus shouldn’t be part of a rabbit’s everyday diet. Instead, you can add this to the list of treats you can feed your bun.
Benefits of Feeding Asparagus to Rabbits
Like other veggies, asparagus is rich in various nutrients, and thus in moderation, these are healthy for a rabbit.
Asparagus is low in sugar and sodium. The veggie has a moderate quantity of fiber and a good ratio of protein (27%), fats (5%), and carbs (68%).
Here are the benefits of feeding asparagus to your pet bunny:
High in Various Nutrients
Asparagus has a high vitamin A and K content, and there are also small amounts of complex B vitamins.
Other vitamins and nutrients in asparagus are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
It’s good that asparagus is low in vitamin C as rabbits absorb this vitamin much faster than humans and other animals. Too much calcium can result in urolithiasis and kidney stones.
A Crunchy Treat
Asparagus stalks are crunchy and chewy, and this makes a yummy treat for your rabbit. Plus, these veggies are 93% water, so on a hot summer’s day, slightly chilled asparagus is quite refreshing too.
Good for Prebiotic Health
These stem veggies contain fructooligosaccharides. These compounds are like prebiotics, which encourage good gut bacteria to grow.
Another benefit of these fructooligosaccharides is that they also help improve the absorption of other minerals like iron and magnesium.
Risks of Feeding Too Many Asparagus to Rabbits
Asparagus isn’t like the leafy green veggies your rabbit should eat every day. There are risks to giving your bun too many asparagus spears:
Eating too much asparagus or a diet consisting mostly of asparagus results in digestive issues for your rabbit.
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems, and the majority of your rabbit’s diet needs to be hay – aka fiber.
A rabbit’s tummy is made to process large amounts of roughage. And while a rabbit does need fresh drinking water, fresh leafy greens, and pellets, they can’t survive if their nutritional requirements for fiber aren’t met.
A diet with mostly asparagus spears – whether cooked or raw – doesn’t provide a rabbit with the large amounts of fiber they need. The result is gastrointestinal stasis (GI), which can be deadly.
Symptoms of GI include runny stool, diarrhea, lethargy, and tummy ache.
A rabbit that eats a lot of asparagus, especially in lieu of other foods, will suffer from malnourishment.
A rabbit needs to eat their cecotropes as these nutrient-rich droppings help the bun absorb essential nutrients. But asparagus contains a high water content and too much of this vegetable results in even softer cecotropes that a rabbit won’t eat.
Eating excessive amounts of asparagus can lead to diarrhea. There isn’t enough fiber in asparagus, and if you combine that with the stem vegetable’s high content of water, you have a runny stool.
This isn’t pleasant for your rabbit or you.
Should your rabbit have diarrhea, get an emergency appointment with your local vet as soon as possible. If not treated ASAP, your rabbit can die.
How Much Asparagus Can I Give My Rabbit?
Asparagus is a treat, and should only be fed in small amounts and occasionally.
How much asparagus you give your bun depends on how much your rabbit weighs. A large breed rabbit can safely eat more asparagus than a medium breed or a dwarf rabbit breed.
On average, feed your rabbit a thin 4-inch or a thick 2-inch piece of asparagus.
If you want to work more accurately, a 5-pound rabbit can eat 2 tablespoons of treats. So that’s 1 tablespoon of treats (aka asparagus in this case) for a 2.5-pound rabbit, 3 tablespoons of treats for a 7.5-pound rabbit, and so on.
Don’t give your bun asparagus spears every day. Variety is good.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Asparagus?
Baby rabbits should NOT eat asparagus – not raw asparagus and not cooked asparagus.
For one, a baby rabbit’s teeth aren’t strong enough to chew the asparagus spears, and two, vegetables aren’t part of a kit’s diet.
When a kit is born, they drink milk from the doe for about 7-8 weeks. However, when the kits are a month old, they start eating solid rabbit foods – alfalfa pellets and alfalfa hay.
At the 12-week mark, the rabbit starts eating fresh leafy veggies (while they still eat their hay and pellets).
Veggies are introduced one by one to ensure the rabbit isn’t allergic or has an adverse reaction. Plus, a rabbit’s digestive system is sensitive, so you don’t want to overwhelm it.
When the rabbit is 6 months old, they are an adult rabbit, and you can introduce treats in small amounts like asparagus spears, strawberries, bananas, and carrots.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Responsible rabbit owners know exactly what their rabbit can eat and how much of something their bun can safely consume.
You’ve now learned that you can feed asparagus to your rabbit, but it’s a treat (even though it isn’t sweet). This means small portions of garden asparagus, 1-2 times a week.