What plants can rabbits tolerate
Here is a list of green plants and branches you can pick in the garden or nature and feed your rabbit
We all want to spoil our little longears and like to spend a lot of money on delicious treats, pellets and lovely fresh hay, but actually the absolute most delicious AND healthiest way to spoil your rabbit is pick up fresh grass, weeds and branches from trees and shrubs outside in nature or in the garden. We ourselves pick weeds and grass several times weekly or daily during the summer season and in winter we pick fresh branches for them and they love it. In fact, most often they would rather eat fresh greens from nature instead of the bought treats, fruits or vegetables from the kitchen. We believe that the closer the pets feed is to the feed wild rabbits eat, the healthier it is. So just get started picking delicious greens 😀
In nature wild rabbits emerge from their caves underground twice a day to eat. They are Crepuscular animals. These animals are active primarily during twilight, that is the periods of dawn and dusk. In this lighting they are most safe for predators. The first thing they do when they come out is to eat a lot of grass, both wet and dry, quickly to fill the stomach and become saturated with the necessary feed. If the rabbits feel reasonably safe of predators, they then go around and pick out delicious green shoots, leaves and flowers. After that its playtime, or whatever rabbits like du do. In winter, they eat mostly bark and conifers.
Leafy greens are important
Grass, green leaves and bark contain a lot of cellulose, which is a component of plant cell walls which makes the plant stiff. Human gut cannot break down cellulose, but rabbits can, in fact, they need cellulose for their gut to function optimally. First, it helps to grind the teeth, which, after all, grow all life, and must be kept short. In addition, the longer chewing process will stimulate the intestinal system.
Rabbits intestinal system (in short)
When the rabbit eats feed, the plant components will split into two parts inside the gut. One part with the digestible plant parts will be absorbed into the gut and the rest will come out as hard round faces. The second part is the cellulose. It will get mixed with bacterial flora in the appendicitis and packed into a membrane. These soft membrane-wrapped poops come out and are then eaten again directly from the bum. On the second trip through the intestinal system, the bacteria break down the indigestible cellulose into smaller pieces that can be absorbed through the intestine as nourishment.
Adaptation to fresh grass and leaves
If your rabbit is only used to getting feed pellets and hay and you suddenly give it fresh grass and branches, it may get diarrhea. It’s not because the rabbit can’t tolerate it. Feed pellets are not naturally food for your rabbit, and the gut bacteria do not function optimally, therefore the gut flora cannot keep up and break down and absorb the grass optimally. Should it happen, stop feeding the grass and feed pellets for a few days. Only feed hay and sprinkle the hay with lactic acid bacteria bought at the pharmacy for humans until the poultry is back to normal. Slowly start up with grass again, with only a few straws and leaves a day, and increase the amount slowly over time. Then the intestinal flora has time to build up.
List of rabbit proof grass, weeds and branches
Below is a list of flowers, weeds and leaves that we regularly give to our rabbits. There are certainly much more plants that you can give, but since we are not experts in flora and fauna, we only write the ones we know and use regularly 🙂
Branches from trees and shrubs
Ela from Bunny and Cat