When it comes to green beans, you may have terms such as French, fine, string, runner, hyacinth, or yardlong. They may be confusing. Which ones are safe for rabbits? How do I feed them to my bunny? Are there any precautions?
What are they?
Green beans refer to the unripe, immature, or young bean pod sold as fresh, frozen, or canned, and you may eat them raw or boil, steam, stir-fry, bake them. They are a popular part of soups, casseroles, and stews, among other cuisines and dishes.
As you know, belong to the family Fabaceae or Leguminosae (the legume family), and you can get them from several species of legumes which are:
1. Common bean or Phaseolus vulgaris
Also known as French bean, Phaseolus vulgaris is valued for its dry seeds or unripe pods. Its leaves also serve as fodder, straw, and vegetable. It has many cultivars that fall into the bush, dwarf, pole, or climbing ones.
Common cultivars are Black turtle, pink, pinto, Anasazi, Appaloosa, Black turtle, and kidney beans. Others are the tongue of fire, rattlesnake, white, yellow, Dragon tongue, Cranberry, Flageolet, and pea bean.
2. Yardlong bean or Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis
Belong to the genus Vigna and goes by other names that include asparagus, long-podded cowpea, snake, Chinese long, bodi, bora, pea bean. People eat cooked or raw tender pods. Also, people eat mature, cooked seeds.
Yardlong green pods are a good source of vitamin C, folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese, among other nutrients.
3. Hyacinth bean or Lablab purpureus
It doesn’t belong to the genus Phaseolus. Its other names are bataw, Australia pea, lablab, bonavist pea as well as dolichos, seim, lablab, Indian, Tonga, papaya, or Egyptian kidney bean.
Lablab purpureus serves as an ornamental, forage crop for livestock, but some people consume it as food. Uncooked ones have cyanogenic glucosides, making it toxic. Signs of toxicity include in humans include weakness, dyspnea, twitching, convulsions, stupor, and vomiting
Besides the above species, you can further categorize green beans into these categories, based on the appearance and characteristics of their unripe pods.
- Strap or string beans – Characterized by a round or flat pod, with tough, fibrous strings running along their pod length.
- Stingless, fine or French beans – They lack the stringy fiber that runs along their pod length, meaning they are much softer and crunchy.
- Runner beans – They belong to a different species, Phaseolus coccineus, whose cotyledon doesn’t get out of the ground as they are growing, and their pods are knife-shaped.
- Bush and pole beans – These refer more of their stems than pods, and they are into bush beans (dwarf), which has mainly Phaseolus vulgaris cultivars, the pole beans that may have common, runners, or yardlong cultivars or half-runners.
Can rabbits eat green beans?
Yes. Rabbits can eat green beans in moderation as a treat. The runners, strap or string beans, and French or fine beans are safe for your rabbit.
Give them about 1-2 small pods. If large, half a pod will be enough. A better way is to give them an equivalent of 1 teaspoon for every two pounds of their body weight once or twice a week.
While common and yardlong bean is ok. We don’t recommend giving your bunnies green hyacinth beans (Lablab purpureus) since they high in cyanogenic glucosides. You don’t want to put your furry critter in any toxicity risk.
Green beans have vitamins C and K, manganese, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, iron, folate, magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid, and other nutrients in small amounts. Your bunnies will benefit from these nutrients.
Also, they will offer a new crunchy texture, taste, and offer variety. Variety is essential when it comes to feeding your furry friend as it keeps them interested and provides a variety of nutrients.
It is a fact that bunnies love beans, and they are some of the crops they will damage most in your garden. However, too much may cause stomach troubles.
A perfect rabbit diet needs to have an unlimited amount of fresh, grassy hay, while for the remaining foods, you must limit them. Hay is nutritionally balanced and is high in fiber, something that will promote gut motility, wear their teeth, and support the digestive system tract.
Veggies and greens should be 10-15%, high fiber pellet 5%, and 0-5% treats. Green beans fall on the 0-5%, a reason why you cannot give them a lot.
If given a lot, they may lead to stomach upsets, diarrhea, gas, bloating, among other GI issues. They don’t have enough fiber, and giving more means that your bunny will eat less of the very important hay.
Properly introduce them
Rabbit can eat green beans, i.e., fresh, frozen, or canned. For the frozen and canned, ensure they don’t have any other additive and let frozen ones thaw naturally before offering them to your rabbit.
Secondly, ensure you go for organically grown ones as they are free of the harmful fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or any other farm input. You don’t want to expose your rabbit to some toxic chemicals that will harm them.
Thirdly, a reason why your bunny may cause diarrhea when offering them any new food is not introducing it properly. These pets need time to get used to the new food. Begin with a very tiny piece and gradually increase it to one or two pods.
Finally, only give them one new food at a time and don’t provide baby rabbits below 12 weeks any fresh food (veggies and plants). If properly introduced, there is no likelihood of causing any stomach problems.
Besides giving rabbit green beans, which are an excellent choice of a treat, you can also include the following as part of their treats:
- Non-leafy veggies – Give your bunnies treats of carrots, bell peppers, zucchinis, okra, tomatoes, pumpkins, celery stalks, beetroot, cucumber, squashes, among others.
- Herbs – Try parsley, rosemary, cilantro, borage, fennel, mint, basil, oregano, mustard, tarragon, and so on.
- Fruits and flowers – Rabbits will enjoy roses, nasturtium, pansies, marigolds, honeysuckle, among other flowers, as well as fruits like apples (no stalks or pits), pineapple (without skin), banana, watermelon, papaya, mango, kiwi fruits, berries, among others