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List of Safe Trees?

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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#16  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:02 am


I have fed my rabbits birch and maple a few times and they were fine...

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I have fed my rabbits birch and maple a few times and they were fine... I fed the bark of both trees and I don't know the scientific name of either. :)
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#17  Unread postby HareyHounds » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:19 pm


Frecs wrote:The list very likely needs to be modified. From my experience with such lists, if there is any part of a plant/tree that is "toxic" (even if only to some but not all consumers) then it is on the toxic list. OR it can be an issue with similar common names applying to several trees some of which are toxic and others are not. So, as with most such lists, there is room for research and verification. It is one reason I've be dubbed by some on here "Feedipedia Frecs" because my go-to source now is Feedipedia.org...as they provide citations to support their information.

I don't know much about trees so I'll ask a potentially dumb question: do you have the botanical/scientific name for the birch tree you feed to your rabbits? Do you feed leaves, bark, wood, berries/fruit or all of the above?

(Feedipedia does have a listing for "African Birch" but no information regarding it being fed to rabbits. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/701)


I have two types of birch. One is silver birch (Betula pendula) and the other is white birch (Betula pubescens). Both are European natives, not sure if that makes any difference.
I feed leaves, sticks and any seeds that are on the sticks- but the seeds do seem to be an acquired taste. I have one rabbit who won't touch them (but he's not overly fond of birch in general) while I have another who will eat everything and then when she's finished, try to steal more from the rabbit who lives next to her by pulling his unfinished pieces through into her own run.
The only part I haven't tried feeding is the roots but mostly because that's too much work and would probably kill the trees (both are only fairly young trees).
In terms of contraindications.. most sources seem to agree it's a mild diuretic so I suppose not suitable for all rabbits. Having said that.. most trees and many plants also have diuretic properties so I'm not sure really how significant that actually is.
According to Wikipedia, birch sap is also used to make a sweet syrup (like maple) so I suppose that might explain why some buns like it more than others.

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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#18  Unread postby akane » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:50 pm


The mdvaden link has a paragraph on birch saying Betula species is high in salicylates and I'm assuming intends to say that small amounts are fine.
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#19  Unread postby HareyHounds » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:42 pm


akane wrote:The mdvaden link has a paragraph on birch saying Betula species is high in salicylates and I'm assuming intends to say that small amounts are fine.
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1009987-overview


How much of that metabolised from a raw source is questionable though*. From a quick search, besides willow, peppermint, dandelions, rosemary and thyme are also fairly strong sources of salicylates.
I think a good rule of natural feeding would be to feed everything in moderation and seasonal, where possible.

*The few studies I found on salicylates in rabbits involved IV pumps and pure salicylate diluted in saline, straight into the blood. Not exactly a natural route of ingestion as it bypasses many of the body's means of breaking it down. Sort of reminds me of the studies they did using comfrey and rats- young rats, pumped with absurd amounts of the alkaloid in question. It certainly caused hepatic cancer but anything ingested in such ridiculous amounts is likely going to cause serious damage. Another interesting factor was species- in humans and rats, comfrey doesn't seem safe to ingest but it's been widely used as forage for sheep for centuries. I'd be very interested in seeing any studies done with rabbits fed raw salicylate sources (and allowing the does to deliver naturally) and not just piles of bark- all the parts a rabbit would naturally eat if it happened upon some. From my observations: leaves first, followed by twigs, followed by bark, finally seeds.

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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#20  Unread postby Frecs » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:37 am


Don't even get me started on the absurdity of "scientific" research on herbs and such. If the powers that be don't want us using something, they will create the "proof" that it is harmful. Comfrey has been beneficial browse for like...ever...plus a very beneficial medicinal for humans for centuries. (sensoring the remainder of my soapbox speech.)

Regardless of what some list says -- if your rabbits eat it and don't die or otherwise have negative reactions to it then it is a useful portion of a varied diet.
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#21  Unread postby HareyHounds » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:49 pm


Frecs wrote:Don't even get me started on the absurdity of "scientific" research on herbs and such. If the powers that be don't want us using something, they will create the "proof" that it is harmful. Comfrey has been beneficial browse for like...ever...plus a very beneficial medicinal for humans for centuries. (sensoring the remainder of my soapbox speech.)

Regardless of what some list says -- if your rabbits eat it and don't die or otherwise have negative reactions to it then it is a useful portion of a varied diet.


