The New Safe Plants for Rabbits List

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MaggieJ

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SAFE PLANTS FOR RABBITS
Updated October 25, 2021

Disclaimer: This list is provided for informational purposes and is a guideline only. To the best of my knowledge, all the plants listed here are safe for rabbits when fed in moderation as directed; however, neither I nor RabbitTalk will be responsible in any way for any ill effects that may occur from using these plants.

Plants that I have NOT routinely fed to my own rabbits are marked with an asterisk. This indicates only that I did not have access to them and therefore have no first-hand experience with them.

Please always use botanical names for identification purposes; common names vary from place to place and are not a reliable tool for identifying plants.

This list is a work in progress will be updated from time to time as needed. Please post suggestions for additions and questions about the safety of other plants in separate threads in this forum.

~ MaggieJ


_____________________________________________________________________________

Common Name Botanical Name Parts of Plants to Feed Comments

alfalfa
Medicago sativa Above ground parts

apple Malus domestica Leaves, branches, fruit Seeds considered toxic.

basil
Ocimum basilicum Above ground parts

blackberry Rubus spp. Above ground parts Useful against diarrhea

borage
Borago officinalis Above ground parts

carrot Daucus carota sativus All parts, except seeds Seeds contraceptive

cat-tail
Typha latifolia All parts

chickweed Stellaria media Above ground parts

chicory, wild Cichorium intybus All parts

cilantro* Coriandrum sativum Leaves, stems

clover, red Trifolium pratense Above ground parts

clover, white Trifolium repens Above ground parts

comfrey* Symphytum officinale Leaves Best dried.

dandelion
Taraxacum officinale All parts

grape Vitus spp. Leaves, vines

hackberry* Celtis occidentalis Leaves, twigs

jewelweed Impatiens capensis Leaves, stems

kudzu* Pueraria lobata Above ground parts

lambs-quarters
Chenopodium album Above ground parts

lemon balm Melissa officinalis Above ground parts

mallow Malva spp. All parts

maple, silver Acer saccharinum Leaves and branches

maple, sugar Acer saccharum Leaves and branches

mesquite* Prosopis juliflora Leaves and twigs

mint Mentha spp. Above ground parts Not to pregnant/nursing does.

mulberry, white*
Morus alba Leaves, twigs, branches

nettle, stinging Urtica dioica Above ground parts. Caution: Must be dried first.

parsley
Petroselinum crispum Above ground parts.

pear Pyrus communis Leaves, branches, fruit. Seeds may be toxic.

pigweed
Amaranthus albus Leaves, stems.

plantain Plantago spp. Above ground parts. Useful against diarrhea

poplar
Populus spp. Leaves, twigs, branches Inner bark relieves pain

pumpkin, squash
Curcurbita spp. Above ground parts Seeds are a wormer

purslane
Portulaca oleracea Above ground parts

Queen Anne’s Lace Daucus carota All parts, except seeds. Seeds contraceptive

radish
Raphanus sativus All parts.

raspberry Rubus idaeus Above ground parts. Useful against diarrhea

red osier dogwood*
Cornus sericea Above ground parts.

redroot pigweed Amaranthus retroflexus Above ground parts

rose Rosa spp. Above ground parts

sage, garden Salvia officinalis Above ground parts Not to pregnant/nursing does

sow thistle, annual
Sonchus oleraceus Above ground parts

sow thistle, perennial Sonchus arvensis Above ground parts

sow thistle, spiny Sonchus asper Above ground parts

strawberry Fragaria spp. Above ground parts

sunflower Helianthus annuus Above ground parts

sweet potato Ipomoea batatas Tubers, vines and leaves Rich, potentially fattening

sycamore, American
Platanus occidentalis Leaves, twigs, bark

willow Salix spp. Leaves and branches. Inner bark relieves pain

yarrow
Achillea millefolium Leaves, stems. Not to pregnant/nursing does


 
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KelleyBee

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Thank you for this list. I’ve been following the lists from Rise and Shine rabbitry, which includes much, if not all, of yours and then some. Both your list and his raise a couple of questions for me. I thought I would ask and see if you,or someone, might be able to clarify.

Regarding willow, does this include the entire species of willow? For instance, I have dappled willow (Salix integra hakuro nishiki) in my garden. I fear feeding it without better understanding or someone’s well established experience. Here is a Dave’s Garden link to the dappled The Dappled Willow, a Small Landscape Tree or Hedge - Dave's Garden

I also have your typical willow tree which I feed without worry.

Lastly, regarding willow, there are shrub like willows known to be completely safe and I have them on order for this coming spring.

