Rabbits can eat broccoli, plus its leaves, florets, and stems in moderation. Bunnies can also purple cauliflower (cultivar) and eat tenderstem broccoli, which is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale.
Unless given in large amounts, small quantities of this vegetable are unlikely to cause any stomach issues like gas, diarrhea, soft stool, bloating, and so on.
An ideal way of feeding this veggie to your bunny is by mixing it with other greens. Mix it with 5-6 different leafy greens like arugula, carrot tops, endive, kale, romaine lettuce, turnip greens, cilantro, watercress, borage leaves, dandelion greens, among others.
Secondly, it is worthwhile noting that how you introduce broccoli may be the reason why it causes stomach upsets or gas. You need to do it slowly, beginning with a small serving as you observe how their tummies will react. If it causes diarrhea or gas, exclude it from their diets.
Furthermore, don’t forget to stick to the right diet portions, i.e., at least 80% grass hay, 10-15% fresh plant material, and 5% high fiber pellets. The 10-15% portion should mainly be non-leafy greens (75%), while fruits, flowers, and non-leafy greens treats should account for the remainder.
Feeding rabbits broccoli leaves
If you always throw away leaves, don’t, your bunnies will enjoy eating them. They can be part of leafy greens that this pet eats. Like kale, spring greens, collard greens, and related veggies, these leaves are unlikely to cause any problem.
However, ensure they are free of any pesticides, have not withered, and thoroughly wash them under running water to remove dirt or any remnant farm chemicals.
Florets or flower heads
Bunnies can eat broccoli florets and many other flowers like asters, rose petals, cornflower, sunflower, pansies, yarrow, common daisy, common marigold, dahlia, rose of Sharon among others.
Feed these florets in moderation, preferably as a treat once or twice a week. Also, correctly introduce them, and if they cause gas, discontinue them.
Stalk and stems
The thick stalks and stems are also safe. However, some people have noted their rabbits to be gassy after eating them. Therefore, always give them only a small amount if they don’t make them have gas.
More about broccoli
Broccoli is one of the Brassica oleracea cruciferous vegetables, others being kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, kai-lan, cabbage, spring greens, and collard greens, savoy cabbage, broccoflower, and so on.
Its flower heads are usually dark green with florets arranged like a tree while its thick stalks that are light-green. Green leaves surround the flower head, making it look more like cauliflower.
Furthermore, this vegetable closely resembles rapini and broccolini, but these two have smaller florets while broccolini has longer stalks.
The most common cultivars are
- Calabrese broccoli – It is large with thick stalks and green heads. It is common during colder seasons.
- Sprouting broccoli – This cultivar has thin stalks and many floret heads.
- Purple cauliflower: Not to be confused with the purple cauliflower, it has smaller florets, and a shape similar to cauliflower. Additionally, its flower bud tips have a purple cast, and this variety is commonly grown in North America and Europe.
Besides these three common ones, there are other cultivars like Green Magic, Purple Sprouting, Romanesco, Beneforté, DiCicco, Coronado Crown, Belstar, Green Goliath, Blue wind, etcetera.
Finally, this vegetable that belongs to the family Brassicaceae (cabbage, mustard or crucifers family) is rich in vitamin K and C. It has moderate to small amounts riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, choline, manganese, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.
Broccoli is not bad for bunnies, and it is ok to feed them in moderation so long as it doesn’t cause gas or any stomach upsets. Ensure you feed it to them correctly. Some will like it, while others may not. Don’t force them.
Last but not least, avoid cooked broccoli as cooking makes it less crunchy and may affect its nutritional as well as fiber composition. Always feed these pets raw veggies.