This article explores the question: do rabbits eat bird seed? It covers the diet of rabbits and also gives tips on how to feed your pet rabbit and take care of them.
If you're like the majority of people, when you think of a rabbit, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a small, cuddly creature that eats carrots and lettuce. However, did you know that rabbits also enjoy eating bird seeds? In fact, many people buy bird seed specifically because their rabbits love it so much - but do rabbits really need to eat bird seed?
This is a query that many pet rabbit owners have. The answer is yes, rabbits will eat bird seed, but it is not their preferred diet. In this article, we will explore the diet of rabbits in detail and answer the question about them eating bird seeds. We will also give tips on how to feed your pet rabbit and take care of them.
Rabbits and their Characteristics
Rabbits are small, furry animals that come in various colors and sizes. They are social creatures and enjoy being around other rabbits. In the wild, rabbits live in burrows underground, where they are protected from predators.
The naming terminology of rabbits is shared with deer. A male rabbit is called Buck, while its female counterpart is a Doe. There are also adorable terms for young and adult rabbits: Kit and Coney, respectively. However, Coney is an order term only used till the 18th century. A fascinating fact; rabbits were classified as Rodentia (rodents) until 1912 and later were moved to the order Lagomorpha.
Characteristics of Rabbits
- They have long ears, and their diet consists mainly of hay, fresh vegetables, and pellets.
- Rabbits are social creatures and enjoy being around other rabbits or human companions.
- Rabbits are very active and playful animals. They also have a natural curiosity and like exploring their environment.
- When it comes to food, rabbits are grazers, meaning they like to eat small meals throughout the day. This is why it's important to always have fresh hay and vegetables available for your rabbit.
- They have powerful hind legs, which allow them to jump high and run fast.
- Their front 2 teeth never stop growing, so they need to gnaw on things to keep them worn down.
- Young rabbits start walking instead of hopping; however, they will hop when they get older.
- Some species of rabbits can live up to 12 years, while others only live for about 9 years.
Do Rabbits Eat Bird Seeds?
You may have seen many instances of birds and rabbits sharing the same house and living together peacefully, but do they share their food? Rabbits will eat bird seed. However, this is not their preferred diet. In the wild, rabbits eat mostly grass, leaves, twigs, and bark.
Rabbits also eat a small number of insects for extra protein. In captivity, however, their diet is usually different. Birds and rabbits are both herbivorous, which suggests that their diets can overlap, but their usual diets are very different.
So beware, if your rabbit finds the seeds kept for your birds, it will finish them all. You can let your bunny eat the odd birdseed as a treat, but make sure it doesn't make up the majority of their diet. The seed likely won't kill them, but eating too much of the wrong kind of food will make them sick.
Diet of Rabbits
Rabbits are herbivores, which means that their diet consists mostly of plants. In the wild, rabbits eat a variety of grasses, herbs, and other vegetation. Their diet is rich in fiber and low in sugar, which helps keep their digestive system healthy. When rabbits are kept as pets, they should also have a diet high in fiber and low in sugar.
Here are some of the best foods rabbits enjoy:
Being 80 to 90% of a rabbit's diet, hay is a staple food for rabbits. Hay is a brilliant source of fiber, which helps keep their digestive system healthy and aids in the prevention of hairballs. Rabbits love something to munch on throughout the day, and fresh hay will be the perfect treat for them.
Grass is another excellent source of fiber for rabbits. It also contains varied vitamins and minerals that are essential for their overall health. You can surely let your rabbit graze on the grass if you have a backyard. Make sure the area is free of pesticides and other chemicals, and avoid feeding them grass cut with lawnmowers as it goes through fermentation and can be harmful to them.
Fresh vegetables are also a great addition to a rabbit's diet. Veggies are not only a good source of fiber but also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Rabbits can consume them in loads, provided they are not rich in carbs. Leafy greens are perfect for rabbits as they are filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Also, when feeding your rabbit vegetables, make sure to wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticides or chemicals.
While fruits are not an integral part of a rabbit's diet, they can be given as occasional treats. They are high in sugar and should only be given in moderation. Some fruits they can enjoy once in a while are apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, plums, and strawberries. However, when feeding your rabbit fruits, make sure to remove the seeds and pits first, as they can be toxic.
Foods You Should Avoid Feeding Rabbits
Knowing about the foods rabbits can and cannot eat is essential to keeping them healthy. Here are some of the food items you should avoid feeding your rabbit:
- Avocados: Avocados are a perfectly healthy treat for humans, but they contain a toxin called persin, which can be harmful to rabbits.
- Cabbage: Cabbage, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, contain compounds called goitrogens. These can interfere with the rabbit's thyroid function and cause problems with its digestive system.
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which is toxic to rabbits. Dark chocolates especially have a high concentration of theobromine, which can be fatal to rabbits.
- Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges contain a compound called limonene. This can be harmful to your rabbit's liver. Plus, these fruits are rich in vitamin C, which can cause diarrhea in rabbits.
- Iceberg lettuce: Iceberg lettuce is low in nutrients and can cause digestive problems in rabbits. And they contain a chemical called lactucarium, which is harmful to your bunny.
- Mushrooms: Some mushrooms are perfectly safe for rabbits, while some can be poisonous. They contain a toxic compound called mycotoxins, so it's best to avoid feeding them mushrooms altogether.
- Potatoes: Potatoes contain a compound called solanine, which is toxic to rabbits. Feeding raw potatoes can cause lethargy, appetite loss, and abdominal pain in rabbits. Plus, the presence of starch can lead to digestive issues.
Tips for Feeding Your Rabbit
Now that you have learned about the foods that are safe for rabbits to eat, here are some tips on how to feed your pet rabbit:
- Rabbits should have a diet that consists mostly of hay, fresh vegetables, and a small number of pellets.
- You can give your rabbit treats like fruits and vegetables, but only in moderation.
- Make sure you thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before feeding them to your rabbit.
- Remove the seeds and pits of fruits before feeding them to your rabbit.
- Avoid feeding your rabbit processed foods, sugary snacks, or junk food.
- Provide fresh water for your rabbit at all times.
As you can see, there are varied foods that rabbits can and cannot eat. By following the tips above, you can make sure that your pet rabbit has a healthy diet and stays happy and healthy for years to come!