Now on to poplar. I’m inundated with tulip poplar, liriodendron tulipifera, I don’t think is a poplar at all.

I read mixed information on the safety of red clover. I wonder why. I have chosen not to feed it until I have garnered a better understanding.

I have white mulberry in my yard and have successfully fed the leaves and young branches. Additionally, I have comfrey (of the bocking variety) and feed. My rabbits seem to prefer it fresh. Some like it, others ignore it. I use it with caution because comfrey leaves will host white mildew in crowded or damp conditions. I don’t know if white mildew is problematic for rabbits, but I have chosen to err on the side of caution until more information is obtained.
 

CanineWild

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Lovely, thank you!

It never occurred to me to feed cattail, despite what a good and useful plant it is. Anyone know anything about it's usefulness in rabbits? I'll have to do some research.

I'm always curious about raspberry- I hear all the time that the prickles are ok, but the kind we have wild here is so, so very prickly! Is this really not an issue for them? Super curious!
 

MaggieJ

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Lovely, thank you!

It never occurred to me to feed cattail, despite what a good and useful plant it is. Anyone know anything about it's usefulness in rabbits? I'll have to do some research.

I'm always curious about raspberry- I hear all the time that the prickles are ok, but the kind we have wild here is so, so very prickly! Is this really not an issue for them? Super curious!
I don't think it is an issue -- rabbits handle the thorns on blackberry bushes, rose bushes and thistles just fine. I used to take a 5 gallon bucket and pruning shears when I gathered greens. If the canes were very prickly, I sometimes just took the leaf clusters. If I wanted to include blackberry canes, I ran the shears along the stem to remove the bulk of the thorns. But no one seems to think it matters and I did it as much for my comfort handling those greens as for the rabbits.
 
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KelleyBee

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Lovely, thank you!

It never occurred to me to feed cattail, despite what a good and useful plant it is. Anyone know anything about it's usefulness in rabbits? I'll have to do some research.

I'm always curious about raspberry- I hear all the time that the prickles are ok, but the kind we have wild here is so, so very prickly! Is this really not an issue for them? Super curious!
Mine eat the thorned stem of the wild raspberries. I don't understand how, either. My rabbits also eat thorned rose canes. I'm not sure how they handle the thorns of either, but they do.
 
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Zee-Man

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Red clover may get a bad rap because it is a natural source of coumadin. I don't think that is would have an ill effect unless you fed the rabbits a diet mainly of red clover. That isn't inconceivable, but for me it not likely. I am trying to capture some seeds to propagate it along the fence line.

What feedback about pumpkin? Dosiedoe ate the few seeds I gave her. She ignored the leaf I put in the hutch. I haven't tried the flesh of the fruit yet.

Red and black mulberry are fine also. I feed leaves and thin branches, up to no 2 pencil size.

Jerusalem artichoke / Sunchoke - leaves and stems (up to finger size) are consumed with gusto. I have refrained from even trying the root since it produces a lot of gas. in humans.

Has anyone an idea about flax? I'm thinking mainly the plant parts, not just seed.
 

Preitler

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Jerusalem artichoke tubers are perfectly fine for rabbits, they, as herbivores, have no gas issues. Like everything, introduce gradually and feed in moderation - quite some calories there.
I feed (or just don't put a fence around it) excess greens throughout summer, and in winter I dig up, eat and feed the tubers.

Mine have mixed opinions on pumpkin, it get's eaten last of their vegetable winter mix they get (apple, carrot, pumpkin, jerusalem artichocke, cabbage), and some refuse it alltogether. Is perfectly fine to feed though. They don't touch the plants once they have more than 5 leafs, I let them weed out my pumpkin plot in summer, just have to protect the fruit from test nibbles.

Dead nettle is good too, and stingy nettle just need to wilt, which goes a lot faster when it is put in a fabric bag or such and kneaded (which also destroys a lot of the stingy needles)

Willow: Any Salix is ok, there are obviously differences in taste though, some are liked better than others. I feed branches up to 2", chipping the bark with a knive somewhat so they have a starting point.

Goldenrod (solidago) is good food too, since Canadian Goldenrod is invasive here that's a good use for it.
 

KelleyBee

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Jerusalem artichoke tubers are perfectly fine for rabbits, they, as herbivores, have no gas issues. Like everything, introduce gradually and feed in moderation - quite some calories there.
I feed (or just don't put a fence around it) excess greens throughout summer, and in winter I dig up, eat and feed the tubers.

Mine have mixed opinions on pumpkin, it get's eaten last of their vegetable winter mix they get (apple, carrot, pumpkin, jerusalem artichocke, cabbage), and some refuse it alltogether. Is perfectly fine to feed though. They don't touch the plants once they have more than 5 leafs, I let them weed out my pumpkin plot in summer, just have to protect the fruit from test nibbles.

