It’s easy to upset a rabbit’s stomach. That’s why we need to be careful about what we feed rabbits with. Cucumbers, for example, is a vegetable that is readily available to us.
Is it safe for rabbits to eat a cucumber?
Yes, rabbits can have cucumbers. Cucumbers are safe for rabbits to eat. In fact, most of them quite enjoy cucumbers and treat it as a juicy treat. Cucumbers have a high water content but low nutrition content; if a bunny will eat too much cucumber slices, they can develop a runny stool (rabbit diarrhea).
Whene adding cucumbers to a rabbit diet we need to be mindful about:
- Which parts of cucumber – flesh, skin, seeds – should a bunny eat?
- How much cucumbers we can feed to a bunny.
- What problems can feeding cucumbers cause if we include too much cucumbers in a rabbit’s diet?
- Do rabbits even like eating cucumbers?
Which Parts Of Cucumbers Can A Bunny Eat?
Cucumbers consist of 3 parts:
- The flesh of a cucumber (mostly water).
- Skin (higher nutritional value – vitamins and minerals).
Rabbits can eat all parts of a cucumber. However, it is important to take into account that a cucumber consists of 96% of water. Only 4% of cucumber can serve as nutrition to a rabbit.
Rabbits have to eat a lot of dietary fibers (hay, pellets) in order to avoid gastrointestinal issues. If they ingest a large amount of water (for example, by eating a whole cucumber), they might experience problems we’ll cover later on.
It’s important to know, nonetheless, that we don’t have to peel a cucumber or take the seeds out.
The skin of a cucumber is actually the most beneficial part of a cucumber; most of the nutrients are found there. We need to clean the cucumber before feeding it to rabbits. This is because it can be covered with toxic pesticides and heavy metals that can upset a bunny’s stomach.
Many fruits contain seeds that are toxic to bunnies. That’s why it’s important to ask if a rabbit can eat cucumber seeds. In this case, seeds can be safely ingested bunnies.
The flesh of cucumber has little nutritional value but provides a lot of water; almost too much water. When feeding a cucumber to a bunny you need to be aware that eating too much flesh can cause diarrhea.
How Much Cucumbers We Can Feed To A Bunny?
If you put a whole cucumber in front of a rabbit, chances are it will eat all of it. That’s exactly what you shouldn’t do.
At most, you should serve a cucumber slice or two 3-4 times per week. Thin slices of cucumber are a delicacy for rabbits.
Be conservative with the quantity at first. You want to see how bunny will respond to eating a cucumber. Prepare 1 thin slice of cucumber, feed it to a rabbit, and watch their stool.
If, for example, you will see a softer stool after feeding a cucumber slice, you should be especially careful with the quantity.
However, if you see that stool doesn’t change, you have a green light to increase the quantity of cucumber that can be safely fed to a rabbit.
Obviously, bigger bunnies like Flemish Giants can eat more slices. For smaller breeds like Lionhean, a thin slice is more than enough.
Observing the stool of a rabbit after it first eats a certain food is the general rule of how to introduce a new food to a rabbit. Never start with big quantities. Start small, then add quantity if the stool stays normal and there is no observable change in the bunny’s behavior.
What Can Happen If A Rabbit Eats Too Much Cucumber?
If you ever ate too many cherries, you have probably experienced some stomach discomfort or even diarrhea. The same is with cucumbers and rabbits.
The high water content of a cucumber can turn a rabbit stool runny. What is more, if you keep feeding too much cucumber to a bunny in the long term, even more complex problems can occur.
Here is what can happen:
- Runny stool or diarrhea. Rabbits have to eat a lot of dietary fiber to have a healthy stool. That’s why they eat so much hay and pellets (high in fiber content). Too much cucumber can introduce too much water in the rabbit’s gastrointestinal system. This can lead to diarrhea.
- Loss of weight. Compared to other vegetables, fruit, and hay, cucumbers are a low-calorie food. If the bunny’s stomach is full of cucumber slices, they can’t eat other foods. In time, this can lead to unhealthy weight loss.
- Lack of nutrition. Because cucumbers don’t have high nutritional value, a bunny on a cucumber-heavy diet can experience nutrition deficiencies. It is important for every rabbit to enjoy a diverse diet. That’s the only way it gets all the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs for a healthy life.
Again, it’s important to only give small quantities of cucumbers to a bunny.
Do Rabbits Even Like Eating Cucumbers?
Oh boy, they do. Of course, there are some exceptions.
An average bunny will be very happy if you serve it a slice of cucumber. Nonetheless, some bunnies won’t even touch them. Especially kits (young bunnies) can breed a healthy resentment of cucumbers. Adult bunnies are less likely to dislike the taste of a cucumber.
There is only one sure way of knowing if your bunny likes cucumbers: Cut a slice of a freshly-picked cucumber and place it in front of a rabbit. Most rabbits will just start nibbling at it and gorge of the delicacy when they see how tasteful it is.
You can ready everything about bunny nutrition in our post about what bunnies eat.