Peanuts (groundnuts, goober, Pindar, or monkey nuts) refer to the edible nut (seeds) or Arachis hypogaea, an annual herbaceous leguminous plant that bears the seeds. Some of the common cultivars grown are the Spanish, Runners, Virginia, Valencia, Tennessee White, and Tennessee red groups.
Peanut plant belongs to the family Leguminosae or Fabaceae (the pea, bean, or legume family) that also has chickpeas, beans, soybeans, alfalfa, among other plants.
Can rabbits eat peanuts?
No. We don’t recommend giving your rabbits peanuts. Also, avoid peanut butter. However, since they are not toxic or poisonous, a small amount like one or two groundnuts together with or without their shell as a rare treat will not harm your bunny.
Looking at groundnuts’ nutritional profile, they are an excellent source of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, folate, vitamin E, as well as iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
Furthermore, peanut skins have antioxidants as well as peanut kernels, including p-Coumaric acid, resveratrol, and isoflavones, among others. Antioxidants will neutralize free radicals and prevent some chronic illnesses. However, here are the reasons why peanuts are not good for rabbits that include:
1. High in carbohydrates
Starchy and high carbs may potentially overload your rabbit’s hindgut (cecum), resulting in enteritis, diarrhea, gas, and stomach upsets. Also, they can inhibit the secretion motilin, whose role is to help stimulate peristalsis movements that help food flow.
Also, unlike hay, which is the principal rabbit food, groundnuts are low in fiber, which is vital in wearing their teeth, helping food to move in their digestive system, and ensures their gut is healthy.
Finally, being highly calorific, assuming they don’t cause any other effects, they will fatten your bunnies if they eat a lot and regularly. Don’t you also think they will cause dental problems?
2. High in fats
Fats have as twice as many calories at carbohydrates and proteins. An ideal rabbit diet should have 1-3% fats and oils, while peanuts have 48% fats (48g in 100g). Therefore, your bunny may suffer from hepatic lipidosis, obesity, and these excess fats and oils may hurt the usual gastrointestinal delicate microflora balance.
3. High in proteins
For adult maintenance, rabbits need between 12-14% proteins in their diet. Looking at monkey nuts, they have 25% (25g per 100g). High protein may affect gut motility, strain their kidney and liver, and may alter normal gut pH essential in supporting an ideal microflora balance.
4. Have anti-nutrients and may cause aflatoxin poisoning
Peanuts do have anti-nutrient compounds like phytate that affect zinc and other mineral absorption, and they may cause aflatoxin poisoning.
5. May choke your bunny
Also, like many other seeds, nuts, and grains, there is the little chance of these nuts choking your bunny as they try to eat them.
Yes to peanut plant or hay
Peanut plant tops or greens (stems and leaves) are ok for rabbits, and you can make them a part of the leafy greens they eat. Also, your sheep, horses, pigs, and dairy goats will love them. Their hay is also good.
However, since most legume hays are high in calcium and protein, make them a part of the leafy green mix they eat and don’t replace peanut hay with grassy hay unless you have nursing, growing, or pregnant bunnies. In such a case, begin by consulting your vet.
Ok to shells
Peanut hulls or shells are ok for rabbits. They will make a good chew treat. Unlike the nuts, they are not high in carbohydrates or fats while their fiber levels are high. Therefore, give them to your rabbits sparingly.
Do rabbits love peanuts?
Yes. Bunnies will enjoy nibbling both the nuts and groundnuts plants. Even in the wild, they may chew the plant too.
Perfect rabbit food
For optimum health and longevity, proper diet, housing, and healthcare are essential to your furry friend. Ensure they have the right diet and not just what they seem to like.
Grassy hay should be unlimited while the rest, including greens (10-15%), pellets (5%), and treats (not more than 5%), should be fed in limited amounts.