A common question we need is whether bunnies are allowed to eat cucumber, its peels or skin, plant, or not. Here is all you need to know.
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a creeping vine plant that belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits or the guard family). This plant bears cucumiform fruits (classified as a berry botanically) but as a vegetable, also known by the same name.
Can rabbits eat cucumber plants and fruit, and how should you feed them to your rabbits? Does it have any health benefits?
Can rabbits eat cucumber plus skin or peels?
Yes. Rabbits can have cucumber with skin and seeds in moderation as a treat. All the varieties and cultivars like Picklers, seedless (burpless), Gherkin (cornichons or baby pickles) or slicing cucumbers as well as Dosakaya or kekiri, Kheera, Schälgurkens, Apple, Beit Alpha, Persia, East Asian, Lebanese cucumbers are safe (not poisonous or toxic to bunnies).
However, like any other non-leafy vegetable, feed your rabbit one or two small slices of cucumber as a treat or about a teaspoon for a rabbit weighing two pounds. Also, ensure all the treats that your rabbit has don’t exceed 5% of their calorific intake, including the various commercial bunny treats you have bought.
Additionally, rabbits can also eat cucumber peels if you usually peel them before using them. They are a little tougher, and the rich have more fiber. However, again, let them have only a small amount or in moderation as a healthy treat.
This vegetable has about 95% water (will boost hydration), about 3.65% carbs, and some vitamins like vitamin C, K, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It also has flavonoids and tannins, which are antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals, thereby reducing the chances of chronic illnesses.
Why should you limit the amount of cucumber you give your bunnies? It is not because of the high carbs because it is not. However, it is because it is low in fiber and mostly water. While water may boost hydration, an excess amount may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Also, they may have soft cecotropes.
Fiber is essential in any rabbit diet as it helps not only wear down their teeth but also keeps things flowering in their gut and support healthy gut microflora. This is why a rabbit diet needs to have an unlimited amount of grassy hay while the rest are fed in limited amounts.
Therefore, keep the amount small as an occasional treat that adds variety, crunchiness, hydration, as well as the nutrients and antioxidants.
Introduce them slowly
If your bunnies have never eaten it before, you need to go slow. Begin with a tiny piece and gradually increase the amount to about two small slices over about a week. See that it doesn’t cause any stomach problems or diarrhea.
What causes diarrhea, gas, or stomach upset in most bunnies is introducing new food in large amounts. Their delicate tummies need time to adjust to the food. Otherwise, they will end up with stomach upsets.
Also, go for fresh (not molded) organic cucumbers and wash them under running water to remove any remnant farm chemicals.
Yes. Cucumber vines or stems, leaves, and flowers. They are all safe. For vines and leaves, include them in the leafy veggie mix you feed your bunnies. Usually, they should have about six different varieties, and a packed cup is enough for every two pounds of their body weight.
On the other hand, flowers are part of treats that rabbits do eat. Give them only a small amount like one or two small flowers.
The answer isn’t just a yes or not. However, it all depends on other food alternatives available. If you give your domestic cucumbers or their leaves, they will eat them.
However, that alone may not qualify them as a rabbit’s favorite. As Extension.org notes, “only a few crops—corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, and some peppers—seem to be immune from rabbit problems.” This information is evidence that even wild animals don’t like cucumber very much.
However, when they don’t have a choice, they will eat young shoots of cucumber and may also wear a bit of the fruit. Similarly, they may eat tomato fruit while avoiding the plant, which happens to be toxic.
No. Not to confuse with the pickling variety, which is meant for pickling, rabbits shouldn’t have pickled cucumbers. The brine, sugar, vinegar, and spices make it harmful to your furry friend.
Similarly, don’t give bunnies cooked cucumbers as they are unhealthy. These animals don’t eat any cooked food.
Yes, but only as a healthy treat. We have mentioned the nutritional benefits and the fact that it will help in hydration as well as introduce new texture and taste.
It depends on age and whether she has been weaned or not. Baby bunnies shouldn’t eat cucumber or any other vegetable until they are at least 12 weeks, a time when you should begin introducing one vegetable at a time.
Stick to the right diet
When it comes to your bunnies, don’t compromise on the right diet, even if they may seem to like certain foods. Keep grassy hay at not less than 80%, pellets at 5%, and fresh foods at 10-15%.
Treats should not exceed 5%, and they include fruits, non-leafy veggies, flowers, and herbs like basil, rosemary, parsley, sage, dill, among others.
Variety is vital in keeping your bunny interested, and some of the perfect options you can give your bunnies include:
- Bell peppers
- Celery stalks
- Okra (ladyfinger)
Also, herbs like parsley, mint, rosemary, oregano, sage, lemon balm, marjoram, and so on, as well as fruits like papayas, mangoes, bananas, kiwis, pineapple, apples (without pits), and so on, make good treats.
A cucumber may frighten your cat, but a bunny will devour it, and it is ok as a treat. Ensure you only give rabbits the right amount.