Concerning the typical diet of rabbits, pretty much the only things you’ll see or hear of them eating are grasses, hay, roughage and similar plant matter. Talk about a boring diet!
But for any rabbits kept as pets or those kept in a domestic setting for any other purpose, they tend to enjoy a more varied diet thanks to their owners.
Additions to their diet often include a big variety of leafy green vegetables and even some fruits, though most rabbits don’t eat much fruit in the wild. Speaking of wild fruit, how about blueberries? Can rabbits safely eat them?
Yes, blueberries are safe for rabbits to eat but only in very limited quantities. Blueberries are too sugary for rabbits to eat regularly, not nutritionally complete and full of moisture which can cause problems for them.
It seems kind of surprising when you consider that most blueberries in the wild are found on low-growing bushes that rabbits could easily eat from. Nonetheless, it just seems like they aren’t often on the menu for rabbits unless we make it a point to give them blueberries.
If you want to, your bunnies will love getting sweet, plump blueberries as a treat but you can’t overdo it or else they’ll develop health problems. I’ll tell you what you need to know in the rest of this article.
Do Rabbits Like Blueberries?
Yes, rabbits really like blueberries based on my experience. Say what you will about them not eating them often in the wild: the rabbits I’ve kept have all gone crazy for that weekly treat of sweet blueberries.
But, you must be careful not to give them too many, no matter how much they beg and look at you with those pleading eyes of theirs!
Are Blueberries Healthy for Them?
Yes and no. Blueberries are definitely a wholesome, healthy treat for rabbits and moderation, and they are packed with carbohydrates for energy, tons of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more that can improve a rabbit’s overall health.
On the other hand, blueberries are simply too moist and too sugary to be good for rabbits in any kind of abundance. But assuming you only stick to the schedule and feed them sparingly, they can definitely benefit from what blueberries have to offer.
And speaking of what is on offer let’s look at the vitamins. Blueberries contain a good amount of vitamin C and vitamin K, followed by a little bit of vitamin E and about half of the B complex vitamins in the form of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folate.
Mineral content is also surprisingly good, and blueberries are a naturally wonderful source of manganese. Aside from that, blueberries have iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc with just a little bit of naturally occurring sodium.
Together, combined with the antioxidants, polyphenols and anthocyanins blueberries contain this can be a big boost to the health of rabbits, improving their circulatory system, metabolism, growth, healing, and even their nervous system.
Quite remarkable benefits from such a small berry. Nonetheless, don’t give in to the temptation to give your rabbits too many blueberries!
Are Canned Blueberries Safe for Rabbits?
Typically not. Most canned blueberries are packed with syrup or extra sugar, and that is definitely bad news for rabbits and capable of quickly upsetting their digestive tract. Fresh blueberries, in all cases, are best.
Can Rabbits Have Frozen Blueberries?
Yes, assuming they are thawed, and they weren’t frozen with any syrup or added sugar or other ingredients rabbits shouldn’t have. As I mentioned several times, too much sugar is definitely bad, bad news for a rabbit.
You don’t have to let frozen blueberries completely thaw to room temperature before your rabbits get them, but they shouldn’t be icy or very cold, either.
Can Blueberries Cause Problems for Rabbits?
Yes, sadly blueberries can cause problems for rabbits but all of these problems are related to excessive consumption and have nothing to do with the blueberries themselves. To be clear, blueberries are not overtly toxic to rabbits.
However, blueberries, despite the great nutrition we discussed, are simply too sugary for rabbits to have very many of.
Sugar causes lots of problems for rabbits, not just weight gain and potentially cavities. Sugary foods are notorious for disrupting the carefully balanced and sensitive environment in their gut.
This is because rabbits depend on various microorganisms in a compartment called the cecum which they depend on to help them ferment and digest food. Added sugar will cause certain kinds of bacteria to reproduce out of control thereby disrupting the natural balance.
For starters, this will cause indigestion and eventually diarrhea, often accompanied by a total lack of appetite. Not good, and that can lead to other issues like dehydration!
Worse yet, the sugar might give rise to an excess production of gas in the intestinal tract. This is potentially life-threatening for rabbits because they cannot expel gas from their guts like other mammals can in the form of a belch or breaking wind.
This gas bloating will cause painful cramping and can potentially cause a lethal rupture. It’d be a terrible way to die because you just wanted to give your rabbits some extra blueberries to make them feel good!
You don’t have to worry about all of this as long as you stick to the feeding schedule prescribed below, and you can be confident your rabbits will enjoy blueberries for a long time to come.
How Often Should Rabbits Eat Blueberries?
Your rabbits should only get a few blueberries a week depending on their size. As a rule of thumb, you never want to give a rabbit more than 4 a week, individually, as special treats. And that’s for a large breed!
Smaller breeds and adolescent rabbits that are ready to start eating supplementary foods should only have a single blueberry a week, or perhaps too if they handle it well.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Blueberries to Rabbits?
Really not much to this: you can give your rabbit a single blueberry at a time right out of hand or put it in their feeder for them to eat.
Just make sure the blueberries are washed and completely dry, and if you’re giving them frozen ones, they should be completely thawed, though they can still be cool.
And I warn you, that blueberry juice will definitely stain your bunny’s fur! This is certainly going to happen around the mouth, and if they are a messy eater, they could have some dribbles run down their chest!
Never Give Rabbits Spoiled Blueberries
Rabbits love blueberries, but they are problematic enough without feeding them spoiled ones. If any blueberries have gone mushy, sunken, slimy, or are showing signs of mold, just throw them into the trash.
If you feed these bad berries to your bunnies there is an even higher chance of them getting seriously sick.
Are Blueberries Safe for Bunnies, Too?
Yes, but with much caution: hey baby bunnies shouldn’t have any blueberries or any other fruits until they are at least 14 weeks of age.
This is because the inherently sensitive digestive system of rabbits is even more fragile while they are young and growing. Blueberries will easily wreck the balance of gut flora and cause major problems.
You should note that bunnies are even more vulnerable to death due to this, so don’t give in to the temptation to feed them other special treats until they are ready.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.