By nature, rabbits are herbivores, meaning they are plant-eating animals. They love to eat herbs, plants, twigs, and seeds. But they also eat pellets that have the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Rabbits can eat beetroot but in moderation. Beetroot is a delicious colorant plant that is commonly used in many households because of its health benefits. It is packed with nutrients and a source of folate, fiber, and vitamins.
Feeding your rabbits with raw beetroot provides them with calcium, protein, and fats. However, it is not advisable to give beetroot to bunnies under 12 weeks. It can cause discomfort in the young bunnies and bring about digestion issues.
Rabbits love eating beetroot because of its sugar content and its crunch. However, you will be surprised to note that wild rabbits hardly eat beetroot. Thus beetroot should be taken by rabbits as an occasional treat, not always.
This article will cover every detail you need to know about feeding rabbits with beetroots.
Why You Should Feed Beetroots to Rabbits in Moderation
Beetroot has its nutritional benefits, but again, in rabbits, too much can be poisonous. Here are some reasons why you should limit the consumption of beetroots in rabbits.
· High Sugar
The sugar content found in beetroot is high for rabbits. If they take excess sugar, it can slow digestion, thus making it impossible to digests other foods. As a result, they may have loose stool. In addition, high sugar causes obesity and lethargy. Rabbits that are obese are inactive, and this is very dangerous for their health.
· Oxalic Acid
Beetroot has high oxalic acids, especially on the leaves. The level of oxalic acids depends on many factors. These include the age of the plant, where the mature ones have high oxalic levels. Type of soil is also another factor that causes high oxalic acid. If consumed in large amounts, oxalic acids cause kidney stones, which can harm your rabbits.
It has high potassium that is not good for rabbit’s digestive systems. In addition, when potassium is taken in high quantities, it causes muscle weakness and joint pains. Such a situation is a threat to rabbits, especially if not treated at the right time. It can cause death.
· High Calcium
Unlike other animals, rabbits absorb calcium differently. They don’t need vitamin D to absorb the required calcium in their bodies. Though they need calcium for the health of their bones, it gets hard if taken in a large amount.
In that case, it affects their urinary tracts and damages the kidneys. That is because excess calcium must pass through the kidneys and excrete through the urinary tract.
Health Benefits of Beetroots in Rabbits
Beetroot, when taken in moderation, can enhance your rabbit’s health in many ways. Here are some health benefits;
1. Energy Boost
The sugar content found in beetroot can boost the energy level in your rabbits. However, since beetroot also contains pectin, that can help tone down the energy. That can be possible if you feed the beetroot in small quantities.
The leaves of the beetroot are very rich in proteins. Therefore, when you feed rabbits with leaves, it means they will grow healthy. That is significant, especially in young rabbits that are yet to reach maturity age. It also boosts energy and ensures that the rabbit’s mind’s development is realized.
What Amount of Beetroot Should Rabbits Consume?
Feeding is not limited to a specific amount, but it depends on the breed, weight, and age. However, it is advisable to feed the rabbits with small quantities of fresh beets now and then.
You can start with feeding 1 to 2 tablespoons two to three times a week for a start. Ensure while feeding, you observe how they behave for the next 48 hours to highlight any digestive problem.
Signs to Look Out for
The digestive system of rabbits is unique since it digests nutrients severally over a short period. So when you introduce something new to their feeds, rabbits can reject them.
If you notice their poo is runny with an odor smell, discontinue the feeding. Instead, what you should do is introduce grass and hay to their diet. Then observe how the rabbits will respond in 48 hours. In case it doesn’t change, consider seeking the services of a VET for further diagnosis.
After feeding the beetroot and you observe that rabbits are suddenly isolating themselves, you should be worried. If they are no longer interested in playing and seem to lose energy, there is a digestive imbalance.
Stop giving them the beetroot and ensure you observe them in case it gets worse. Seek advice from the veterinarian if the condition persists.
Should You Feed the Rabbit All Parts of the Beetroot?
Yes, your rabbits can take every part of the beetroot. The reason is that the nutritional content of beetroot is found in each part, and it varies. But it is advisable to feed some parts sparingly than the others.
So let’s highlight each part of the beetroot:
· Beetroot Leaves
The leaves are green with a purple stem. It is advisable to feed the rabbits with beetroot leaves because they have healthy carotenoids, including lutein and beta-carotene, which help rabbits’ eyes health and fight against cancer.
However, rabbits should feed on beetroot leaves in small quantities. This is because they have high oxalic acid that causes kidney stones. Though they are an excellent source of vitamins and proteins, ranging from 17% to 18%, you will find the potassium overwhelming for rabbits.
· Beetroot Tops
The tops are also called bulbs. They are round with a purplish pink color and are the major component of beetroot.
A small amount of feeding on tops is recommended. Among other parts of beetroot, tops have the highest amount of oxalic acid and sugar.
· Beetroot Stalks
The stalks are long and have a bright fuchsia color. The rabbits can feed on stalks but still sparingly. They have a low oxalic level, but the sugar level is high. The stalks don’t cause any digestion problems but ensure you rotate them with some other feed in your rabbit’s feeding program.
Should You Cook or Give Canned Beetroot to Your Rabbits?
Canned beetroot is not suitable for your rabbits. This is because they have added sugars, salt, and preservative that can cause health problems.
On the other hand, cooking produces a lot of starch. That means the fiber and minerals will be lost in the cooking process. So when rabbits consume the beetroot, they can’t get the fiber needed in their diet.
Every time you are feeding your rabbits with beetroot, ensure that it is raw. It is the only way they can enjoy some of the health benefits of this fruit.
The Best Way to Feed Beetroot to Your Rabbits
Introduce the beetroot in small quantities. Wash and remove any dirt to avoid stomach upsets. Whichever part of the beetroot you are giving your rabbits, ensure it is thoroughly cleaned. You can opt to chop the beetroot into small pieces so that feeding can be easy.
The green leaves can be consumed without necessarily chopping. The rabbits love chewing them as they are crunchy. Note that the beets can stain the fur of your rabbits, so you can opt to feed them from your hands or put the beets in a bowl.
You may realize a change in their poo though it is not something to worry about. It turns the color to a reddish-pink, which can be mistaken for blood.
You can treat your rabbits with a beetroot feeding occasionally. Mixing it with other vegetables is a good option though you should do it carefully. Remember, beetroots have high sugars and oxalic acids that are harmful to your rabbits.
With that in mind, ensure you feed them with beetroot in moderation. Let your rabbit enjoy their beetroot but make sure their daily feeds contain fiber-based foods like hay. That helps their gut, and it should consist 80% of their feed.