Feeding Nutsedge

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Sendhendrix

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I lost my favorite doe to a 105° (ambient!) day back in June. We’ve had another spell of hot weather with heat index exceeding 105° so I’ve been monitoring my remaining rabbit very closely. We take frozen ice jugs out to his cage, provide crushed ice, swap out marble tiles from the freezer, oscillating fan, etc. He seems to be holding up admirably, barely even panting when the heat peaks.

Something I’ve noticed with the rabbits is during the heat of the day they seem to stop drinking water, and their overall water intake drops noticeably, and they eat much less. I know they get a bit from the condensation on the ice jugs, but my concern about dehydration and low appetite led me one morning a couple days ago to try throwing some handfuls of dewy yellow nutsedge in his cage. He attacked it vigorously so I’ve been feeding him that pretty much every morning this week. He seems fine, but of course now I’m worried it might be bad for him.

Any input?
 

Zee-Man

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First off, rabbits are capable of getting most of their water from green forage. So it is hard to track water consumption when feeding green forage. Some days my rabbit drinks little, sometimes she will drink a lot. It doesn't seem to coincide with heat.

I too have seen a drop in water consumption on hot days. Through the summer I feed almost all green forage. Nut Sedge (Cyperus rotundus) is a very small component of the forage. I have a "wetland" section of my yard. It is a low spot that stay pretty moist. I hope to grow cattails there, but so far no luck. Instead it is a thriving lady's thumb (Persicaria maculosa) colony. There are perhaps 20 nutsedge plants in the mix. Dosiedoe enjoys the lady's thumb leaves. She will eat the stems, but will leave the bulk of the them. I don't notice any particular relish for the nut sedge. She has much more relish for crab grass. But then, she gets a nice variety of other greens.

Compare her to my recently lost buck. I believe that Harvey had a chronic kidney problem. He emptied nearly a quart every day. He had the same diet. I think he was a fairly sloppy drinker, so that explains some of the volume. During a 2 day hot spell he keeled over. Those days got to 95 F. Dosiedoe showed no signs of stress but, Harvey finally couldn't go on. I might mention that last summer he spent the hot days very well.

Nut sedge is a one time medicinal herb. There is nothing to say that it harmful to rabbits. It's deobtruent and stomachic properties may even be a benefit in the heat. So, maybe your rabbit simply knows what is good for him?

I read that it considered one of thee most invasive species. It propagates mostly through spread of its tubers. They are edible. I'll have to try harvesting some and see what they are like! They are a decent source of carbs. The tuber is the most valuable part for medicine, but it seems the leaves are decent fodder and may even have a pleasant odor like its cousin sweet sedge. It may be easier to control the invasiveness by slashing rather pulling. Or just give it to your rabbits!
 

Sendhendrix

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Thanks, Zee-man. I’ve only ever fed prairie hay and pellets. The lone buck seems to have developed a preference for sedge, which is exploding in my yard this year, so I’m not in any danger of running out. I just rip up a few handfuls and toss it in his cage. He’s still munching on pellets too, and his stool looks normal. Thank goodness this heat wave is over today.
 

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