Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mmmm Veggies!

Alice is a Giant Chinchilla rabbit, and yes, she is giant. I adopted her a little over a month ago from the shelter and she promptly took over the house and garden. Especially the garden.
Rabbits LOVE to eat! They can eat endlessly. As any good rabbit book will tell you, a rabbit that isn't eating is sick.
Anything that's green and growing is food in a bunny's eyes. The problem, of course, is that not everything is healthy for them, and many things are downright poisonous.
Alice loves to come out on our balcony with us and chow down on the garden, just like any wild rabbit. Unfortunately she has long lost her wild rabbit instincts and eats anything, poisonous or not.
House rabbits should be fed anywhere from 2 to 5 cups of greens and other veggies a day, depending on their size. It makes up most of their diet, along with fresh Timothy hay. Pellets should NOT be the main course despite common opinion - they can be a part of the diet, but not the only one.
Since they eat so many veggies, it's much more convenient to simply grow your own, rather than buying a bunch of arugula every week. If you have a garden, planting and growing your own herbs can save you a lot of money!
Which brings us to the million dollar question...what plants ARE good for the bunny, and which are poisonous?
Here's a list of some easy herbs, and some plants that should be kept far away from your rabbit friends. I'm by no means an expert and this isn't a comprehensive list, so any suggestions or warnings would be welcomed!

Good Ideas:
  • Parsley (contains Vitamin A, which is important, and almost every rabbit in the world LOVES it...that's what Alice is devouring in the photo above)
  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Arugula
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Dandelions
Really Bad Ideas:
  • Morning Glory
  • Poppy
  • Impatiens
  • Hyacinth
It's quite a little adventure, figuring out what's edible in your garden for your bunny. There are a lot of great, comprehensive lists of both toxic and non-toxic plants on the Internet.
For toxic plants:
For non-toxic plants:

Then we have the question marks. There are some plants that have varying reports - some sources say they're toxic, some say they aren't. I've never been able to figure out snapdragons, for instance. And while it's generally agreed that marigolds are safe, I've seen some places say that they can cause skin problems.
The bottom line is better safe than sorry. If you're not 100% sure it's safe, it's best to keep your rabbit away, at least until you get a chance to ask a vet.

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