The oat (Avena sativa) is a cereal grain plant cultivated mainly for its very nutritious seeds, often referred to as oats that are commonly used as a livestock feed. However, human beings also can consume them as rolls, oatmeal and so on. Avena sativa belongs to the grass family which also has barley, rye, sorghum, corn, wheat, rice, among others.
Nutritionally, these highly calorific grains contain proteins, carbs, fiber, fats, vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9 as well as minerals including manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, among others. All these are vital nutrients that your rabbits need.
Can rabbits eat oats?
Yes. Rabbits can eat oats as treats in small amounts or sparingly . Remember that these animals depend on high-fiber, low-calorie diets such as grassy hays as well as some leafy greens and an unlimited supply of clean, fresh water.
Oats have high amounts of carbohydrates which may overload your rabbit’s digestive system and they may possibly cause enteritis. Also, they are high in calories meaning that your pet may add weight and be obese. Obesity in rabbits has many other undesirable effects.
Also, they have low amounts of indigestible fiber, yet indigestible fiber is very essential for a healthy bunny’s gut and plays various roles including promoting gut motility. Therefore, high amounts of oats can potentially cause both cecal-colic motility problems as well as GI stasis.
Therefore, give your bunny these cereals as occasional treats keeping the amounts to about a teaspoon per 2 pounds of your bunny weight a day, i.e., this is the total amount treats your bunny can eat in a day. Also, keep varying these treats to include the various fruits and non-leafy vegetables safe for these pets. There are plenty of varieties that are safe to your bunny.
Can rabbits eat oatmeal including Quaker Oats
Yes, rabbits can eat oatmeal and rolls including Quaker Oats. Although they “won’t cause them major harm, they are not an ideal meal.” Therefore, they should also be given as treats, in sparing amounts we have already mentioned. Excessive amounts will have some of the effects we have already discussed.
However, ensure they do not have any other additive that might be harmful including the various preservatives as well as too much sugar.
What about this plant’s hay?
Rabbits can eat oat hay (weaned ones). It is one of the grassy hays you can give this pet in an unlimited amount since it is high in fiber, low in calories and calcium as opposed to alfalfa and legume hay. If your bunnies like oat hay, buy Oxbow Animal Health Oat Hay For Pets.
Note that since they have high amounts of protein, the alfalfa, and legume-based hay may be recommended for underweight, growing or lactating bunnies.
Bunnies need over 80% hay and you can mix this grassy hay with other grassy hays such as timothy, orchard, meadow, barley, Bermuda grass, among others.
Rabbits require an unlimited amount of hay, 10-15% fresh foods (leafy greens, non-leafy greens, and fruits) as well as some high fiber pellets.
Whereas they may like oats or any other treat, limit the amount of these treats and do not replace them with their recommended diets.
Finally, while introducing them or any other new food, do it to weaned bunnies and introduce it slowly over not less than a week while studying how their tummies react to the new food.