Fodder for Rabbits

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The natural diet of a rabbit is mainly composed of various fresh and dried grasses and leaves. They will also eat bark on trees, tender twigs and sprouts, fruits, seeds and other nutritious foods in small amounts.  But as domesticated animals they are  primarily fed pelleted food and hay. Some of the ingredients in these pellets are Tallow,  Molasses, Meat & Bone Meal, Blood meal, Fish meal, Limestone, Soya or Vegetable oil. Doesn’t really make sense does it. We have observed that given the choice our rabbits will eat their greens over the pellets, in fact some brands of pellets they will only eat if there is nothing else and will even look at you as if to say ‘what are you giving me this crap for’. So, we are making changes…

The first step is to learn what they can and can’t eat and to plan to grow enough to feed them over the year.

What not to feed.

If the plant is considered toxic to people or horses it will not be safe for your rabbit, for more information read about Toxic Plants

But there are also some other plants which are considered unsafe, Iceberg lettuce, which  is thought to give rabbits diarrhea, raw beans, apple seeds, peach pits, potatoes or any nightshade family plant (tomatoes, eggplant etc.) or corn. These plants can cause illness and even death. Likewise, never feed anything that you are unsure of. Do not feed moldy or contaminated hay.

So what can they eat…

There is conflicting information on some plants especially those high in oxalic acid, such as Parsley, Mustard greens and Spinach, Lambs quarter, Comfrey and Kale. But that does not mean they cannot be eaten, just in moderation. The same applies to Brassicas and sweet or starchy foods, only very small amounts of fruit and root vegetables should be given to your rabbits. Any changes should be done slowly with good quality hay  available at all times.

TREES, SHRUBS and PERENNIALS

Tree Lucerne

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Black Currants

Mulberry

Willow

Beech

Hazel – leaves

Linden

Hawthorn

Jerusalem Artichoke

Maple

Rose

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Sunflowers

Currant

Sunflower

Grape vine leaves

Raspberry leaves

Bramble leaves

Artichoke leaves

WILD GREENS OR WEEDS

Plantain

Puha

Chicory

Chickweed

Cleavers

Dock – before flowering

Grass species.

LEAFY GREENS
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Carrot tops

Cucumber leaves

Endive

Frisee Lettuce

Kale (all types)

Red or green lettuce

Romaine lettuce

Spring greens

Turnip greens

Dandelion greens

Mint (any variety)

Basil (any variety)

Watercress

Wheatgrass

Chicory

Coriander

Radicchio

Bok Choy

Fennel (the leafy tops as well as the base)

Borage leaves

Dill leaves

Pak choy

Small amounts of these greens…

Parsley

Spinach

Mustard greens

Beet greens, Silverbeet

Radish tops

Sprouts (from 1 to 6 days after sprouting, sprouts have higher levels of alkaloids)

NON-LEAFY VEGETABLES – Small amounts only.

Carrots

Broccoli (leaves and stems)

Edible flowers (roses, nasturtiums, pansies, hibiscus)

Celery

Bell peppers (any color)

Snowpea pods (the flat kind without large peas)

Brussel sprouts

Cabbage (any type)

Broccolini

Pumpkin

Zucchini

FRUITS – very small amounts

Apple (any variety, without stem and seeds)

Cherries (any variety, without the pits)

Pear

Peach

Plum (without the pits)

Kiwi

Papaya

Mango

Berries (any type)

Pineapple (remove skin)

Banana (remove peel; no more than about a 5cm slice a day for a 2.5kg rabbit…they LOVE this!)

Melons (any – can include peel and seeds)

Star Fruit

Apricot

Currants

Nectarine

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