Can Rabbits Eat Asparagus Shoots?

If you buy fresh asparagus for grilling, roasting, sautéing, stir-frying with beef, chicken or shrimp, pickling, and so on, it is good to know if you can give some to your rabbit. Is it safe for not?

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), known by other names like garden asparagus or sparrow grass, is a perennial flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. It is a popular spring vegetable, where its young shoots are eaten before it begins budding. Otherwise, it will quickly become woody and inedible.  

Can rabbits eat asparagus
Can rabbits eat asparagus?

Can rabbits have asparagus? How much?

Yes. Rabbits can eat asparagus in moderation as a low-calorie healthy treat. Both the raw crunchy stems as well as the fibrous asparagus ends that may seem a little tough or inedible to us are ok, but no pickled or cooked asparagus.

On amounts, give them about five centimeters of the thicker side, and for the narrow side, you can make it twice the length. You can reduce the amount if your bunnies have other treats.

This vegetable is an excellent source of nutrients like zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium. It also has vitamins C, E, and K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, iron, potassium, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, beta-carotene, protein, rutin, copper as well as a trace chromium mineral.

Did you know that there is an amino acid known as asparagine, which derives its name from asparagus since it is high in this amino acid?

Also, since it is antioxidant-rich, including flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin), polyphenols, as well as vitamins C and E, it is vital for creating the correct free-radical and antioxidant balance. Some of these antioxidants may help fight some cancers, lower blood pressure, work as anti-inflammatory agents as well as have an antiviral effect. 

In humans, it may help in digestion since it has dietary fiber, support a healthy pregnancy since it has folate as well as help manage high blood pressure and weight loss. 

Introduce slow

One mistake most bunny owners is wrongly introducing any new food. Just because they seem to enjoy munching it doesn’t mean you give them a lot.

To begin with, ensure you being with a tiny amount and gradually increase the amount if it doesn’t cause diarrhea, gas, bloating, or other tummy problems. Typically, this will take at least seven days.

Secondly, only introduce one new food at a time until they adapt fully to the food. You cannot begin feeding asparagus to your bunnies today and introduce cabbage tomorrow. It may cause a tummy issue.

Finally, carefully source your asparagus. Avoid any molded or those treated with harmful pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.

Ensure the right diet

The benefits that this veggie has to bunnies are not in doubt. However, irrespective of how a particular food is beneficial, bunnies must have the right diet, made of the following:

  • Premium quality grassy hay – Hay must be at least 80% of your rabbit’s diet. Therefore, ensure your furry critter has an unlimited supply of fresh hay.
  • Rabbit pellets – Pellets are fortified with minerals to ensure bunnies get all the essential nutrients that typical foods may not provide. However, keep the amount low, about 5%.
  • Fresh foods – Keep the quantity of fresh food they eat at 10-15% while ensuring the bulk of it is leafy greens.
  • Treats – Rabbit treats are an essential part in providing additional nutrients, variety, and for training. You can go for commercial treats or use flowers, herbs, fruits, and non-leafy veggies as treats.

Do rabbits like asparagus?

Rabbits do eat asparagus. However, that doesn’t tell us if they like them or not. Do they like it or not?

While it is true that rabbits may feed on asparagus spears, especially during harvesting seasons, it will occur occasionally and more common if they don’t have any other food. This revelation shows that it is not one of their most favored foods.

Otherwise, they will go for the young shoots of your peas, beans, lettuce, strawberries, pansies, marigolds, roses, among others.

Alternatives

If you need more treats to give your rabbit, the best options to asparagus include the following:

  • Zucchinis
  • Celery stalks
  • Bell peppers
  • Cauliflower
  • Okra (ladyfinger)
  • Pumpkins 

Also, herbs, fruits, and flowers make a good treat for your bunnies.

Conclusion

Rabbits are allowed to eat asparagus as a treat. The stems and ends are safe for your bunnies.  Even the blanched (white asparagus) is safe to bunnies.

In humans, it may cause sulfurous smelling urine in some people since it has asparagusic acid. There are no rabbit specific studies to confirm if they have the same effect on rabbits.

Finally, Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus) is something else that is not safe for your bunnies. Don’t assume these two are the same, and it is not a real fern, as the name may suggest. Its berries cause a gastrointestinal disturbance.

See also

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