Dead nettle is good too, and stingy nettle just need to wilt, which goes a lot faster when it is put in a fabric bag or such and kneaded (which also destroys a lot of the stingy needles)

Willow: Any Salix is ok, there are obviously differences in taste though, some are liked better than others. I feed branches up to 2", chipping the bark with a knive somewhat so they have a starting point.

Goldenrod (solidago) is good food too, since Canadian Goldenrod is invasive here that's a good use for it.
Good to know any salex is safe. Thank you.
 

MnCanary

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Red clover may get a bad rap because it is a natural source of coumadin. I don't think that is would have an ill effect unless you fed the rabbits a diet mainly of red clover. That isn't inconceivable, but for me it not likely. I am trying to capture some seeds to propagate it along the fence line.

What feedback about pumpkin? Dosiedoe ate the few seeds I gave her. She ignored the leaf I put in the hutch. I haven't tried the flesh of the fruit yet.

Red and black mulberry are fine also. I feed leaves and thin branches, up to no 2 pencil size.

Jerusalem artichoke / Sunchoke - leaves and stems (up to finger size) are consumed with gusto. I have refrained from even trying the root since it produces a lot of gas. in humans.

Has anyone an idea about flax? I'm thinking mainly the plant parts, not just seed.
If this is any help: My guinea pigs eat flax plants routinely in the summer and fall. I get flax growing where I clean bird seed.
 

MnCanary

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Thanks for posting this list! and for using the proper Latin names. On some gardening and native plant forums, many people resist using the proper plant name. For instance, there must be 15 native species of plants around here with sunflower-like flowers. 'Yellow daisy' just isn't enough information when describing a plant.

Or this---I worked in a garden center the last six years of my career. People would bring in a little baggie of dried leaves and ask for an identification.
I'd say "can you describe the leaf?"
And they'd say "they're green"
I knew it would be a long conversation.
 

northernnevadahollandlops

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Red clover contains isoflavones which are phytoestrogens and can cause problems with human females in high amounts, not sure if that would affect a rabbit though. As for pumpkin, my rabbits do not like the flesh, but will eat the seeds dried.
 

ladysown

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Things I would add

Prickly lettuce... Lactuca serriola .... it is my go to with any rabbit that is having gut issues. Much like sow thistle is. Thistles are marvellous plants to feed rabbits.

Various goldenrods... particularly JUST the leaves, unless the plants are young (then the whole top of the plant). Once they have flowered I've been advised it's best not to give them the flowering or dried heads.

Chives are good to feed as well. Not in huge quantities, but the bunnies seem to like them and I add them to a homemade (my brain is tired ... mush you make when bunnies aren't eating well and need to be encouraged to eat). Whatever that is called. Critical care I THINK????

It's good to note with clovers that you have to watch them closely for mold issues. White clover is much preferred by my rabbits than the red and I don't find it molds easily either.
 

ladysown

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in the spring i should take pictures of plants I feed but haven't the foggiest of what they are called. :) OH, and do we have maple leaves (from GREEN leafed maple trees) on the list? I'm tired and didn't look. I've also had rabbits HAPPILY chow down on cedar tree leaves? (don't know what else to call them).
 

Zee-Man

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...OH, and do we have maple leaves (from GREEN leafed maple trees) on the list? I'm tired and didn't look. ...
Maple leaves of all colors. Even dried. As soon the they fell I raked a bunch of them, yellow, brown, in between, and set them in a sheltered place. Dosidoe munches on them even if they are3 not a preferred food. Of course if you have a maple tree you have maple seedlings. The seedling are a much desired food until summer time. Still freshly sprouted but something about summer and the rabbits turn off them.
 

HTAcres

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Things I would add

Prickly lettuce... Lactuca serriola .... it is my go to with any rabbit that is having gut issues. Much like sow thistle is. Thistles are marvellous plants to feed rabbits.

Various goldenrods... particularly JUST the leaves, unless the plants are young (then the whole top of the plant). Once they have flowered I've been advised it's best not to give them the flowering or dried heads.

Chives are good to feed as well. Not in huge quantities, but the bunnies seem to like them and I add them to a homemade (my brain is tired ... mush you make when bunnies aren't eating well and need to be encouraged to eat). Whatever that is called. Critical care I THINK????

It's good to note with clovers that you have to watch them closely for mold issues. White clover is much preferred by my rabbits than the red and I don't find it molds easily either.
Oh fantastic, prickly lettuce, you added another to my personal list which is a big deal as I only have so many plants growing on my land!
 
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