You might have heard that Queen Nefertiti of Egypt loved asparagus so much that she regarded it as the food of the Gods, but can rabbits eat asparagus?
To some, it might seem like an obvious yes because rabbits are herbivorous and well since asparagus is a herb it would automatically qualify as part of a rabbit’s diet.
But hold your horses, let us dive a bit deeper into the relationship between rabbits and Asparagus to find out what the answer to this question is.
What You Will Learn
What is Asparagus?
Asparagus, commonly referred to as garden asparagus, is a herbaceous plant that is grown majorly for its shoots which are eaten as vegetables. It is a perennial plant meaning it “lives” for a long time. The plant takes up to three years to start producing and can give good harvests for up to 20 years.
Asparagus Nutritional Value
Asparagus is well known for its high water content and can, therefore, be assumed to contain little to no nutrients.
On the contrary, asparagus contains a lot of nutrients and the most important ones for rabbit growth and maintenance are vitamin C which helps in developing muscles, vitamin K which keeps the rabbit healthy and fiber which helps increase bowel movement.
For rabbits, this bowel movement is important since they consume their droppings to ensure that they absorb maximum nutrients. According to Pet MD, this nutrient-rich feces is referred to as Cecotropes.
It is typically passed 4-8 hours after a meal and appears soft, green, often covered with mucus-like substance and more irregularly shaped than normal rabbit fecal pellets.
So when you are a new pet owner and see your rabbit eating its droppings, do not be scared. Your rabbit is not experiencing any health problems. It is in fact perfectly healthy and normal.
With time you will get to know the difference in appearance between the re-consumable droppings and those that should not be consumed.
Additionally, asparagus contains low levels of calcium. Adult rabbits need a lower level of calcium to prevent kidney damage, and this is why asparagus is a good addition to their diet.
What Should Rabbit Eat?
Ordinarily, a greater portion of a rabbit’s diet should consist of hay. Fresh hay is preferable since it contains proteins which is a mandatory part of a rabbit’s diet. Proteins are especially important for the younger rabbits since it contributes to their growth.
According to MedVet, a healthcare facility for pets, young rabbits up to 8 months can have alfalfa hay while for adult rabbits, Timothy hay is recommended since alfalfa can lead to health problems in adult rabbits.
Hay can also be provided in large quantities so that the rabbits can eat it as many times as they want during the day. MedVet recommends plenty of hay to maintain the rabbit’s gastrointestinal (GI) health.
Another way of ensuring GI health in a rabbit is regulating the amount of carbohydrates and fats that you feed to your rabbits. Carbohydrates and fats reduce the movement of substances through the GI tract hence causing bloating and discomfort to the rabbit. Hay also keeps their molars trim.
The hay can be supplemented with small portions of fresh vegetables and even smaller portions of fruit because of the high sugar content.
Excessive sugar intake can cause digestive problems, and we do not want that do we? So for this matter, it is advisable to regulate the amount of fruit you feed to the rabbit.
It is also very important to give a constant supply of clean drinking water.
Can Rabbits Have Asparagus?
According to Kathleen Mulpeter of health.com, there are plenty of reasons why asparagus is a super vegetable that should be eaten by everyone.
The most important one being that it has plenty of vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, thiamin, zinc, iron, beta-carotene and fiber.
“Thanks to all these nutrients, asparagus offers some serious health perks.” Says Kathleen. So can it be eaten by rabbits?
The moment you had been waiting for is finally here. Yes! Rabbits can definitely eat asparagus. It adds great nutritional value to the diet and also helps to reduce the chances of constipation.
Of course, there are a few things you need to be cautious about when feeding it to your rabbits and we are going right into that.
What to consider when feeding your rabbit Asparagus
So after ascertaining the fact that rabbits can eat asparagus, you might have the urge to run to the grocery store, buy a load of asparagus and offer generous portions to your beloved rabbit. Slow down a little bit.
Asparagus should not be fed to just any rabbit, young and old. It is best to wait till your rabbit is fully grown before you can add it to their diet. Grown rabbits find it easier to bite into the hard stalks of the vegetable and digest it.
Younger rabbits may not be able to handle the hardness of the vegetable so they should be kept off asparagus until they are of appropriate age.
In case you are wondering what age that is, let’s say about nine months and above. Still, it doesn’t automatically mean that at that age they will be able to consume asparagus without difficulty, so the key is to experiment with tiny portions and observe.
Once you have made the decision to add asparagus into the rabbit’s diet, do a trial run. Like we do with software to see how well it works.
Take note of the consistency of its stool (okay software has no stool, but you get where I am going with this right?) If it softens after eating asparagus then discontinue and try it out again after a few days, say six, to see if there is a difference.
You also need to skip a few days without feeding asparagus to your rabbit. This is because the amount of water contained in asparagus is too high and can cause diarrhea if taken daily. So how about you make an asparagus timetable?
Can rabbits eat asparagus fern?
This is where our very first no comes in. Rabbits cannot eat asparagus fern because it is poisonous for them. Aside from that, asparagus fern also has little thorns hidden among its leaves which may cause injury in the mouth of your rabbit if ingested.
Asparagus fern is a member of the lily family. It is an attractive plant with feathery leaves and has an easy time growing indoors. It is not a real fern as one might think though it resembles fern in its flowerless yet attractive nature.
This mouth injury will cause a chain of events. Your rabbit will not eat because of the pain in its mouth and this will in turn cause stomach problems. So whatever you do, do not feed asparagus fern to your rabbit. Not even a taste.
Asparagus fern can instead be used in decorating your home. Just don’t let the bunny get to it.
Can Rabbits Eat Asparagus Stalks?
Yes, rabbits can indeed eat asparagus stalk and benefit from the multiple nutrients present in it.
Asparagus stalks, which act as the stems of the plant, are mostly known to be soft at the tip and a bit hard at the other end. The hard base is usually snapped off before consumption. This gets rid of the hard part but does not necessarily make it easy for the rabbits to bite into.
While introducing it to your rabbit, it is advisable to give small portions and observe how the rabbit’s system reacts to it. It may be hard for them to bite into and chew at first, but eventually, they should get used to it.
Since it is given in small portions and only occasionally, it will not be much of a problem for the rabbit. Remember, too much asparagus may cause stomach upsets so keep the portions on the low.
Can Rabbits Eat Raw Asparagus
Affirmative. Rabbits should be given fresh, raw asparagus as cooking it might change the nutritional composition. Rabbits eat raw vegetables and love it so that raw asparagus would blend right into the mix.
However, if you would like to make it easier for the rabbits to chew then, by all means, cook it for them.
Conclusion: Can bunnies eat Asparagus
Yes, asparagus is good for your bunny but should be given in low quantity to avoid problems with the digestive system. Use asparagus to supplement hay and fresh vegetables.
Its low levels of calcium which prevent kidney disease make it well suited for your rabbit’s diet.
Remember only to feed asparagus to the adult rabbits and if it causes problems, do not hesitate to discontinue.
One more thing, never feed asparagus fern to your rabbit.
Smith, M. et al (2009). Rabbit Nutrition: What You Need to Know. University of California.
Redrobe, S. (2002). Calcium metabolism in rabbits. Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, 11.
Knott, S. V. M. et al (2018). Asparagine bioavailability governs metastasis in a model of breast cancer. Nature, 554.