Green beans make a great rabbit treat. They will enjoy eating. What about bean grains and leaves? Are they also good, or should I avoid giving them to my rabbits?
Beans refer to the seeds of several genera in the family Fabaceae that serves as an animal or human food or eat them as a vegetable together with their pods (green beans). You can bake, fry, boil, and they have a use in several traditional dishes in various places.
Can rabbits eat beans?
No. rabbits shouldn’t eat any fresh, dry, or cooked beans as they are unhealthy and, depending on which ones, may have other problems.
Therefore, don’t feed your rabbit common (French), broad beans (flava), lima, or others including kidney, pinto, black, appaloosa, runner, tepary, moth, adzuki, urad, mung, Bambara, cowpea, yardlong, hyacinth, garbanzo (chickpea).
Others to include in the list include pea, Indian pea, lentils, soybean, pigeon pea, guar, horse gram, lupin, tarwi, peanuts, as well as the winged, velvet, jack, or lupini beans.
Why aren’t they good for your bunnies? We all know they are nutritious. For instance, pinto beans have iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate, phosphorus, folate, and other nutrients. Why can’t I feed them to my bunnies? Here are the main reasons:
- They are high in carbs
Like any other grains, cereals, and nuts, they are high in carbohydrates. For instance, pinto beans have 45 g per 100g carbs. Foods high in carb may overload your rabbit’s hindgut causing enteritis. If this happens, expect diarrhea, gas, bloating, and other stomach issues.
Also, a lot of carbs may fatten your bunny and possibly make it obese. Obesity is known to lower lifespan, increase the risk of certain illnesses, among other things.
2. Present a choking risk
Any seeds, nuts, or cereals present a choking risk to your rabbit. Choking may happen as they try to eat them. Don’t let your bunny have them.
3. Contain hemagglutinins
While their quantities may vary, with red kidney beans having the highest amount, raw or uncooked beans have hemagglutinins (phytohemagglutinin), a potentially harmful compound.
Phytohemagglutinin may cause blood clotting in their intestines and damage to the intestinal wall. Consequently, your rabbit’s intestines won’t be able to absorb nutrients as usual.
4. Have Protease (Trypsin) Inhibitors
Soybeans, soymeal, and most dry raw beans have protease inhibitors, which will minimize protein digestibility, cause poor growth and pancreas enlargement.
Can rabbits eat bean leaves?
Yes. Rabbits can eat bean leaves, including the stems and flowers. They are safe to these pets, and you can include the once in a while in their leafy green salads. Include them as one of the leafy greens in the salad mix you give your rabbits. Two packed cups should be enough for a four-pound rabbit.
In some places, people eat their leaves too, and they are very nutritious. For instance, winged bean leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, iron, riboflavin, niacin and copper, calcium, thiamin, vitamin B6, zinc, among other nutrients.
All kinds of legumes, whether shrubs, vines, or treats whose pods split in one seam, are safe to your furry friend. However, don’t forget that they tend to be higher in calcium and protein, a reason why you cannot feed alfalfa or any hay legume in place of grass hay unless you have nursing, growing, or pregnant bunnies.
Therefore, include one legume plant in your vegetable mix like once or twice a week. Otherwise, too much protein will fatten your rabbit, while calcium may increase the chances of urinary calcium stones and calcium sludge.
Be wary of castor bean
Ricinus communis, castor oil plant, or castor bean is an unrelated plant the Euphorbiaceae. A few seeds of this plant are fatal to not only bunnies but also dogs, sheep, horses, pigs, mice, and rats. The seeds are the most deadly.
Similarly, the leaves have several toxic compounds, one of them being ricinoleic acid. “The leaves of the castor bean plant are also poisonous, causing transitory muscle tremors, ataxia, and excessive salivation. Fatalities are rare in animals eating the leaves,” notes Colorado State University.