The popularity of Flemish giant rabbits as family pets is on the rise. However, as owners seek to integrate these gentle giants into a family, the question of the right kind of foods to feed them inevitably arises.
Since rabbits, strict herbivores, are obviously different from more common pet animals such as cats and dogs, they will enjoy eating fruits, including watermelons. That said, this should not be taken to mean you can offer unlimited quantities of watermelons.
This in-depth guide offers detailed answers to all the questions you have about Flemish giant rabbits and watermelons in their diet.
Can I Feed My Flemish Rabbit Watermelon?
The simple answer is yes. It is safe to feed your Flemish giant watermelon. The only concern you should pay attention to is the amount, regularity, and what parts of the fruit you should offer to your bunny.
Only Feed Your Flemish Rabbit Watermelon as an Occasional Treat
Even if humans have been breeding and rearing rabbits for hundred or perhaps thousands of years, their (rabbit’s) biology is still largely based on what their wild ancestors evolved to eat. Therefore, anything that does not include or resemble the kind of food wild rabbits eat should only form a minuscule proportion of your domestic rabbit’s diet.
It is obvious that rabbits do not eat watermelons in the wild. As such, you should only proffer watermelon as an occasional treat for your furry friend. The role of watermelon and other fruits should be to ensure your rabbit is subsisting on a balanced diet.
How Much Watermelon Should I Give My Flemish Giant Rabbit?
Before we answer the question of how much watermelon is suitable to give to your rabbit, we need to establish what constitutes a balanced diet for a Flemish giant rabbit. In other words, this is the variety and quantity of food that provides the rabbit with enough energy to carry out its physical and metabolic activities, grow and replace its body parts, and ward off disease and infections.
The Main Components of a Rabbit’s Diet
Wild rabbits feed almost exclusively on a diet of fresh grass and fresh shoots that they can find within their grazing ranges. They complement this diet with the small insects and bugs they eat as they graze. The rabbits will also feed on any wild berries, fruits, flowers, seeds, tree bark, and tubers they find on occasion.
Fresh Hay as the Staple of Your Flemish Giant Rabbit’s Diet
Your pet rabbit should be fed a diet that resembles the components of what their wild cousins feed on every day. As such, you should ensure that your rabbit is provided as much fresh hay as possible to subsist on a daily basis.
You should provide an unlimited amount of fresh hay to your rabbit so she can eat up her fill every day. The recommended daily intake is about the amount of the rabbit’s own body weight.
Anything else given to your pet rabbit besides hay and grass should be given to complement the nutritional value obtained from these staples. That includes fresh vegetables and rabbit pellets.
The Place of Vegetables in Your Flemish Rabbit’s Diet
Vegetables, especially those of the flesh green variety, should be provided for the nutritional value of rabbits in the wild, usually garner from plant material other than grass. For average-sized and small rabbits, the recommended amount of vegetable diet is about a quarter cup daily.
Since Flemish giants are several times larger than an average bunny, you should give yours about a cup of vegetables daily. To ensure you provide a goodly amount with adequate nutritional value, have a different vegetable treat for your rabbit every day of the week. Consult your vet or Flemish rabbit breeder closest to you to identify the right sort of veggies to give your rabbit.
Some good vegetables for your rabbit include leafy greens such as carrot tops, tomato leaves, bok choy, romaine lettuce, and basil. Colored vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, and beets should be given far smaller quantities. This is because they contain more sugars and carbohydrates. Flemish rabbits are susceptible to obesity if they consume a diet that has high volumes of starch and carbohydrates.
The Place of Rabbit Pellet Food in Your Flemish Giant’s Diet
Rabbits should also be fed pellet food to ensure they are getting all the nutritional requirements they need to grow up well and ward off disease.
Flemish giants should be given an unlimited supply of pellets in their first year. After that, it may be necessary to limit the type and amount of pellet food. Consult your vet or local rabbit breeder for more specific guidelines for your particular Flemish rabbit.
Flemish Rabbits and Watermelon Diet
It is alright to feed your Flemish giant watermelon, as we have already explained. All that remains is to offer definitive guidelines on how to do this without causing digestive issues and other health problems for your giant pet.
How Much and How Often Should I Feed Watermelon to My Rabbit?
Rabbits love the juicy, succulent goodness of watermelons and will eat as much of the delicious pinkish-red flesh as is given to them with relish. We have already established that Flemish rabbits can eat watermelon but only as an occasional treat. You have to be strict in ensuring that your Flemish bunny does not exceed the recommended fruit intake.
Watermelons Have More Water Than Flesh
Compared to other fruits, watermelons have flesh that is mainly made of water. So it is right there in the name. This means you can afford to let your bunny eat watermelon in quantities somewhat larger than a rabbit’s recommended daily fruit intake.
The general guideline for feeding fruits to Flemish rabbits is that you should offer about a quarter cup of fruit daily. However, you can increase that to half a cup for watermelon to account for the watery content.
Do Flemish Rabbits Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Most rabbits, Flemish rabbits included, cannot digest fruit seeds. This applies equally to adult rabbits as it does to young rabbits.
Fruit and vegetable seeds should always be taken out of any food material before it is fed to a rabbit. This is because such seeds can cause intestinal obstruction. For example, this is why you must always take out watermelon seeds before feeding your Flemish rabbit the flesh of the fruit.
Do Flemish Rabbits Eat Watermelon Rind?
Rabbits, including Flemish rabbits, eat watermelon rinds. Therefore, feeding watermelon rind to rabbits should not count as part of the daily fruit specification on the rabbit’s food.
The white rind and the outer green skin of the watermelon do not contain sugar levels, which make the watermelon flesh so unhealthy for feeding your rabbit. Instead, they contain adequate amounts of vegetable fiber in addition to essential vitamin and mineral nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and calcium. Indeed, you should feed your Flemish giant a lot more watermelon rind than the actual flesh of the fruit.
As you may already know, the layers making the watermelon skin and rind are very hard. They may prove a bit difficult and ungainly for your furry friend to chew on with ease if provided in large pieces. To make it easier for your Flemish rabbit to eat watermelon rind, chop it into bite-sized pieces beforehand.
The Final Word
It is perfectly safe to feed watermelon to your Flemish rabbit. However, caution is required to ensure the rabbit is not fed too much of the fruit so as to lead to negative health issues. Both the flesh of the watermelon as well as the rind contain essential nutrients needed for the growth and development of the rabbit. Therefore, you should always consult your vet or Flemish rabbit breeder for more specific guidelines on what sort of foods are best suited to your growing Flemish rabbit.