DRAFT Safe Plant List for Rabbits

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MaggieJ, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Tracy, any chance we could have a sticky for this?


    DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge this list is accurate and the plants listed are safe for domestic rabbits; however, I will in no way be responsible for any negative results from its usage. Each individual needs to familiarize himself with a plant before feeding it to rabbits, and to this end the botanical names as well as common names are given.

    Plants marked * are ones that I believe to be safe but have not fed to my own rabbits as yet, usually because of lack of availability. All the others I have fed to my rabbits on numerous occasions. Some plants have the notation (etc.) following the botanical name; this indicates that there are many similar plants that are also possible good sources. Usually these plants are well-known fruits and herbs that come in many varieties.

    All plants should be fed fresh or thoroughly dried – never in a wilted or frosted state. This list is by no means complete, but I hope it will serve as a draft for discussion and a useful resource for those who prefer to feed their rabbits as naturally as possible.

    I hope you find this list helpful. Please post any additions that you have, and I will undertake to update this list from time to time.




    DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION: Safe Plants for Domestic Rabbits

    alfalfa Medicago sativa Above ground parts

    apple Malus domestica(etc.) Leaves, branches, fruit, exc. seeds

    basil Ocimum basilicum Above ground parts

    blackberry Rubus villosus(etc.) Above ground parts

    borage* Borago officinalis Above ground parts

    cat-tail* Typha latifolia Leaf stalks

    chickweed Stellaria media Above ground parts

    chicory, wild Cichorium intybus Above ground parts

    clover, red Trifolium pratense Above ground parts

    clover, white Trifolium repens Above ground parts

    comfrey, common Symphytum officinale Leaves, best dried

    dandelion Taraxacum officinale Above ground parts

    goldenrod* Solidago canadensis Leaves

    grape Vitus labrusca(etc.) Leaves and vines

    green amaranth Amaranthus hybridus Above ground parts

    lamb’s-quarters Chenopodium album Above ground parts

    lemon balm Melissa officianalis Above ground parts

    maple, silver Acer saccharinum Leaves and branches

    maple, sugar Acer saccharum Leaves and branches

    mint Mentha piperita(etc.) Above ground parts

    nettle, stinging* Urtica dioica Above ground parts

    pear* Pyrus communis(etc.) Leaves, branches, fruit, exc. seeds

    plantain Plantago major Above ground parts

    purslane Portulaca oleracea Above ground parts

    raspberry Rubus strigosus (etc.) Above ground parts

    redroot pigweed Amaranthus retroflexus Above ground parts

    round-leafed mallow Malva rotundifolia Above ground parts

    shepherd’s purse Capsella bursta-pastoris Above ground parts

    sow thistle,(annual) Sonchus asper Above ground parts

    sow thistle (Perennial) Sonchus arvensis Above ground parts

    strawberry Fragaria vesca (etc.) Above ground parts

    sunflower Helianthus annuus Above ground parts

    willow Salix nigra(etc.) Leaves and branches

    yarrow Achillea millefolium Above ground parts
     
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  2. Beaniemom

    Beaniemom Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the list! I need to get a field guide, there are soo many plants growing that I don't know what they are!

    You can add Roses to the list, mine love them as well as squash sprouts!

    Dawn
     

  3. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, Beaniemom, I'll do that. I knew roses were okay, but just missed them. Squash sprouts I hadn't thought of... but why not? I wonder if they can have the more mature vines and leaves too?
     
  4. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    Maggie - Thanks for the list!!! I just bought my small granddaughters each a Netherland Dwarf/Mini Rex mix bunny and was wondering what things were safe for them to eat and what was not. What about plums or ornamental plum twigs and leaves? I have one in my yard and I know that the wilted, yellowed leaves of it are toxic to horses etc.
     
  5. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    hackberry is also good, i feed mine alot of hackberry branches when i think about it, there are some hackberry stumps that grow up the sucker bits out behind the appartment
    the larger bits they strip of bark the rest they eat it whole
     
  6. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Unless your new bunnies are accustomed to greens, you will have to go very, very slowly. Start them on one or two leaves a day and build up from their. The flora in their digestive tracts needs time to adjust.

    I do not recommend any of the drupes (trees bearing fruits with a single stone, such as peach, apricot, plum or cherry.) Stick to apple and pear, which we know to be safe and which are members of the rose family.

    Thanks, KSALguy for the addition to the list. I am not familiar with hackberry, but I am assuming it is Celtis laevigata, a member of the elm family that is mentioned in my copy of Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants. I'd like to be sure we are talking about the same tree/shrub before adding it to the list. Do you feed leaves as well, or just the bare branches?
     
  7. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    Sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas.

    The roots (sweet potato) are safe for rabbits.
    (Beware the sugar content. They seem to put weight on
    young rabbits and are often used by 4H/FFA exhibitors for their
    meat pen projects.)

    I'm not sure about the leaves and shoots of the plant growing
    above ground. If they are safe, it is very easy to put a
    sweet potato in a glass jar of water, place in a sunny window
    and have fresh greens all winter.

