Rabbits mostly eat grass, hay, and other similar vegetation but they supplement their diet in the wild with various kinds of veggies and a little bit of fruit. Domestic rabbits, of all kinds, often enjoy fruits and veggies as a treat, snack, or supplement what they typically eat.
This can be a great way to keep your rabbit from getting bored or to get them some extra nutrients or energy. However, rabbits can’t have just any fruit or veggie. Not all of them are safe! How about cucumbers? Can rabbits safely eat them?
Yes, cucumbers are safe for rabbits to eat. Periodically as a snack or supplement to their diet. Cucumbers are hydrating and a decent source of vitamins and minerals though they are very low in calories.
It’s good to know that rabbits can eat cucumbers whatever you want to give them a crisp, cooling snack in the summer. It’s a great way to bust up menu boredom, and it can also help them stay hydrated.
But I can tell you right now that rabbits cannot have cucumbers every day or an unlimited amount. You’ll need to carefully incorporate it into their diet just like anything else that you feed them.
The good news is that it is quite straightforward. I’ll tell you what you need to know below…
Do Rabbits Like Cucumbers?
Some do, some don’t. In my experience, I’ve noticed that cucumbers are a sort of love-it-or-leave-it food for rabbits…
Some rabbits really seem to enjoy the taste and will happily munch away on them. Other rabbits could not care less about it and actually seem repulsed by cucumber!
I’m not sure why this is. As far as I’ve been able to discern through my observations and research, it isn’t related to breed, sex, or any other factors like that: it really does seem to be an individual preference!
If your rabbits will eat it, though, you can definitely feed it to them.
Are Cucumbers Healthy for Rabbits?
Yes, they are, though they are only ever going to be a small component of their typical diet consisting of hay, grass, pellets and things like that.
Cucumbers are definitely a low-calorie food which can be a benefit if you have an overweight rabbit, but they aren’t going to get much energy from them, and what they do get is in the form of a few carbs and just a little bit of fiber and protein.
But, somewhat surprisingly, cucumbers are fairly robust when it comes to vitamin and mineral content with a decent assortment of both…
Looking at the vitamins first, we see that they have B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folate along with vitamin C and a good shot of vitamin K.
The mineral content is similarly diverse but slightly more limited, with magnesium and manganese being the standouts followed by phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium and zinc.
Together, all of these nutrients can help rabbits stay hydrated and balance their metabolism, along with several other benefits though cucumbers aren’t a considerable source of nutrition for them generally.
Cucumbers are, though, highly hydrating, being 95% water by weight! That’s good when you’re trying to help your rabbits beat the heat or cool off, but you can’t overdo it because food that is this moist can easily cause digestive tract problems if they overindulge.
Are Salad Cucumbers Safe for Rabbits?
Yes, salad cucumbers are totally safe for rabbits. These larger cucumbers are commonly sliced or diced for adding to salads, relishes and sometimes on to sandwiches as a topping.
Are Pickling Cucumbers Safe for Rabbits?
Yes, they are. Note that I’m talking about pickling cucumbers; that is smaller, knobby cucumbers that are usually destined for turning into dill or bread and butter pickles. I’m not talking about actual pickles!
Are Pickles Safe for Rabbits?
Absolutely not. Pickles of any kind are entirely too salty and loaded with other ingredients that are bad news for rabbits.
Assuming your rabbits would eat them, it won’t be long before they’re suffering from high blood pressure, severe indigestion, and eventually hypernatremia, or sodium poisoning.
This can easily turn fatal for an affected rabbit, so you should never, ever give pickles to your poor bunnies.
Can Rabbits Eat Cucumber Skin?
Yes. Cucumber skin, although somewhat thick and waxy, is entirely safe and edible for rabbits, and they will easily chew it up and eat it. You do not need to peel cucumbers before serving them to your rabbits.
Can Rabbits Eat Cucumber Seeds?
Yes, cucumber seeds are totally safe for rabbits. They are small and relatively soft, and rabbits are very likely to scarf them down along with the cool, crisp flesh.
Can Cucumbers Hurt Rabbits in Any Way?
Not directly unless they eat too much. Cucumbers are in no way overtly toxic for rabbits, but the problems that they might cause are associated with overconsumption.
As detailed above in the nutritional section, cucumbers just don’t have enough calories vitamins or minerals to give rabbits what they need to survive and thrive.
Another consideration is that cucumbers, being so moist, are likely to result in digestive upset if rabbits eat too many or if they get them too often, especially if they are already eating other moist foods.
This is because the moisture content can basically dilute the contents of a rabbit’s stomach and interrupt digestion, causing loose, watery stools and eventually diarrhea.
In a worst-case scenario, a rabbit might have their delicate gut flora, responsible for digesting some food disrupted, causing major problems.
Luckily, all of these outcomes can be avoided entirely if you make it a point to serve your rabbits only small portions and only a few times a week. I’ll tell you more about both of those factors in the following sections.
How Often Should Rabbits Eat Cucumbers?
Most rabbits can have three small servings of cucumber a week.
This is a good way to help break them out of boredom with their usual food while giving them a vegetable that provides a little bit of nutrition but is otherwise almost completely inoffensive to their digestive system- assuming, again, that you don’t give them too much.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Cucumbers to Them?
You have a couple of options for giving cucumbers to your rabbits. If they are a larger breed or not very picky, you can simply wash and then slice the cucumber before handing it over on a tray or plate.
Smaller rabbits might do best with cucumber slices cut into quarters that are about 3/8 of an inch thick.
Remember to always wash the cucumber no matter how you are serving it, but you don’t have to peel it prior to slicing or chopping: rabbits can eat the skin and seeds with absolutely no concern.
Never Give Spoiled Cucumbers to Rabbits
So cucumbers are definitely safe for rabbits overall and a healthy snack option, but nonetheless, you should only ever give them the freshest, highest quality cucumbers you can get. Rabbits cannot safely eat any spoiled cucumbers that are rotting, soft, slimy or discolored.
If you try to do that, your rabbits might eat them, but there’s also a decent chance they will get sick or you will seriously upset their stomach.
Remember that rabbits are particularly prone to devastating digestive tract issues, many of which can be fatal. It would be a terrible thing to inflict that on your rabbit because you wanted to save a few cents on an old cucumber that was going bad!
Are Cucumbers OK for Bunnies To Eat?
Yes, cucumbers are also safe for baby bunnies but one major reservation: the earliest that a bunny should have a cucumber or any other kind of produce is at 3 months of age.
This is because baby bunnies have incredibly delicate and vulnerable digestive systems that take a long time to develop properly.
It’s very easy for their gut flora to get messed up by foods that they shouldn’t be eating, even something that is as clean and seemingly inoffensive as a cucumber.
You run a major risk of causing these problems and killing the poor baby if you decide to feed them cucumber early.
Once they are old enough, they can have a half tablespoon worth of tiny cucumber bits twice a week.
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.