Can rabbits eat radishes?

Rabbits can eat radishes safely, but only in small quantities as a treat. You can feed your bunnies radish tops as well. Find out more.

I have mixed feelings about radishes. I always think I don’t like them much, then they crop up in a salad and I find myself enjoying the crunchy texture and the peppery taste. 

But if you’re like me, you also start eyeing up your plate, and wondering, ‘could I feed these radishes to my bunnies?’. 

I did lots of digging around, and here are the results (including a guest appearance by Peter Rabbit). Hope you find it helpful. 

Can rabbits eat radishes?

Rabbits can eat radishes safely – they are not toxic to bunnies. But you should not feed radishes to your bunny in large amounts, as radishes are high in starch which can cause stomach upsets, gas and bloating to rabbits. 

Radish tops (the leaves) are healthier for rabbits, and you can give radish tops to rabbits as part of their fresh greens every day. A rabbit’s main food should always be hay.

Can rabbits eat radish tops and leaves?

Bunnies can eat radish tops safely. The leaves are good for rabbits so you can feed radish tops to them. 

A healthy daily diet for a medium-sized rabbit includes mainly hay and water, maybe an egg-cup full of rabbit nuggets, and a handful of greens. The radish tops can be included as part of the handful of greens.

How much radish should I give my rabbit?

You should only give a small amount of radish to your rabbit – a couple of small radishes (about 25g or 1oz).

In larger quantities, the starchy composition of radishes can cause problems (see below). 

What are the nutritional benefits of radishes for rabbits?

Radishes
IngredientAmount per 100g of radishes
Calories66kJ; 16 kcal
Fat0.1g
Carbohydrate3.4g
Fibre1.6g
Protein0.68g
Thiamine (B1)0.012mg
Riboflavin (B2)0.039mg
Niacin (B3)0.254mg
Vitamin B50.165mg
Vitamin B625µg
Vitamin C14.8mg
Calcium25mg
Iron0.34mg
Magnesium10mg
Manganese0.069mg
Phosphorus20mg
Potassium233mg
Zinc0.28mg
Water95.3g
Nutrients in radishes

Radishes do contain some helpful nutrients to rabbits. But the main contribution is water (radishes are over 95% water) and carbohydrates. 

Radishes are also relatively high in vitamin C, but rabbits don’t need that vitamin in their diets (their bodies can manufacture vitamin C themselves).

So nothing in radishes is toxic – it’s just not that useful for rabbits’ health.

And in large quantities, the high amount of starch could lead to GI stasis (see below). 

What are the risk factors for rabbits eating radishes?

Eating too much radish can be dangerous for rabbits In two ways. 

The high calories can help lead to fat bunnies – and obesity is not healthy for rabbits. 

More urgently, too much radish could lead to gut problems. 

Rabbits’ digestive systems are quite delicate, and require high amounts of fibre to keep them moving and pooing healthily. 

Lots of starchy food can interfere with this, causing gas (which is painful for rabbits) and in extreme may lead to gut stasis. This is a type of constipation for bunnies, and it is potentially fatal. 

If you suspect your rabbit may be suffering from this, contact a vet immediately. 

So the main risk in rabbits eating radishes is if you feed too much to your bunnies.

Do rabbits eat radishes in gardens? Peter Rabbit did…

Rabbits certainly do eat radishes in the garden, so you if you have a vegetable patch try to protect it. 

Beatrix Potter knew what rabbits were like. 

In her classic tale, she recounts the adventures of a naughty little rabbit.

Here’s what Peter Rabbit got up to…

Peter Rabbit eating radishes
Peter Rabbit overdoing it with radishes

But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate!

First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes;

And then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.

Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, retrieved from Project Gutenberg public domain

Clearly, Peter Rabbit overdid it on the radishes, and suffered for it. Make sure your bunny doesn’t make the same mistake!

What if my bunny doesn’t eat radish?

I always think of our bunnies as being a bit like toddlers. Little children sometimes like new foods, and sometimes (for any or no reason) will turn up their noses, turn their heads to the side, and refuse to open their mouths.

Rabbits have their own food preferences too. Some buns will gobble up radishes and look at you wondering if there might be seconds (don’t give in – only give radishes in small quantities). Other buns will sniff at a radish, then turn away and ignore it.

Our bunnies aren’t fans.

They looked, they sniffed, they turned away.

Fussy little creatures…

So if your bunny doesn’t like radishes, don’t be surprised or worry. Just find them food they do like (so long as you ensure that most of their diet is hay – you can read more about why this is important here.

Conclusion

Rabbits can eat radishes, but only as a small treat from time to time. Radishes are not particularly healthy for rabbits, and too much can cause problems for bunnies. 

You can also safely feed radish tops to rabbits – these leaves are healthier than the radishes themselves, and can make up part of the greens that rabbits get in their diet every day.

Other posts

If you’re thinking about what you can feed safely to bunnies, check out these other posts:

Posted by Jonathan