FRUIT

RABBIT-SAFE FRUIT

Feed all fruit as a treat and very sparingly, only a slice – and not the whole fruit – due to their high sugar content. 

  • Apple. No core or seeds. (seeds are poisonous). Great for digestion, apples are amphoteric, which means it works to either bulk up the bowels when loose or loosen them up if constipated. 
  • Apricots. Flesh only. No pits as it contains cyanide. 
  • Cherries. Cultivated cherry flesh only. Wild and cultivated twigs, foliage, bark and pits are fatal as it contains cyanide. 
  • Banana. Fruit and peel. Due to the vitamin B12 and potassium, it encourages weight gain and stimulates appetite. 
  • Guava. Limited amount of the fruit as it contains a lot of phosphorus, some calcium, is quite acidic and high in sugar. Guava leaves can also be fed to rabbits and are known to help with rabbits with diarrhoea due its antimicrobial extracts, particularly against enteropathogenic E. coli, a bacteria common in rabbit diarrhoea. 
  • Cucumber 
  • Grapes. Fruit, leaf and vine are edible if not treated with chemicals. 
  • Kiwi fruit 
  • Mango. Make small cuts in the mango peel for easier consumption. A palatable source of energy, but protein and fibre content is low. 
  • Melon. All melons but only as a treat, especially on a hot day. Small slice only. High in beta- carotenes but not rich in fibres. 
  • Nectarine. No peel, segments only. 
  • Orange. No peel, segments only. 
  • Papaya/Paw paw. No seeds. The enzymes in papaya aid in preventing GI Stasis. It also encourages a healthy coat. 
  • Peach. No pits 
  • Pear 
  • Pineapple. The enzyme, bormelain, in the pineapple is good for diarrhoea as well as gut mobility for hairballs during moult. 
  • Plum. No pits. 
  • Pomegranate. Rabbits can eat pomegranate but not often and very little as the fruit contains a lot of sugar and phosphorus. They can also eat the leaves, but they may not like the taste. 
  • Starfruit 
  • Strawberries. Berries and leaves. The whole plant is antiseptic and cooling. The leaves are rich in iron. Externally used for inflamed areas, rashes and sore eyes. The leaves of the wild strawberry are exceptionally good at treating rabbits with soft and watery stools (diarrhoea) and inflammation of the liver. 
  • Sweet peppers/Bell peppers. Green, yellow, red, orange 
  • Tangerine. No peel. Segments only 
  • Tomato. Fruit only, no stems or leaves. High acidity. 


PLEASE NOTE: 

Before feeding any new greens and herbs to your pets, there are a few things to keep in mind: 
  • As with everything in life, moderation is the key. Too much of ONE kind of food is also not good for the rabbit’s diet and health. 
  • Always offer FRESH plants, fruit and vegetables. Wilted plants could cause bloating and diarrhoea; 
  • If plants are gathered in nature, be sure that it has not been exposed to chemicals (e.g. weedkillers) or pollution from busy roads. 
  • Any plants that remain uneaten after several hours should be removed; 
  • Don’t overfeed, give a little of the new food one at a time and it should be introduced slowly so that your rabbit’s gut bacteria can adapt to processing the new food; 
  • Be careful to supplement pregnant does with herbs as some herbs may trigger uterine contractions; 
  • When introducing new foods, keep an eye out on your rabbit’s droppings as changes in these is generally the first sign that you have gone a little fast in introducing new foods; 
  • If your rabbit stops producing droppings, refuses food or has watery droppings, seek immediate veterinary advice.


Sources: 
Kanin.org (2006- 2014) Rabbit Information Articles. Retrieved from http://kanin.org/node/191; 
The Natural Trail (2003). Garden Vegetables and Herbs You Can Plant to Feed Rabbits. Retrieved from http://www.thenaturetrail.com/rabbit-health- feeding/plants-garden-herbs/ ; 
The Humane Society of the United States (2018) Plants that may poison you pets. Retrieved from http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/plants_poisonous_to_pets.html; 
Rise and Shine Rabbitry (2018) Safe food list for rabbits. Retrieved from https://riseandshinerabbitry.com/2012/02/26/safe-food-list-for-rabbits/; 
Bunny Approved (2014) Edible Flowers and Petals for Rabbits. Retrieved from: http://bunnyapproved.com/edible-flowers- and-petals-for-rabbits/ ; 
Zooh.Corner (2018) Vegetables and Fruit for Bunnies. Retrieved from http://www.mybunny.org/info/rabbit-diet-and-nutrition/vegetables-and-fruits-for-bunnies/; 
Kaning.org (2018) rabbit Forum. Retrieved from http://kanin.org/forum/ ; 
The Rabbit House (2018). 5 Rabbit Safe Weeds for Foraging. Retrieved from: http://www.therabbithouse.com/blog/2014/06/04/rabbit-safe-weeds/ ; 
Edelweiss Ranch & Rabbitry () Natural Remedies For Rabbits. Retrieved from: http://www.edelweissranch.com/natural-rabbit-remedies.html ; 
Mother Earth Living Natural Home, Healthy Life (2001) Pet corner: Herbal Remedies for Rabbit Illnesses. Retrieved from: https://www.motherearthliving.com/pet-health/pet-corner-herbal-remedies-for-rabbits-26 ; 
Rabbits.Life (2017) Choose The Best Vegetables For Rabbits. Retrieved from: https://rabbits.life/choose-the-best-greens-for-rabbits/ ; 
White Wing Rabbitry (2015) Medicinal Herbs For Rabbits. Retrieved from: http://whitewingrabbitry.weebly.com/medicinal-herbs-for- rabbits.html ; 
South Africa.co.za (2018) Rabbit Feeding. Retrieved from: http://southafrica.co.za/rabbit-feeding.html ; 
The Spruce Pets. (2018) Safe Wood and Other Plants for Rabbits. Retrieved from https://www.thesprucepets.com/safe- woods-and-plants-for-rabbits-1239351 ;  
BunnyHugga (2010) Poisonous plants. Retrieved from http://www.bunnyhugga.com/a-to-z/feeding/poisonous-plants.html 

McVicar, J (2011). Jekka’s Complete Herb Book. London: Kyle Books ; 
Roberts, M (2015). 100 New Herbs. Cape Town: Struik Nature ; 
Roberts, M (2002). My 100 Favouritte herbs. Cape Town: Struik Nature ; 
Van Wijk, Y (1992). Herbal First Aid for Pets & Other Animals. Hoekwil: Blackwoods Herbs 

Special thanks to: 
Canaan Maendesa: Maendesa Farm, Chikwakwa, Zimbabwe Janet De Waal: Cape Bijoux Rabbitry, Western Cape, South Africa Judy Stuart: Future Farmers, Howick, South Africa Karoline Steenkamp: Cape Rabbit Club, Cape Town, South Africa Ruth Bachmann: Meummelmann Rabbity, Western Cape, South Africa
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