Rabbit eating mangetout

Can rabbits eat mangetout?

Rabbits can eat mangetout safely. Give your rabbit a couple of cups as a portion. Bunnies benefit from a variety of green vegetables, hay and fresh water.

We all love to give our bunnies food that they both enjoy and is good for them. And you probably already know that green vegetables can be a healthy part of a rabbit’s diet. But are all vegetables OK?

In particular, what about mangetout? 

Mangetout (sometimes called snow peas) are types of garden peas that are picked for eating whilst still young. The small peas are left in the flat pod, and the whole pod can be eaten (mangetout is the French for ‘eat all’).

Sugar snap peas are similar to mangetout (you eat the whole pod) but have a rounder shape and are crunchier than mangetout (they have a ‘snap’ to them).

Rabbits can eat mangetout safely, and also sugar snap peas. These green vegetables provide both vitamins such as vitamin K, minerals such as iron and manganese, and fibre, which is good for your rabbit’s teeth and gut. Rabbits can have up to about a couple of tablespoons a day as part of a mixed diet that is mainly hay based.

How much mangetout should I give my rabbit?

You should give a mature rabbit (over 1 year old) about 2 cups of vegetables a day. For mangetout, this means about 200g, or 8oz. You should mix up which vegetables you give your bunny, so don’t give your furry friend mangetout every day. They need the variety.

If you have a younger bunny, this may need adjusting.

Very young rabbits (kittens) won’t need any vegetables until they are 12 weeks (3 months) old. Introduce them one at a time. So no mangetout for the youngest.

From 3 months to 6 months old, you should be slowly increasing the amount and variety of vegetables in your bun’s diet. And this then continues over the rest of the year.

If you introduce mangetout into your rabbit’s diet this way, and keep it as part of a varied diet of some vegetables but mainly based on hay, then you can know that you are doing your best to keep your rabbit healthy.

If you want to see further advice about rabbit diet, check out the advice from the House Rabbit Society, or from a vet who specialised in rabbits, Francis Harcourt-Brown.

Why is mangetout good for rabbits?

Mangetout, like most green vegetables, is a good choice as part of your bunny’s diet. 

This is because it contains a variety of fibre, protein, and minerals that rabbits need to be healthy.

ComponentAmount per 100g
Fibre2.6g
Protein3.6g
Vitamin C54mg
Thiamine (B1)0.15mg
Vitamin K25μg
Iron2mg
Magnesium24mg
Manganese0.244mg
Phosphorus54mg
Zinc0.27mg
Mangetout nutritional information (sources: Wikipedia, Sainsbury’s, Tesco)

These different components all help your rabbits to grow and keep their bodies healthy. 

Fibre is critical in a rabbit’s diet (which is why hay should always be the main part of the diet). Fibre helps keep the gut moving – rabbits can suffer badly if food starts piling up inside (gut stasis). If your rabbit ever stops eating and pooing, contact a vet straight away.

Protein enables the rabbit to make its own protein (which is used, for example, to build and repair muscles and skin).

Minerals are needed in small quantities too – hay and vegetables ensure that the bunny gets enough for a healthy body.

Rabbits also need some vitamins – in particular A, D and E (see more here).

However, mangetout are not high in these vitamins, but in vitamin C, B1 and K.

Rabbits don’t need these in their diet because they can produce them themselves – for example, the rabbit intestines make vitamins B and K from microbes.

Some other vegetables are higher in the vitamins that the rabbits need. This is why we need to give a variety of vegetables to our pet bunnies to ensure that they end up with a balanced, healthy diet.

What if my rabbit doesn’t like mangetout?

Should you be worried if your bunny turns up their nose at mangetout? 

No.

Just like you and me, rabbits have their own food preferences. Most bunnies love bananas – one of ours (Peach) isn’t bothered at all, and turns away.

In the same way, not all bunnies will like mangetout.

Neither do all humans – confession time – including me. 

If I won’t eat mangetout I can hardly complain if my rabbit won’t.

Just try other vegetables until you hit on some that your bunny loves.

What about sweet peas?

You should avoid giving your rabbit decorative sweet peas or dried peas.

Decorative sweet peas are poisonous. 

While your bunny is likely to be fine if they nibble a small amount, in large quantities the leaves can produce lathyrism, with effects similar to scurvy, affecting collagen production. (Find out more on the research, done on rats, here).

Conclusion

You can safely give mangetout or sugar snap peas to your rabbit as part of a varied diet. The rabbits can ‘eat-all’ of it.

As you are interested in food for your rabbit, check out our other posts in this area:

Happy reading!

Posted by Jonathan