One of the best parts of taking care of a pet rabbit is its natural curiosity and enthusiasm for new foods. However, just because a bunny wants to eat something, that doesn’t mean that it is good for them. Just like their human companions, rabbits need a balanced diet full of nutritious foods.
If all you ate were carrots all day, you wouldn’t feel very healthy. The same goes for rabbits. They simply don’t need the high sugar content found in carrots, despite their love for them. Bunnies require a balanced diet with a wide variety of vegetables.
While the majority of a rabbit’s diet should always be hay, the experts at Oxbow Animal Health recommend that 8-10% of your rabbit’s diet be leafy greens and vegetables. The majority of this category should consist of dark leafy greens. However, you can choose to add in some vegetables as treats. These treats can add nutrients that aren’t found in hay or leafy greens.
As you look for new treats to offer your bunny, you may find yourself wondering “Can rabbits eat mangetout?” After all, you want to be sure that any foods offered to your rabbit are 100% rabbit safe. The answer is yes, rabbits can safely eat mangetout when offered in the proper amounts.
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What is mangetout?
Mangetout sounds fancy, but it is simply the French word for “eat it all.” Mangetout is a type of garden pea that is picked while still young enough that the pod is tender for eating. It is a member of the legume family. You may know of these peas as snow peas or sugar peas. Sugar snap peas are very similar, but they feature a filled-out shape and have a crunchier texture.
Can rabbits eat mangetout?
Both mangetout and sugar snap peas can be safely eaten by rabbits. In fact, these rabbit-safe vegetables provide a good addition to your rabbit’s diet.
Mangetout is high in fiber, which is a critical part of any rabbit’s diet. It works to keep the digestive system working at peak performance. Fiber is essential for a bunny and is the key reason hay should be the main part of the diet.
While this healthy green vegetable is high in vitamins, the highest ones are C, B1, and K. These aren’t essential key vitamins for rabbits. Because other vegetables provide the A, D, and E that rabbits need, mangetout is more of a fiber-based treat.
Where do I find mangetout?
Finding mangetout for your bunny isn’t difficult. This popular addition to various culinary dishes is easily found in most grocery store produce sections as a ready-to-eat vegetable. Packaged mangetout has been cleaned and stripped of any fibrous strings or stems. It is a quick and easy option. However, did you know that vegetables often have the highest level of nutrients within hours of picking during their natural growing season?
If you have space, consider growing your own mangetout. The entire plant is edible for rabbits. If you grow your own, you can add the young leaves and stems to your rabbit’s diet. Peas are easy to grow during the spring for your bunny. All you need is a sunny location and well-drained soil. You can even grow some varieties of mangetout in containers. Peas can grow rather tall, so you will need a trellis or sticks to support the plant.
Mangetout is ready to harvest in about 65 days. Choose pods that are just beginning to show the peas inside of them. Regular picking will encourage your plant to produce more pods. Many gardeners suggest picking from the bottom of the plant and working toward the top. This is because the oldest pods will often be closer to the ground.
How much mangetout can my rabbit eat?
Bunnies that weigh at least four pounds can have two cups of greens, but they can only have two tablespoons of mangetout, or other vegetables, a day. This equals one to two mangetout pods, depending on the pod size.
A young bunny between three to six months can be introduced to mangetout in a much smaller amount. A bunny weighing only 1 pound should only have one-half tablespoon of veggies per day, including mangetout.
You can feed just mangetout as a treat, but we recommend providing your bunny with a variety of vegetables and hay for a complete diet. Once your rabbit has been successfully introduced to mangetout, you can mix it with other veggies for a mixed
How do I introduce mangetout to my rabbit?
The best way to introduce vegetables to a bunny is to try them out one at a time. If you were to introduce many new foods at once, you wouldn’t know which one may be causing a bit of tummy trouble.
Instead, introduce a small amount of the same veggie every day for a period of time, in addition to your bunny’s regular hay. As time goes on, you can gradually increase the amount of the vegetable to the appropriate level. Once you have determined that your bunny doesn’t have a bad reaction to the vegetable, you can introduce a different one.
Too much mangetout can cause gastrointestinal problems. Keep an eye on your rabbit as you introduce new foods so that you can contact a vet if symptoms occur.
No matter if you purchase your mangetout at the store or grow your own, you should always give the pods a good rinse before feeding time. You can serve mangetout to your rabbit both raw and cooked, but most rabbits enjoy the crunch of raw mangetout.
What if my rabbit dislikes mangetout?
You’ve probably noticed by now that rabbits can have sophisticated palates. In other words, they can be picky eaters, just like humans. If your bunny doesn’t like mangetout, simply try other types of vegetables.
What other vegetables can my rabbit eat?
As herbivores, rabbits are designed to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, such as lettuce, greens, and herbs, are all ideal for rabbits. If you are looking to add in vegetables, you can choose from bell peppers, cucumbers, broccolini, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Keep in mind that some vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, can cause gas and bloating. Those high in sugars, such as carrots, should be occasional treats. By providing a diverse and varied diet you can keep your bun both happy and healthy.
Mangetout provides rabbits with a new green vegetable full of nutrition and flavor. By offering it to your rabbit, you can improve their diet and give them a special treat.