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Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable belongs to the Brassica oleracea species which also has savoy, kohlrabi, kale, collard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. It is grown for its edible flowering head in various parts of the world including the US, India, China, Italy, Mexico, Spain and so on.
The common varieties cultivated include purple cauliflower, Calabrese and sprouting broccoli. Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli, and you should not confuse cauliflower.
This delicious and nutritious vegetable has minerals, vitamins as well as bioactive compounds. It has potent antioxidants such as glucoraphanin which is converted to sulforaphane during digestion, and it can help in reducing oxidative stress, sugar levels, cholesterol as well as help in fighting various types of cancers.
Broccoli also promotes digestion and reduces constipation, thanks to its fiber and antioxidants. It may help slow aging, protect brain tissues, its vitamin c will boost immunity and together with calcium reduce oral and dental disease in bunnies.
Other valuable nutrients include vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, E, K, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, manganese, proteins, carbs, and small amounts of fats.
While enjoying your raw, steamed, roasted or cooked broccoli, it is possible you might want to give some to your rabbit. Is it safe or harmful?
Can I give my bunny broccoli?
Yes. Rabbits can eat broccoli including its flowering bud, leaves, and stalk. They are safe, nutritious as we have seen and will not harm your furry friend.
Do not always throw away the various vegetable cut-offs including stems, stalks or leaves which may not be edible to humans as your rabbits could eat them. This includes carrot tops, broccoli, and leaves, cauliflower leaves and so on.
One important thing you need to understand about this non-leafy vegetable and other similar ones such as carrots, celery, bell papers, squash, and zucchinis is that it should be given in small amounts as occasional treats. The recommended amount is a teaspoon for a bunny weighing about two pounds.
Feeding them a lot of this cruciferous may cause digestive problems including bloating, diarrhea, gas, and others. As My House Rabbit warns, giving your rabbit’s mainly “broccoli leaves as stems or tops can make rabbits gassy.”
Perhaps you may wonder why non-leafy vegetables should be given in small quantities. The reason is simple. The rabbit’s digestive system is adapted to digest high fiber low carbs and fats diets such as hay. Fiber is vital to promoting your rabbit’s digestive system.
Therefore, giving them a lot of broccoli especially the head and stem which has lower fiber especially cellulose may cause intestinal digestion problems and hence the bloating, diarrhea and it affects gastrointestinal motility as it the high fiber that helps stimulate cecal-colic motility.
Also, there is a chance of your bunny being overweight and becoming obese if you feed them with lots of non-leafy vegetables, especially those with high calorific values yet their fiber content is not high.
How to give your rabbit broccoli
Like you introduce other veggies and greens, it should be done to adult rabbits or pre-weaned ones. Also, begin with small amounts and see if it causes any digestion problems. If you do not observe any digestive problem, you can increase the amount given but not more than what we have recommended.
Wash broccoli in running clean water to get rid of any pesticides, herbicides or insecticides residues. You can chop it into smaller pieces to make eating easier.
Since they are more like kales, you can give them the same way you provide them kales and other leafy vegetables that bunnies eat. Usually, a packed cup of at least five different types of leafy greens is recommended per two pounds of bunny weight.
Do not forget to minimize those leafy greens that have high amounts of oxalates such as spinach, parsley, beet greens, Swiss chard, Radish tops, and so on and give them only one type and occasionally.
Broccoli leaves, stem and tops (flowering bud that people eat) are safe for your furry friends and should be given in small amounts. However, do not forget to follow the recommended rabbit diet and include unlimited amounts of clean, freshwater.