We often get asked what kind of human foods rabbits, if any, rabbits can eat. can safely eat (if any). One of these things is green veggies.
Vegetables are wonderful for us humans, especially the green kind. The greener the better! As we have mentioned, rabbits do eat veggies, but what about Swiss Chard?
In this article, we will be exploring whether rabbits can indeed munch on some lovely Swiss Chard.
Typical Rabbit Diet
As we have said many times before …rabbits will eat anything and they are certainly greedy little guys!
Usually, the diet that is fed to a rabbit is more than enough to keep it happy, healthy, and satisfied. This is especially true of wild rabbits who know exactly what they need to keep them alive. They will be more intuitive when it comes to their eating.
Domesticated rabbits are a little different. They may have eaten numerous different things over the course of their life, and much of their diet will probably be commercial rabbit food, with the odd fruit or veggie thrown in every once in a while.
However, this doesn’t stop them from being interested in human food. They will try to eat anything they can get their paws (or should that be teeth?) on, including stuff that they really shouldn’t.
Keep on reading to see if you can feed your rabbit or little bunny some delicious Swiss Chard…
We will be exploring the health benefits of it, how much they may be allowed to eat, and whether there may be any unpleasant side effects from consuming it. We will also be looking at whether there are some better options available for them to eat.
Can rabbits eat Swiss Chard?
Swiss Chard and rabbits are actually more of a complicated situation than you might think. Certainly, in the wild, rabbits that have been eating Swiss Chard all their lives are absolutely fine and can handle it well.
However, when it comes to a domesticated rabbit that has never eaten Swiss Chard before, it may not be ideal for them. Swiss Chard, also known as SIlverbeet, seakale beet, and simply, chard, can cause some digestive issues if eaten in large amounts, especially if the rabbit has never tried it before.
This may be confusing to you. Especially if you have ever seen hoards of wild rabbits nibbling away at your Swiss Chard in your garden! Wild rabbits are used to eating this type of vegetable, and so you will not have noticed them getting sick.
However, you have to remember that these wild rabbits will be used to this leafy green vegetable. Your domestic rabbit will likely have a very sensitive stomach.
For this reason, if you do want to try and feed your rabbit some Swiss Chard, you should introduce it in very small amounts, and ensure they have plenty of their regular food and water on hand too.
That being said, there are some important things to bear in mind when introducing new foods like Swiss Chard into your rabbit’s diet, and you may want to read this full article first before trying it.
Keep on reading to find out exactly how much should safely be fed, as well as any undesirable side effects and health risks that Swiss Chard can cause.
How much Swiss Chard can rabbits eat?
When you are first trying your bunny out with new vegetables, especially leafy greens such as Swiss Chard, you should first give them very small amounts of it. Add some into their regular food, just a leaf or two to start, ensuring it is organic, fresh, clean, and dry.
Generally, veggies can be fed to your rabbit in relatively large amounts. We recommend around one cup of leafy greens per day for every 2 pound weight of your rabbit. So, if your rabbit weighs 4 pounds, it can have 2 cups of leafy greens.
However, this should not be a full cup of Swiss Chard. Ideally, it should be a mixture including spinach, radicchio, and other rabbit-friendly greens.
You can then add in a leaf or two of Swiss Chard to introduce them to it. That being said, you should keep an eye out for any undesirable health risks that Swiss Chard can cause. Keep on reading to the next section to find out more about these side effects…
Are there any health risks associated with rabbits eating Swiss Chard?
Yes! There have been a number of health risks found that are associated with the consumption of Swiss Chard and some other leafy greens by domesticated rabbits in particular.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, wild rabbits are generally able to eat Swiss Chard and other similar veggies with no issues.
However, domesticated rabbits have far more sensitive stomachs, and sadly, too much Swiss Chard can cause some serious side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, sickness, colic, and general ill health.
Of course, for humans, all of these can be solved easily. However, in rabbits, they can prove lethal, especially if the case is serious or large amounts of Swiss Chard are eaten.
It is especially common if the rabbit eats large amounts of Swiss Chard for the first time without having been slowly introduced to it first.
The reason why Swiss Chard can cause all of these unpleasant health risks is that it is high in oxalic acid. This can cause issues within the digestive tract as mentioned already, as well as bladder stones which can be very painful and life-threatening in your rabbit.
Are there any better alternatives to Swiss Chard for rabbits?
Yes, there are plenty of excellent alternatives to Swiss Chard for your rabbit that also happen to be low in oxalic acid.
These include kale, radicchio, Bok Choy, basil, arugula, carrot tops, turnip greens, raspberry leaves, fennel, dill leaves, carrots, cilantro, mint, spring greens, wheatgrass, watercress, and so many more.
All of these can be safely fed to rabbits, alongside alfalfa, timothy hay, and commercial rabbit food!