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Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) known by other names including sparrow grass or garden asparagus refers to a flowering spring vegetable. This perennial plant is used in culinary (its young shoots are eaten before they turn woody once the bud begins opening) as wells medicinally as a diuretic and laxative.
Asparagus is made up about 93% water. It has other nutrients including carbohydrates, vitamins including B complex, A (beta-carotene and lutein zeaxanthin), C, E, K as well as minerals including calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, among others.
Can I give my rabbits asparagus stalks or plants?
Yes. Rabbits can eat asparagus in moderation. This stem vegetable is very nutritious considering the various nutrients it has.
However, some sources  consider it plus others such as cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes and so on as vegetables to avoid, they are safe.
Being stem vegetables, you only need to give them to your pets as a treat. About one inch of the asparagus stalk is enough for a single day and do this occasionally. Avoid giving them to kits or bunnies that have not been weaned.
Also, when feeding them this plant for the first time, you need to begin with a much smaller amount and see if it will cause any stomach upset after 24 hours. If it does not, you can continue increasing the amount given gradually for about seven days.
However, if it causes stomach upsets including gas, diarrhea or bloating, stop giving your bunny more asparagus. Give your pet at least a week to recover. During the recovery time, give him or her usual foods before trying it again.
Finally, when giving this stem vegetable to your bunny, you can mix it with other 4-5 different types of leafy greens (a chopped cup per 2lb bodyweight daily) but avoiding or including at most one type with high oxalic acid amounts such as spinach, parsley, beet greens, Swiss Chard, among others.
Effect of excessive asparagus stalks
Being a laxative and containing a lot of water, excess amounts may cause stomach upsets, gas, bloating among other problems. Also, being low in fiber this plant can potentially cause GI stasis.
Therefore, ensure you give your bunnies the right diet which must contain at least 80% good quality grassy hay, about 10-15 fresh foods (leafy greens, fruits, and non-leafy vegetables) and the rest will be high fiber pellets.
Hay brands like Oxbow Timothy Hay, Kaytee Timothy Hay, and pellets such as Oxbow Animal Health Bunny Basics Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food or Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets will work well.
For the 10-15% of the fresh food, leafy greens should account for the bulk while non-leafy vegetables and fruits only given as treats in small amounts.
Can rabbits eat raw asparagus or cooked one?
These pets should be given fresh raw leafy greens, fruits, and non-leafy greens. Avoid cooking any food for your furry critter as it may alter its natural nutrients density, texture, and enzymes.
Also, cooking such foods makes them softer while bunnies require stiff leafy greens to help wear down their teeth thereby avoiding the overgrown teeth problem.
Finally, while in the wild, they depend on raw foods only. This should confirm to you that you should not cook any bunny food.
Do rabbits eat asparagus plants?
Yes. They do. Sometimes, you might find a few nipped close to the ground. They feed on spears when the harvesting season nears. To control the damage, consider fencing, using repellents, modifying the habitats, trapping, among other ways.
Asparagus stalks are safe for rabbits if given in small quantities. Some may like them while it is possible for others to ignore this vegetable.