    I hope someone has some input regarding the safety of the
    leaves.

    Due to having a very large herd, I don't supplement or feed
    treats. I find the discussion of natural feeds very interesting.

    Linda Welch
     
  8. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, Linda, for suggesting sweet potato. The tubers should be a good winter supplenment and we will have to try to find out about the leaves and vines. One more to look up! :) I hope they are not like regualr potato and tomoto vines, both of which are toxic.

    I quite understand why you don't use natural supplements for your own rabbits... It would be impossible with those numbers. I think it is interesting too - and feasible for people just raising rabbits for their own table.
     
  9. Beaniemom

    Beaniemom Well-Known Member

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    I only thought of the squash sprouts since they were eating the sunflower sprouts (I spilled a bag of black oil sunflower seeds and had sprouts EVERYWHERE!) And since I had mystery squash sprouts coming up, I thought, hey why not? Since Test Bunny ate them and did fine, everyone else is getting some too. Mine varied from new sprout to slightly older young plant.

    Oddly enough, they don't seem to care for carrots!

    Dawn
     
  10. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    i dont know if its a type of Elm or not, we had it back in Kansas and i have found a couple down here in Alabama as well. the leaves are kinda in the Elm fashon only bigger, also they are kinda scratchy. the bark on the trunk and thicker branches has lots of raised bits that look like disks stacked ontop of eachother some quite long and some funny shaped,
    it also puts off hard berrys that dont have much fruit on them mostly seed
     
  11. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), a favorite of my rabbits, leaves, small twigs, and bark. And I do feed it to them dry, fresh, and wilted. They actually seem to prefer the wilted leaves most.

    I have heard goldenrod is not good for them. I have lots of goldenrod and my rabbits don't eat it.

    Beaniemom, try the carrot tops! Rabbits LOVE that!

    Carrot greens and parsley are frequently eaten by my rabbits. They also eat the dandelion roots when I give the young plants to the rabbits. Red maple is also good rabbit food.
     
  12. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    I feed plum tree shoots and trimmings with no problems.
     
  13. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, that's interesting! And it's good to know that they are not the problem I thought they would be.

    Sometimes I wonder if all the warnings are overdone. Yesterday, my son saw a young cottontail eat three-quarters of a large milkweed leaf. Milkweed leaves are supposed to be toxic to most critters except monarch butterfly caterpillars. Go figure! :shrug:

    I think all we can do is try to amend the list according to people's findings, being particularly careful to include the botanical names. What kind of plum trees do you have, SquashNut? And how much and how often do you feed them?

    It should be mentioned that the amount fed compared to body weight and compared to the total ration available at the same time are probably relevent. There are a few plants that are so extemely toxic that even a bite or two might kill -- aconite (wolfbane) comes to mind. Others are toxic only in large doses.

    It gets complicated :stars: and I am sooooo confused! :confused:
     
  14. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    French prune plums. twice a week. large amounts. no problem. ONly had a few of the larger sticks left and those were striped of bark.
     
  15. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, SquashNut. That certainly sounds okay to me. Do you feed leaves, or just the twigs? I'd still suggest being careful to avoid wilted leaves.
     
  16. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Maggie,
    thanks for the list.
    I didn't see blueberry on there. What do you think? Ever tried feeding that to your rabbits (I'm thinking the leaves and not the berries).
     
  17. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Moonwolf, I found several references to wild rabbits eating blueberry leaves and shoots, as well as the berries. Also found mention on one of the house rabbit type sites where blueberry leaves were mentioned alongside raspberry, strawberry and blackberry leaves. So they should be just fine! :)

    The three most common species in North America are lowbush blueberry Vacinnium angustfolium, highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum, and Southern Rabbit-eye Vacinnium ashei.

    I would give them a try for my rabbits, if we had them here. Unfortunately, our soil is not acid enough for them to do well without a lot of amendment.
     
  18. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the feeding of sweet potato vines:

    from a paper by Dr. Lukefahr and Dr. Cheeke.
    Interesting reading.

    Source
     
  19. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, Linda! As you pointed out, the vines are easy to grow indoors and would be a great source of fresh winter greens for the buns. I'm going to add sweet potatoes to the list when I update and I am also going to bookmark that link you posted for further study. :dance:
     
  20. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    Regular potatoes and tomatos belong to the nightshade family, and sweet potato is from a different family. Did you know that when you buy sweet potato vine from the greenhouse for your hanging planters, that it is actually of the same family - Ipomea- and that if you keep the plant long enough you will find a tuber growing in the pot? Talk about dual purpose plants!

    Maggie, something to contemplate. Among the things that you have found that are NOT safe for rabbits - are there any of those things that humans eat? Conversely, if it's safe for humans, is it safe for rabbits?

    I also wonder about the willow. Willow contains salicilates - like asprin. Would this perhaps have the same blood thinning properties as asprin? :shrug:

    When you feed your buns a pail of greens, are there any particular things they leave until last? Anything they pick out first?

    Maggie, need me to bring down some acid soil for you next spring? I live in the land of the tall pine tree and blueberries in the back yard!