Rabbits love blueberries.
One, two, or maybe three blueberries are a tasty snack for your pet rabbit. But blueberries should not be a big part of any rabbit’s diet.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about rabbits and blueberries, including how to protect low-hanging berries from rabbits that find their way into your blueberry patch.
Rabbits Really Like Blueberries
Almost all rabbits love blueberries.
While wild rabbits will be more inclined to eat the leaves and stems of the blueberry plant, pet rabbits can develop a taste for the fruit.
Rabbits can enjoy the same flavors in the blueberry that are prized by humans.
In fact, rabbits probably enjoy blueberries more than people do.
Like people, rabbits can taste sweet, sour, bitter, and salty flavors. Unlike people, that have only 10,000 taste receptors, research shows rabbits have 17,000 taste receptors.
Rabbits in the wild are more inclined to avoid bitter flavors than they are inclined to seek out sweet flavors. That is because plant poisons usually taste bitter.
Pet rabbits develop a taste for sweet berries, such as blueberries, in part because eating a berry involves interaction with their humans.
It isn’t just the blueberry that your rabbit enjoys. It is also the interaction with you.
To determine the appropriate serving size for your rabbit, consider its body weight. A general rule of thumb is to give no more than one teaspoon of blueberries per 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of your rabbit’s body weight. Remember that this is an occasional treat and should not replace the natural forage that makes up the bulk of their diet.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Strawberries?
How to Give Your Rabbit a Blueberry
It’s a little awkward to feed your rabbit a blueberry directly from your fingers.
Here are some easier methods.
Take the top off a carton of blueberries. Place a single blueberry on the plastic top and set it down on the floor slightly to the side of your rabbit. (Rabbits can’t see objects directly in front of their noses.)
Or take all but one blueberry out of a plastic carton of blueberries.
Use the berry inside the carton to play games with your bunny, rewarding participation by opening the clear plastic package so your pet rabbit can get the blueberry inside.
You can also place the blueberry on a bamboo skewer.
Hold the skewer in front of your rabbit, with the blueberry in front of but to one side of the rabbit’s mouth. Your rabbit will nibble the blueberry on the skewer until it is ready to pop it into its mouth.
Your rabbit may want to eat the bamboo skewer, too.
Rabbits are intelligent enough to make a game out of eating blueberries. Blueberry time can be a fun time for you and for them.
To serve blueberries to your rabbit, wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or chemicals. You can offer a small number of raw or cooked blueberries to your rabbit. Remember to introduce new treats to your pet’s diet slowly, as sudden changes can cause digestive problems.
Also read: How to Feed Grapes to Your Pet Rabbit?
Blueberries Are Highly Nutritious For Rabbits
Blueberries aren’t just tasty treats.
They contain many nutrients that are just as important for rabbits as they are for people.
Blueberries are a useful source of calories.
People tend to consume too many calories. Rabbits have the opposite problem. For them, getting enough calories is a major challenge of life.
There are about 57 calories in 100 grams of blueberries. There are about 30 calories in 100 grams of hay. Because rabbits tend to need more calories, not less, even a bite of blueberry is better than a bite of grass.
Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C.
Unlike humans, rabbits make their own vitamin C. They do not need vitamin C from food. However, the extra vitamin C in blueberries helps rabbits cope with infections and stress.
Blueberries are a good source of magnesium, manganese, and calcium. All of these elements are important for strong bones in rabbits, the same way they are important for people.
And blueberries are a great source of moisture. They give your rabbit about as much fluid hydration as a quick sip from its water bottle.
Also read: Can Rabbits Drink Apple Juice?
Potential Risks and Side Effects
When it comes to feeding blueberries to your rabbit, there are a few potential risks and side effects you should be aware of.
While blueberries can be a delicious treat for your rabbit, it’s essential to feed them in moderation due to their high sugar content. Too many blueberries can cause health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
Overfeeding blueberries can also have an impact on your rabbit’s digestive system, leading to diarrhea.
To keep your rabbit’s digestive system balanced, consider incorporating blueberries as an occasional snack rather than a regular part of their diet.
Another concern with feeding blueberries to rabbits is the potential presence of pesticides, especially if the fruit has come from a non-organic source.
To minimize the risk of pesticide exposure, be sure to wash the blueberries thoroughly before feeding them to your rabbit.
When offering blueberries as a treat, make sure to remove any stems, leaves, or seeds that could be harmful to your pet.
Some parts of fruit plants may be toxic to rabbits, so it’s best to stick to the juicy berries themselves.
Lastly, it’s essential to monitor your rabbit’s reaction to any new food, including blueberries.
Some rabbits may be sensitive to certain fruits, and if you notice any adverse reactions such as vomiting or diarrhea, discontinue feeding blueberries and consult your veterinarian.
By being mindful of these risks and feeding blueberries sparingly, you can help ensure your rabbit remains healthy while still enjoying the occasional fruity treat.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Persimmons?
Special Concerns for Baby Rabbits and Old Rabbits
When it comes to feeding blueberries to your rabbits, it’s essential to consider the age of your rabbit.
Baby rabbits and aging rabbits may have different nutritional needs and digestive abilities than adult rabbits.
For baby rabbits, it’s crucial to focus primarily on their diet of mother’s milk and, eventually, alfalfa hay and pellets. Introducing fruits such as blueberries to their diet too soon could lead to digestive issues.
It’s best to wait until they are about 12 weeks old before offering blueberries as an occasional treat.
Remember, moderation is vital, and blueberries should make up only a tiny part of their overall diet.
