Bunnies can eat certain types of squash as part of a balanced diet. Squash provides important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, not all squash is safe for bunnies. It’s important to know which varieties of squash bunnies can eat and how to properly prepare them.
Safe squashes for bunnies include:
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Delicata squash
- Kabocha squash
- Carnival squash
- Sweet dumpling squash
Unsafe squashes include:
- Hubbard squash
- Turban squash
- Buttercup squash
- Squash blossoms
Squash should be fed raw and chopped into small pieces. The seeds and skin should be removed. Squash can be fed 1-2 times per week in small amounts.
Nutritional Benefits of Squash for Bunnies
Squash provides some key vitamins, minerals, and nutrients:
- Vitamin A – Important for vision, bone growth, and immune health
- Vitamin C – An antioxidant that promotes a healthy immune system
- Potassium – Helps muscles and nerves function properly
- Fiber – Aids digestion and gut health
The flesh of squash is higher in nutrients than the skin or seeds. Still, the whole vegetable (minus skin and seeds) can be fed to provide enrichment.
Choosing Safe Squashes for Bunnies
Not all squashes are suited for bunnies. Some varieties are safer than others:
Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty flavor. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. The soft orange flesh is the part to feed bunnies.
Acorn squash has even more vitamin C than butternut. It also provides vitamin A, potassium, and folate. The firm, tender flesh is safe for bunnies when peeled and chopped.
This aptly named squash has stringy flesh when cooked. Raw, it has a mild, nutty flavor bunnies enjoy. It’s low in sugars and high in vitamins A and C.
Delicata squash is easy for bunnies to chew when raw. It has a creamy texture and sweet flavor. It’s packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Also known as a Japanese pumpkin, kabocha is similar to butternut squash. It has a drier texture but plenty of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.
This is a general term for many striped squash varieties. Common types like sweet dumpling squash provide healthy nutrients for bunnies.
Sweet Dumpling Squash
As the name suggests, this small squash has a sweet taste. It’s high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
Pumpkins are too high in sugars to be a regular part of a bunny’s diet. They can potentially cause digestive upset.
Hubbard squash has tougher skin that many bunnies can’t chew through. The flesh also tends to be dry.
Turban squash is harder and not as flavorful as other varieties for bunnies. They are lower in nutrients as well.
Buttercup squash has a very hard rind that bunnies can’t bite through. The flesh is drier than preferable for rabbits.
Squash blossoms are too delicate and don’t contain enough nutrients. Certain pesticides may also be present on the blossoms.
For safest results, stick to the recommended squash varieties above. Thoroughly wash the squash, peel it, and remove all seeds first.
Serving Squash Safely to Bunnies
Follow these tips when feeding squash to bunnies:
- Wash the squash before preparing it
- Cut off the outer skin and rind
- Scoop out and discard the seeds
- Chop the flesh into small 1/2 inch pieces
- Feed squash raw – do not cook it
- Start with just a few pieces at a time
- Gradually increase portion to 1-2 tablespoons max per 2 lbs body weight
- Feed a few times a week, not daily
- Watch for signs of digestive upset like soft stool
- Discontinue use if adverse reactions occur
Avoid feeding the seeds, rind, skin, or any bruised or rotten parts of the squash. Introduce new foods slowly.
Health Concerns with Squash for Bunnies
When fed properly, squash is safe for rabbits. However, there are some potential concerns to be aware of:
- Diarrhea – Too much squash can lead to loose stool. Reduce portion or frequency if this occurs.
- Dehydration – The high water content of squash can cause dehydration. Ensure bunny also has access to fresh water.
- Gas and bloating – Squash may cause intestinal gas or discomfort at first. Feed smaller amounts until bunny adjusts.
- Pesticides – Squash may be contaminated with chemicals if not washed properly.
- High phosphorus – The seeds and skin contain too much phosphorus for bunnies.