That's more or less how I manage natural diets here. Obviously things are checked as best I can before feeding but I try not to worry too much over side effects of huge amounts (because no one gets huge amounts anyway). To give you an example.. we have a cotoneaster that hangs over into our front yard from the nature strip. Because it's on council land, we've never touched it but a few weeks ago, I came out the front to see the bunnies munching on leaves that had blown into our yard after a small storm. I had a minor freak out over it because all the sources I'd read said that cotoneaster was very toxic to rabbits. Council land or not, I went out and hacked down as much of the tree as I could manage- seeing as my bunnies were going to die (apparently), I felt justified in some unauthorised pruning of council property. And a few days later.. nothing. Bunnies are all fine. In fact, bunnies are on the sniff for more of the cotoneaster* :roll:

*Not that I'd suggest feeding it as a forage, of course.

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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#22  Unread postby akane » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:31 pm


Just because they don't have obvious symptoms doesn't make it safe. My dog had no symptoms her blood had been thinned by something until I took her in for spaying and she nearly bled out. 2 surgeries and a week of IV fluids and vit k to keep her alive from what appeared to be a perfectly fine dog. Cedar shavings and the arguments over pine shavings are another good example. It took awhile for people to realize respiratory ailments and eventually through laboratory testing otherwise unseen liver damage came from the harmful oils in soft woods. People are just now recognizing that garlic and onion can cause hemolytic anemia if fed long term at too high of amount. How many dogs died of poisoning by grapes and raisins before someone figured that out? You can't always connect 2 things together or know what's under the surface before an event happens. You might not know why that random doe died while trying to kindle or only lived 8 years instead of 15 years and blame it on genetics or bad luck when it was actually something you fed without seeing any symptoms ahead of time.
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#23  Unread postby Frecs » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:13 am


Akane does make a good point. To which I would say: what is fed to "feeders" for a few months until butcher can be quite different than what is fed to "breeders" that you intend to keep for years (hopefully). Some things may not be good in the long run but okay for the short term.
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#24  Unread postby HareyHounds » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:03 pm


akane wrote:Just because they don't have obvious symptoms doesn't make it safe. My dog had no symptoms her blood had been thinned by something until I took her in for spaying and she nearly bled out. 2 surgeries and a week of IV fluids and vit k to keep her alive from what appeared to be a perfectly fine dog. Cedar shavings and the arguments over pine shavings are another good example. It took awhile for people to realize respiratory ailments and eventually through laboratory testing otherwise unseen liver damage came from the harmful oils in soft woods. People are just now recognizing that garlic and onion can cause hemolytic anemia if fed long term at too high of amount. How many dogs died of poisoning by grapes and raisins before someone figured that out? You can't always connect 2 things together or know what's under the surface before an event happens. You might not know why that random doe died while trying to kindle or only lived 8 years instead of 15 years and blame it on genetics or bad luck when it was actually something you fed without seeing any symptoms ahead of time.


Perhaps I did not explain myself clearly- if no reliable source (preferably one that lists references) lists something as unsafe (i.e. they consider it safe), I'm going to assume it safe over the advice of a list that contradicts a lot of known safe/unsafe foods. If my rabbits manage to ingest something generally considered to be unsafe, obviously I'd remove the source of it but once it's down the hatch.. well, no getting it back so we might as well try to learn something from it.
Hemolytic anemia caused by sodium thiosulphate occurs fairly consistantly and is proven to be caused by cumulative feeding. Grapes, on the other hand.. do not appear toxic to all dogs, amounts ingested before renal damage becomes apparent (if it occurs at all) vary widely. The causative agent has never been discovered but it seems likely to be something that is toxic only for certain individuals for lack the genes (or having mutated genes) to utilise that food source. Ivermectin is a great example of that- If you tested that drug only on collies, it'd be a wash- almost always fatal in larger amounts and terribly risky. But not every dog is a collie- in fact, collies and collie-derivative dogs (dogs who carry the mutated MDR1 gene) are the only dogs for which ivermectin is high risk. It carries some risks for all breeds but that's to be expected and risks are weighed against potential benefits.
Your examples prove my point nicely for me- some things are just plain old toxic to all and sundry (things like Atropa belladonna) whereas other things vary by species (comfrey) or individual (grapes).

It's tempting to say "well, let's avoid all risk and not feed any fodder that's at all questionable" but that'd be like humans abandoning peanut butter as a food source because some people are allergic to it. And dairy products. And shellfish. And gluten. And all other nuts. And so on and so forth. Not terribly sensible, especially not when we can test for initial tolerance (starting with information to suggest the food source is safe) and then feed as part of balanced daily forage, monitoring for changes* that might suggest problems or intolerances. A sensible, evidence-based approach goes a long way in feeding a natural diet.

*Amount of water consumed per day, colour of urine or any changes there, stools, eyes, muscle tone, hydration and so on.

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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#25  Unread postby squidpop » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:55 am


There's a big Birch tree in my rabbit pen that sheds leaves and branches and they eat them, I know its not scientific but so far no one has died yet.

