Free Rabbit Food from Your Garden? But is it Rabbit Safe?…
So, if you have a bunny you will know that Rabbits… Do.Not. Stop. Eating. EVER! haha. If you dont have a bunny fur baby then now you know. This is what a rabbit spends its time doing in the wild (and, I suppose, it does the other thing a rabbit is renowned for, ahem, anyway…). Knowing this is actually very important. This is how you can fill your rabbits time and ensure your rabbits well-being and mental welfare by keeping your rabbit occupied for many hours.
But please, dont be fooled into thinking you have to spend a lot of money on treats and dried food stuff and treats. You have everything you need, probably, on your doorstep or not far away. If you dont have access or time to route about looking and foraging, then luckily all these items are extremely easy to grow :).
I have compiled a list of safe and rabbit favourite foods from my own knowledge, vast experience and research of bunnies 🙂 This is based upon experience of my own bunnies, of course, some bunnies can be fussy and they are all very individual so it may be trial and error for you…
ABSOLUTE ALL TIME BUNNY FAVOURITE FOODS (& SAFE!)
Grass – Bunny FAVE FAVE FAVE!! Purposely top of the list! and FREE FREE FREE! I grow grass in tubs for stormy days etc when they might not be able to come out, they love it. p.s. if you are going to grow your own grass in tubs, it definitely grows better inside (much faster, thicker etc)
Apples/leaves & twigs (seeds are TOXIC) Twigs are a firm favourite and definitely worth giving to your rabbit if you can. A real natural boredom breaker! An absolute rabbity favourite! It must take the buns a log time to strip all the bark off like they do.
Bramble/Blackberry leaves – My rabbits LOVE these leaves, dried or fresh, a firm favourite! You can find them everywhere in the countryside. I am even in the process of trying to propogate some brambles for my rabbit garden 🙂
Dandelion leaves and flowers – An absolute Rabbity FAVE!!! YUM YUM! You can plant these too for free from the seeds you find (the ones which blow away in the wind) and you can dry them out (in the same way that you can make hay) so you have some for the winter! There are s muany around and I have spread some dandelion seeds around the rabbit garden of course!
The bunnies all LOVE lavendar!
Stinging Nettles – Yummy (my rabbits firm fave when dried), wear gloves & cut with scissors, so much easier!
Dead Nettles (look like stinging nettles but with no sting, lovely flowers on & purple stalks). Got a patch of garden not being used?? plant some of these pretty nettles by harvesting the wild plants seeds, very easy to grow and they are fantastic for bees and nature in general as well as a tasty treat for your rabbits!
Dock Leaves (Dont pick when they are flowering though, I’ve heard they can be ‘dodgey’ at this time). My Bunnies seem to like this when we have given them some after a dog/forage walk.
Goose Grass / Sticky Bud / Cleavers / Sticky Willy (that weed that sticks to you) – My bunnies will munch this happily when we collect it for them (grows everywhere!)
Rabbits love twigs with leaves on and they spend a long time stripping the bark. Here are some rabbit safe trees… Birch, Willow, Pear (any fruit trees)
My rabbits absolutely LOOOOVE herbs, any herbs!!! More More More nom nom nom…
My Rabbits haven’t tried the following so I’m not sure if they will love these too yet, but these are safe too…
A Few Plants/weeds I havent tried but I am currently growing for the rabbits…
Raspberry leaves – stock photo (I dont have any of these near me, but I’m tempted to plant some!) I have read how much rabbits love these too! My Rabbits are yet to try them.
Pansy / Viola
Pot English Marigolds (NOT French or African Marigolds) – easy to grow and you can harvest the seeds and regrow them each year for your rabbit. I have just planted some seeds today (so we’ll see how the theory of ‘easy to grow’ turns out hey!)
Sunflower (and sunflower seeds!) – Definitely easy to grow (who hasnt planted a sunflower seed as a kid and watched it grow right!?) and you can harvest the seeds and replant year after year. Very tasty treat for free! I am currently in the process of growing quite a few of these around the garden for the rabbits to munch on eventually. We will see how they get on with them.
Strawberries and their leaves (although not harmfull, strawberry (as with any safe fruit), should only be given as a treat to avoid upset tumms. You can plant or buy strawberry plants and they will send out shooters which you plant (secure them down in the soil with paper clips and they grow roots!) and then you can have even more strawberries next year for free! Although safe my bunnies at the moment are not really fussed about strawberries but I have had bunnies who LOVED them! They were home grown strawberries though so I am growing some strawbs for the rabbits to see if thats why they arent eating the store bought ones. You never know.
The Following are Rabbit safe but I have not found them yet…
In my experience with bunnies, it is very rare that a rabbit will eat something that is toxic and my rabbits through the years and my inexperience with flowers/gardening, I have put things which are toxic in their living area and they have not eaten any of it. Saying that, it is still important to be aware of what is toxic so I have put a short list here. It is not including everything (that would be impossible) but the most toxic and the things I have never put in front of my rabbits (and would never). All bunnies are different and some may happily eat toxic items. It is best to stick to what you absolutely know is safe, and dont introduce anything knew unless you know it is safe….
Clematis (mine hasnt grown yet and isnt flowering enough to photograph)!
Ragwort – Widely known to cause liver damage in horses! Remove it from your garden, including its roots etc.
Daffodils – Toxic to Rabbits
These things are all in my garden. It is surprising how much a rabbit wont eat in your garden because it isnt safe. There are more things but the rabbits dont eat them, so I havent put them.
For a more extensive list, I find this list helpful…
This is a list which is constantly being worked on and added to. Please contact me if you have any queries, plants to identify, or just anything to add and I will get back to you ASAP. My Email is Tiggy_Winkles@outlook.com. Thank You.