As a rabbit parent, the last thing you want is to feed your bunny food he can’t handle. That’s why it’s wise to ask your vet or do some research before feeding anything new to your rabbit.
To help with your research, let’s talk about kales and rabbits today. Specifically, if rabbits can eat kale, its nutritional value, and everything else you should know before feeding kale to your rabbit.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Can Rabbits Eat Kale?
The short answer is yes, but the answer gets a little complex when we come to practicality. There are rules to be observed—for example, the frequency, quantity, and way of serving.
Veggies, especially leafy green ones, are good for rabbits. They provide valuable nutrients essential for optimal health.
But some, like kale, may lead to gas build-up, causing discomfort to your bunny. That’s why feeding in moderation is advised. Don’t leave your bunny in the garden to nibble on kale for hours.
That’s a very wrong turn that may compromise his health. So, while rabbits can safely eat kale, only feed it in moderation, depending on the size and age of the bunny.
Can Rabbits Eat Kale Stems?
Yes, rabbits can safely eat kale stems. But though it wouldn’t pose a problem, you are advised to feed it in moderation and cut it into small pieces to prevent choking.
The stem is not as smooth as the leaves, so giving your bunny a whole stick may cause choking. It’s also advised that you monitor him while eating the stems so you can offer immediate care in case of choking.
Do Rabbits Like Kale?
Rabbits like vegetables in general, and kale being a vegetable, most enjoy eating it. My friend confessed her bunny likes kale stems in particular. I assume it’s because the stem is a little tough, so her bunny enjoys chewing it.
However, every bunny is different, so if your little friend has trouble digesting kale or seems to dislike it, don’t force it on him. You can always feed it other vegetables that its stomach agrees with.
Is Kale Safe for Rabbits?
Here comes the tricky part. While rabbits can eat kale, whether it’s safe or not depends on several things. The very first is how you feed your bunny and if you observe the set guidelines.
It also narrows down to individual rabbits. Every bunny processes food differently, so it would be unfair to assume the vegetable is unsafe because one had an issue. In the same way, we can’t assume all bunnies can safely digest kale.
As a bunny owner, the important thing to keep in mind is that kale is a cruciferous vegetable, the infamous family for causing gas build-up. The remedy for such vegetables is feeding in moderation and not often.
Let me clarify one thing, though. The common misconception that kale contains more oxalate, which is not suitable for bunnies, is not true. People assume this because it’s a dark green, leafy vegetable like spinach, high in oxalate.
As Medill clarifies, kale contains way fewer milligrams of oxalate than spinach. It will only be a problem if you feed it in excess.
That said, kale is safe for bunnies if introduced gradually, fed in moderation, and fed to adult bunnies.
Nutritional Value of Kale
According to Nutritionvalue, kale boasts of:
- High amounts of vitamins C, A, and K
- Low sugar content
- Variety of B vitamins
- Various minerals in small amounts
All these, including a calorie composition of 20% protein, 35% fats, and 45% carbohydrates, make it ideal for your bunny’s diet. It also contains a satisfying amount of calcium, approximately 94 milligrams per cup, that helps with healthy bones and dentition.
But though it contains all these ‘goodies’, you still need to feed in moderation.
Types of Kale to Feed Your Bunny
There are different types of kale. The common types include:
- Red kale
- Curly kale
- Lacinato kale
- Baby kale
Rabbits can eat all these types of kale. No type stands out as the best to feed bunnies, especially since they have similar nutrient profiles.
In the same way, no type ranks as the worst to feed your rabbit. What type to feed your furry friend depends on his preference and what is locally available.
How to Feed Kale to Your Bunny
How you feed kale to your rabbit determines how it reacts to him. Overfeeding or feeding him daily results in flatulence. So how do you feed it without causing health problems?
- Always wash your kale thoroughly before feeding it to your bunny. This removes dirt and any chemicals that may contaminate the vegetable. If you can get organic kale, even better.
- Chop into small pieces, especially the stems, and feed them to your bunny.
- Never feed kale instead of hay. While hay should be constant in your bunny’s diet, kale should be treated as a treat and fed twice or thrice a week. Also, remember to provide clean water to help with digestion.
- Alternate kale with other vegetables so you don’t trigger stomach issues. I recommend alternating with non-cruciferous vegetables to avoid gas buildup. Alternating vegetables also help your bunny get a variety of nutrients.
- Feed kale to 12 weeks (and above) old rabbits and introduce it gradually while monitoring (for 24 hours) how it reacts with them. When introducing it, only offer a tiny bit when introducing a new type.
- In the event of any strange reaction like watery stool or gas build-up, discontinue immediately and consult your vet.
How Much Kale Should I Feed My Bunny?
How much depends on her age and weight. Use this guide according to your bunny’s weight and breed:
|Weight according to breed||Amount of kale allowed per day|
|Small breed (1.1–3.5 pounds).||<128 grams.|
|Medium breed (6–10 pounds).||384-640 grams.|
|Large breed (9–12 pounds).||384-760 grams.|
You can also use diet calculators to calculate the amount to feed, depending on age and weight. Though they aren’t that accurate, use them to get an overall estimate.
But basically, old rabbits should eat more than young ones. Also, a giant bunny should eat more than a small one.
And though bunnies should eat vegetables daily, don’t feel kale daily. Feed it two or three times a week while feeding other types of vegetables the other days.
Other Common Questions Answered
At what age should I start feeding my bunny kale?
Only feed it to bunnies over twelve weeks. Young ones have a more sensitive digestive system and are prone to stomach problems.
Are rabbits allowed kale flowers?
Yes, provided they eat in moderation, there is no harm in allowing your bunny kale flowers.
Can rabbits eat cooked kale?
Always feed raw kale as cooked kale loses fiber, leading to a mushy texture which is not good for your bunny’s digestive system.
Rabbits can eat kale, but you must observe guidelines like feeding in moderation to avoid causing health issues.
The vegetable is rich in nutrients essential for your bunny’s health, so feel free to offer some to your cute pet.
If you have any doubts, contact your vet for professional advice.