For people who love to keep bird food on one of the trees in their backyard just to give the birds that pass by some extra food it’s not uncommon to ask themselves can rabbits eat bird food. I mean, if you have some extra laying around, can there be any harm in giving some of it to your rabbits?
To be honest, there’s no harm in letting your rabbit get their paws on some bird food.
Regardless of if you’re just scared because your rabbit ate some bird food that fell out of the cute birdhouse you keep in your yard, or if you have some excess laying around and wondering if you should give it to your furry friend instead of throwing it away, there are a few things you should know.
It goes without saying there are certain things you need to keep your eye on if you decide to do this, because if it was ok to replace your rabbit’s regular food with bird food, then the bird food would be called rabbit food!
If you’re keen on learning the differences, benefits, and potentially harmful effects, I suggest you keep scrolling as I teach you how to safely give some of this food to your bunny.
Can Rabbits Eat Bird Food? Is It Nutritious Enough?
There’s no good way to say how much of everything bird food has. Every brand of bird food puts a different content in their product, and it really depends on what bird we are talking about.
All I can tell you is that all bird foods need to contain the same six ingredients in order for them to be considered good for birds. These six ingredients are:
If you see one of these missing on the packaging of the bird food you have laying around, that means it’s probably one of two things – either it’s for a specific type of bird that doesn’t need the missing ingredients, or it’s low-quality bird food and therefore you shouldn’t feed your rabbit with it.
To be honest, by just looking at these six ingredients, there isn’t much that can harm your big-eared pet. Rabbits need all of those, and all six that I listed can be found in rabbit food as well. This doesn’t mean you can just replace your rabbit’s pellets with a much cheaper bird food that contains these ingredients. Rabbits still need some things in certain amounts that bird food simply does not contain.
For example, fiber is highly desired in rabbit food just because it regulates the rabbit’s bowel movement and keeps their tummy healthy. As you can see, bird food doesn’t need to contain any of it, so it’s not a good idea to make your rabbit’s diet revolve around bird food.
Carbohydrates are also something to keep an eye out for because your rabbit really doesn’t need much of that in the first place. An overwhelming amount of carbohydrates can make your rabbit not only gain weight but unhealthy as well.
What I mean exactly by this is that your pet can suffer some heart problems by ingesting too many carbohydrates. It can also experience a fatty liver which is not good at all.
All of those things should be avoided at all costs if you want to see your pet live a long and healthy life. I don’t mean that bird food will drastically shorten your rabbit’s life span, but if you allow it to take part on an everyday level, it might cause some of these problems.
|Solely based on that, I recommend you give your rabbit some bird food once every two weeks, and not more than a handful. This will ensure that no bad side effects take place, and you’ll spice up your pet’s diet at the same time.|
Alternatives To Bird Food In You Rabbit’s Diet
Look, there really isn’t much thought going into listing alternatives. For one, the best alternative there is – just plain old rabbit pellets.
You all know that rabbit pellets contain everything your bunny needs on a dietary level without question. And unlike bird food, even the lowest tier rabbit pellets will suit your pet’s needs regardless of how much you pay for them.
To be honest, it’s probably better to feed your rabbit with low-quality rabbit pellets than with high-grade bird food. As I’ve said before, bird food isn’t harmful to your pet, it’s just not something they need on a daily level.
Let’s take a brief look at some ingredients you can find in rabbit pellets that might be missing when talking about bird food:
- Bran & pollard
Regardless of the differences in these foods, there are some similarities between them as well, such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Mineral premix (depending on the manufacturer)
Don’t get confused, the ingredients found in both of these really do make it easier to be relaxed when your rabbit gets its paws on some bird food, but as I’ve said before – don’t make it a habit.
Rabbits can have weak stomachs and it can seriously contribute to some bloating or diarrhea. Even constipation can occur if your pet is lacking in fiber in the long term. Consider this when thinking about feeding your bunny with some bird food, as it can result in some unpleasant situations for both you and your pet.
Giving Bird Food To Rabbits – Potential Side Effects
As it’s stated above, there can be some complications if you develop a habit of giving bird food to your rabbit without any consideration for the time between these “incidents” or for the amount of bird food you scoop when planning on feeding your rabbit with it.
Most unwanted side effects will occur in the digestive tract, but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless.
The first thing that can happen is constipation. Rabbits need a lot of fiber in their diet and that’s exactly why most rabbit owners will advise you to keep a healthy amount of grass or hay near your rabbit’s cage at all times.
Bird food is not famous for containing an absurd amount of fiber, so constipation is practically inevitable if you start feeding your pet with bird food on a daily basis.
If this happens just provide some hay and clean water to your rabbit and all should be fine in a couple of hours or days at most. If you notice that this problem is not resolved in that time frame I highly advise you to contact a veterinarian and ask them for help.
On the completely opposite side of the spectrum is diarrhea. Bird food (and especially low-quality) can be a cause of some bad cases of diarrhea.
This will happen when your pen can’t digest a specific part of the food that is too heavy for their stomach. A rabbit’s natural instinct is to get rid of that ingredient the fastest way possible, so it develops temporary diarrhea in order to get rid of that specific food.
If this happens you don’t need to panic. Give it some time and some light food in smaller quantities and the unpleasant situation will pass in a couple of hours.
A third and final side effect that can ruin your pet’s day is bloating. Even humans don’t cope well with this feeling and we all know how hard it is (even for us) to get rid of it.
For rabbits, it’s even more complicated. It’s not likely this will happen the first time you decide to feed your rabbit with some bird food, but every time you do this there is a chance your pet will react badly to it and be bloated for the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do in this scenario. Just let your bunny get its rest, and this uncomfortable feeling will pass with time. If you see your pet being passive after eating some of the bird food you decided to feed them with – just give it time to recover and don’t try to feed them with it again.
Regardless of the quality of the bird food you potentially want to feed to your rabbit, just remember that they can have a bad reaction to even the highest-graded food that isn’t meant for them.
In case you’re still wondering can rabbits eat bird food, you should scroll up and probably read the article again.
There is nothing specifically wrong with giving your bunny some bird food from time to time, but you mustn’t make it a regular thing. I highly suggest you stick to the pellets, veggies, and fruits that are recommended as daily ingredients in your pet’s diet for a longer and happier life span of your favorite long-eared companion.
But in case you decide to give a handful of some bird food you have laying around to your rabbit, just remember not to do it too often and to give them some time to digest it!
Read Also: Can Rabbits Eat Bird Seed?