Pumpkin refers to both the fruit or the herbaceous plant (squash plant) that belongs to the genus Cucurbita under the family Cucurbitaceae or guard family.
There are various varieties and some are cultivated for their edible fruits, leaves, and seeds as well as for oil from their seeds.
The fruit comes in different colors with the most common ones being deep yellow to orange. Other colors including dark green, white, among others.
Do rabbits eat pumpkin and its skin?
Yes. Rabbits can eat pumpkin fruit together with its skin as well as other types of summer and winter squashes. Furthermore, they can also feed other members of the family Cucurbitaceae including cucumbers, watermelons, zucchinis, among others.
Native to North America, their fruit has various nutrients such as carbohydrates (including sugars and dietary fibers), vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, K as well as some small amounts of proteins.
Also, it has minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc as well as over 90% water. All these are part of the essential nutrients that rabbits require.
When giving them this squash fruit, you do not have to peel it since bunnies can eat pumpkin skin too (it is healthier).
We decided to discuss whether rabbits can eat pumpkin seeds or not in a separate post. The issue should be properly examined since it raises divided opinions.
Although it is totally safe, being a fruit or non-leafy vegetable, you only need to give your bunny about a teaspoon per two pounds of its weight.
This is because it has a higher amount of carbohydrates as well as sugars which are known to overload the hindgut and they can potentially cause enteritis that may be accompanied by diarrhea and gas. Also, they can lead to obesity in your bunny.
Furthermore, they have low fiber content which is associated with risk factors such as GI stasis and cecal-colic motility problems.
Finally, remember to give your bunnies only raw pumpkin and not a cooked one including pies or baked ones, canned, and their products.
Can rabbits eat pumpkin leaves and plants?
Yes, rabbits can eat pumpkin leaves, plants, and flowers. They are safe for these pets, i.e., not toxic to bunnies like those of most of the other squashes.
Like their fruits, leaves are also nutritious and have carbs, proteins, vitamins A, B complex, C, D as well as minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, zinc, manganese, among others.
However, it is worthwhile noting that this squash's leaves or plant is not one of their favorite foods and they will not cause much damage to it much. It is possible to get nibbled patches on this plant's leaves, i.e., they will nibble it a little bit.
If your rabbits like this plant's leaves and you would like to include them in their menu, you should give them as you do with other leafy veggies that rabbits eat.
A chopped cup of 5-6 leafy greens mixture including pumpkin leaves is enough per a rabbit whose weight is two pounds.
Always stick to the recommended rabbit diet and in their correct proportions, ensure your source is free of farm chemicals and introduce it slowly as you see how their tummies react.
If there are stomach disturbances including gas and diarrhea, discontinue. Otherwise, you can gradually increase the amount to the maximum allowable quantities we have discussed. Also, keep varying the various fresh foods you give your bunny.