No, you shouldn’t let your pet rabbit eat birdseed. Though a little nibble wouldn’t harm your rabbit, bird seed doesn’t contain the necessary nutrients your rabbit requires and can potentially cause digestional issues.
A lot of seeds are choking hazards and can cause blockages for your rabbit. Always double-check if a seed is safe before giving it to your rabbit, as consequences can be catastrophic if they eat the wrong seed.
What is in Birdseed?
Birdseed is usually a mixture of small grains, and certain types also include dried fruits, nuts, and other ingredients. Though rabbits and birds are both herbivores, their diets are drastically different.
There are three main types of grain you’ll find in birdseed:
- Cereals (e.g. crushed maize, barley, and rice).
- Oilseeds (e.g. black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and white sunflower seeds).
- Other seeds (e.g. pine seeds, anise seeds, and mung beans).
These seeds are often eaten by rabbits in the wild when there are few alternatives, but tame rabbits shouldn’t eat birdseed. Instead, they should be given a balanced diet, particularly high in fiber-rich hay and green leafy vegetables.
Risks of Rabbits Eating Birdseed
Birdseed is usually full of oil and has high-fat contents. If your rabbit is regularly eating birdseed they might have a problem, and they certainly will if they’re not eating a balanced diet the rest of the time.
Eating birdseed can cause your rabbit to:
- Struggle with digestion: Not getting enough fiber will throw off your rabbit’s digestion. Their gut movement would slow down and their teeth wouldn’t wear down as they should be, causing discomfort.
- Become malnourished: Eating birdseed instead of their regular diet can cause your rabbit to miss out on getting essential nutrients. If this continues long term, they can develop vitamin deficiencies and poor health.
- Gain weight: Eating fatty food can cause your rabbit to pile on weight. If they become obese, they’ll struggle with moving around, grooming, and their heart will struggle more.
- Get sick: An upset stomach is a likely side effect from eating too much birdseed. If this symptom persists, your rabbit would probably require vet treatment.
What if My Rabbit Eats Birdseed?
If your rabbit comes across some birdseed, don’t panic. There’s a chance that they’ll be okay and not suffer from any health issues. However, as with anything, there’s a chance that eating too much could cause a reaction.
If your rabbit eats birdseed:
- Remove any remaining birdseed.
- Make sure your rabbit has plenty of hay and water.
- Monitor them closely – looking out for if they’re pooping as normal if they have an appetite, and if they’re behaving normally.
- If your rabbit is unwell, take them to a vet. If they have minor symptoms that last over 12 hours, you should also take them to a vet.
Don’t forget, wild rabbits will often eat birdseed and it isn’t poisonous so they might be okay. The key is watching them and acting swiftly if you notice a problem.
Do Birds Eat Rabbit Food?
As foragers, birds might eat rabbit food if they come across it. Though it isn’t specifically designed for birds, they won’t be poisoned by it. If you have both pet rabbits and birds, try to buy appropriate food and feed them separately to avoid any potential problems.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Birdseed?
No, baby rabbits shouldn’t eat birdseed. Until they’re a few months old, their sensitive stomachs are unable to digest any new foods. Once they can try new food, birdseed shouldn’t be in the equation regardless since it can do more harm than good for rabbits.
What Other Seeds Can Rabbits Eat?
There are a few seeds that are rabbit-friendly and make a tasty treat for your furry friend. Some examples of these are black oil sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and safflower seeds to name a few. These are rare expectations of seeds that can be digested by your rabbit and offer health benefits.
What Seeds Should Rabbits Avoid?
Certain seeds would harm your rabbit’s health, and there are plenty of fruits that must have the seeds removed before they can safely be given to your rabbit. Examples of these include corn, peanuts, and apple seeds. There’s plenty more, so always research specific seeds before giving them to your rabbit.
What Should Rabbits Eat?
A domesticated rabbit should be fed a diet tailored to their dietary needs. The most important part is that they get enough hay. Your rabbit needs unlimited access to hay to aid their digestion and help their teeth. The next part is fresh vegetables, a mixture of several different greens every day for vitamins and minerals. They also need pellets, water, and treats twice a week.