Aging rabbits also require special attention when it comes to their diet. As rabbits get older, their digestive systems might become more delicate, making it essential to monitor their diet.
Blueberries, being high in sugar, should still only be given as an occasional treat for aging rabbits.
However, if you notice any digestive issues, such as diarrhea, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian and adjust the diet accordingly.
In addition to age, it’s essential to keep in mind the nutrient content of blueberries.
They are high in vitamins and antioxidants but also have sugar. For rabbits of all ages, maintaining a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs is crucial.
Their primary diet should consist of hay, vegetables, and rabbit pellets, with treats like blueberries kept as an occasional addition.
By being mindful of your rabbit’s age and nutritional needs, you can ensure they enjoy the occasional blueberry treat while keeping them healthy and happy.
Also read: What Human Foods Can Rabbits Eat?
You Shouldn’t Give Your Bunnies Bad Blueberries
Just about the only way to go wrong with giving your rabbit blueberries is to give them a blueberry that has gone bad.
Don’t give your bunny a blueberry that has been affected by fruit rot.
The fruit rot fungus, Bortrytis, creates a fuzzy, gray covering on bad blueberries. It grows when blueberries are grown in or are stored in humid conditions at a temperature over 80° F (27° C).
The fungus feeds on the sugars inside the berry, so even before it grows into a gray fuzzy mass, it will make the berry taste bad.
Bortrytis does not create any particularly dangerous toxins, but it can cause allergies.
You don’t want to make your bunny wheeze and sneeze, so don’g give your rabbit any bad berries!
How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Blueberry Patch
Rabbits have relentless appetites. Even if you are giving them plenty of hay, vegetables, and pellets to eat, they may much away if they find your blueberry patch.
The parts of the plant your rabbit will enjoy most are the leaves and stems nearest the ground.
Rabbits do not have any immediate interest in the berries the way birds and squirrels do. But given the chance, they will strip the berries off your bushes, too.
How can you know rabbits, either wild rabbits or your pet rabbits, have found your blueberry bushes? Most of the lower branches and leaves will be missing.
Unless food is very scarce, rabbits won’t stand up on their hind legs to eat higher limbs and strip the blueberries off your plants. They will just eat whatever they see at ground level and move on to the next plant.
You will also find their distinctively round, brown to black droppings in the vicinity of your bushes.
What can you do to stop rabbit damage in your blueberry patch?
Install rabbit cages around your blueberry bushes
Rabbit cages keep rabbits off your blueberry plants. They may still nibble at leaves and stems that grow through the wire cages, but they will not destroy the plants.
You can buy rabbit cages or make them out of chicken wire. The mesh should have half-inch or 13-mm openings to keep rabbits out.
Put out scents that rabbits don’t like
Rabbits flee from the scent of bobcat urine, available from home improvement stores, garden centers, and online.
Even rabbits that have never encountered a bobcat will instinctively avoid the smell.
You may want to avoid the smell, too. But it will not affect your blueberries.
You need to reapply dried bobcat urine every time it rains, or you water your plants.
Rabbits are repelled by the scent of dog hair, available from your groomer or when you comb your dog and cat hair. Empty your vacuum cleaner around your plants.
Blueberries do not need a lot of supplemental nitrogen, but you can use blood meal as your nitrogen source if you want to repel rabbits.
Rabbits also dislike the odors of cayenne and mothballs. Both of these products lose their potency when they get wet. Neither works as well as bobcat urine or dog hair.
Rabbits Are Not Always the Problem
If you have seen rabbits around your blueberry bushes and then noticed damage to your blueberry bushes, they may not be the culprit.
Blueberries are also damaged by birds, squirrels, and groundhogs
Birds and squirrels generally focus on the berries rather than the rest of the plant. Rabbits will be more interested in the leaves and stems than the berries.
Groundhogs are messy eaters. They will dig around the plant and pull branches down to get berries.
Rabbits never break the branches of a blueberry bush. Groundhogs often do.
Be sure you are stopping the right animal when you protect your blueberry bushes.
Also read: Are Succulents Poisonous To Rabbits?
Frequently Asked Questions About Rabbits and Blueberries
Below are some of the common questions people have about rabbits and blueberries
How many blueberries can I feed my rabbit?
It’s OK to give your rabbit two or three blueberries two or three times a week. Too many blueberries can cause digestive upset.
Can I give my rabbit blueberries every day?
A single blueberry a day is OK for your rabbit. But just one if you feed blueberries every day.
Can I give blueberries to baby bunnies?
Wait until rabbits are three or four months old before you give them blueberries. Their digestive tracts don’t deal with fructose very well until they are fully grown, and they will be more mobile for playing games with you when you feed them their blueberries.
Can rabbits eat dried blueberries?
Blueberries dried at low temperatures have more vitamin C and more of the healthy anthocyanin compounds found in fresh blueberries. They contain about twice as much natural fructose sugar than fresh blueberries.
But giving your rabbit one, smaller dried blueberry provides about the same nutritional value as a larger, fresh blueberry. Limit either fresh or dried blueberries to two or three berries two or three times a week.
Will rabbits eat blueberries that are not fully ripe?
Your rabbit will eat an immature blueberry, although it may enjoy a ripe blueberry more. A fully ripe blueberry provides more potassium than a green blueberry, but otherwise, the fruit has more or less than the same nutritional value no matter how ripe it is.
Can rabbits have blueberry jelly, jam, or pies?
Rabbits should not get blueberry desserts of any kind. The sugar is not healthy for them. Neither are butter, shortening, or flour.
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