Sugar snap peas, mangetout (French) or simply snap peas refer to nutritious legume cultivars that have a round shaped edible pea pods as opposed to the snow peas that have flat, thicker pods. Their plants are climbers and thrive in cool seasons.
These peas have carbs, proteins, vitamins (A, B complex, C, E, and K) as well as minerals including calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc. All these are very important nutrients not only to human beings but also to your rabbits.
Can rabbits have them?
Yes, bunnies can eat sugar snap peas as an occasional treat while they are still fresh, green or immature, i.e., their peas are still small. Avoid dried ones since they may cause a choking hazard and they are not healthy. They can also have their plant (leave and stem) since they are safe too, i.e., both their green pods and plant are safe to rabbits.
Obviously, there are a lot of nutritional benefits they stand to gain if they munch them. However, you need to know the right amounts and how to properly introduce them. Excessive amounts may cause soft stool (diarrhea) among other intestinal upsets.
While in your garden, bunnies will damage the leaves and stem of these peas. Therefore, they need to be protected. In fact, these pets can eat various legume plants including alfalfa, clovers, peanuts, and peas. However, legume hay is not recommended unless you have growing or expectant bunnies since it has higher amounts of calcium and proteins.
Feeding your bunnies with these peas
We have already clarified that these legumes are safe. However, you need to ensure you only feed them fresh ones and begin with small amounts. Wash them under running water to get rid of any remnant farm chemical. An organic source will even be more recommended.
When introducing them, begin with small amounts and introduce only one new food at a time gradually over a period of not less than one week. Check for any signs of a soft stool or stomach upsets after 24 hours before you begin increasing the amount given.
Secondly, you need to know the right amounts to give your pet even after they have been successfully introduced.
For the case of the leafy part, usually, you need to give your rabbit a mixture of 5-6 different types of leafy greens or vegetables. Two cups of this chopped mixture are enough for a rabbit that is about four pounds and you can include the peas plant and leaves in this mixture.
However, for the pods, keep the amount to about 2 tablespoons for a bunny weight four pounds. This should be the same case for any other non-leafy vegetables and fruit treats . Only give them one treat in a day. This will technically be about one or two pods.
Also, keep varying the various fresh foods you give your bunny so that it benefits from the various nutrients they have. However, you need to include only one of those that have high oxalic acids such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens and so on.
These pea pods are safe for your bunnies, so is their plants. However, remember to introduce them correctly and in their correct amounts. Do not replace them with their regular diets even if they end up loving them so much.