Raising Rabbits in Colony Series

Feeding Rabbits: Weeds, Greens, and More

by guest author Tricia Woolbright

Let’s talk about weeds and produce from the garden and their use in my rabbitry set up.

Discards and Weed Disposal

Rabbits love fresh greens and vegetables. Anytime the bugs get to my brassicas (kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), or they get frost burned, or otherwise just not doing well, they go to the bunnies as a favorite treat. My Brussels sprouts did TERRIBLY last year, so I just kept the plants around as a special treat for the rabbits.

They also love my carrot and beet tops, and pea and green bean plants when I’m done with them. They don’t ever get the prime stuff I’m going to eat, but there are more than enough seconds, even without giving them weeds.

However, weeds! They love them so much, and it’s a great motivation to weed your garden every day. After a tiring day of landscaping, it only takes a few minutes to “harvest” some weeds in a bucket, and go chill for an hour watching the bunnies eat it. It’s adorable, and they are turning those weeds into fertilizer and meat for us! My garden has never been so well weeded.

So here is a list of my rabbits’ favorite plant treats:

  • Berries
  • Melons
  • Apples
  • Bananas (every food bank is overrun with bananas, so get some in the winter when the treats are low from the garden)
  • Green beans
  • Brassicas
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrot
  • Beet
  • Radish
  • Dandelion
  • Clover
  • Burdock
  • Smart weed
  • Young Johnson grass
  • Crab grass
  • Spurge
  • Chick weed
  • Lambs quarter
  • Plantain
  • And most any grassy or broad leaf weed

They have also taken to eating fallen leaves from the cottonwood and ash tree, if I give them a pile to play in from the yard.

I do NOT feed my rabbits:

  • Castor bean plant parts (used to repel moles, and generally toxic)
  • Onions or garlic (Alliaceae family, toxic to many non-humans)
  • Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, or any parts of their plants (Solanaceae family, nightshades, also toxic to many non-humans)

I try to put out treats either first thing in the morning or right at dusk. During the day the rabbits tend to sleep, and fodder left tends to draw bugs and get gross. At night, it’s more likely to attract scavengers like raccoons – and you don’t want to give then any more motivation to figure out how to get into your enclosure.

Water

I use apple cider vinegar in the water, 2 Tbsp per gallon. I notice they have a better immune system, and it slows the growth of molds or slime on the inside of the water container. I like the big metal chicken waterers best (affiliate link), but I have other ideas (still untried) to upgrade the water systems.

Keep Reading: How To Slaughter A Rabbit Part One: The Kill

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