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Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Provide a well rounded diet without commercial feed, including discussions of the methods and merits of growing fodder.
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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#211  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:40 am


BunnyAuntie wrote:Can any one tell me if it's safe to feed ferns? I have lots of different types, so I was wondering if they are ALL safe, not safe or if i need to pick and choose?


I don't know off-hand if any ferns are safe to feed to rabbits, but they are a huge family of plants and I think you would need to research each species individually by scientific nameto determine safety. Don't rely on the common names you know them by . . . those names are often regional and can result in mistakes that could be fatal to your rabbits.

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#212  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:17 pm


Ok thank you! I just thought I'd see if anyone had already done the research :oops: Once they start growing I'll check each one out! :)

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#213  Unread postby alforddm » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:47 pm


Braken Fern is not good for cattle or sheep. I wouldn't feed it.

https://www.merckvetmanual.com/toxicolo ... -poisoning

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#214  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Wed May 24, 2017 6:53 am


It's taken me a while to identify things since everything was so late this year, but it seems most of my early weeds are NOT safe for rabbits. So I'd like to double check some trees that I think are safe. I know apple and sugar maple are ok, what about American Beech? Are all willows safe? All parts of the willow, even seeds? Are all Elms? I haven't yet been able to narrow it down to the exact species but I think I can if I have to.
alforddm- That's really interesting! That's the only fern I've seen the wild rabbits eating! Maybe that's why I haven't seen any wild rabbits this year! :o

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#215  Unread postby alforddm » Wed May 24, 2017 7:50 am


Sometimes you get plants that are safe for one species and not others (such as Avocado). If you've seen wild rabbits eating it, it could be rabbit safe or maybe they were using it to self medicate. Unless it's really common forage items it is sometimes hard to find information specific to rabbits so in general it's safest to avoid anything that causes problems with other species. I would be very hesitant to feed it.

All willows are safe and I'm pretty sure all Elms are safe. Mulberry and American Sycamore are safe and I believe Sweetgum is safe. I've fed the sweetgum and they really like it. I've never had a problem although it's not something they get everyday. If you have any Persian Silk Trees aka Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) the leaves, bark, and flowers are safe and very high quality forage, but there are reports of a neurotoxin in the seeds themselves so just don't feed the seed pods.

What kind of early weeds do you have? We can probably help you sort through what you can feed.

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#216  Unread postby Rainey » Wed May 24, 2017 11:47 am


Yeah, I'm really curious about what unsafe weeds you're seeing. We're filling our buckets pretty fast now--all those dandelions and now the plantain and clover and wild carrot (Queen Anne's Lace) are coming along to take the place of the docks which we feed early but not later in the season. Pretty much anything you'll find on somebody's unsafe list, but I hope you'll find things you can identify and feed with a little help.
Willows are great. Our rabbits really like them--we have 7 different kinds and some they like more than others. We feed it year round, dried when it's no longer available fresh.

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#217  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Wed May 24, 2017 4:15 pm


I do have grass and dandelion which he loves. As for unsafe ones, I have a lot of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), common golden alexanders (zizia aurea), wood sorel (oxalis montana), small pussytoes (antennaria howellii), mayflower (lysimachia borealis), and partridge-berry(mitchella repens). I also have many different types (6-8?)of ferns, plus some things I have yet to identify. I'm more forest than field.... most of these I could find no info on, safe/unsafe wise so I assume it would be better not to feed them.
RaineyI don't think I have dock... and it will be another month or so before I see anything like Queen Anne's Lace or clover. To give you an idea my Lilacs have only just started to open, there should be more option when it warms up. :)
alforddmI don't have any Mulberry, Sycamore, Sweet Gum or Mimosa. I have Sugar, Red and Striped Maple, Yellow Birch, Beech, Elm, Willow, Black Cherry, Oak and Hemlock. I'm really interested in knowing if the Beech is safe, I have a lot of those. :)

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#218  Unread postby alforddm » Wed May 24, 2017 5:16 pm


I know sugar and red maple are safe. I'm not sure about the stripped. Beech is listed on at least one toxic list for rabbits so it would probably be better to avoid those. Do you have poplar?

