Rabbits are strict herbivores whose digestive systems require high-fiber, abrasive diets for optimum digestion. It means that they can consume leafy weeds, grass hay, veggies, and occasionally fruits and nuts. And knowing the nutritional benefits of microgreens, I am sure you’re wondering; can rabbits eat microgreens?
Rabbits can eat microgreens. Supplementing your rabbit’s diet with microgreens is a great way to ensure that they remain healthy. But make sure you give them microgreens that are low in starch and sugars.
Microgreens are the smaller version of the vast plants that rabbits consume, and they are more delicious. So in this article, we will show you which microgreens rabbits can consume and why you should feed them microgreens.
Can Rabbits Eat Microgreens?
Microgreens are not shoots or sprouts; they are usually harvested after the cotyledon leaves, and true leaves have developed. Microgreens are nutritional supplements that chefs have used to add texture and flavor to their meals for years.
They are smaller versions of ordinary plants and are typically referred to as baby greens since they are eaten after sprouting. They are considered greens by some upscale grocers, which people use to garnish plates, salads, sandwiches, and soups. (source)
Depending on the plant, microgreens can be harvested when they are about 3 inches tall. These miniature plants usually are harvested within 7 to 21 days or right after the cotyledon develops. It is why they are more nutritious than their fully grown counterparts and the best source of nutrients for rabbits. In fact, researchers have confirmed that they are rich in carotenoids and vitamins. (source)
The fact that they are more nutritious than mature plants makes us wonder if they are suitable for our rabbits. And if they are, which are the best ones for these strict herbivores? As aforementioned, microgreens are ideal for rabbits and, to some extent, a cheaper source of food for rabbits.
Rabbits love veggies, leafy plants, hay, and fruits with low sugar levels. And microgreens are miniature veggies that we all love; therefore, rabbits will love them too.
So microgreens are a great source of nutrients for rabbits, but not all microgreens are suitable for rabbits. Some microgreens can leave your pet with stomach issues.
How Nutritious Are Microgreens?
Sprouts and microgreens are safe for our pets. And while their primary source of food is hay, rabbits can benefit from consuming microgreens in moderation. After all, eating a highly nutritious miniature plant is better than consuming fully grown plants.
Research reports from USDA state that they are more nutritious; for example, broccoli microgreen is about three times more nutritious than fully grown broccoli. (source)
According to the report published by USDA, microgreens are highly nutritious plants rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The USDA report focused on 25 microgreens. Some of the nutrients the researchers found include ascorbic acid and vitamins E and K.
Out of the 25 plants, red cabbage had more vitamins, and garnet amaranth had more vitamin K. Generally, microgreens have five times more vitamins and carotenoids than their mature counterparts. (source)
Another study confirmed that the most nutritious and best microgreen has high color intensity. Microgreens are also rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper, so they are worth the hype, but make sure you give them to your rabbits as soon as you harvest them. (source)
Remember, microgreens are meant to be used as supplements and not as a replacement for their regular food.
But one of the significant issues with microgreens is the presence of mold. Remember, most microgreens usually are grown in moist places. So before feeding your pet, confirm if the microgreen is mold-free: after all, mold can make your pet sick. Mold usually is an issue for people who grow their microgreens hydroponically. And it can be caused by inadequate sunlight, poor ventilation, and high humidity levels.
Mold is generally found in the roots, right between microgreens. And they have a slimy feel and smell; therefore, locating them cannot be that hard.
What Are the Best Microgreens for Rabbits?
Just like veggies, microgreens can boost the health of your rabbits. But microgreens tend to be spicy, which is the main reason why they are added in salads.
Unfortunately, some microgreens can harm your rabbit, so you should avoid giving them too spicy microgreens and the ones with high carbohydrates and sugar levels. Some of the best options for rabbits include:
Beets are one of the many microgreens that take a long time to germinate and even more time to grow. In fact, you may have to wait for up to 3 weeks before harvesting them. Before harvesting beet microgreens, make sure they have light green flowers and bright red stems.
Beets are rich in beta carotene, lutein, and vitamins E, C, B, and A. and the fact that they are low in carbs is what makes them a good option.
Carrot microgreens are not sweeter than fully grown carrots, but they are more nutritious. Besides being soft, carrot microgreens are rich in vitamins A, K, and C, sodium, calcium, and folate. Plus, the fact that they take two weeks to grow is a bonus.
Cauliflower is one of the easiest microgreens to grow. And when ready for harvesting, their top part is deep green while the stem is white with pink highlights. Cauliflower is usually ready for harvesting after 14 days and can be grown either hydroponically or in the soil. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins C and E, iron, and beta-carotene.
Microgreen corn is sweeter than its fully grown counterpart, and they take less than a week to germinate. Corn microgreen is high in fiber, which makes them a good option for rabbits. Growing corn microgreens in the dark will make them yellow, with a sweeter taste than if you let them grow in the light.
Corn microgreen contains vitamins E, C, B, and A, magnesium, and calcium.
Lettuce microgreen germinates after about four days. And the fact that they thrive under moderate humidity and heat and need water means that they should be grown hydroponically. When ready for harvesting, their stems tend to be light green or, at times, pale white. Lettuce is rich in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins, C, K, and B.
Rabbits can enjoy other microgreens include cucumber, peas, wheatgrass, alfalfa, spinach, and barley. These microgreens are low in starch, sugar and are less spicy.
Which Microgreens Are Not Ideal for Rabbits?
As aforementioned, not all microgreens are suitable for rabbits. Feeding them microgreens with high carbohydrate levels, more robust flavors, and sugar can be detrimental to their health. Overfeeding them these microgreens can result in stomach issues and poor health. Some of the microgreens that should be utilized occasionally include:
Despite being delicious and easy to plant, radish microgreens are too spicy. Therefore, you should avoid giving your rabbits too many radish microgreens. However, they can be the best source of phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamins E, K, C, B, and A.
Another spicy microgreen that is not ideal for rabbits is arugula. But it is an excellent source of antioxidants, so feed your rabbit arugula in moderation. (source)
Microgreens are highly nutritious plants that can improve your pet’s health. Unfortunately, not all microgreens are safe for rabbits, especially microgreens with intense flavors and high carbohydrate levels.
But before giving your pet microgreens, make sure you confirm if they have molds in their root. After all, the main reason why you introduced your rabbits to microgreens is to improve their health.