Wild Foods for Rabbits
Simple Rules to foraging for your rabbit. 1. Only take from public land or areas where you have permission to be. Don't take from private land, without permission. 2. Don't over crop. Taking too much will kill the plant, it will leave nothing for others to enjoy and it will not be there for you next time/year. 3. Aim at over 1m, this is to avoid dog wee. 4. Wash before giving, this is to remove contaminant such as pollution, traces of wild animals, and reduces the possibility of spreading wild disease to your rabbit. Tip: If you can get extra forage, or know it is coming to the end of the season, consider drying some, lots of leaves/ branches will dry well, which means free treats during winter too.

My aim is to make this a working document, adding more to it as I go along, so please check back. Bramble, well known as the blackberry, this is a particulary useful plant. Its leaves are available all year round.the leaves and shoots can be enjoyed by all rabbits..The flowers are white and pink. it flowers from may to november, The purple fruits appear from august onwards.. Its the leaves that can be fed.You can find bramble in woods, scrub and open waste ground....Now the intresting bit..The leaves are one of the best treatment avaiable for scours(SHITS) and for simple cases, where the rabbit or cavie appears bright and alert, the withdrawel of all other foods, and the feeding of hay and bramble leaves may be the only measures necessary to correct the condition..Bramble can also help with stasis..

 



Coltsfoot. this plant is a low creeping perenial, Their flowers appear first, and they look like single dandilion like heads on a stem the stem is covered in purple scales.The plant flowers between Feb, and april.The leaves appear next, and these are heart shaped with pointed teeth, and the underside of the leaf is a silver colour. They also look like a horses hoof which is why they have been the given the name baby male horse name Coltsfoot..The leaves grow from the roots only, and may become as much as 12 inches across at their broadest point.These plants can be found on bare and waste ground, and partically like clay soil.

You can feed bunny the leaves, the plant is said to cure coughs and chest problems



Chickweed..this is a low creeping plant, with a line of hairs that run down the weak stem, its leaves are oval, and the lower leaves are long stalked. It has little white star like flowers and the flowers are present all year round. Bunnies can be fed the whole plant. The plant is found in woodlands and cultivated ground. The plant doesn't have any special properties, but its a good source of vitamins and minerals. Its is particulary enjoyed by cavies. Its provides an intresting variation to bunnies diet, it also acts as an astringent...



Plantain, There is the broad leaf plantain and the Ribwort plantain,the board leaf plantain, the leaves are oval in shape, the flowers are usually a greenish yellow in long greenish spikes, it flowers from june to october.Ribwort, has long narrow leaves and the leaves are ribbed. The flowers are on short black spikes, at the end of long stalks. you will find the plant in grassy and waste places, paths and lawns.

All parts of the plant can be fed. They provise a good source of vitamins and minerals, and have a astringent and diuretic properties. plantains are also said to have antimicrbial action, and help the body resist, and fight off infection



Sow thistle. also known as milk thistle, because when the hollow stem is snapped a milky substance comes out of it! Sow thistle comes in smooth and prickly variations, bunnies can eat both types, although the smooth type is more popular. The sow thistle is a medium/ tall annual palnt, and the flowers are yellow similar to a dandilion head. The leaves are pinnatley lobed, with the end lobe being the largest..The prickly sow thistle has leaves with sharper spines, and they clasp the stem with rounded lobes. Both plants flower between June and Sept. They are found in Bare and waste ground.

The succulent stems make this plant an excellant feed for nursing sows and does, it can also be enjoyed by bunnies of any age. All parts of the plant can be fed. But the older stem can become woody and less palatable

Knapweed. its a short/ medium perennial, and the flower heads are purple similat to a thistle.The stem is covered in soft hairs, not thistles and it flowers between July and sept. Its found on dry waste ground, hedrows and pastures. You can feed the whole plant to your bunnies, and the plant is astringent in action..

Groundsel..This is a common well reconised weed,we see every where! its a annual weed and grows top about 12 inches. Its leaves are shaped like oak leaves, and the flowers look like tiny dandilion flowers,and it flowers all year round.This weed can be found in gardens and disturbed ground.Bunnies can eat the whole plant, But it should NOT be used if its covered in orange mould spots. It is a laxative and ahould be fed sparingley, and in conjuction with other plants. It is also useful for encouraging a slow moult. Its is also a stimulating tonic, and a rich mineral source.So overall a good weed if fed sparingley

Dandelions, well we all now what these look like so no need to discribe them.Dandilions are a favorite snack for bunnies,they are wide spread,in gardens, lawns and hedgerows.They flower most of the year round,especially May to June.All parts of the plant can be fed. The leaves are diuretic in action, and have a stimulating effect on the kidney. This plant should be fed sparingly to rabbits, as it also has a laxative action. It is a useful plant tp feed if the rabbit is anorexic, or has gastric stasis, as the plant acts as a appetite stimulant. The diuretic sction may also help eliminate bladder stones.....

