The OFFICIAL "Weeds for Feed" Thread

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MaggieJ, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for posting that link, Mac! The more information we have to work with, the better. :)

    All the same, the decreased palatability is not going to help us put weight on those fryers if they won't eat it. Some are pickier than others.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  2. romysbaskets

    romysbaskets Moderator Staff Member

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    Nettles, the ultimate weed to avoid letting go to seed! The scientific common name being Urtica dioica. It seeds in profuse abundance from stalks hanging in threads. It must be managed carefully to utilize on one's property. It has a tendency to go wild if the seeds blow. Pic below of Nettles with seeds.

    [​IMG]

    I gather this highly misunderstood stinging plant for the vegetable use, tea leaves, to make salve and oil from, compost and livestock feed. I gather the seeds for an energy boost and dried seeds to sell to others reasonably. I dig up the plants and roots as well.

    Ok the Stinging weeds need to be here too! Livestock won't eat them live but dried, most thrive on them! Nettles are rich in vitamins A and C, 40% protein by leaf volume supplying chlorophyll, Calcium, Potassium and more!

    Horses are fed dried nettle to provide shinier coats and to keep them healthier. Cows will actually provide a higher volume and richer milk. Chickens even trouble layers will lay more eggs. This actually improves the nutritional value of the egg itself. Rotted Nettles as a compost are like liquid gold for your garden, containing 7% nitrogen and higher in many essential nutrients than a commercial fertilizer.

    As a survival food it is a great lightweight food to bring with you, steamed it tastes a bit like spinach. You can see the advantage with the high protein content it provides...like a meat and veggie in one form! It can be incorporated in many dishes which are delicious cooked up at home.

    Mature stalks can be harvested for their fiber which can be woven into cloth. The root can be utilized in Europe for Prostate treatment as well as the tea is a medicinal with pain relieving properties. For men, the tea promotes and maintains prostate health, it is a natural blood cleanser. There are some warnings out that it can amplify the affect of prescription medications so caution if taking any, check with your doc.

    As a hair tonic, there are claims it helps restore thinning hair by stimulating the scalp! The nettle tea used as a hair rinse is also supposed to help prevent the grey in your hair..I had better try that! I only have a little but what a nice easy way to have a little fun with it. As applied on the skin around your eyes, very gentle for aging skin and a good wrinkle preventative. Yes DH and I both use it!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011

  3. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Good information about nettles, Romy! Thanks!
     
  4. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    I notice that the list of trees includes honey locust. In my area "Honey Locust" is the tree with so many huge thorn clusters that they will ruin tractor tires. The trees I cut to feed my cattle, and they love them, are BLACK locusts, which have only very modest thorns and on juvenile wood only. Cut at the stump they will send up suckers and come back, but the cattle will eat these suckers off so that the tree dies. The plant is of course very nutritious, a legume, and the animals eat seeds, young stems and leaves.
     
  5. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I skimmed through this thread, Oxankle, but could not find the reference to either kind of locust tree. You've given us some interesting information, however, that should be useful. Can you provide botanical names for the trees you referred to? It is the only way to be certain that we all mean the same plant.
     
  6. rickfrosty

    rickfrosty RF in Western Mtns.of ME Supporter

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    Just quickly I will say that in 3 seasons (as long as I can) I cut fresh grass & every kind of weed (don't know them, but there are many diff. kinds) that grows near rabbit hootches 2ice a day & they munch it all down w/delight ?! This is in the forest of western ME.
     
  7. Shayanna

    Shayanna Well-Known Member

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    Now, you all keep talking about the rasberry, blackberry, and mulberry plants/trees/leaves, but what about the fruits off of them? Is there anything to be said about crabapple?
     
  8. PatriotSurvival

    PatriotSurvival Im on Youtube too!

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    I personally eat & feed My rabbits Canna Lily
     
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  9. tentance

    tentance Irish Hurricane Barbie

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    I'm working on a full list of everything that i can think of to keep the rabbits nutritionally healthy, yet cut feeding costs. My new plan is to buy pure alfalfa pellet (high protein, not too expensive) and add to that the things in this list.
    It can be tough because most of the books on "weeds" are usually for the SE parts of the US, and a lot of those plants don't grow here. like lamb's quarters, alfalfa, dandelions, etc.

    The nutritional makeup up a rabbit's complete diet is a large subject best explored in another post. This is meant to be just a list of safe plants, along with a list of common but unsafe plants. Starred items I have personally fed my rabbits with no ill effects.

    Grassy Types
    Banana leaves*
    Rye*
    Bamboo*
    Yellow Nutsedge*
    Bahia*
    Plantain*
    Sunflower
    Sorghum*
    Pampas Grass
    Fountain Grass
    Kenaf

    Legume Types
    Cowpea leaves*
    Peanut leaves*
    Black Turtle bean leaves*
    Green runner bean leaves*
    Desmodium spp. leaves*

    Herb Types
    Spanish Needle (Bidens alba)*
    Soap Ginger*
    Cardamom Ginger
    Purslane*
    Sweet potato leaves*
    All Rosaceae family, including blackberry*, raspberry, pears*, and roses
    Sycamore*
    Maple*
    Hibiscus*
    Mulberry
    Citrus leaves
    Persimmon leaves*
    Canna leaves*
    Squash spp.*
    Carrot leaves*
    Cilantro*
    Rosemary
    Basil
    Parsley*
    Lemongrass
    Oregano
    Sage
    Prickly Pear (spines removed)
    Pusley, Brazilian* and Floridian*
    Violet Woodsorrel (In small quantities)


