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Maples?

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Maples?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:59 am


I know rabbits can have the leaves and branches of Sugar Maple-acer saccharum but does anyone know if they can have leaves and branches of Striped (or Goosefoot) Maple-acer pensylvanicum and Red Maple-acer rubrum?

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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:23 pm


Sugar maples are safe, and so are silver maples, but I've heard there are cautions about red maples with regard to horses, so I'd be reluctant to feed those without further research.

If you google a plant species by Latin name followed by the words edible for rabbits and then a second time by Latin name followed by toxic to rabbits you may be able to get a better picture of the safety of red and striped maples. If you do, please post your results so others will benefit too. :)

I will say that my rabbits were never very enthusiastic about maple. Poplar, elm and willow species are all very palatable and safe.
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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby akane » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:49 am


Red maple appears to be safe when fresh and green aside from a potential case of mineral deficiency when the diet of the cattle already lacked any source of supplemental minerals. When the leaves die, both wilting and drying, one of the compounds in them is converted. It releases toxins when bacteria start to break it down in the digestive tract. Most animals pass red maple up for other trees anyway.
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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:13 am


Thanks for the responses :) I have googled them and all I've found is Red Maple is toxic to horses, reptiles and amphibians, but not to cats and dogs. I also found a site that mentioned most wild animals ( including rabbits) enjoy Striped Maple buds in the spring. Nothing definate. I do know that the company I buy hay from sells dried Striped Maple logs for rabbits to chew. Roo loves Sugar Maple leaves and branches, he only gets them as a snack. Living in the woods, I don't have a lot of the usual rabbit safe plants growing wild. Most of the stuff I have isn't on any of the lists. I'd like to feed him from just natural sources but it's just not possible. So I give him what I can and supplament with pellets.
I do have some elm, are they all safe? I don't know the latin name of the one I have, around here it's just called 'Piss Elm' :oops:
I have what I think is a willow but I haven't been able to ID it for sure. Oh he also gets an apple branch once in a while to chew....

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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:35 pm


Other maples are safe. It's just the red maple and some wild cherry leaves that as they die convert a safe compound to one that at least herbivore digestive tracts create toxins from. Carnivores have much different digestive tracts that often don't break down leaves at all. They just pass on out of a cat or dog and they have a very short, fast digestive tract to avoid problems with their low fiber diet full of foods that could easily produce excessive bacteria levels if they sit too long. Basically they are designed to avoid those problems that can result in bloat and deadly GI stasis in herbivores due to their longer digestive tracts. It's possible the differences are enough they do not absorb enough toxin from any ingested leaves to do any real harm.

Elm trees have a watery sort of mucus layer under the bark if you cut the tree down. The Asian species smell quite horribly and likely started the common reference of "piss elm" but it also gets applied to native elms like slippery elm. Slipper elm gained it's original common name for the same reason except it doesn't smell when cut. I know US elm is used as leaf fodder and safe wood for even sensitive species to chew or perch on but I don't know about the Asian species that were occasionally planted in place of natives or what their acceptable growing zones are to rule them out. I think they have a different leaf shape but you'd have to go use a tree ID website or post pics to a garden/landscaping forum to truly figure out the elm species. Willows should be pretty easy to ID using the various tree ID sites out there.
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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:37 am


Thank you akane. My problem with ID'ing is that the plants in my yard never seem to look quite like the ones in the pictures online. :?

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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:39 am


BunnyAuntie, I used to spend summers in the woods and found that by cutting down just a few strategic trees we could open up an area with enough sunlight for a small garden. You could do this and then add your bunny poop to the soil and grow such "weeds" as plantain, dandelion, Queen Anne's lace and others from the Safe Plants sticky. Seeds are available from many online sites.
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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby akane » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:39 pm


I don't ever just try to compare pictures. I find it useless. The city just did that when asking people if they have ash trees due to an outbreak of emerald ash borers and a group of pictures was not half as useful as the various websites for that purpose. The tree ID websites are a general leaf shape, whether it's one leaf per stem or several, whether the leaf tips are pointed or rounded, whether the branches or multiple leaf stems grow across from each other or alternate.... You aren't trying to compare an exact picture. You line up general tree characteristics and most are divided by parts of the US or growing zones and many states each have their own website to help narrow it down more. Sometimes it takes a bit of clicking on more than one option if you don't know the terms used but most of the time after looking at the results it's fairly obvious which one applies. When it comes to a few very similar species that have the same leaf shape, branching, bark, etc... then I just post pics to the garden forums and let them figure it out. Although frequently I don't know or remember what the tree looks like in the opposite season so if it comes down to flowers or seeds to ID it exactly I'd have to wait 6 months but it's rare to need that exact of ID to rule out any remaining toxic species from safe ones.
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Re: Maples?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:20 am


MaggieJ I do have a small garden but wasn't able to do much with it this year due to back problems :( I have a small 'lawn' so I have dandelions, which he loves, and some plantain but that always seems to be devoured by tiny black beetles and other bugs. I guess everyone likes it!
akane I have a good ID site- https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/full/ I guess I try to get too specific, finding the exact match not just the general species. I'm new to bunnies and since I'm just sort of fostering him I'm extra careful about what I feed him.
All in all he's a pretty pampered pet, spolied rotten, really. :D

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