Rabbits are incredibly cute animals and favorite pets for countless families out there. The reasons behind this popularity are numerous, and those big fluffy ears are probably the first thing that springs to one’s mind.
Carefree ownership, on the other hand, can’t be found anywhere on the list. Yes, although they don’t need to be walked and exercised like dogs, rabbits are anything but low-maintenance pets. This slight issue also includes a very picky diet and eating habits.
You see, in the farmers’ world, rabbits are usually seen as pests that, if left unchecked, can wreak absolute havoc on gardens and farms. In reality, though, rabbits are incredibly picky about what they eat and serving them food that doesn’t suit their diet can have an impact on their health and development.
That brings us to the question, can rabbits eat turnip? This veggie is very popular and makes a welcome addition to salads on tables all around the world. How does it rank in the hare world?
What We Need To Know About Rabbits?
To answer these all-important questions, we will first need to go back to the beginning and try to learn as much as possible about our favorite long-ears friends and their fragile digestive systems.
So for a start, rabbits are small mammals that, along with a hare (slightly larger and leaner than rabbits), belong to the family of Leporidae that includes about 60 different species. The fact that is the most important for our discussion is that Leporidae is decidedly herbivores, with their diet consisting primarily of grasses, leaves, clover, and limited amounts of cruciferous.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, cruciferous is a plant family that consists of popular veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc. Carrots are, as you can possibly imagine, a part of this list.
Aside from these plants that are considered beneficial to the rabbits ‘digestive system, these small mammals also like to devour countless amounts of seeds, roots, buds, and even the bark of trees.
These eating habits are all but logical, taking into consideration the specific traits of the Leporidae family’s digestive system.
Like countless other mammals, rabbits don’t pack enough enzymes to break down some more complex food, and their diet is deficient in essential vitamins and macronutrients. To compensate for this lack of quality, rabbits put their focus on quantity and consume high volumes of fiber-rich food that can easily run through their gut.
They also need to get a great workout to extract the beneficial nutrients and move the unprocessed food through the digestive system. This is one of the reasons why rabbits are so lean, fast, and nimble. Their digestion pushes them to live at a relentless pace.
What We Need To Know About Turnip?
Now that we learned quite a lot of useful things about the rabbit world, it is time to move on to our second culprit in this story – turnip. Now, to address the elephant in the room here, turnip is a veggie with two edible parts – turnip root and green leaves.
So, we could just as well ask ourselves the question, can rabbits eat turnip greens.
To make sure we’re on the same page here, we are going to talk about both these things.
Now, as we all know, turnips are an incredibly popular and very welcome addition to any light summer meal. Aside from the taste, one of the main reasons behind the popularity of the turnip is its excellent nutritional content. Let us break it down for you.
One cup (130 gram) serving of raw turnip contains:
- 36 Calories
- 8 grams Carbs
- 2 grams Fiber
- 1 gram of Protein
- Vitamin C
Turnip leaves, on the other hand, pack entirely different nutritional content:
- 18 Calories
- 4 grams Carbs
- 2 grams Fiber
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Provitamin A
As we can see, turnip is a true healthy powerhouse packing some incredibly important nutrients and components in a fiber-dense low-caloric package. Furthermore, turnip greens are stacked with nourishing vitamins and elements that have an excellent impact on the immune system, as well as bone, teeth, and blood health.
Furthermore, turnip does an excellent job in helping the mammal body to eliminate various free radicals.
All that is fine and well in terms of the human diet. But we are here to see what our fluffy long-eared friends have to say about the whole affair.
Can Your Rabbit Eat Raw Turnip?
Taking all we have mentioned above into consideration, we are happy to report that yes – rabbits can, in fact, eat turnip and enjoy all the health benefits this amazing plant has to offer.
As we mentioned above, although grass and leaves make the pillar of rabbits’ diet, it is a pretty poor choice, nutrient-wise. Rabbits do their best to compensate for this nutrient deficiency by consuming various roots like carrots, parsnips, and swede.
However, rabbits can’t leave exclusively on roots, and they need to eat them in moderation. So, if you want to add this beneficial veggie to the diet of your pet, you should give them only one teaspoon per one pound of their body weight. That volume will allow them to squeeze out essential vitamins and other compounds without putting too much pressure on their digestive systems.
You see, even though it packs a lot of cool things inside, turnip is a content-dense plant. Also, the rabbit diet is already very rich in Calcium. So, feeding your bunny with more of the same won’t make some drastically improved results. Instead, you should aim for more variety.
The other thing you should take into consideration is the frequency in which you are going to feed your bunny with turnips. It is perfectly safe to throw this wholesome food into your rabbit’s meal a couple of times per week. Going past that recommendation, however, can prove to be too heavy for these small mammals.
One of the reasons behind this is that, besides all the valuable things you can find inside them, turnips are also loaded with sugar and other starchy carbs. Humans have evolved to handle these excessive amounts of carbohydrates. Rabbits, unfortunately, haven’t.
Can Your Rabbit Eat Turnip Greens?
Now, let’s move to the other question – can rabbits eat turnip greens? Once again, the answer is yes. As a matter of fact, about 75% consumed by our pet rabbits should consist of leafy greens. In that regard, turnip greens are more than qualified to make it to the bunnies’ tables.
Once again, rabbits can’t live off the turnip greens alone, and they need to get a mix of different nutrients from different food sources, but keeping the nutritional value we have seen above, these leaves should definitely make the top of the bunnies green mix.
Keeping this in mind, the volume and frequency of turnip greens servings won’t matter that much. Essentially, bunnies need to be fed with at least three different types of leafy greens a day. Also, you should do your best to mix up the grasses and greens every week to get the best nutritional content. As long as you meet these requirements, you can use turnip greens in these combinations as much as you want.
A Thing To Remember While You Are Feeding Your Bunnies
So feel free to unleash your creative spirit and reinvent the mixes that will benefit your bunnies each week. While you are doing that, however, you will need to remember one more important thing.
Bunnies, especially the younger ones, are sensitive to plants with a high level of oxalic acid, for instance, kale and parsley. The toxicity that can be found in this acid can cause tingling in the mouth and in the skin and even damage the kidneys in the long run.
Why don’t we just skip them altogether, then?
Well, the plants and veggies with a high level of oxalic acid are also a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C our rabbits usually have a problem obtaining from other food sources. Serving them in moderation is not only necessary but also beneficial.
So, make sure to counterbalance the toxicity of oxalic acid with a high volume of neutral and soothing green leaves. Never use more than one plant rich in oxalates in the mix at the same time. You can follow the same guidelines we gave for the turnip roots – no more than one teaspoon per one pound of weight.
We are at the end, and we have finally gotten the answer to the question can rabbits eat turnip.
From everything we talked about above, we can see that rabbits are very fragile and sensitive small little creatures – especially when it comes to their digestive system. If not fed properly, they can suffer from various health issues and even kidney failure.
So, we have to pay a lot of attention to what we serve them as meals. Turnips can only help keep them healthy and well-fed. As a matter of fact, as long as you mix them with other beneficial foods, turnip greens should make the cornerstone of your bunny’s diet.