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Do Rabbits Eat Birdseed? (Read This First!)

Pets are one of our best companions in our everyday life. They provide us with joy and help us through a bad day. Many people love to keep multiple pets and they interact with each other. Below, we will know about their diets to help us feed our pets with less effort.

Do rabbits eat birdseed?

Rabbits do eat bird seeds and will eat them if they are lying around. However, bird seeds should not be a part of their regular diet since these seeds are not capable of providing a healthy balanced diet. Occasionally treating them with bird seeds is fine and healthy.

Various species of rabbits are found both indoors and in the wild – each having a different diet pattern. Rabbits are herbivorous animals that eat most of the types of plants and vegetables found in the wild.

Wild rabbits:

Wild rabbits like to eat grass, hay, and lettuce but will also eat birdseed if found nearby.

Since birdseed is packaged and manufactured by humans, wild rabbits do not feed on bird seed unless they run into them. In addition, if you spot wild rabbits and want to feed them – birdseed should not be at the top of the list.

They do like bird seeds, but they are not filled with the proper dietary nutrients needed for a wild rabbit.

Domestic pet rabbits:

As for domestic pet rabbits, they also eat bird seeds similar to wild rabbits but since the domestic ones are in a much more controlled environment with their owner having control of their diet, they can be fed bird seeds in considerable amounts.

But it should never be a replacement for their regular diet.

Cottontail rabbits:

Cottontail rabbits are extremely attracted to seeds, whether it be normal plant seed or birdseed. So if you do not clean up the leftover birdseed after your pet bird’s feeding, you will find cottontail rabbits cleaning up and eating all the birdseed present.

If you feed your pet birds openly, you might consider shifting their feeding location to be above ground level. Cottontails are very fond of bird seeds and might interrupt the feeding of birds and eat up the bird seeds.

Since bird seeds are plant-based, you will notice that most rabbits will have no qualms about eating them, but you should also keep in mind that these seeds were packaged for birds and contain the nutritional value that is only appropriate for birds but not sufficient for rabbits.

Can you feed rabbits birdseed?

Before you consider feeding bird seeds to rabbits, you need to check the ingredients and the content of the bird seeds, which can be easily found on the back of the package. 

Usually, birdseed mixtures contain a combination of ingredients such as sunflowers, corn, millet, raisins, cherries, and peanuts.

Once you have checked that the mixture is completely plant-based or vegetarian, then you can feed them to both domestic pet rabbits as well as wild rabbits. You will notice that muesli rabbit foods are also very similar to these birdseed mixtures. 

Therefore, it is completely safe for them and you can feed rabbits birdseed.

Do rabbits like birdseed?

Bird seeds are plant-based food that is packaged to be fed to pet or wild birds, but since rabbits are also herbivores, they can also consume the same bird food alongside their regular food. But do they like to feed on bird seeds? The answer varies with rabbit species.

Wild rabbits are more used to roaming around and finding food in the wild, therefore bird seeds are not particularly attractive to them, but they do eat them since they consider the bird seeds as food. 

Similar behavior can be observed in domesticated pet rabbits, however, they might have a liking towards bird seeds depending on how their regular diet is.

As for cottontails, they absolutely love bird seeds so much that it might actually threaten and disrupt your birds from eating if the seeds are within the reach of the cottontails.

What are bird seeds made of?

Birds eat both seeds and small insects. Although some bird food may include some dead insects in the mixture, bird seeds are particularly completely plant-based and so can be used to feed other smaller to medium-sized herbivorous animals.

A typical bird seed package contains a muesli-type mixture of different seeds and some dried fruits as well. 

The most popular combination of ingredients in bird seeds is sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, Nyjer, White proso millet, Golden millet, corn, Red millet, peanuts, Sorghum, canary seed, raisins, and cherries.

The birdseed mixtures are general and universal for all sorts of birds whose diet includes seeds. However, not all birds like all seeds and that are the reason why bird seeds contain such a wide variety of seeds. Every bird will find something they like out of this mixture.

Why do rabbits eat birdseed?

Bird seeds are food designed specifically for birds but why do rabbits eat them as well? Questions such as these will typically arise if you have both rabbits and birds as pets in your house. In the list below, you will discover the reasons behind a rabbit’s interest in birdseed.

The bird seeds are a plant-based food:

The most basic and easy to explain answer to why rabbits eat birdseed is simply because they can. Rabbits are herbivorous and bird seeds are plant-based products, which means the rabbits view these birds seeds as food and will eat them if they are hungry.

Breaks the monotone in their diet:

Rabbits are usually given different types of vegetables to eat which become a regular part of their diet. So sometimes, they might be looking for something different to taste and eat which could be bird seeds as well. 

Despite the health benefits or concerns towards bird seeds, rabbits will eat them just like any other food.

Smaller foods are easier to eat:

Chewing requires energy and like any other animals, rabbits also chew their vegetables before they swallow. However, bird seeds are already small, and very little chewing is required. You can tell that by seeing how fast a rabbit finishes any birdseed left nearby.

Will birdseed hurt rabbits or is it good for them?

Before you proceed to make the decision of whether to let your rabbits eat bird seeds or not, it is better to know if these bird seeds are good for them or not. 

It should be common knowledge that bird seeds are for birds specifically and therefore not packed with the nutrients that are essential for rabbits.

But that is not the only reason for not letting rabbits eat birdseed because other than nutritional deficiency, seeds, and nuts including the bird seeds are not the type of food that is easily digestible by rabbits. 

Since the effect is not immediate, rabbits would not see this as a threat and continue eating them anyways.

Birdseed is permissible to be fed to rabbits occasionally but they are detrimental to a rabbit’s health and cause serious issues if the seeds are fed regularly. A rabbit’s diet should be primarily vegetables, leaves, and grass while seeds or nuts are in sparse amounts.

Does birdseed with capsaicin affect rabbits?

Capsaicin is a chemical that is commonly found in fruits such as chili pepper, jalapeño peppers, and cayenne peppers – which makes them spicy. When it comes to feeding rabbits, they can basically eat any sort of peppers there are without any side effects.

However, when it comes to hot peppers such as chili pepper, jalapeño peppers, and cayenne peppers – it becomes difficult for the sensitive digestive system of rabbits to digest and they react badly.

As a result, Rabbits heavily avoid these fruits that contain capsaicin and stay away from any place that contains them. If they happened to eat bird seeds with capsaicin in them, it would hamper their digestive process.

What seeds are bad for rabbits?

The seeds that are bad for rabbits are stated below with reasons:

Apple Seeds:

Apple in small amounts is okay, but its seeds contain a chemical called cyanide which is toxic for rabbits.

Dried Seeds:

Dried seeds such as locust bean seeds, dried peas, or sweet corn can cause blockage in the pylorus and in the small intestine. Salted seeds should be avoided as well.

Peach Seeds:

Similar to apple seeds, peach seeds contain cyanide as well, which is toxic for rabbits.

Plum Seeds:

Plum seeds also contain cyanide, which is toxic for rabbits.

Final thoughts:

Rabbits can be seen eating bird seeds that are lying around. However, bird seeds are not healthy for them and should not be a part of their regular diet as these seeds are not sufficient to provide a properly balanced diet. Giving the seeds as occasional treats to the rabbits is acceptable.