Rabbit eyeing up cucumber

Can rabbits eat cucumber?

All the information you need on feeding cucumber safely to your pet bunny, including a nutritional breakdown and how much to feed to rabbits.

Especially in summer, we get through a lot of cucumber. It ends up in salads, additional toppings for sandwiches, and, cut into batons, eaten with plenty of hummus.

But can our bunnies also eat cucumber safely? What about the seeds? Or the skin?

So I spent some time researching, to make sure you had some solid, dependable information. Here’s a summary, before more detailed information.

Can rabbits eat cucumber?

Rabbits can eat cucumber safely, including the seeds and the skin. You can feed cucumber to bunnies in small, treat size portions. Cucumber contains some potassium and vitamin A which rabbits need. Cucumber is a good treat for obese rabbits, as it is low in calories. Cucumber is also a good treat for the summer, as the high water levels make it a refreshing, hydrating snack for bunnies.

Nutritional value of cucumber for rabbits

IngredientNutritional value per 100gComments
Water95.2gCucumbers are mostly water – so can be good on hot summer days for bunnies.
Energy15 kcalThis is low. Cucumber as a treat isn’t going to make your rabbit too fat (unlike some other treats which are high in sugars or carbohydrates)
Fibre0.5 gRabbits need a lot of fibre, and cucumbers don’t provide much (even with the skin) so cucumbers can’t be the main food for a rabbit. Bunnies need plenty of hay as their main diet.
Carbohydrates3.63gCucumbers are pretty low in carbohydrates – so nothing to worry about here.
Iron0.28mgRabbits need at least 3mg of iron per 100g of feed for their daily needs, so cucumber provides a little of the iron they need.
Magnesium13mgRabbits need at least 30mg of magnesium per 100g feed daily, so cucumber provides some of the magnesium bunnies need.
Potassium147mgRabbits need about 600mg of potassium per 100g feed each day. Cucumber can provide some of their potassium requirements.
Vitamin C2.8mgRabbits don’t need vitamin C – their bodies can make it themselves.
Vitamin A105 IURabbits need about 1,000-1,200 IU daily per 100g feed of vitamin A, so cucumber helps a bit towards meeting this need.
Other nutrientsNot present in large enough quantities to be significant for bunny nutrition
Information on cucumbers from USDA

As you can see from the table, cucumbers aren’t going to make a massive difference to your bunny’s nutritional needs, though they will help provide some of the requirements, particularly for potassium and vitamin A, but also a little iron and magnesium.

Can rabbits eat cucumber seeds and skin?

Rabbits can safely eat cucumber seeds – there’s no need to scoop out the inside of the cucumber. And rabbits can also eat cucumber skin, so you don’t have to peel cucumber before giving it to bunnies. The skin will provide fibre, and rabbits need a lot of fibre.

If you have cucumber plants, then the leaves are also safe to feed to your rabbits.

How much cucumber should I give my rabbit?

You should give a mature rabbit a portion size no bigger than 1 tablespoon for every 2lb (1kg) of bodyweight. So a 6lb rabbit could have up to 3 tablespoons.

You don’t want to give more than this, because the bunny will start to fill up with a food which is too low in fibre and protein, and too high in water.

This could lead to problems with the delicate digestive system of rabbits. Having too much liquid could lead to diarrhoea – which in turn can lead to other problems. For example, rabbits produce caecotropes (a special type of poo that they then eat to get more nutrients out of food). If their stools are too runny, they can no longer do this. If your bunny starts getting diarrhoea, consult a vet as soon as possible.

Don’t give cucumber to baby rabbits. As rabbits begin to mature a little, the best advice is to introduce one new food at a time, in small portions, slowly. This way, you can give their digestive systems time to adjust to new foods and make sure that the bunnies aren’t struggling with too rich a diet for their development stage.

How does cucumber fit into the overall rabbit diet?

The main food for rabbits should always be hay – for example, Timothy hay. Hay provides the right balance of protein, fibre and minerals for bunnies, and also keeps their teeth healthy – and dental problems cause big issues for rabbits. Rabbits also need access to lots of fresh drinking water.

Besides these two essentials, rabbits also benefit from having some greens each day – about a handful (think spinach, spring greens, parsley, coriander (cilantro)). Cucumber leaves can be included here. These greens make sure that the rabbit is fed the full range of the vitamins and minerals they need (you can find out more about rabbits’ nutritional needs here).

Rabbits can also have some vegetables, such as carrot and broccoli, up to about a tablespoon per 2lb/1kg body weight. Cucumber counts in this type of food.

Beyond that, rabbits can also have treats, such as smaller portions (a teaspoon per 2lg/1kg bodyweight) of fruits, which are high in natural sugars.

And many owners also give their rabbits about an eggcup-full of rabbit nuggets (also called pellets) each day.

Conclusion

Cucumbers are safe to feed to rabbits as part of a healthy diet based mainly on hay and fresh water. Cucumbers will provide a little of the minerals and vitamins that bunnies need for a healthy life.

If you’re interested in what rabbits can eat, check out our guides on what fruit you can feed rabbits, and what herbs are safe for rabbits.

We also have a thorough post on the vitamins and minerals that rabbits need, and how rabbits digest their food.

Want to keep your bunny entertained? Take a look at the toys that our bunnies loved.

Posted by Jonathan