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I've been coming here for a while mostly lurking with an occasional question. You people have been so helpful I hope making a suggestion for a thread is not frowned upon.

I have been reading Maggie's thread DRAFT Safe Plant List for Rabbits and it made me think a list of plants that were to be avoided would be very helpful for those experimenting to see what is edible. Save making a mistake that others have made.

So far I've been lucky so I have nothing to start the thread with.

Jim Bunton
 

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Toxic plant lists abound on the web...and they are easy to find by googling toxic plants rabbits, but many times they are contradictory or exclude a perfectly good plant (like apple) because the seeds are toxic. Often they do not give botanical names. So I decided a Safe Plants List was a better way for me to go.

I used to go mushroom picking with my Dad when I was a kid. He taught me to identify field mushrooms, puffballs and morels. He explained the difference between the field mushroom and the deadly amanita. There are about a zillion other mushrooms out there, some good and some not... but as long as we stuck to what we knew to be safe, we would be fine. And we were.

The difference is that I am willing to research and add plant species once I am sure they are okay. Research is so much easier these days than back in the Fifties. Good books abound and of course, we have the internet too.

When I go gathering greens for the rabbits, I take a five gallon pail and a pair of pruning shears. I have no trouble filling it with plants I know are safe. I start with mallow and plantain just outside the back door, sunflowers, chicory, dandelions. Then I move on: sow thistle, pigweed, alfalfa, various grasses, some clippings off the apple tree, the silver maple, or the willow. Then on down to the fence line (usually with my geese following and trying to get their bills into the bucket for dandelions) for raspberry and wild grape vines (just the young shoots because they don't like the older leaves). That is an easy dozen plants all within a two minute walk of the house and by then the bucket is full and the buns are happy to see me coming with it. The plants vary -- sometimes I give them a bit of yarrow, mint or lemon balm or beebalm or maybe some radish tops when I thin them out...but you get the idea.

I keep my eye open for plants that might be okay and then research them. If I decide they are okay, I feed just a little for a number of days and then increase it if the rabbits are fine. I also try to watch what the cottontails eat. It's not proof positive (we saw one eating a milkweed leaf :nono: ) but it is an indicator to check out that plant.

Hope you find this rather long ramble helpful. Remember that whatever kind of list you use, make sure you use botanical names to identify the plants. The common names vary so much from region to region.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
MaggieJ said:
Toxic plant lists abound on the web...and they are easy to find by googling toxic plants rabbits, but many times they are contradictory or exclude a perfectly good plant (like apple) because the seeds are toxic. Often they do not give botanical names. So I decided a Safe Plants List was a better way for me to go.

I used to go mushroom picking with my Dad when I was a kid. He taught me to identify field mushrooms, puffballs and morels. He explained the difference between the field mushroom and the deadly amanita. There are about a zillion other mushrooms out there, some good and some not... but as long as we stuck to what we knew to be safe, we would be fine. And we were.

The difference is that I am willing to research and add plant species once I am sure they are okay. Research is so much easier these days than back in the Fifties. Good books abound and of course, we have the internet too.

When I go gathering greens for the rabbits, I take a five gallon pail and a pair of pruning shears. I have no trouble filling it with plants I know are safe. I start with mallow and plantain just outside the back door, sunflowers, chicory, dandelions. Then I move on: sow thistle, pigweed, alfalfa, various grasses, some clippings off the apple tree, the silver maple, or the willow. Then on down to the fence line (usually with my geese following and trying to get their bills into the bucket for dandelions) for raspberry and wild grape vines (just the young shoots because they don't like the older leaves). That is an easy dozen plants all within a two minute walk of the house and by then the bucket is full and the buns are happy to see me coming with it. The plants vary -- sometimes I give them a bit of yarrow, mint or lemon balm or beebalm or maybe some radish tops when I thin them out...but you get the idea.

I keep my eye open for plants that might be okay and then research them. If I decide they are okay, I feed just a little for a number of days and then increase it if the rabbits are fine. I also try to watch what the cottontails eat. It's not proof positive (we saw one eating a milkweed leaf :nono: ) but it is an indicator to check out that plant.

Hope you find this rather long ramble helpful. Remember that whatever kind of list you use, make sure you use botanical names to identify the plants. The common names vary so much from region to region.
Thank you Maggie. Point well taken. I guess I was looking for a short cut. How many rabbits are you feeding with a five gallon bucket?

Jim
 

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In the long run, knowing twenty or so safe plants IS a short cut. And you don't have the danger of feeding something that no one thought of putting on the toxic list. :nono: No list is likely to be complete but working with a safe list the worst that is likely to happen is that you deprive the buns of something delicious and nutritious.

I am just feeding three rabbits at the moment, but the two does were bred a week ago or so... I expect that they will need more from here on in. I am still feeding some pellets. One doe eats everything I give her including the pellets, but the other doe and the buck only eat the pellets if they run out of greens and hay and are still hungry - maybe on a day when I'm waiting for the rain to let up and am a bit late with their feeding. The buck is very contented with his greens and seems especially relaxed and happy these days.

What I SHOULD be doing is feeding twice a day, perhaps one and a half buckets total. I'm trying to work it into my schedule, but it's not very convenient. Also I am curious to compare the two litters to see if an all natural diet (more or less) gives different results. It's not a large enough sample to draw conclusions but since the two does are mother and daughter, it will be comparing a MacIntosh to a Northern Spy, rather than an apple to an orange. :)

This year is my big learning year for natural feeding, and I am working hard at it. I made a small start last year and expect to really know what I am doing by this time next year. :hobbyhors
 

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rmaster14145 said:
does anyone feed their rabbits leaves?

rm
Yes, all the time - both tree leaves and other plant leaves - but you have to know which ones are safe. I suggest you do some Internet reading and also take a look at the other thread on green feed that I started: Draft Safe Plant List for Rabbits

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=194063

Jim, just so you are aware of some plants to avoid, I suggest never :nono: feeding the following:
- members of the nightshade family such as tomato, potato, eggplant leaves, stems or roots.
- rhubarb leaves or roots
- dock mature leaves, stems and above all, seeds (Very young leaves are good, however.)
- milkweed - any part
- bindweed and related species - any part
- yew - any part

This just skims the surface... but you can see that a lot of these are pretty common in many areas. Except for yew, I can expect to see any of these within the couple of acres I use to gather plants at one time or another.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MaggieJ said:
Yes, all the time - both tree leaves and other plant leaves - but you have to know which ones are safe. I suggest you do some Internet reading and also take a look at the other thread on green feed that I started: Draft Safe Plant List for Rabbits

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=194063

Jim, just so you are aware of some plants to avoid, I suggest never :nono: feeding the following:
- members of the nightshade family such as tomato, potato, eggplant leaves, stems or roots.
- rhubarb leaves or roots
- dock mature leaves, stems and above all, seeds (Very young leaves are good, however.)
- milkweed - any part
- bindweed and related species - any part
- yew - any part

This just skims the surface... but you can see that a lot of these are pretty common in many areas. Except for yew, I can expect to see any of these within the couple of acres I use to gather plants at one time or another.
Thank you for your responses. I haven't been getting time to come here lately I hope you didn't think I wasn't thankfull for all the help I get here. I saw three little ones come out in the open in my colony yesterday. That was a nice day.

Jim
 

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You're very welcome, Jim. I know not everyone "lives" here the way I do. That's great about your young bunnies. How long have you had your colony and how do you like it compared to individual cages?
 
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