Blueberries are not only nutritious and sweet but very popular among many people. They contain vitamin C, K, B6, manganese, fiber, sugar, proteins, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, carbs, fats, etc.
These nutrients make them suitable for healthy bones and skin, helpful in managing diabetes, protecting you against heart diseases, work as antioxidants, good lowering blood pressure, preventing cancer, among other benefits. Can rabbits be allowed to eat them?
Can I give my bunny blueberries?
Yes. Rabbits can eat blueberries. As lovebackyard.com states, they “are known to be able to help support the rabbit’s health especially if they are given the right amounts of it.” Bunnies can eat most of the uncooked berries without any problem.
What about dried blueberries? Can bunnies munch them too? Yes. They are not harmful or toxic. Unfortunately, they have a higher amount of sugar. This means you must give them smaller amounts
Blueberries, like any other fruit, should be given as treats in small quantities and occasionally (not every day). You need to provide them with one or two berries once a week. Also, keep changing treats to include fruits and non-leafy vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, cabbages and so on.
Other fruits such as mangoes, apples (with seeds removed), watermelons, oranges (with seeds removed), pineapples, strawberries, raspberries, pears, peach, papaya, and so on are also safe for your bunnies and can be given as treats.
Why you cannot give them a lot of these fruits is because they have a high amount of sugar and carbohydrates while your rabbit’s digestive system is meant to digest cellulose and foods with low sugar carbohydrate and fat content. This means too much of these berries can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea, bowel motility challenges, among other problems.
Also, there is a possibility of weight gain and obesity in your bunnies. Obesity will affect their grooming ability as well as shorten their life expectancy.
Giving your bunnies blueberries
Only give fruits and vegetables to grown-up rabbits. Also, begin by introducing them slowly and monitor how their digestive system will behave in the next one day. Their droppings will tell it all.
Whereas some sources state that you need to remove seeds to avoid choking, this is unnecessary. However, like strawberries, their seeds are so small and present no risk of choking.
If you are doubtful, you can remove the seeds, but it won’t be easy, and you will remain with blueberry pulp that might be hard to feed to your furry friends.
Finally, you need to wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticide, herbicide or insecticide residue as they are harmful to your bunnies.
Do they eat their leaves and stems?
Blueberry plants are among the preferred plants by rabbits. They will not only enjoy nibbling their leaves but also their stems, as the University of Minnesota notes, “in winter, rabbits enjoy nibbling on the stems of blueberry bushes.”
The same sentiments are presented by the Cornel University of Agriculture and Life Sciences which notes that “wildlife feeding by deer or rabbits causes physical damage to blueberries.”
If your furry friends are destroying your blueberry plants, you should consider fencing around them or using the various repellents that will keep them away.
Besides benefiting from the healthy antioxidants and other nutrients, these berries can be used as training treats especially during rabbit litter training, inside logic toys to improve their alertness, intelligence and reduce boredom, they can also make your pet happier.
Remember, ideal food for bunnies should have over 80% hay, about 5% high fiber pellets, and the remainder can be fresh foods. Most bunnies will love hay brands such as Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting "Perfect Blend" Timothy Hay Pet Food, Kaytee Timothy Hay or Oxbow Timothy Hay.
Fresh foods will include treats of fruits and non-leafy vegetables while the bulk of fresh fruits should be leafy greens.