Wood sorrel can be fed in moderation.

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#219  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Thu May 25, 2017 6:32 am


No poplar... are there any garden greens I could try growing to add into the mix?

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#220  Unread postby Rainey » Thu May 25, 2017 8:42 am


We feed our rabbits tops of radishes and turnips and carrots. Also feed quite a bit of kale--it has such a long season and the rabbits like it. We also cut from our cover crops in the garden--clovers and oats and buckwheat--for rabbit feed. Hope that helps. How many rabbits are you trying to feed? Any that aren't still growing or nursing young don't need a lot to eat or they'll get fat.

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#221  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Tue May 30, 2017 5:33 am


Sorry Rainey only the one rabbit... the vet my niece took him to (it's her rabbit) wanted us to cut back on his pellets and give him more greens and hay. He doesn't seem crazy about hay, since he's never had it before.

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#222  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue May 30, 2017 7:09 am


I am sure it has been mentioned numerous times--- but, - start out with little bits of greens, or anything new... increasing it little by little until you are feeding the amount you want them to have.
Seed Garlic, http://www.Mountainvalleygarlic.com , https://www.facebook.com/Mountain-Valle ... 254347988/,
hard neck garlic varieties for fall planting.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens, and too many ducks..
https://vimeo.com/176370337?ref

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#223  Unread postby BunnyAuntie » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:43 am


So here I am again, I hope I'm not making a pest of myself :oops: Roo is doing good. I've finally got his food settled, he's eating his hay and he started down a barred owl the other day! But, of course, I do have a question... My largest patch of dandelions now has a pile of logs on it (firewood trumps pet snacks), but before it came I thought I'd try something. I picked a fistful, washed and dried it and put it in the fridge, like I would with lettuce. Now it looks a bit more wilted than lettuce would and I've heard wilted isn't good. So here's my question- It Roo's on board with it will they be safe to feed? Thank you all for your patience :)

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#224  Unread postby alforddm » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:00 am


Wilted is only bad because it indicates the forage isn't fresh. Anything that isn't fresh, has a high moisture content, and is in a warm location can grow mold which can be deadly to rabbits. If your's has been in the fridge and relatively fresh it should be fine. You might even try freezing some of them next time if you have the freezer space. I've had good success with freezing certain herbs for tea and I've fed, I think it was frozen plantain (the herb not the fruit).

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Re: Questions and comments about plant safety for rabbits.

Post Number:#225  Unread postby Rainey » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:39 am


BunnyAuntie wrote:So here I am again, I hope I'm not making a pest of myself :oops: Roo is doing good. I've finally got his food settled, he's eating his hay and he started down a barred owl the other day! But, of course, I do have a question... My largest patch of dandelions now has a pile of logs on it (firewood trumps pet snacks), but before it came I thought I'd try something. I picked a fistful, washed and dried it and put it in the fridge, like I would with lettuce. Now it looks a bit more wilted than lettuce would and I've heard wilted isn't good. So here's my question- It Roo's on board with it will they be safe to feed? Thank you all for your patience :)


I worried about asking too many questions when I joined RT in 2014, but really everyone is very kind and patient here. And eventually I got to the point where I could help out and answer some questions :)
We feed a lot of fresh forage. When it is really wet and we can't gather it dry, we gather what we need for that day and spread it out in racks where it dries a bit before feeding. We also dry feed for winter--lots of willow and some brambles (blackberry, raspberry etc), stinging nettle, and smaller bits of other things. I would suggest this rather than refrigerating or freezing unless it's really humid and it would mold before drying. I just harvested and dried mint and lemon balm for tea (for us, not the rabbits) next winter. And that reminded me that when you were asking before about what you could feed, herbs are good. We end up putting dill, borage, oregano, and parsley into the collecting buckets for daily fresh feeding. Sage and mint can be fed but shouldn't be given to nursing does. Hope that helps a little.

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