You’ll hardly see anything cuter than a precious rabbit chomping away on a perfectly plump berry. The way that juice stains their lips is just heartwarming, let me tell you!
But as picturesque as the image is, seasoned rabbit owners know that their furry friends have strict nutritional requirements, and most kinds of fruit only play a small part in that plan.
On the other hand, berries sure seem like something that rabbits would have access to in the wild, right? That’s true, but not all kinds of berries are safe for rabbits to eat. How about strawberries, one of the most popular kinds of berries there are? Can rabbits safely eat strawberries?
Yes, strawberries or safe for rabbits but they must only eat them rarely as a treat. They love sweet strawberries, but they are too sweet for them to eat all the time and can cause problems if overfed.
I’m sure you are glad to know that strawberries are in the clear. But you can’t make a regular habit of giving strawberries and other fruit to your rabbits: Though strawberries are nutritious, they can eventually result in health problems if you feed them too many.
But as long as you’re cautious and disciplined, your rabbits will always look forward to getting plump, perfect strawberries as a treat. I’ll tell you what you need to know about serving them up in the rest of this article.
Do Rabbits Like Strawberries?
Yes, and let me tell you! Rabbits absolutely love strawberries, and I’ve never heard of even one single one to ever turn them down. They are so sweet and tender, how could they resist?
Also, fun fact, rabbits in the wild will occasionally find wild strawberries and eat those as a supplementary part of their usual diet, so it only makes sense that domestic rabbits can have them also.
Are Strawberries Good for Rabbits?
Yes, but only in sharply limited quantities as a treat. Strawberries are healthy and wholesome, but even though they’re entirely natural they still have too much sugar to be good as a regular part of a rabbit’s diet.
They’re an excellent treat that rabbits love, and they still contain vitamins and minerals that can benefit them.
Speaking of nutrition, let’s break down strawberries. Examining the macronutrients, we see that strawberries contain mostly carbohydrates for energy, in the form of sugar, and a little bit of fiber. They contain very little in the way of fat or protein…
The vitamin content of strawberries is actually pretty impressive, more impressive than you might think. Most of the B-complex of vitamins are represented with B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folate all accounted for as well as a little bit of choline, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Strawberries are also a superb source of vitamin C.
Many minerals that rabbits need are also found in strawberries, with a great amount of manganese and significantly less of other minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus potassium and zinc.
Nonetheless, these are likewise all nutrients that will help rabbits to stay healthy, resist disease and heal when they are sick or injured.
Something else to note is that strawberries are mostly water by weight. In fact, on average, they’re nearly 91% water!
This is good and bad, because, on the one hand, it can help rabbits stay hydrated when they do get strawberries as a treat. However, as with all highly moist foods, you’ve got to be careful because too much can cause indigestion or diarrhea.
Considering how rarely they are supposed to get strawberries, though, the latter is rarely a practical problem concerning strawberries alone.
Can Rabbits Eat White Strawberries?
Yes, they can. Pretty much everyone imagines red strawberries when talking about these fragrant fruits, but white strawberries are also just fine for rabbits.
Are Strawberry Tops Okay for Rabbits?
Yes, they sure are! Strawberry tops, sometimes called strawberry crowns and properly called the calyx are small grassy leaves that are completely safe and edible for rabbits if you want to serve those along with the berry.
Can Strawberries Cause Problems for Rabbits?
Yes, sadly, they can. Strawberries are naturally delicious, but just because they are natural doesn’t mean they’re truly good for rabbits.
Even though rabbits can benefit from the nutrients present in strawberries and will always get a burst of energy from them, these plump, red berries are simply too sugary to be good for rabbits in any kind of abundance.
An obvious problem with excess sugar intake is weight gain, but beyond this, sugar can cause problems with a rabbit’s gut, leading to subsequently incomplete digestion of other foods, loose stools, diarrhea and more issues.
Assuming this occurs, with a little luck, it can usually be curbed by halting the offending food, but sometimes veterinary care might be required.
Another consideration is that the strawberries you purchase from the grocery store are soaked with pesticides, and not all of these residues come off with washing.
These pesticides have been linked with all sorts of issues in mammals, including people and rabbits, and so you should think twice before feeding your rabbits any berries that aren’t organic or that you didn’t grow yourself.
How Often Should Rabbits Eat Them?
Your rabbits should only get a small serving of strawberry once a week, or twice a week at the absolute most and even then, be cautious.
Think of strawberries as a true dessert for rabbits. You wouldn’t eat ice cream every single day, or at least I hope you don’t, and so you shouldn’t give your rabbits strawberries daily. Doing so will significantly increase the chances of bad outcomes.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Strawberries to Rabbits?
You don’t need to do much to give strawberries to your rabbits. Most are more than happy to nibble on a whole berry, and this will certainly make preparation easy for you.
If you want to, you might consider slicing them in half or into quarters for smaller rabbits to handle more easily.
Remember you don’t have to remove the crown if you don’t want to, as most rabbits will be eager to eat those also.
And as I said, keep those portions small. For most rabbits, this is easy enough: give them a single strawberry that is no bigger than a ping pong ball, roughly.
Larger rabbits can have a somewhat bigger berry but don’t give them more than that or give them strawberries more often.
Never Give Them Spoiled Strawberries
In the grand scheme of things, strawberries are okay for your rabbits as long as you are cautious and limit their intake, but you must never, ever give them spoiled strawberries or else you can make them very sick.
If your strawberries are moldy, turning dark colors, slimy or in any way bad then they aren’t fit for your rabbits to eat. Throw them out!
Are Strawberries Safe for Bunnies, Too?
Strawberries are safe for bunnies, but you must wait for them to reach at least 3 months of age, preferably 4 months before they try them for the first time.
This is because the digestive system of a baby bunny is incredibly delicate and it takes a very long time to develop properly and then stabilize.
If you want to get down to the science, the sugar and moisture content in strawberries can disrupt the balance of their gut by causing an explosive multiplication of gas-producing bacteria. When this happens, too much gas can be produced which can then cause fatal complications for your poor bunny.
You don’t want that to happen, so you’ve got to let your bunnies grow up a bit before they get strawberries. Once they’re old enough, you can give them only a tiny amount once a week.
A strawberry no larger than the end of your thumb is satisfactory and safe. As always, be on the lookout for problems if you notice any loose stools or loss of interest in other food, discontinue immediately.
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.