Cherries refer to fruits from several plants that belong to the Prunus genus. These fleshly dupes or stone fruits have many health benefits and nutrients. The name can also refer to the tree or plant.
There are many varieties of cherries with the popular ones being Bing, Rainer, Queen Anne (Royal Anne), Montmorency, Morello, Lambert, Maraschino, and Balaton.
In humans, these fruits have several benefits including helping with arthritis and any inflammatory condition, lowering blood level in diabetic people, reduces the risk of heart diseases, decreases the risk of colon cancer, improves memory, helps one to get good sleep, among others.
They contain vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B2, B5, B6, K, calcium, manganese, phosphorous, iron, sodium, sugars, dietary fibers, anthocyanins, among others. Vitamin, A, C, and anthocyanins are some of the antioxidants that can help neutralize free radicals that these fruits have.
Can my rabbits eat cherries?
Yes. Rabbits can eat cherries. Like any other fruit that rabbits can eat, they should be given in small amounts of treats. Typically, give them only one to two cherries per week with their pits and stem removed for a standard bunny size. The stem and seeds contain cyanide making them poisonous.
Since they contain a lot of sugar and they are highly calorific, giving them too much may have undesirable effects.
Firstly, the rabbit’s digestive system is not designed to digest a lot of sugar. Therefore, excess sugar may cause fungi and bacterial imbalance in their cecum, notes the University of California. Also, too much sugar can cause sugar highs and crashes, and stomachaches. Note that, stomach upsets and diarrheas, among other problems, may arise.
Also, being highly calorific, you should expect your rabbits to gain weight and be obese if you give them a lot of cherries frequently. Obesity will hamper the regular self-grooming and reduce your bunny’s lifespan.
To take advantage of the various nutrients that fruits have, you can ensure you keep varying the fruits you give them. There are several types of fruits that are safe which include apples, watermelons, oranges, pears, kiwi fruits, papaya, berries, apricots, among others.
Also, non-leafy vegetables such as broccoli, zucchinis, chinse pea pods, celery, and carrots will also form good treats.
Giving bunnies these treats during their playtime will help grow a bond with you and make them happier. You can also incorporate them into their training such as logic toys to sharpen their minds or while litter training them to use their littering boxes.
Finally, note that dried cherries will have even a higher amount of sugars. This means they should be avoided or given in even smaller quantities.
What about leaves and twigs?
As in the case of pits or seeds, do not give your rabbits cherry leaves and twigs. The “plant - they contain cyanide and are therefore poisonous, warns Saveafluff.co.uk. Consequently, it is only the fruit that is safe for your furry friend.
Being sweet, there is a temptation of your bunnies wanting to eat more cherries. Do not give them more than what we have recommended. When overeaten, they also tend to be acidic besides the effects we have discussed.
Secondly, do not replace their usual diets which are mainly hay and small amounts of fresh foods and high fiber pellets with the various treats including this fruit. Wild rabbits hardly get a chance to eat fruits, yet they are still healthy.
Finally, when giving them cherries, begin with small amounts such as a half and see if they have any effect after a day. The fruits should be clean and washed to get rid of any pesticides, insecticides or herbicides. Remember to remove the stem and seeds!