Feeding a rabbit fresh vegetables isn’t as straightforward it might sound. Root vegetables, such as parsnips, should always be fed to rabbits in moderation, due to their high carbohydrate content.
Small quantities of parsnips can be beneficial to a rabbit’s health. These vegetables are a natural diuretic, and low in calories. But parsnips are high in sugar and can cause Vitamin C toxicity.
Rabbits are herbivores, not meat eaters. Parsnips can make a tasty and nourishing snack for your rabbit. If they’ve tolerated handling or a trip to the vet, they deserve a special treat. Parsnips must always be washed, peeled, and chopped.
Are Rabbits Allowed Parsnips?
Parsnips are non-toxic for rabbits. This means that a bunny can eat this vegetable in moderation without any health concerns. The Rabbit House lists parsnips as ‘amber’ on their veg list.
Parsnips should not make up a regular part of your rabbit’s diet. Parsnips contain substantial amounts of sugar and phosphorous.
Thankfully, parsnips are not high in calories. Coupled with the fact that they release energy slowly, a little goes a long way. It’s OK to offer your rabbit small amounts of parsnip. Just provide them as a treat.
Can Rabbits Eat Parsnip Tops?
The tops of parsnips look safe for rabbits. It’s easy to assume that these are leafy greens that your bunny will enjoy. Tread carefully, though. Parsnips tops may not be safe for rabbits.
Parsnip leaves can lead to a range of reactions in humans, which can theoretically be mirrored in rabbits. Skin conditions, including dermatitis, have been linked with the leaves of these greens.
In truth, there is no evidence about whether parsnip tops are dangerous to rabbits. All the same, it’s best to err on the side of caution. There are plenty of leafy greens to use instead.
Can Rabbits Eat Parsnip Peelings?
Parsnip peelings are safe for rabbits. Just provide them with all the same caveats as sliced parsnips. They’ll be high in sugar and phosphorous, and thus should never be overfed.
Be careful with feeding peelings to a rabbit. Bunnies have large teeth and strong jaws. This makes a thin parsnip peel problematic. Your rabbit is safer chomping through a full slice of parsnip.
Do Rabbits Like Parsnips?
Bunnies love parsnips. Rabbits love sweet tastes, and parsnips contain lots of sugar. This means that most bunnies will gleefully tuck in.
Many people also glaze their parsnips with honey for additional flavor. This will make the vegetable even more appealing to a rabbit. Naturally, it will also rot a bunny’s teeth, though.
The aroma is also appealing to a rabbit. Parsnips are filled with naturally occurring essential oils, which create a strong and spicy scent. Bunnies cannot taste spices, but they’ll enjoy the smell.
Rabbits do not always know what’s good for them, though. These essential oils can be as dangerous as the leaves of a parsnip. The vegetable should always be washed and peeled before serving.
Never exceed a tablespoon of fresh fruit and veg for 2 lbs. of a rabbit’s body weight. That means maybe two tablespoons a day, for the average house rabbit. This allowance should primarily feature dark, leafy greens. Use parsnips sparingly.
Are Parsnips Good for Rabbits?
There are reasons why parsnips are good for your rabbit. These include:
- Parsnips are Low in Calories. 100g of parsnip contains 55 calories. This means that one tablespoon contains eight calories.
- Parsnips are a Diuretic. If your bunny has any difficulty with their kidneys, liver, lungs or heart, parsnip will help. They can also resolve UTIs and bladder stones.
- Parsnips are Good for a Rabbit’s Heart. As a diuretic, parsnips improve a rabbit’s heart health. Blood vessels around the heart are less likely to enlarge.
- Parsnips Contain High Quantities of Magnesium and Potassium. Both of these enzymes are critical to keeping a rabbit healthy.
- Parsnips are Tough. Life can be dull for a rabbit in their hutch. They’ll often pass the time by chewing and eating. The toughness of a parsnip means that they’ll be entertained. Here is some information on items that rabbits shouldn’t chew.
- Parsnips are Filling. A little parsnip will leave your rabbit feeling full. This is because, like all root vegetables, parsnips are high in carbs. They’ll release energy slowly.
Are Parsnips Poisonous for Rabbits?
Parsnips are not toxic, but their leaves may be. Even so, a parsnip is not entirely devoid of danger. There are reasons why these vegetables must be offered sparingly. Some of the concerns that rabbit owners should be aware of include:
- Parsnips are High in Sugar. This means that they taste great, but they’re hardly healthy.
