To begin with, zucchini or courgette (marrow) is a type of summer squash that belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae. It can grow up to a meter long but often harvested before it matures, usually when it is about 6 to 10 inches long.
Although botanically it is considered as fruit, a type of botanical berry, in culinary settings, is regarded as a vegetable used as an accompaniment or a savory dish. It can be boiled, grilled, roasted, fried or even eaten raw.
With an idea what zucchinis are, it is time to look at whether rabbits can eat them or not including their skin and plant.
Can I give my bunnies zucchini?
Yes. Rabbits can eat zucchini and most of the plants that belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. Melons, squash, cucumber, and cantaloupes belong to this family. They are nutritious and can serve as a great treat if your bunnies like them. Treats are supposed to be new, different and unique each time!
However, like any other vegetables, it should not form your rabbit’s main part of the diet. Adult bunnies depend on over 80% hay with brands like Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting "Perfect Blend" Timothy Hay Pet Food or Kaytee Timothy Hay being the best. Additionally, give them about 5% high fiber pellets, and the rest can be fresh foods, i.e., some greens (leafy greens and non-leafy vegetables) as well as treats of fruits.
If you are considering giving them zucchini, you should introduce it slowly and checking how your furry friend will respond to it. This will reduce the instance of stomach upsets and diarrhea. Also, ensure you check their stool to be sure it is, as usual, a day after they have eaten this vegetable.
Give them occasionally since you need to vary the various fresh foods you give your bunny. It is recommended to provide them with at least three to six different leafy veggies since rabbits can eat small amounts of other non-leafy vegetable treats of carrots, celery stalks, bell paper, as well as many types of leafy greens which can be given in larger quantities.
When giving your rabbits this squash, cut it into small dices or slices about a quarter to an eighth of an inch to make chewing easy. It should be fresh and free of molds. Remember to wash your zucchini thoroughly.
Can they eat zucchini leaves, flowers, and skin?
When giving your bunnies zucchini, you do not need to peel it. You can provide them with their skin since they can eat it too. However, you should feed them in small quantities as you do for other non-leafy vegetables.
Typically, a teaspoon of zucchini per two grams of bunny weight including its skin will be enough. Since the seeds are soft, you do not have to remove them.
Bunnies can also eat zucchini leaves and flowers too. However, when giving them leaves and flowers, they should be fresh. Not all rabbits will like them and provide them in small quantities.
In your garden, rabbits will not cause much damage to the zucchini plant as they are not the biggest of fans. They are likely to prefer other vegetable types. However, they may nibble it at times.
Do not give them cooked ones. Any cooked or processed food is not recommended since they are herbivores and they rely on raw foods.
Is it beneficial?
Your rabbits will benefit. This vegetable has an abundance of vitamin C, some proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin A, B6, B1, B2, B3, chlorine, magnesium, and zinc. Besides the nutrients, it is healthy since it contains about 93% and low calories.
Some of the health benefits of zucchini include improving digesting, slowing aging since it has antioxidants that neutralize the damaging free radicals, it can lower blood pressure, helps in weight loss and diabetes, promote healthy blood circulation, reduce inflammations, among many other benefits.
Although we have seen the fact that this vegetable is has a lot of nutrients, do not be worried if your furry friends do not like it. It is normal. You will find another alternative to a source of fresh food that your bunnies enjoy eating.
Note that giving them too much of this vegetable can cause obesity since it is relatively high in carbohydrates compared to the typical diet for rabbits.
Zucchini squash is safe for your bunnies. They will enjoy it, and you can incorporate it into their logic toys or as a reward when training them such as to use their litter boxes. Do not forget to give them only small quantities.