Kale became very popular in the past decade or so, and people even started calling it a ‘superfood.’ But like any other type of food, it has benefits and risks, and in some situations, it can pose a threat to your pet rabbit’s health.
In today’s article, we’re looking at whether rabbits can eat kale, how much kale is too much, and several other facts.
Can rabbits eat kale?
The short answer to this question is that yes, rabbits can eat kale, but it should be more of a treat rather than a significant part of their diet. Besides the excellent nutrients that it contains, kale has massive amounts of oxalates. Moreover, scientists can’t even agree on how much oxalates can be found in kale, so it’s better to avoid feeding large kale amounts to your pet rabbit.
Benefits of feeding kale to your rabbit
Kale is rich in a number of nutrients ranging from vitamins A, C, and K, to minerals such as calcium, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Like any other leafy vegetable, it also has a decent quantity of fiber, meaning that it can influence a rabbit’s digestion in a positive manner.
Kale is also very low in sugar, and it obviously contains a very low amount of cholesterol. It has moderate amounts of B vitamins, which are known to have a beneficial effect on any animal’s immune system.
Risks of feeding kale to rabbits
Since it is rich in oxalates and calcium, large amounts of kale can be dangerous for rabbits. If you make the mistake of feeding kale to your pet on a regular basis, it could be deadly, at one point.
While some pet parents advise against feeding kale or spinach to your rabbit for this reason, as it’s not worth the risk, very small amounts are safe.
How much kale is too much?
There are no particular guidelines when it comes to feeding kale to pet rabbits, and that’s why giving a specific amount is not really possible. However, it’s generally acknowledged that you should never feed a plant from the Brassica genus (kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage) to a rabbit two days in a row.
These vegetables and leafy greens can cause digestive issues when they are fed repetitively, and they also have too high amounts of vitamin C. Feeding kale to your rabbit three days in a row, even in small amounts, is risky, and it will usually give them gas.
Depending on your rabbit’s size, you are allowed to give them up to 1 to 2 teaspoons of shredded kale per week. Anything more would be risky.
What type of kale is safe?
Organically farmed kale is better than the regular option for the simple reason that it doesn’t contain any traces of nasty chemicals, which can range from weed killers to pesticides. The best kale would be that which you have grown yourself in your garden, but not all of us have that privilege.
In terms of varieties, there is little to no difference when it comes to the nutrients they contain, so pretty much all kinds are the same. From curly to Lacinato, kale provides the same benefits but also has the same risks.
What parts of the plant are safe?
All of the parts are safe to feed to your pet rabbit (we reiterate — in very small amounts) from the stems to the leafy parts. The stems are slightly higher in fiber.
Do rabbits eat kale in the garden? They might nibble on it if you leave them to have complete access to it, and since you have no control over the amount that they can eat, it’s not the best situation.
In any case, when you take your pet rabbit out in the yard or garden, it’s always a good idea to use a hutch instead of allowing him or her to roam around. Of course, the hutch needs to be large enough for the rabbit to be comfortable at all times.
Frequently asked questions about rabbits and kale
Can you feed kale to a baby rabbit?
Just to be on the safe side of things, you should avoid feeding kale and spinach to baby rabbits. Wait until they are at least two to three months old before experimenting with different foods. Moreover, when introducing a new food into your pet rabbit’s diet, make sure to do it gradually — so that you don’t cause your pet some digestive distress.
Can rabbits eat canned kale?
They probably can, but most will not show any particular interest in it. The same goes for cooked kale. There is a theory according to which steaming or boiling kale removes some of the oxalates as they end up in the water. So while it might be safer, at least in this sense, the watery texture might lead to digestive upset, too.
Do wild rabbits eat kale?
If they have nothing else available, wild rabbits can eat kale. They might eat a lot, which could have a negative impact on their health, though.