Do baby rabbits eat carrots? You might think this a strange question as rabbits are always associated with eating carrots. But should you feed them to your young bunny?
The short answer is yes. You can introduce carrots to your baby rabbit when they are over three months old, but only in tiny amounts as an occasional treat.
This tasty vegetable might be considered healthy for humans. But with rabbits, it can be extremely harmful if fed incorrectly.
This complete guide demonstrates everything you need to know about feeding carrots safely to your baby bunny.
Facts about Carrots
First, let’s find out more about carrots!
- Carrots are a root vegetable (an underground plant) belonging to the species Daucus carota.
- They are primarily orange in colour but can be purple, black, red, white, and yellow.
- Did you know that carrots were once grown as a medicine for a variety of ailments?
- The first cultivated carrot came from Afghanistan 5000 years ago.
- So, where does the name “carrot” come from?
- “Carrot” originated from the Greek word “karoton,” which means horn, referring to the shape of the root.
- Although carrots contain many essential nutrients, it may surprise you to know that they have more sugar than any other vegetable apart from beets.
Are Carrots Good for Baby Rabbits?
Carrots are good for baby rabbits if fed in moderation.
They contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for your pet’s health. These include biotin, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K and small amounts of vitamin C. (Source)
Their rich Vitamin A content, especially beta carotene, helps your bunny’s vision, heart, lungs, and kidneys. The high fibre content ensures a healthy digestive system.
And the antioxidant properties keep the immune system strong, reducing the risks of heart disease, some cancers, and some degenerative diseases.
Are Carrots Bad for Baby Rabbits?
Although carrots contain essential nutrients, as a root vegetable, they are high in carbohydrates, which is bad for baby rabbits. (Source)
The high sugar and starch levels in carrots can disrupt your young bunny’s delicate digestive system and may upset the balance of his gut flora in the stomach.
Feeding too many carrots can cause obesity, tooth decay and other stomach issues.
That doesn’t mean you should not feed carrots to your baby rabbit. But they should be fed sparingly and in small amounts.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Carrots?
You can feed carrots to your baby rabbit once they are over three months old.
Always introduce new foods slowly, so their gut bacteria can adapt to them. Sudden dietary changes can cause sickness or diarrhoea resulting in a visit to the vet.
If your baby rabbit has not eaten fresh foods before, it’s better that you wait until they have settled into their new home as too many changes can cause them stress.
Only feed fresh, raw carrots (preferably organic), rinsing thoroughly beforehand as a rabbit’s digestive system is sensitive to spoiled food.
Never feed your bunny cooked carrots as it degrades the nutrients and ruins the texture and taste.
It is always sensible to offer one new food at a time. That way, you can discover if your baby bunny is sensitive to certain foods and can avoid them in future.
When feeding any new food, keep an eye on your young rabbit’s droppings, as this is the first sign that something is wrong. The most obvious sign is too many cecotropes, which are the type of droppings they eat. If your baby bunny does not produce any droppings, refuses to eat, or drink, then seek veterinary advice immediately.
Rabbits are fragile animals and can quickly become sick.
Do Wild Baby Rabbits eat Carrots?
We can probably blame the famous cartoon character Bugs Bunny for creating the belief that rabbits survive mainly on carrots! After all, in each cartoon, he is seen constantly crunching on a bright orange carrot before asking, “What’s up, Doc?”
The truth is that rabbits do not naturally eat root vegetables. The high sugar content can cause a rabbit to gain weight, making it difficult in the wild to outrun its predators.
Plus, too many carrots can upset their delicate digestive systems.
That does not mean to say that wild baby rabbits will not eat carrots if they came across any.
They just would not seek them out regularly, as their main diet consists of grass, hay, green plants, and flowers.
As for Bugs Bunny. He was spoofing Clarke Gable’s carrot crunching character in the hit movie, It Happened One Night!
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Carrots Every Day?
Unfortunately, many people think that carrots are the primary food source for bunnies, but this myth is incorrect.
Rabbits need roughage. With no hay in their diet, their digestive system would stop functioning properly.
If rabbits only ate carrots, they would develop GI stasis due to the high amounts of carbohydrates found in this vegetable.
One cause of this condition is a high starch, low fibre diet, which results in the digestive system slowing down or stopping altogether.
- Small or malformed faecal pellets
- No droppings
- Not eating
If your bunny displays any of these symptoms, you must immediately take them to a rabbit savvy vet.
This condition can be fatal for rabbits if untreated.
What Should You Feed a Baby Rabbit?
As herbivores, rabbits need to graze on hay to keep their digestive system working constantly. But unlike Bugs Bunny, bunnies should eat carrots sparingly.
In the wild, rabbits eat grasses and low growing plants. The domestic bunny should have a similar diet.
So, what types of food does your baby rabbit need?
You should introduce grass hay to your bunny from the start as it is gentle on the gut and provides the right amount of fibre for the digestive process.
Alfalfa has higher levels of calcium and protein than grass hay, making it ideal for growing bunnies but is not recommended for adult rabbits as it is too rich.
Baby bunnies require pellets that contain 16% protein to support their growth. Look for junior feeds that have the correct amount of nutrients for young rabbits. But only feed a small measure of pellets.
Fresh foods like leafy greens are best for your pet, introducing them gradually.
Your bunny must always have clean, fresh water.
And provide chewable rabbit toys or untreated softwood branches that your bunny can chew on to prevent their teeth from becoming overgrown.
Do Baby Rabbits Like Carrots?
Many baby rabbits love carrots and become excited when you offer them a piece. They enjoy their sweet taste and crunchy texture, making it a natural form of candy.
But do not give in if your baby bunny begs for more, however cute they might look! Feeding more than the recommended amount is asking for trouble.
Can Baby Rabbits eat Carrot Tops?
Baby rabbits love carrot tops just as much as the vegetable.
And the good news is that they are not only nutrient-rich but do not contain as much sugar as carrots.
It is best to buy organic carrots with the tops still on.
Rinse and trim the greens before feeding them to your bunny for a yummy and nutritious treat.
Carrot tops are safe and healthy to feed regularly to your rabbit.
Should Baby Rabbits Have Carrots?
As herbivores, the design of the rabbit’s digestive system means they must endure large amounts of roughage. Your baby bunny requires a diet of hay, pellets, vegetables, and fruits.
But should your baby bunny have carrots?
Carrots are not poisonous or toxic for rabbits and contain a decent amount of nutrients. But because carrots have high sugar content, feeding a small slice twice a week as a treat is sufficient.
Despite the myths, carrots should never be the primary source of food for your pet. Carrot tops can be given more regularly to your bunny as they have a low sugar content and contain essential nutrients.
Constantly monitor your bunny when feeding them carrot for the first time.
Follow these simple rules, and your baby rabbit can enjoy having carrots as a special treat!