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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#26  Unread postby Frecs » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:31 am


HareyHounds wrote:Perhaps I did not explain myself clearly- if no reliable source (preferably one that lists references) lists something as unsafe (i.e. they consider it safe), I'm going to assume it safe over the advice of a list that contradicts a lot of known safe/unsafe foods. If my rabbits manage to ingest something generally considered to be unsafe, obviously I'd remove the source of it but once it's down the hatch.. well, no getting it back so we might as well try to learn something from it.
Hemolytic anemia caused by sodium thiosulphate occurs fairly consistantly and is proven to be caused by cumulative feeding. Grapes, on the other hand.. do not appear toxic to all dogs, amounts ingested before renal damage becomes apparent (if it occurs at all) vary widely. The causative agent has never been discovered but it seems likely to be something that is toxic only for certain individuals for lack the genes (or having mutated genes) to utilise that food source. Ivermectin is a great example of that- If you tested that drug only on collies, it'd be a wash- almost always fatal in larger amounts and terribly risky. But not every dog is a collie- in fact, collies and collie-derivative dogs (dogs who carry the mutated MDR1 gene) are the only dogs for which ivermectin is high risk. It carries some risks for all breeds but that's to be expected and risks are weighed against potential benefits.
Your examples prove my point nicely for me- some things are just plain old toxic to all and sundry (things like Atropa belladonna) whereas other things vary by species (comfrey) or individual (grapes).

It's tempting to say "well, let's avoid all risk and not feed any fodder that's at all questionable" but that'd be like humans abandoning peanut butter as a food source because some people are allergic to it. And dairy products. And shellfish. And gluten. And all other nuts. And so on and so forth. Not terribly sensible, especially not when we can test for initial tolerance (starting with information to suggest the food source is safe) and then feed as part of balanced daily forage, monitoring for changes* that might suggest problems or intolerances. A sensible, evidence-based approach goes a long way in feeding a natural diet.

*Amount of water consumed per day, colour of urine or any changes there, stools, eyes, muscle tone, hydration and so on.


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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#27  Unread postby dgpalmquist71 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:27 pm


http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/Food/Branch/Branch_en.htm

^
hmHere's a list. I THINK you can trust it. ??

Probly should make sure to wash any branches or leaves from outside, with hot water, thoroughly; (no soap!) to rid them of most of the bugs and parasites which may have already been on them when you find them. Also, they seem not to like any type of branch with even the slightest amount of moss on it, thusly i ptefer to find recently fallen LIVE branches -like after a windstorm- or dead ones with no moss.
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#28  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:21 pm


Thanks for the list, dgpalmquist! And welcome to the forum. :hi:

It looks like a pretty good list and it answers a recent question from another new member about beech. :goodjob: I'll cross-reference your link with the other thread.

Here's the link so it's clickable:
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_disease ... nch_en.htm
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#29  Unread postby hotzcatz » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:28 pm


I dunno about citrus being on the do not feed list. I've fed a lot of that to the rabbits with no harmful effects that I could see. Same with peach branches as well as the peaches themselves. The bunnies never ate the peach pits. However, this is just circumstantial evidence, it's not conclusive proof.

I'd suspect which bamboo species may matter. There's some where you can eat the bamboo shoots - even raw - and others where they have to be cooked and others where you shouldn't eat them at all.

I'm not sure about those scientific sorts when it comes to feed recommendations. Some of them suggest you can feed a certain thing but then suggest that you limit it to a certain percentage of their diet due to the toxicity of it in larger amounts. What kind of recommendation is that?
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Re: List of Safe Trees?

Post Number:#30  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:27 pm


hotzcatz wrote:I dunno about citrus being on the do not feed list. I've fed a lot of that to the rabbits with no harmful effects that I could see. Same with peach branches as well as the peaches themselves. The bunnies never ate the peach pits. However, this is just circumstantial evidence, it's not conclusive proof.

I'd suspect which bamboo species may matter. There's some where you can eat the bamboo shoots - even raw - and others where they have to be cooked and others where you shouldn't eat them at all.

I'm not sure about those scientific sorts when it comes to feed recommendations. Some of them suggest you can feed a certain thing but then suggest that you limit it to a certain percentage of their diet due to the toxicity of it in larger amounts. What kind of recommendation is that?


I agree with your concerns, Hotcatz, and I admit I did not look at the "do not feed" list because they are pretty much useless. Often only one part of the plant (frequently the seed) is toxic or undesirable.

Example: Queen Anne's Lace (Wild carrot - Daucus carota) is great for bunnies, all but the seeds. And since it is the same species as our garden carrot (which has been selected for certain characteristics over time) that same caution applies to garden carrots, yet they appear on safe lists just about everywhere. :pullhair:

All these lists should include the botanical (Latin) names, but very few do. Botanical names are the only reliable ones to go by for identification.
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