Monitor your bunny’s reaction after introducing squash. Limit to a treat 2 times a week or less to prevent any issues.
What Parts of Squash Can Bunnies Eat?
Bunnies can eat the flesh of certain raw squashes. Here are some guidelines on which parts are safe or unsafe:
- Flesh – The inside flesh, free of skin and seeds
- Leaves – The large leaves of squash plants, eaten fresh
- Skin/rind – Too tough to chew and low in nutrients
- Seeds and strings – Contain toxins and improper calcium/phosphorus ratios
- Sprouts – Can cause intestinal blockages
- Flowers – Generally low in nutrients
- Stems – Too tough and fibrous
Stick to the soft flesh inside the squash, thoroughly cleaned. Avoid any bruised or discolored parts.
What Types of Squash Are Toxic to Bunnies?
Certain members of the squash family are toxic and should be avoided. Here are the most common unsafe varieties:
- Zucchini – Contains too many oxalic acids
- Yellow squash – Has compounds that can irritate the digestive tract
- Pumpkin – High in sugars which can cause intestinal discomfort
- Ornamental gourds – Inedible and indigestible
- Squash blossoms – May contain pesticides from pollinators
Squashes outside the safe list above should not be fed. Some general signs a squash is unsafe include:
- Very hard rind or skin
- Unpleasant aroma
- Very large seeds or pulpy strings
- Extremely bitter taste
When in doubt, avoid new or questionable squash varieties. Stick to the tried and true safe options.
Healthy Squash Recipes for Bunnies
Here are some healthy squash recipes to try feeding bunnies:
Simple Squash Salad
- 1 cup chopped butternut squash
- 1/2 cup kale, chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp bee pollen (optional)
- Clean and peel butternut squash, removing all seeds
- Chop squash and kale into bite-size pieces
- Mix together all ingredients in a bowl
- Let bunny enjoy the salad
Spaghetti Squash Mix
- 1/2 cup spaghetti squash strands
- 1/4 cup shredded carrots
- 2 romaine lettuce leaves
- 1 tsp dried cranberries
- Clean spaghetti squash and scrape out the strands
- Mix together all ingredients
- Serve immediately or refrigerate
- Discard any uneaten portions after 24 hours
Acorn Squash Treat
- 1/2 cup chopped acorn squash
- 3 dandelion leaves
- 1 tsp ground flax seed
- 2 dried apple pieces, chopped
- Clean and peel acorn squash, removing seeds
- Chop squash into small pieces
- Chop dandelion greens and apple pieces
- Mix all ingredients together
- Serve to bunny
Try experimenting with other veggie mixes using the safe squashes. Tailor recipes to your bunny’s preferences.
FAQs about Feeding Squash to Bunnies
How much squash should I feed my bunny?
Start with 1-2 tablespoons of chopped squash per 2 lbs body weight. Gradually increase to 1/4 cup at a time, 1-2 times per week max.
Should squash be cooked or raw?
Squash should always be fed raw. Cooking breaks down nutrients and makes it harder to digest.
Can baby bunnies eat squash?
Yes, young bunnies can start eating small amounts of squash around 12 weeks old. Introduce new foods slowly.
Do wild bunnies eat squash?
Wild rabbits will enjoy nibbling on most raw vegetables they find, including squash. Domestic rabbits benefit from selective feeding of safe varieties.
Why does my bunny get diarrhea after eating squash?
Too much squash can cause loose stools. Stick to recommended portion sizes and reduce frequency if diarrhea occurs.
The Bottom Line on Feeding Squash to Bunnies
Squash can be a nutritious treat for bunnies when fed properly. Select varieties like butternut, acorn, and delicata squash. Always wash thoroughly, peel, and remove seeds first. Introduce small amounts 2 times a week or less. Monitor your bunny’s digestion and discontinue use if any adverse reaction occurs. Stick to a balanced diet and enjoy sharing some healthy squash with your fuzzy friend!