Cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables that belong to the Brassica oleracea genus that also has cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, kales, and Brussels sprouts. Although the one with a white head is the most common one, there are those that have heads that are orange, green, purple and orange varieties.
Can I give my bunnies cauliflower?
Yes. Rabbits can eat cauliflower including its leaves and stalks in moderation. It is packed with various essential vitamins for rabbits such as C, K, folate, B-6, choline, biotin, B-1 and B-3 which have some roles as well as minerals including manganese, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, among others (see benefits of each of these minerals).
Also, it has fiber, fats including omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. Each of these nutrients plays various roles in ensuring your bunny is healthy. Therefore, this vegetable will help supplement any deficiencies of these nutrients.
However, before giving your furry friend cauliflower, you need to know that it should be given in small quantities. For the cauliflower head and stem, give them about a teaspoon per two pounds of their weight occasionally as a treat since they are non-leafy vegetable parts.
For the leaves, the amount can be slightly more. A packed cup of at least six different leafy greens one of them being cauliflower leaves is recommended per two pounds of the bodyweight of your rabbit. Mix the leaves of this vegetable with other leafy greens that rabbits eat such as arugula, carrot tops, kale, basil, mint, spring greens, wheatgrass, cilantro leaves, dill leaves, Bok Choy among others.
You must be wondering why you cannot give them a much as possible. This needs understanding how a rabbit’s digestive system works. Bunnies are lagomorphs that ferment soluble fiber in their cecum, and they depend on a high intake of foods that are high fiber diets especially cellulose to derive their essential nutrients.
Fiber has many roles in a rabbit’s digestion, and without it, they are bound to have gastrointestinal problems including cecal mobility problems, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and so on. This is what low fiber foods and vegetables including cauliflower may do to your furry critters.
Cauliflower may be having fiber but is way low when compared to what minimum amounts of fiber an ideal diet for rabbits must-have.
Introducing cauliflower to your rabbits
Only pre-weaned ones should be given fresh foods, and you should begin by small amounts to see how their stomachs are going to react after about 24 hours. You can then increase the amount to what we have recommended if you notice it does not affect your bunny at all. Note that cauliflowers tend to be gassy.
Secondly, the cauliflower must be well washed to remove any remnant chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. We recommend you give your bunnies fresh ones and not wilted or ones that have molds.
To make chewing more manageable, you can chop it into small pieces. Remember to keep varying the fresh foods which you give them including leafy greens, non-leafy vegetables and fruits such as apples, pineapples, melons, oranges, etc. and give them occasionally.
When giving them treats, incorporate them in their logic toys will keep them happy. Bunnies love to eat varying textures and tastes in their foods, and this is another reason why treats are essential.
Whereas we have said that this vegetable is safe and not harmful, it should not replace the recommended rabbit diets whose larger part should be hay.
Also, do not forget that rabbits need water and they require unlimited supply. Assess the pros and cons of the use of bowls and bottles and decide which one you will. You can also automate the watering systems.