Oranges are one of the most popular and perhaps the healthiest fruit that people can eat. If you are like most of us, you probably love the taste of sweet, juicy orange as well as orange juice!
You may wonder if your rabbit could benefit from eating oranges as well. This is a smart question to ask before you offer your precious bunny any type of fruit, including oranges.
Let’s find out whether rabbits can eat oranges now!
Can Rabbits Eat Oranges
Yes, rabbits can eat oranges. However, oranges are not a staple food for a rabbit to eat. You should look at oranges as an occasional treat food only.
In the rest of this article, we will talk about the health benefits as well as the drawbacks of feeding your rabbits oranges. Then you can make your own informed choice about whether or how often to feed your rabbit oranges.
Learn About How to Prepare Oranges for Rabbits
This short and helpful YouTube video gives you quick tips for how much and how often you can offer your rabbit oranges.
You will also learn how to prepare oranges so your rabbit can enjoy this fruit safely.
Are Oranges Bad for Rabbits?
Whenever you are answering a question about whether a new food is safe or healthy for your pet rabbit, the best place to start is to look at what rabbits eat in a wild setting.
For example, if a wild rabbit was out foraging for food and found a ripe orange, would that rabbit be more likely to eat it or leave it alone?
According to Rabbits Breeders US, it would be extremely unlikely that a truly wild rabbit would ever even find an orange, let alone try to sample one.
In most cases, the only types of fruit that wild rabbits would come across would be wild berries, which would not only be fairly common in rabbit habitats but would also be low to the ground so a wild rabbit could reach them.
But rabbits can eat fruit as a general rule. So oranges are not technically bad for a rabbit to eat. They just wouldn’t be likely to find one to eat it.
Are Oranges Safe for Rabbits?
There are two ways to approach the question of whether oranges are safe for rabbits. We will look at both ways in this section.
What do veterinarians say about rabbits and oranges?
The first way is to hear what small pet veterinarians that treat rabbits and know rabbit dietary needs have to say on the topic.
The New Zealand Veterinary Centre lists oranges as a safe fruit to feed rabbits.
The Centre further specifies that it is vitally important to feed only washed fruits to avoid exposing your rabbit to toxins like pesticides or insecticides.
What do experienced rabbit owners say about rabbits and oranges?
The second way is to hear from other rabbit owners who have actually offered oranges to their rabbits (or who have discovered their rabbits eating an orange).
This popular Homesteading Forum tackles that question head-on.
Rabbit owners share their experiences giving their bunnies all kinds of different fruits, including many that would not ordinarily be a fruit a wild rabbit would have access to.
These owners say that they have successfully fed their pet rabbits small pieces of orange. They do not report seeing any ill effects of offering oranges as an occasional fruit treat.
Are Oranges Good for Rabbits?
Oranges are very good for people, so it would be easy to assume oranges would offer the same types of health benefits to rabbits.
According to WebMD, oranges have a ton of health benefits. They are packed with great nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
One whole medium orange contains all of the following nutrients.
- Carbohydrates (15.4 grams).
- Fiber (3 grams).
- Protein (1 gram).
- Sugar (12 grams).
- Vitamin C (70 milligrams).
- Vitamin A (14 micrograms).
- Vitamin B1/Thiamin (0.1 milligrams).
- Vitamin B9/Folate (4 micrograms).
- Calcium (66 milligrams).
- Potassium (237 milligrams).
- Citric acid in the form of citrates (prevents kidney stones).
So this is a towering list of benefits from eating a single orange! Of course, the average orange is about the same size as the average rabbit’s head – or larger.
This brings up the next obvious question – should you feed your hungry rabbit an orange?
Should Rabbits Eat Oranges?
So here is a brief recap of what we have learned thus far.
- We now know that rabbits can eat oranges and seem to enjoy them.
- Oranges do have some health benefits to offer rabbits.
- Oranges are basically safe for oranges as long as they are fed as treats only.
But should your rabbit be offered oranges for a treat?
This is not as simple a question as it may sound.
As House Rabbit Diet points out, only rabbits that are at least six months old should be offered any type of vegetable or fruit treat.
Why is this, you might be wondering?
The reason is that a younger rabbit is still growing. Young rabbits are still developing their immune system and their gastrointestinal system. A young rabbit’s digestion will be more sensitive to fresh foods than an adult rabbit’s will.
Once your rabbit reaches the age of six months, you can start to introduce a limited quantity of fresh foods into your pet’s diet.
There is a specific way to do this and you want to be careful so your rabbit won’t end up getting indigestion or diarrhea!
How to Introduce Oranges to Your Adult Rabbit
So in this section, we will take a look at the exact steps you want to take to prepare oranges for your rabbit to try.
The first step to take is to thoroughly wash the orange. You want to remove any trace toxins, including pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides as well as any environmental toxins.
Otherwise, if your rabbit eats the orange and encounters these toxins, your pet could get sick.
You can use a drop of dish soap in a small amount of water or a fruit and vegetable wash to do this.
The second step is to section off a small piece to offer to your rabbit.
It is safe to feed the orange peel as well as the fruit as long as both have been washed.
The very first time you feed orange, only offer one-half of one single orange slice. This way, if your rabbit does not tolerate it well, they haven’t eaten a large quantity that their digestive system then has to cope with.
Offer the orange (with or without peel) to your rabbit. Do not include any other fresh vegetables or fruits for this first test.
After your rabbit has eaten the orange, wait 24 hours and only feed their staple food in between.
Watch to make sure your rabbit is able to digest and tolerate the orange well. If yes, you can go ahead and add oranges to your pet’s regular treat rotation.
How Often Can You Feed Oranges to Rabbits?
Most rabbit owners aim for a frequency of once every two weeks or so. This is because oranges have a lot of sugar.