    Unsafe but common plants
    Oak trees and acorns
    Crinum
    Century plant
    All Prunus species including Cherry Laurel (fruit may be safe, pits are not)
    Chinaberry Tree
    4 O'Clocks
    Taro, Dasheen, Elephant Ear
    Caladium
    Amaryllis
    Gladiolus
    White Potato Greens
    Oleander
    Tomato plants
    Crape Myrtle
    Lantana
    Privet
    Frangipani
    Rhoeo spathacea Steam (syn. R. discolor Hance)
    Oyster plant
    Moses-in-a-Boat (Purple Heart)
    Rain lily

    Unknown Toxicity Status
    Heliconia
    Ixora
    Hydrangea
    Ferns
    Bromeliads
    Palmetto
    Cabbage Palm
    Crepe Myrtle
    Loquat
    Fig
    Pine needles
    Stargazer or Daylily
    Kiwi
    Muscadine grape
    Orange Honeysuckle
    Yucca spp.
    Mexican Creeper
    Passionflower
    Magnolia
    Allamanda
    Confederate Jasmine
    Wisteria
    Dog Fennel
    Liriope
    Peace Lily
    Periwinkle
    Mexican Petunia
    Air Potato
    Mimosa
    Acacia spp.
    Begonia spp.
    Cypress spp.
    Pecan leaves
    Prickly sida, Sida spinosa


    Rabbits turn weeds into fertilizer, just think of the possibilities...
     
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  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    MIL had wonderfull flower beds and she never had to do anything but water them!

    This was because every day she would gather 1-2 handfulls of rabbit feed from them. That was all the weeding they ever needed.
     
  11. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, Terri, for all your hard work on safe plants of the south. It's been lacking for a long time! Would it be possible to include the botanical (Latin) names of the plants as well. This would really help prevent mistakes in identification. Common names vary from region to region and often the plants are not even in the same family. We had one situation where someone was all set to feed her rabbits teasels because in her area they called them cattails. Fortunately she made a comment about the spines and we got it sorted out.
     
  12. tentance

    tentance Irish Hurricane Barbie

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    Shayanna,

    There has not been a lot of research done on rabbit forage for many years, and some of the best information is coming to us from the "third world". From what i have found, the majority of members of the Rosaceae family are safe, while members of the Prunus family are not.
    When in doubt, don't risk it, right? I would probably try crabapple if it lived here, and for sure my buns love pear leaves.
     
  13. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, in general, members of the Rosaceae family are safe: rose leaves and flowers, apples branches, leaves and fruit, ditto pear. The seeds of apple and perhaps pear are considered toxic, but the amounts needed to cause a problem far exceed what a rabbit would normally be given. Cutting the apple "around the equator" makes it easy to knock out the seeds.

    The fruits of the Prunus family - peaches, plums and other single stoned fruits - are likely safe in small quantities, but the foliage, branches and seeds are best given a miss. The fruit is very sugary and best used at most as an occasional treat in very small quantities.
     
  14. tentance

    tentance Irish Hurricane Barbie

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    yup, see post above.
     
  15. Julia Winter

    Julia Winter Well-Known Member

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    I have a question: we were told by our vet that apple branches were "like candy" and shouldn't be given every day. With three apple trees on our property (four, including the crabapple) we could give apple prunings pretty often, but we haven't.

    It doesn't make sense to me: I can see that you wouldn't want to give actual slices of apple every day, but the bark and leaves? Really?
     
  16. Julia Winter

    Julia Winter Well-Known Member

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    I want to put in a good word for Lambsquarters. They are so yummy I have been known to collect, blanch and freeze the leaves for future consumption! I even tossed a bunch of the larger leaves with olive oil, spread them out on cookie sheets, sprinkled with salt and baked them, making delicious "chips."

    Our rabbit loves it as well.
     
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  17. feedbunns

    feedbunns Well-Known Member

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    Hello every one.
    I have been searching for days online for some information like this. I knew it must be possible to feed meat rabbits a varied and some what free diet.
    THANK YOU!!
    I live in south west Iowa. I raise New Zealand Whites. I am a litttle obsessed with them. I have studied every book that I could get from the library for many years. I checked out Storys guide to raising rabbits so many times that the librarian told me that I should by it. I did not buy it, I think that I have it memorized!
    I also have Buff Orpington chickens and a veggie garden and fruit trees.
    I stay very busy, but I always make time for my bunns.
    Right now I am cutting tall grass by hand and drying it to feed my bunns this winter. The winters here can last for more than half of the year.
    Any more advise that you can give me to help me feed the bunns is much appreciated.
    Thanks again
    Lisa
     
  18. scarlet812

    scarlet812 Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone share info on chicory? I've heard people say they feed it to their rabbits, but I would like more details...do you just give the whole plant? Is it possible to get seeds from existing plants to grow more and if so, how?
     
  19. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All parts of the chicory plant (Cichorium intybus) are edible for rabbits, but in general it is best to leave the root in the ground to regenerate. I feed all the above ground parts, just take the pruning shears and cut it off. You can gather mature seeds to grow your own or you can buy them online.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cichorium

    http://forages.oregonstate.edu/php/fact_sheet_print_forb.php?SpecID=14
     
  20. pamda

    pamda Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh, I have questions...hope I dont sound to dumb. I have been feeding the 2 bunnies we were given on weeds and bamboo from my moms bamboo forest.Also, stuff from my garden and stuff like a few seedless grapes etc. Do I need to provide anything else? like, salt lick, hay, pellets, all the stuff they sell at the store. Also, I have been feeding the chickens oat meal this summer and let the rabbit have some. Is this ok. My son had a fit saying it will kill them (I know, he gets very dramatic)