Thursday, 17 June 2010

What Vegetables and Fruits Can Rabbits Eat?

Pet rabbits should have a balanced diet to remain healthy. All the nutrients they need are found in high quality rabbit pellets made from alfalfa. When you shop for pellets, look for fresh green pellets that smell like newly cut hay. Your rabbit should get a good ration of pellets every day. Hay can be added to their diet. It adds roughage and keeps your pet entertained.

Now, on to fruits and vegetables. In the wild, rabbits will eat roots, bark, herbs, weeds and grass. What do these things have in common? They tend to be somewhat dry in texture, and they are tough enough to wear down the rabbit's teeth to keep them trimmed.

Now, let's look at the typical fruits and vegetables that we feed to rabbits. Lettuce, carrots, broccoli, sprouts, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, apples, bananas, and so on. What do they have in common? A lot of them have high concentrations of moisture and are full of sugar.

We can reach a happy medium, however. Wet or sweet fruits and veggies can be given as occasional treats. Don't give your rabbit an entire apple, but a slice or two occasionally will be fine. Unsprayed apple twigs are even better. If you want your rabbit to enjoy fresh greens every day, look to carrot tops and herbs like dandelion, comfrey, chickweed, borage and plantain. Many of these grow as weeds in the yard. As long as they have not been sprayed with herbicide or insecticide, your rabbit can eat them.

Too much of the wet and sweet stuff can change the bacterial composition inside your rabbit's digestive system, giving them diarrhea or constipation. Many rabbits that eat a few cups of typical garden vegetables every day end up in the vet's office with digestive problems that can eventually kill them.

Wild greens are the best bet for your rabbit. They love blackberry leaves, thorns and all. Blackberry leaves also help regulate their urinary tract and can help treat diarrhea. Dandelions are astringent and help with the digestion. Borage is good for nursing does; it helps them make plenty of milk to feed their litter. It is also a gentle laxative in case your bunny gets constipated or gets hair balls in their system.

Grow some chamomile for your nervous rabbits; it calms them down. Clover also keeps bunnies happy. Feed the red clover if possible, that's the tall one with the rosy pink flowers. Mint is good for diarrhea, upset tummies and dries up milk. Parsley helps reduce and prevent respiratory issues. Rosemary keeps fleas and other skin-critters away. Strawberry leaves are good to cool hot bunnies down. Willow leaves can help with inflammation.

Wouldn't you rather give your rabbit some of these delicious greens that help keep them healthy at the same time? They will keep your pet healthy and active for many years of companionship. Stay away from the garden veggies that we eat. We're adapted to them; your bunny is not. Give them greens that suit their digestive systems.

Donald Stuart suggests you can build your own rabbit cage using these Plans for Building Rabbit Cages on his website at http://www.rabbit-cages-and-hutches.com/plans-for-building-rabbit-cages.html.

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