Have you ever wondered if your rabbit can eat roses or whether these are an unsafe option for them? Rabbits that are allowed to forage often have rich, fun lives, but if you grow ornamental plants in your garden, you might also be concerned about letting your bunny explore too much in case it eats something poisonous.
Rabbits can eat roses, surprisingly. These plants may have fierce thorns, but that does not seem to deter rabbits from nibbling at them, stripping away their leaves, flowers, and even stems when they are hungry. Don’t be surprised if you see your rabbit investigating your rose bushes, and be prepared to fence the plants off if you don’t want them to be devoured!
Are Roses Good For Rabbits?
Roses are good for rabbits, and they are a natural part of a foraging rabbit’s diet. Wild rabbits generally live on grass, but they will happily eat roses when they come across them, and this includes the stems, the leaves, and the flowers if they can reach them.
A lot of people think of rabbits as eating carrots, strawberries, and lettuce, but actually, rabbits rarely depend on these foods, partly because they are in short supply in the wild. A rabbit will certainly eat fruits and vegetables if it finds them, but often, its diet is made up of plants like roses.
That means roses are a natural source of food, and – as long as your rabbit is still mostly eating hay – they should be a safe addition.
However, you should try to keep your rabbit’s diet varied and include lots of plants, fruits, and vegetables on a constantly rotating schedule. Don’t get heavily dependent on any one kind of food, even if it is healthy.
Do Rose Thorns Hurt Rabbits?
Rose thorns don’t usually hurt rabbits, no, because rabbits are skillful enough to avoid them and will not prick themselves on them. However, it is possible for a rose thorn to hurt a rabbit, just as it can hurt any other creature that presses against it.
Your rabbit will probably manage to simply avoid the thorns on your roses, but you should be aware of this risk, minor though it is. If you want your rabbit to be able to browse on your roses, consider removing the thorns on the lower branches using shears or growing thornless roses so that your bunny can browse safely.
If your rabbit does injure itself, it will probably only be a scratch or small cut. However, you should keep an eye on this and make sure that it is healing properly. Keep it clean by washing it with warm water, and inspect it regularly to check that there is no sign of infection.
If the cut isn’t healing well or seems to be hurting your rabbit, book an appointment with a vet to get it checked over.
Should I Pick Roses For My Rabbit?
If you grow roses in the garden, you can pick rose petals and rose leaves for your rabbit or just snip off a stem or two to bring inside. However, you may wish to remove the thorns if you do this, as these could be dangerous to your rabbit, especially if the stem is not held still by the main plant.
It is fine to pick roses from your garden as long as you do not use pesticides (and preferably if your neighbors do not either). However, you should not buy roses for your rabbit from the store or feed your rabbit any commercially bought roses.
These are likely to have been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or possibly other substances to make them last well and look beautiful.
Anything sprayed on the roses might be harmful to your rabbit, even in small quantities, so it’s best to avoid roses that have not come straight from your garden (or another known safe source).
Always wash roses when you bring them inside for your rabbit, removing any residue or dirt that might upset your rabbit’s tummy. You don’t need to worry about this if your rabbit is eating the roses outdoors, but it’s an easy enough precaution to take if you have brought the roses in.
How Often Can Rabbits Eat Roses?
Rabbits should be able to eat roses regularly, and there are no specific limits for feeding this plant to your bunny, but you should be aware that rabbits have sensitive digestive systems and variety is always the best option.
You can give your rabbit roses a few times a week or let it browse on your rose bushes if you prefer, but do keep an eye on things. If your rabbit is not eating enough hay, it is likely to get stomach problems and possibly diarrhea or constipation. Don’t let it eat so many roses that it rejects its hay.
How Should I Find Out If My Rabbit Likes Roses?
The best way to find out if your rabbit likes roses is to pick a small amount of the leaves or a few petals, wash them, and offer them to the bunny. Watch to see how it responds.
If the rabbit eats the roses, it probably enjoys them. If it just nibbles a leaf and then tosses the rest away, it probably isn’t very keen. That’s nothing to worry about; all rabbits have different tastes.
If your rabbit does seem to like the roses, don’t feed it more immediately. Instead, you should wait a few days and make sure that the plant doesn’t have any adverse effects on your rabbit.
Although roses should be safe, some bunnies have very delicate digestive systems, and a food that is generally fine can upset them. Be aware of this risk and introduce roses carefully.