Can Rabbits Eat Cabbage?

For bunny owners, a key question is what leafy green vegetables are safe for rabbits to eat. Can our floppy-eared friends munch on crunchy cabbage? While rabbits have sensitive digestive systems, the right amount of cabbage can be a healthy treat. Explore the nutrient-packed benefits of cabbage for rabbits and learn how much they can safely eat. Discover which cabbage varieties are best and whether you should give it raw or cooked. Find out easy ways to introduce new cabbage to picky rabbits. Plus, get tips on signs your rabbit really enjoys this versatile veggie. The cabbage patch awaits – let’s hop to it!

What Kinds Of Cabbage Can A Rabbit Have?

There are several different types of cabbage that can be safely fed to rabbits in moderation. The most common varieties that are appropriate for rabbits include:

Green Cabbage – This is the most widely available and affordable type of cabbage. It has a mild flavor that most rabbits seem to enjoy. It's a good source of vitamin C, K, B6 and calcium. Green cabbage should be introduced slowly and fed in limited amounts. Too much can cause gas or bloating.

Red Cabbage – Slightly more nutrient dense than green cabbage, red cabbage contains more antioxidants. It has a bold, peppery flavor and vibrant purple color. It can be fed to rabbits like green cabbage, in moderation.

Savoy Cabbage – This type has crinkly, ruffled leaves. It's similar to green cabbage but is usually more tender. The flavor is mild and perfect for rabbits. Savoy cabbage has lots of vitamin C. Feed sparingly to prevent digestion issues.

Napa Cabbage – Also called Chinese cabbage, it has a soft, delicate texture. Napa cabbage is lower in fiber than traditional cabbage varieties. It makes a tasty treat for bunnies but only give it occasionally.

Bok Choy – While not technically a cabbage, bok choy is closely related. Its leaves are full of antioxidants, vitamin A, C and K. Rabbits enjoy the mild, watery flavor. Feed bok choy in moderation along with other greens.

The bottom line is most types of cabbage are fine for rabbits to eat, but portion sizes and frequency must be controlled. Feed no more than 1-2 tablespoons of chopped cabbage 2-3 times per week. Always introduce new foods slowly over a week.

How Much Cabbage Can A Rabbit Have?

Cabbage should be fed to rabbits in limited quantities, as it can cause digestive upset if overfed. Here are some guidelines on how much cabbage rabbits can eat:

  • Baby rabbits under 12 weeks should not have any cabbage, as their digestive systems are too delicate.

  • For adult rabbits, cabbage should make up no more than 20% of the diet. Greens like romaine lettuce or kale should form the bulk of leafy veggies given.

  • A good rule of thumb is to feed no more than 1-2 tablespoons of chopped cabbage 2-3 times per week. Any more may overload the delicate rabbit digestive tract.

  • For dwarf breeds, start with just 1 teaspoon of chopped cabbage, once or twice a week. See how the rabbit tolerates it, then gradually increase the amount if desired.

  • Larger rabbit breeds can start with 1 tablespoon per 4 lbs of body weight, 2-3x per week.

  • If feeding cooked cabbage, reduce the amount to just 1-2 teaspoons for adult rabbits of any size. Cooking makes it easier to digest and more calories dense.

  • Mix the cabbage pieces in with other leafy greens. Spreading it out through different meals prevents too much cabbage at once.

  • Rabbit digestive systems need lots of fiber – cabbage alone does not provide enough. Make sure the rabbit always has unlimited access to grass hay.

The key is moderation. Keep cabbage to a minimal part of a varied diet. Consult an exotic vet if unsure how much cabbage to feed a particular rabbit. Monitor the rabbit's droppings and reduce cabbage if diarrhea occurs.

Do I Need To Cook Cabbage?

Cooking cabbage prior to feeding it to rabbits is optional. Here are some things to consider regarding raw vs cooked cabbage for rabbits:

  • Rabbits can eat both raw and cooked cabbage. Cooking helps break down fiber and make nutrients more bioavailable.

  • Cook cabbage lightly by steaming, microwaving, or quickly sautéing. Do not add any seasonings, salt, oil or other ingredients.

