Adventure is one of the things I love. This is because of the exploring and discovering it entails. It is similar to what you’re trying at the moment. Or isn’t it to explore and spice up your rabbit’s diet that you wonder if the bunny can eat collard greens? Of course, it is. And even if not, this is still an adventure.
Adventures might be daring and open and you can make all the mistakes you want, but it isn’t the same when you are in the middle of meddling with your rabbit’s diet. Facts need to be checked, nutrition needs to be confirmed.
No one wants to put their pet in trouble and I believe you don’t want to either. No worries, I’ll take you on a virtual adventure, an exploration of collard greens and you can conclude whether collard greens are suitable for your bunny or not.
The rabbit’s diet is delicate after all.
What Are Collard Greens?
You might know what collard greens are but what if your knowledge is built on assumptions and you don’t know what it contains or the nutrition it dispels. Don’t panic, let’s dissect the greens.
Collard greens are dark, bitter, loose leafed vegetables of the same species (Brassicaceae family) as cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc. They are food crops and collard greens are large edible leaves. They can be eaten either cooked or raw.
They contain 90% water, 6% carbohydrates and 3% protein, and some amount of vitamin K. Collard greens are rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C. In a smaller amount, they contain Vitamin B6. Collard green is also known to be rich in Calcium.
In the Brassicaceae family, collard greens are ruled to have the highest calcium content and dietary fibre. However the second highest, in protein content, fats, vitamin A and vitamin K content.
Can Rabbits Eat Collard Greens?
The first and only answer to this question is Yes. Rabbits can eat collard greens, from the root to the stem to the flowers and to the leaves on which this adventure is based. To burst your bubble, collard greens are one of the many vegetables a rabbit can eat. Others are cabbage, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, Brussel sprouts, etc. which are in the same family as collard greens as established earlier.
Collard greens are attractive and easy for rabbits to eat because of their high water content. Many rabbits do not have issues eating and digesting collard greens when it is added to their food.
How Many Collards Should You Offer Your Rabbit?
During this exploration, you must learn the manner of introducing new content to your rabbit’s diet. A rabbit’s diet consists mainly of hay and water. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more or less side dishes to spice up the regular food intake. However, these fruits and vegetables are not supposed to be bombarded on the cute bunny. This applies to collard greens.
When a new dish is to be introduced to your rabbit, it is best to do it slowly and steadily. Don’t forget that slow and steady wins the race. Feed your rabbit a little amount and watch its reaction. If there are no stomach upsets and digestive problems, then you can carry on with increasing the amount until it reaches the regular.
A regular number of collard greens to give your rabbits would be a cup of chopped collard green mixture or two cups of mixed vegetables, that is collard greens and other rabbit edible vegetables, for a rabbit that weighs about two pounds. But why collard greens?
The Pros of Collard Greens for Rabbits
Brace up! Because this is the section where you find out why collard green is a wise choice in your search for the right vegetable to feed your rabbit.
We explored the nutrients of collard greens earlier and figured out they contain water, fibre, and vitamins.
Collard greens are perfect for your rabbit because of these nutrients. Your rabbit, of course, needs water and fibre continuously for easy digestion and growth. Water and fibre are essentially part of the main foods prescribed for rabbits to eat to grow strong and healthy.
Another reason why collard greens should be a choice would be because of the vitamins. Rabbits also need vitamins to grow and for healthy living. For example, vitamin B does a good job of aiding digestion. Collard greens contain vitamin B. Keep in mind though, that younger rabbits need more vitamins than older rabbits.
If your rabbit is lactating or pregnant, collard greens make an excellent choice for its vegetable diet because of their high calcium content. Calcium helps the mother to stay strong while giving the baby rabbits a nutrient to build strong bones.
With these few landmarks, it seems safe to agree that collard greens mean no harm but only good health for your rabbits. Yet, with further investigation in our adventure, some factors make the excess ingestion of collard greens bring about harm. It isn’t any discouragement. They are the only things to watch out for. Shall we continue the journey?
The Cons of Collard Greens for Rabbits
The first thing is, sadly, rabbits are known to get sick when they eat foods with too many vitamins. Collard greens are in this category. We have seen earlier that collard greens contain large amounts of vitamins. While this is good, it can make the rabbits sick. This is a good reason to cut down on excess collards.
Also, while lactating and pregnant rabbits can profit by taking in a lot of calcium, it isn’t the same for a rabbit that isn’t in the same position. Growing rabbits do not need too much calcium because it affects the digestive system. Calcium interrupts the already sensitive system of rabbits when in excess.
It is advised that rabbits with kidney problems should avoid collard greens altogether. The high calcium content can further destroy the kidney.
Avoiding the Cons of Collard Greens for Rabbits
A few steps to bypass the disadvantages of collard greens are enumerated below. This is a way by which the positives can be focused on.
– Check the Source
Rabbits have a delicate digestive system and need to eat fresh foods. These fresh foods need to be clean and germ-free. Hence, you always need to check the source of your collard greens. Is the source free of pesticides and all other chemicals? If you’re not sure, use organically bred collard greens. More so, make sure to always wash the greens before serving them to your rabbit.
– Cooked or Raw
Rabbits can be served collard greens either cooked or raw. The advantage of cooking the greens before serving your rabbit is the removal of some vitamins. Rabbits don’t need much vitamin C and by cooking the greens, vitamin C is removed. Sadly, vitamin B is also removed.
This is a little detrimental because of vitamin B acids digestion as an antioxidant. However, you can let it be the choice of your rabbit. Some rabbits prefer collard greens cooked, some don’t. Monitor your rabbit and find out which one it prefers. You can make a decision based on that.
– Add other Vegetables
Don’t serve your rabbits only collard greens. You can mix them up with the vegetables of the same family and thereby regulate the amount of calcium and vitamins that are ingested. This is the safest way to watch out for your rabbit.
Which Types of Collards are Safe for Rabbits?
There are many different types or variants of collard greens. Some of these include Georgia Southern, Ole Timey Blue, Vates, Champion, Tiger Hybrid, Morris Heading, and lots more.
The interesting thing about these differently named collards is that they contain the same nutrients but they may differ in their content value. That is, some variants may contain more of some nutrients than others.
The types of collards are identified by their hues, that is the shade of colour the leaves produce. All variants of collard greens are safe for your rabbit but the ones with a darker shade of green are better.
Darker hues represent the presence of more antioxidants, protein, and iron which is better for your rabbits. The darker the leaves, the better.
Quite a journey, isn’t it? Adventures are always fun even if they are in writing. Now you know collard greens make an excellent choice of vegetable to add to your rabbit’s diet. You also know what to do to avoid the disadvantages that may come with excess collard greens.
Your rabbit always deserves the best, for the best of its system and healthy living. As much as you want to spice up your rabbit’s diet, make sure not to replace its food entirely even if your rabbit falls in love with collard greens.
Also, don’t forget, there is no big deal if your rabbit doesn’t eat collards. You can just give it those other vegetables. The whole point is for your rabbit to be in good health.