Can Rabbits Eat Soybeans? (Explained!) - Animals HQ (2024)

Wehave seen a lot of questions recently about soy-related products for rabbits.If you are wondering whether you can feed soybeans (in any form) to yourrabbit, there is some important information that you should keep in mind.

I had a rabbit growing up, and while we ateplenty of Asian food that had soy sauce in it, we never thought about givingsoy to our rabbits! While soybeans do have some interesting nutritionalproperties, there are a few important points that everyone should keep in mind.

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Is ItSafe to Give Soybeans to Rabbits?

There are plenty of rabbit meals that list soy in some form next to their other ingredients. Usually, this is listed as soybean meal or soybean hulls. This doesn’t mean that it is safe to give whole soybeans to rabbits! There are a few points that we want everyone to know.

The Nutritional Facts Surrounding Soybeans

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Itis hard to find human diets that are completely devoid of soy; however, when itcomes to rabbits, it is important to take a look at the health properties.Soybeans are native to eastern Asia, and soy is sold in many forms, includingsoy flour, soy protein, tofu, soybean oil, and soy sauce. Soybeans are a greatsource of antioxidants and phytonutrients that can have beneficial effects oncertain animals, including rabbits; however, it is also important to have allof the information.

Oneserving (about 100 grams) of boiled soybeans contain:

  • 173 calories
  • 63 percent water
  • 16 grams of protein
  • 10 grams of carbs
  • 3 grams of sugar
  • 6 grams of fiber
  • 9 grams of fat, which includes 1.3 grams of saturated fat

Besides,soybeans are a healthy source of many vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin K, which plays a role in blood health
  • Folate, which plays a role in cell production
  • Copper, which plays a role in heart health
  • Thiamine, which plays a role in the nervous system

Clearly,soybeans are packed with numerous nutrients. This is why you might be wonderingif they are healthy for rabbits. There are a few impacts of soybeans on rabbithealth that pet owners should be familiar with.

The Concerns About Soybeans in Rabbits: Estrogen

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Thebiggest concerns surrounding soybeans in rabbits have to do with estrogen.Estrogen, along with testosterone, is two hormones that are incrediblyimportant to bodily processes. Some of the biggest roles surrounding estrogeninclude:

  • Reproduction
  • Gender differentiation
  • Cell signaling
  • Bone health

Manyof the compounds found in soy have properties that mimic estrogen. This meansthat they can bind to certain receptors throughout the body that are typicallyreserved for estrogen. As a result, they might have significant impacts on thehealth and function of certain cells and tissues.

Forthose who breed rabbits, the biggest concerns related to soy are that theycould lead to sterility. Therehave been multiple studies that show that soybeans could lead to sterility in rabbits.For those who own rabbits as pets, there are other concerns to note.

The Problem of Soybean Isoflavones (SBI)

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Anothermajor concern has to do with soybean isoflavones, which are often shortened toSBI. These compounds are pervasive in soybeans and could disrupt the endocrinesystem of rabbits, leading to issues related to:

  • Hormonal balance
  • Metabolism of other nutrients
  • Antioxidant capacity

Onestudywascarried out looking at the impact of soybean isoflavones on close to two-dozenrabbits. The study took place over the course of 12 weeks. One population wasfed a diet that was high in soybean isoflavones, and another group was fed adiet that was kept free from soybean compounds. The results of the study showedthat the diet that was high in soybean compounds resulted in:

  • Plasma testosterone concentrations that dropped by around 20 percent
  • Iodine concentrations that spiked by close to 50 percent
  • Total blood plasma protein concentrations dropped
  • Antioxidant properties in the bloodstream increase

Thisstudy shows that soybeans have the potential to improve antioxidantconcentrations in the blood, which is good because antioxidants are used toscavenge free radicals from the bloodstream. On the other hand, this study alsoshows that soybeans have the potential to induce a hormonal imbalance atcertain levels. Therefore, soybeans should be used in moderation.

Other Considerations Involving Soybeans

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Inthe end, soybeans are fine for rabbits in low concentrations. For decades,soybean meal has been a common component in numerous animal feeds, includingthose that are fed to rabbits. If soy was somehow poisonous for rabbits, itwould have been removed from the feed. This is why many popular rabbit pelletsand food mixes include soybean meal and soybean hulls as common ingredients.

Atthe same time, rabbit owners should try to avoid heaping handfuls of soybeansinto the breakfast of their rabbits every morning. There are a few reasons whythis should be avoided:

  • Studies have shown that soybeans can induce sterility in rabbits by interfering with estrogen and testosterone, which is a problem for rabbit breeders
  • Soybeans can lead to metabolic disruptions in rabbits at high concentrations, which could damage certain organ system throughout the body
  • Soybeans are packed with calories, which can lead to obesity in domesticated rabbits while also leading to joint problems, heart complications, and grooming issues
  • Soybeans are packed with carbs and protein while being relatively low in fiber, which could disrupt the GI tract of rabbits

Theseare a few of the considerations that rabbit owners should keep in mind.

FinalThoughts on Soy in Rabbits

In the end, soybean supplementation might be helpful for rabbits that are trying to gain weight; however, soybeans should only be provided to rabbits in moderation.

At high concentrations, the impacts of soybeans could be severe. Most rabbit owners should stick to the soybean meal and soybean hulls that are included in most rabbit feeds.

This provides rabbits with the nutrients they need to live a long, happy, and healthy life!

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Can Rabbits Eat Soybeans? (Explained!) - Animals HQ (2024)
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