  • Raw cabbage retains more vitamin C and K. Light cooking boosts antioxidant levels. Both raw and cooked provide benefits.

  • Cooked cabbage may be easier for some rabbits to digest. Try giving a small amount of cooked cabbage to young or sensitive rabbits.

  • Avoid overcooking which can diminish nutrients. Cook just until cabbage is slightly softened but still has crunch.

  • To preserve the most nutrients, you can also try just microwaving cabbage for 20-30 seconds to take off the raw edge.

  • Chop cooked cabbage into pea sized pieces. Make sure it's cooled before serving to prevent burns.

  • For raw cabbage, shred it or use a food processor to chop it finely before giving it to a rabbit.

  • Introduce new foods including cooked cabbage slowly over several days. Monitor stool and appetite for any issues.

  • Raw cabbage can be higher in goitrogens – compounds which impact thyroid function. Cooking may reduce these.

In summary, the ideal approach is to feed both raw and cooked cabbage in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Adjust according to each rabbit's preferences and digestive health.

How Should I Introduce Cabbage To My Rabbit?

When introducing cabbage to a rabbit's diet for the first time, go slow to allow their digestive system time to adjust. Here are some tips:

  • Start with just 1-2 tiny pieces of cabbage at first, about the size of a dime.

  • Offer the cabbage pieces along with the rabbit's regular greens or hay so they don't fill up just on cabbage.

  • Watch to see if the rabbit likes the taste and is willing to eat the cabbage. If they ignore it at first, try again the next day.

  • Increase the amount of cabbage by a teaspoon or two each time you offer it. Build up gradually over a week.

  • Mix the cabbage in with other familiar vegetables and greens to make it less novel and alarming.

  • Make sure the rabbit is still eating plenty of hay and drinking water as usual when adding cabbage.

  • Look for signs of soft stools or digestive upset after trying cabbage. Stop giving it if diarrhea develops.

  • Only feed the new cabbage 2-3 times a week at first. Too much too fast can disrupt sensitive digestion.

  • Chop the cabbage pieces small to make it easier to chew and digest. Shredded pieces are ideal.

  • Young rabbits under 12 weeks old should not have cabbage due to their developing digestive tract.

  • Adult rabbits can start with 1 teaspoon of cabbage per 2 lbs of body weight 2-3 times a week.

Going slow with new foods gives the rabbit's gut flora time to adjust. Monitor stool health and watch for changes in appetite when adding cabbage. Stop immediately if any concerns arise.

Will My Rabbit Like Cabbage?

Many rabbits enjoy the taste of cabbage, but preferences vary between individual rabbits. Here are some factors that determine if a rabbit will like cabbage:

  • Breed – Certain breeds like Rex and Mini Lop rabbits tend to be more adventurous eaters and will readily try cabbage.

  • Age – Younger rabbits are usually more open to trying new vegetables. Older rabbits may be set in their ways.

  • Personality – Confident, curious rabbits are often more interested in new foods like cabbage versus shy rabbits.

  • Familiarity – Rabbits imprint on the foods they knew as youngsters. Introducing cabbage early helps increase acceptance.

  • Texture – Rabbits like the satisfying crunch of raw cabbage. Ensure it's chopped into bite-sized pieces.

  • Smell – Cabbage has a pungent aroma that can appeal to a rabbit's sensitive nose and entice them to taste it.

  • Taste – The mildly sweet, earthy flavor of cabbage is agreeable to most bunnies. Red cabbage tends to be more aromatic.

  • Health – Some rabbits with ongoing digestive issues may refuse new foods, including cabbage.

  • Competition – Make cabbage exciting by offering it alongside preferred veggies.

  • Persistence – It may take a few tries before a hesitant rabbit accepts cabbage as an edible snack.

Monitor your rabbit's reaction when you first introduce cabbage. Offer it on multiple occasions to give them a chance to overcome neophobia – fear of new foods. The vitamin C and fiber in cabbage make it a healthy addition, so be patient but persistent. In time, most rabbits will grow to relish this crunchy, leafy treat.


Leave a Comment