Gooose grass. This plant best knowen as cleavers or sticky weed, as the stems and leaves have numerous down turening prickles, which stick ti animals and clothing. The fruits are small and green at first, then they turn purple. The fruits are also covered hooked spines that stick onto clothing. Its is a straggling medium annaual plant, with very small white flowers. It flowers from May to Sept. You will find this plant in hedgerows, fens, disturbed and waste griounds.

You can feed bunny all parts of the plant, it has an aquired taste,but onvce bunny gets used to it, they eat it with relish. This plant has an astingent action. It is also a diuretic, and may help eliminate bladderstones. This plant also has tonic properties. Be aware of feeding this plant to long haired bunnies,as the fruites and leaves can get caught in bunnies fur..the leaf and seeds are sticky..the seeds are sticky tiny balls

Cow Parsnip...This is also know as Hog weed,intrestingly its a member of the carrot family, and can grow as high as 3 metres tall. It has very large leaves, 1-3 pinnate with broad toothed leaflets. The stalks are hairless or roughly hairy. The flowers are white or pink with umbrels upto 20cm accross, this plant flowers from April, till november.

This plant MUST NOT BE CONFUSED WITH HEMLOCK< WHICH IS VERY POISONOUS!!!!Hemlock has similar flowers, but has fernlike leaves, and has a charecteristic stem which is purple spotted, It also has a distinctive fetid odour.

Cow parsnip can be found in grassy places, verges and open woodland.

You should only feed bunny the leaves, the young leaves are most palatable, The flower heads SHOULD NOT be fed. In the spring this is a succulent plant and can be useful for nursing Does and Sows...REMEMBER iF IN DOUBT LEAVE IT OUT!

Raspberry.. Raspberry grows wild and cultivated like the blackberry, but it has smaller flowers than the blackberry, and much weaker prickles on the stems! You can find this plant in shady places, and widely cultivated.The uses of this plant: The leaves act as an astringent.But they are better known for their action of the uterine muscles. Raspberry leaves can be fed during the last third of gestation, and are said to help lead to easier births, they can also stimulat milk production in lactating Sows and Does!"

Mayweed. thers are two types of Mayweed, one being scentless, which is called Scentless Mayweed, and Pineapple Mayweed. They are closely related to Chamomile. tThe Scentless Mayweed is an odourless, and hairless plant, and the flowers are daisy like, the leaves are hair like, and it flowers from April to october. Pineapple Mayweed is scented, and its flower heads are yellowy green, almost llokking like little pineapples, this plant flowers from May to November. You will find this plant in bare and waste ground!

All parts of theses plants can be fed to rabbits, but feed sparingly to Guinea pigs

scentless 1st picture, pineapple 2nd picture

scentless

pineapple mayweed

Yarrow.. this plant is a short/ medium perenial, amnd has a downy stem, the plant has a pleasant aroma.Its leaves are dark green, and feathery in appearance.The flowers are small, and are either white or pink, they are arranged in flat like umbrel like clusters,at anre at the top of tough stems.It flowers between June to Noember. You will find this plant in grassy areas. Yarrow has excelllant astingent properties. Its is also a diuretic, and is of value as a urinary antiseptic, and can be given in cases of cystitus!

Vetch. There are many species of this plant, and luckily all of them can be fed to our bunnies. Vetches are a member of the pea family, they are clambering perenials, their flowers are cery similar to taht of the sweet pea heads. The flowers can come in a number of colours red, purple, pink, white and yellow. These plants flower from June to August. Their seed pods are brown and are similar to that of pea pods. You will find this plant waysides,hedges, and grassy grounds. Now for the best bit all parts of the plant can be fed. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals and are a useful food stuff


Docks.....Dock leaves as we all know, these include soreel dock,and curl dock. All these docks can be useful during the early spring, whilst their leaves are young and fresh, but when the seed stems have appeared and the seeds become ripe, dock is best avoided, although the leaves can still be used they lose a good deal of their feeding value.The seed stem however, should ALWAYS BE AVOIDED, as the dock seeds contain a dangerous substance, called Binoxalate of potash, or salts of lemon, and a VERY POISONOUS.So when the leaves are young its ok to gather them for bunny but avoid when in seed, and always stay well away from the seeds

 

Reproduced from Rabbit Welfare and guinea pig rabbit/ animal chat with permission. 

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