- Parsnips are High in Vitamin C. As explained by the University of California, rabbits generate Vitamin C organically. If it’s also in their food, they’ll suffer kidney issues.
- Parsnips Contain High Levels of Phosphorous. Like Vitamin C, a little phosphorous is a good thing. Too much damages the liver and bones, and leaves a rabbit susceptible to sickness.
- Parsnips are Tough to Digest. Parsnips release energy slowly. They can also take a long time to digest, though. This can cause blockages if eaten to excess.
Before offering parsnips to your bunny, weight these risks up. You may prefer to find an alternative vegetable. All of the limited benefits of parsnips can be found in other foodstuffs.
Alternatives to Parsnips for Rabbits
If these concerns make parsnips unappealing, there are alternatives that you can offer your bunny. Carrots are the most obvious. These vegetables come with all the same caveats as parsnips, though. They must be used in moderation.
If you’re looking to provide your bunny with fresh vegetables that are safer than parsnips, consider:
- Romaine lettuce (never iceberg lettuce)
- Radish tops and leaves
- Bell peppers
- Cauliflower heads
Any of these vegetables are considered entirely safe for rabbits. You’ll still need to follow the one tablespoon per 2 lbs. of weight, though.
Fruit and vegetables will never be the most crucial part of your rabbit’s diet. As long as they have unlimited fresh hay, they’ll be fine. Never feed your rabbit old fruit and vegetables because it may have gone moldy. Unfortunately, moldy food can kill rabbits.
Guide to Feeding a Rabbit Parsnips
If you have decided to bring parsnips into your rabbit’s life, there are specific ground rules.
Never cook a parsnip before offering it to a bunny. They may find this appealing, especially if you glaze the parsnip in honey. It’s not good for your rabbit, though.
For a start, you’ll be removing any goodness. It’ll still be sugary; more so if you include honey. Also, cooked vegetables are softer than their raw counterparts. This means your rabbit may hurt themselves eating them.
If your rabbit has never had parsnips before, start small. Chop the vegetable up, and peel away the skin. Wash the parsnip thoroughly, and offer your rabbit a small piece. Wait 24 hours, and check for any adverse reactions.
If your rabbit doesn’t seem to be troubled by the parsnip, you can add it to their treat rota. Once a week should be more than sufficient. Consider alternating parsnips with carrots. This will provide a bunny with two favorites in moderation.
If you are offering your rabbit parsnips, remove pellets from their diet. That’s too many carbohydrates for a bunny to process.
Only feed your rabbit fresh and high-quality parsnips. If you wouldn’t eat the vegetable yourself, you certainly shouldn’t offer it to your rabbit.
Can Rabbits Eat Wild Parsnips?
If you grow parsnips in your yard, they’ll attract the attention of rabbits. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad thing. Exercise a little caution, though.
If your pet munches on wild parsnips, they’ll be indiscriminate. They could eat the leafy tops, too. As we have established, this may or may not be harmful.
You’ll also need to keep an eye on the number of parsnips that your rabbit eats. If they get a taste for the sweetness of this vegetable, they may eat to excess. This can leave your bunny feeling unwell.
Naturally, wild vegetables also have the ever-present threat of pesticides. Unless you can be confident that your rabbit will be safe, keep them away from parsnips. Thankfully, they only grow for three months of the year.
When we refer to wild parsnips, we’re talking about those found in a back yard. Organic produce from a health food store is fine.
My Rabbit Ate a Whole Parsnip
Rabbits make some bad decisions at times. Many bunnies do not know when they’ve had too much of a good thing. If they find a parsnip, they may eat the whole thing.
If this is a wild parsnip, you’ll have to watch your rabbit particularly carefully. They may be at risk, having consumed the potentially toxic leaves. Besides, there’s no way of knowing what else a wild parsnip contains.
If your rabbit ate a whole parsnip from your kitchen, there are fewer risks. There is even less to worry about if the parsnip was washed and peeled first. They may have a tummy ache for a while.
If your rabbit overeats, watch them for around 24 hours. They may look a little uncomfortable, as rabbits cannot vomit excessive food. They can’t even belch to relieve the tension in their stomach.
After a short while, they should return to their old selves. Just remove all food except hay for a prolonged period. Your bunny will have reached and breached their calorie allowance.
Parsnips are safe for rabbits in moderation. Whenever providing food for your bunny, ensure that you’re not offering too much. Start small, and gradually increase the quantities.
If your rabbit shows any adverse reaction to parsnips, stop feeding them at once. If not, you can continue providing fresh, peeled, and washed parsnips as an occasional treat.