Forage Treats For Your Rabbit
Why should you forage for treats to give your rabbits? Well, even if there are plenty of great pre-made treats for your pets, it’s sometimes fun to know exactly what you’re giving them. Wild plants are nutritionally balanced, high in fiber and really yummy. Apart from that, they’re also free!
Before we get going, here are some things to think about:
- If you’re not completely sure that you have identified a plant correctly, don’t pick it. It’s useful to have photos of the plants you’re looking for at hand, and compare what you find with them.
- Try to avoid collecting treats for your rabbits by busy roads with lots of emissions from cars. It’s best to find spots where you’re relatively confident no pesticides or other chemicals have been used, and where cats and dogs will not have peed or pooed on the plants.
- If you want to you can wash your finds when you get home, but in most cases this is not necessary. If you’re introducing something new to your rabbits, start slowly and give only small amounts of the new food at the time. Some treats can upset the rabbits’ very sensitive stomachs. Also remember to only feed these greens in moderation, as a treat on top of the rabbits daily amount of pellets and hay.
Now we’ve got that done, here are 6 plants that most people will be able to identify, that can easily be found on most country walks, and that rabbits of all sizes and ages will love!
Most people will be able to recognise this very common plant. Lion teeth leaves, thick, hollow stems and yellow flower heads that turn into spherical clocks after flowering. Rabbits can eat the whole plant: leaves, stems and flowers, and they are great for drying if you want to keep them for winter.
The less pleasant aspect of the nettle, the sting, doesn’t deter rabbits from this lovely green. Although you will need gloves to pick the nettles, the rabbits don’t feel the sting, and will munch through both leaves and stems. Stinging nettles can be found in most hedgerows or woodland, and you will recognise them by the serrated leaves and the tassel-like flowers at the top. They also dry well for your winter supply.
Blackberry bushes flower from early May with pale pink flowers that turn into small green berries that then become shiny black. Brambles grow high in hedgerows and ditches, and have prickly thorns, so be careful when picking. Rabbits can eat the stems and leaves, you don’t even need to remove the prickly bits.
Plantain grows low among grass, and has broad or long light green leaves. The leaves have three or five parallel veins running through them, and if you tear it apart it’s stringy, almost like celery. Plantain is a hit with most rabbits, and can be served both fresh and dried.
This is another common weed that is often found in lawns and other places with slightly moist soil. It has sleek stems that can grow up to 40cm in height, and small while flowers. The whole plant can be given to your rabbit in moderation.
Goosegrass is the long hairy plant that sticks to your clothes, and is one of many types of grass that rabbits love. It spreads incredibly quickly, so shouldn’t be difficult to find, even in your own garden. Although maybe not the easiest to pick, it’s both nutritious and delicious for rabbits.