Lavender is a popular garden plant and a herb with a long-standing tradition, but have you ever wondered if it is safe to add a few sprigs to your rabbit’s food dish? Is this beautiful plant a good option for rabbit-friendly salads?
Lavender is fine for rabbits to eat, and many rabbits enjoy it, although some are put off by the strong scent. You can feed your rabbit lavender throughout the year if it seems to enjoy it, and the leaves, flowers, and stems are all safe for your rabbit to consume. Like most foods, however, it should be fed in moderation.
Is Lavender Good For Rabbits?
Lavender is a reasonably good food for rabbits, as it contains vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It also offers antioxidants and phytochemicals that – in humans – can improve digestive processes and make it easier to deal with foods. However, this has not been proven in rabbits yet.
Lavender is quite a tough plant, which means it is good for a rabbit’s teeth. It will help to grind them down, keeping them short and in good shape, so it makes a beneficial addition to your bunny’s diet.
Anecdotal evidence says that lavender can help your bunny to feel calmer if it is stressed, but again, there is no scientific proof of this yet, and it may be better not to introduce strange smells to your rabbit’s cage if something is causing it stress. Instead, provide familiar scents, such as toys it likes.
How Much Lavender Can My Rabbit Have?
Like all foods, lavender should be fed in moderation and only occasionally. Although it is not high in carbohydrates, sugars, protein, or other components that cause issues to rabbits, it should still be given as an occasional treat rather than on a regular basis.
Cut a couple of sprigs for your lavender once or twice a week, and mix them with other greens, vegetables, herbs, and fruits. Overall, most people recommend no more than 5 percent of your rabbit’s diet being given as herbs, and it’s best to vary which herbs you choose rather than to feed it a lot of one thing.
The more you can rotate your rabbit’s foods, the more enrichment it will get from them. Rabbits like to eat different things, and if you give your rabbit lavender every day, it will soon get bored and start to reject it.
Try offering other herbs from your garden alongside lavender, such as dill, cilantro, chamomile, rosemary, and parsley. Do not give your rabbit chives, as these belong to the onion family and could be unsafe.
Mix the safe herbs with lavender, switching them out frequently so that your rabbit can enjoy lots of variation and different foods.
What Parts Of The Lavender Plant Are Safe For Rabbits?
Your rabbit can eat the stems, flowers, and leaves of the lavender plant perfectly safely, so you don’t need to worry about removing bits or cutting off the flowers.
Wash the plant well before giving it to your rabbit if you are bringing it inside, however. This will help to remove any pests or debris. Don’t feed your rabbit lavender from a garden where pesticides or insecticides have been used, as this could make your rabbit very sick. Even trace amounts may be enough to hurt a bunny.
What Should I Do If My Rabbit Won’t Eat Lavender?
Some rabbits will not touch lavender because of its strong scent. Indeed, a lot of pet owners find that their bunnies steer clear of this aromatic herb. If your rabbit rejects it, you don’t need to worry.
You can try offering it again another day if you like, but after a few attempts, it’s best to give up. Your rabbit may simply continue to reject it as “not food,” and there’s no point in constantly bringing it indoors if it isn’t being eaten.
There are plenty of other herbs that your rabbit will enjoy, so don’t be worried if it refuses to eat one like lavender. It doesn’t need lavender to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.
Do Wild Rabbits Feed On Lavender?
Like domestic rabbits, many wild rabbits will avoid lavender because of its strong scent. You might find that any wild rabbits that enter your garden show no interest in your lavender bush.
Alternatively, you might find that they love it and constantly strip off flowers and leaves. It depends on the rabbits and what they have learned to eat, and it may also depend on what other food sources are available.
In general, wild rabbits stick to grass for the majority of their diet. If they do eat your lavender, they will probably only nibble a few sprigs before moving on to other plants.
Should I Let My Rabbit Forage Freely In My Herb Bed?
The answer to this depends on what you grow in your herb bed. Your rabbit will love foraging in there, provided it can be made safe, but you need to ensure that there are no unsuitable plants in it.
To do this, check whether each individual herb you are growing is bunny-safe. Many herbs are, but things like chives, poppies, spring onions, garlic, and sorrel are not good for bunnies and should be avoided.
Your rabbit may know instinctively which plants to avoid, but it is not a good idea to depend on this. You need to make sure your herb bed is fully safe before you let your rabbit roam there. If it isn’t, pick herbs for your bunny instead of letting it choose for itself.
Even if the herb bed is safe, keep an eye on what your rabbit is eating. Some herbs, like parsley, need to be fed in moderation, so be prepared to step in if your rabbit is eating too much.
Lavender is counted among the safe herbs and will not hurt a rabbit, whether it eats the leaves, flowers, or stems. However, many bunnies find the strong scent unpleasant and will avoid lavender in spite of its safety.