Rabbits can eat up to 30 times per day, so it’s important they have a steady stream of good healthy food. If you’re wondering can rabbits eat radishes, the answer is yes, however, however, there is more you need to know about radishes to keep your rabbit safe.
It’s vital that all rabbit owners understand what foods are essential for rabbit health and more importantly which foods are dangerous to a rabbit’s health. There are many components to a radish, such as the radish leaves, radish roots and radish tops. Then there’s the radish itself.
Rabbits can eat radishes safely when given sparingly. They provide a nutritional snack, high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar.
This article answers all of your questions about feeding your bunny radishes, so you can feed radishes to your rabbit with confidence.
What are Radishes?
Radishes (Raphus sativus) are edible root vegetables, belonging to the brassica family. A radish is made up of green leaves (radish tops, radish greens) and a bulb often referred to as the root or the globe.
There are a number of radish varieties with a range of shapes, sizes, and a range of flavors from peppery to sweet. The most common variety is the small ball-shaped radish with white flesh and bright red skin. It is crunchy to eat and generally used by humans raw in fresh garden salads.
Risk Factors of Radishes
Radishes are high in oxalic acid, a naturally-occurring food toxin. This toxin is harmless to rabbits when fed in small quantities.
Webvets.com in their article on feeding rabbits state:
“The toxicity of oxalic acid comes with feeding large quantities of foods high in this chemical and can result in tingling of the skin, the mouth and damage to the kidneys over time.”
Being a rabbit lover, I research extensively many aspects of rabbit health and wellbeing. One of the most common myths I have come across is radishes are high in sugar. They are not! 1/2 cup of sliced radish bulb contains only 2g of carbohydrates.
Can Rabbits Eat Radish Greens?
Yes. However, as mentioned above, radish greens are high in oxalic acid.
Veterinary Partner provides a comprehensive article, written by Sam Brown DVM, outlining what to feed your rabbit for optimal health.
In this article, Sam recommends that, due to the high oxalic acid content, radish greens should only be given to your rabbit on a rotating basis, with only one green per day given from the following high oxalic acid foods:
- Radish tops
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
- Mustard greens
- Sprouts (from 1 to 6 days after sprouting, sprouts have higher levels of alkaloids)
So, when feeding your rabbit radish leaves, make sure you mix them only with low oxalic acid greens, such as bok choy, romaine lettuce, collard greens, carrot tops, watercress, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.
If you do feed your rabbit the occasional radish tops, make sure they are pesticide-free.
Can Rabbits Eat Radishes and Their Roots?
Yes. Rabbits can eat radish roots, in small infrequent quantities.
The bulbs need to be thoroughly washed and ideally organic. Rabbits can become quite ill if they ingest pesticides from their fruit and vegetables.
The bulb should also be sliced into chewable portions to avoid choking. Do not give your rabbit leftover radishes from last night’s salad. It may contain ingredients that are harmful to your rabbit.
Are Radishes Good For Rabbits?
To maintain optimal health, it is important for rabbits to gain essential vitamins and minerals from their diet. Radishes will provide your bunny with the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C, B (riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6),and K
These vitamins and minerals, combined with radish’s low sugar content, and only 66 calories per100g, provide a great natural, nutritional snack for your bunny.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Radishes?
No. Baby rabbits should not be fed radishes.
Rabbits aged 6 months old or younger are considered to be babies. A baby bunny will start to eat solid food at around two to three weeks old, while they are still being weaned from their mother. At 8 weeks of age, they are generally fully weaned and eating solids on their own.
According to the VCA Animal Hospital, it is important to feed both domestic and wild baby rabbits food that is high in protein and calcium to aid in healthy growth. This includes oat and timothy hay and alfalfa hay.
Domestic and wild rabbits have different dietary requirements, so it is important to know what type of rabbit you are feeding.
Domestic baby rabbits can eat oat and timothy hay, alfalfa hay, and alfalfa pellets. They should NOT be fed vegetables and this includes radishes.
Wild baby rabbits can eat vegetables when introduced slowly. However, given the high levels of oxalic acid in radishes, we recommend they only be fed to adult rabbits.
Wikihow provides a very useful 11 step guide to feeding baby rabbits.
How Many Radishes Can A Rabbit Eat?
Despite the nutritional benefits outlined above, radishes should never be given to rabbits in large quantities.
Baby rabbits should not be fed radishes and adult rabbits should be fed no more than 1 large or 2 small radishes at any one meal time.
Always remember the general rule when introducing new foods to your rabbit. Introduce one food at a time, start with a small quantity and slowly build up over time.
Always pay close attention to your rabbit when introducing new foods. If they develop any symptoms, such as diarrhea, lethargy, bloating or their poop becomes soft, stop feeding them radishes immediately.
Do Rabbits Like Radishes?
Rabbits are renowned for eating almost anything served up to them. However, all rabbits are individuals! Many rabbit owners in forums, report their bunnies turning up their noses at radishes.
There’s only one answer to this…. give them a try! And don’t fret if your bunny rejects this nutritional snack. There are plenty of other nutritional food options available. See our article What Foods Can Rabbits Eat.
- It is perfectly safe to feed your adult rabbit radish leaves and bulbs.
- Thoroughly wash leaves and bulbs, slice bulbs and ideally only serve organic radishes
- Introduce radishes slowly and watch your rabbit closely for any indigestion problems.
- Only feed in small quantities, no more than 1 large or 2 small bulbs in any one meal.
- Radishes are low in sugar and high in vitamins and minerals. They are also high in oxalic acid which is toxic to rabbits in large quantities.
- We recommend feeding radishes to adult rabbits as an occasional nutritional treat.
- Do not feed radishes to baby bunnies (less than 6 months old)
Have you ever tried giving radish to your bunnies? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know your experiences in the comments section below.