LEAFY GREENS

RABBIT-SAFE LEAFY GREENS

The green leafy parts of vegetables are full of chlorophyll (the darker the better), low in calories and high in fibre. 

  • Artichoke leaves. Leaves only. Artichokes have a lot of phosphorus and are very acidic. 
  • Beetroot greens 
  • Bok Choy/Pak Choy 
  • Chicory 
  • Moringa. A legume tree rich in protein, vitamin C, minerals and iron. It has a moderate content of fibre. 
  • Chinese cabbage. In moderation. Take care for sensitive rabbits. 
  • Endive 
  • Kale. Curly kale is more palatable. Don’t feed kale alone or too much as it is high in oxalic acid and calcium. 
  • Lettuce. Dark green/red leaf, Butter or Romaine – NO ICEBERG LETTUCE
  • Fenugreek. Helps against diabetes in rabbits and protect the liver. The seeds have powerful disinfectant and emollient properties. It is a great appetiser and fattening plant in cases of wasting. The seeds should not be fed during pregnancy other than to stimulate delayed labour. Fenugreek is however excellent for lactating does as it stimulates milk flow. 
  • Mustard greens. High in oxalic acid. 
  • Okra leaves 
  • Radicchio 
  • Radish tops. Limited amounts as it can cause gas. 
  • Sorrel. Cooling and soothing green and herb. A real treat during hot summers. 
  • Rocket. Wild and sweet rocket. 
  • Swiss chard & Spinach. Baby spinach is loved by rabbits. Be careful for the stringy stems of mature spinach as it may get caught in teeth. 
  • Tatsoi 
  • Turnip greens 
  • Watercress 
  • Water Hyacinth. Since the water hyacinths extract nutrients from the water and subsequently store them in the plant tissues, it is a useful food source for rabbits.


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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