If you have both a rabbit and a herb garden, you may wonder if it’s safe to let your bunny roam around it or which herbs you can bring indoors for your furry friend. Herbs are a great option for rabbits, but not all are safe, and it’s crucial to know what you’re doing before you start offering them to your pet.
Many herbs are great for bunnies, including basil, mint, cilantro, dill, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, and other common herbs. If you regularly cook with any of these, you’re fine to snip a small piece off and give it to your bunny to enjoy, and most rabbits will really love being fed like this.
Can Rabbits Eat Basil?
Basil is one of the most commonly grown and much-loved herbs, but you might be slightly surprised to find that rabbits can eat it. After all, it has a strong scent and flavor, and sometimes this is a bad sign when it comes to finding rabbit food. However, fed in small quantities, basil is both safe and healthy.
Basil contains vitamin K and vitamin A, making it good for a rabbit’s circulatory system and eyesight. It may also help to lower blood sugar levels and fight inflammation in some cases. Most rabbits enjoy basil and will happily eat it when they are offered a sprig or two.
Can Rabbits Eat Thyme?
Many rabbits love thyme, yes. Thyme contains magnesium, iron, vitamin A, copper, and potassium. It’s also high in fiber, which is something that rabbits need in large quantities to keep their digestive systems healthy.
Some sources claim that thyme is good for treating diarrhea and may even help to protect a rabbit from worms, but you should not use it as an alternative to proper medical care. If your rabbit is unwell, consult a vet, and don’t try to use food to treat health issues.
The fiber in thyme may help with digestive problems, but it’s better to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Can Rabbits Eat Rosemary?
Rabbits can also safely consume a few sprigs of rosemary, although rabbits commonly reject this herb because of its pungent smell and strong flavor. It contains potassium, vitamin A, and fiber, so it’s another healthy option if your rabbit eats it.
Can Rabbits Eat Chives?
No, you should not feed chives to a rabbit under any circumstances, and it’s best to keep your rabbit out of your herb garden if you grow chives there. Like others in the allium family (onions, garlic), they can cause the red blood cells to rupture, which could kill your rabbit.
It’s important to note that this will usually take a few days to happen, so don’t assume that your rabbit is fine just because it doesn’t show immediate symptoms of poisoning. If your rabbit has eaten chives, get it to a vet as quickly as you can to deal with the problem.
Don’t let a bunny roam free in an area that contains chives. Although most rabbits will steer clear of this herb, it’s best not to take the risk that your curious bunny might take a bite or two.
Can Rabbits Eat Mint?
Rabbits can safely eat mint, and many enjoy this strong-flavored herb. Mint contains iron, potassium, and vitamin A, and some people say that it can reduce bloating and gas. It is also packed with antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and may make your rabbit feel better.
Like all herbs, mint should be fed in moderation, as it could cause digestive issues if your rabbit eats too much of it. A couple of sprigs mixed in your rabbit’s bowl every few days should be fine.
It is important to avoid pennyroyal mint, however. This is a creeping variety with small, pink flowers, and it contains a compound that is toxic to rabbits. If you aren’t sure what kind of mint you have in your garden, get it identified, or do not feed it to your rabbit.
Can Rabbits Eat Dill?
Dill is another good option for rabbits, and most bunnies seem to enjoy this herb. Like many other herbs, it’s a source of vitamin A, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Rinse a few sprigs of dill and add them to your rabbit’s bowl to give it a boost in these nutrients.
Because dill has a strong flavor, you may find that some bunnies reject it, but many love it. Make sure you don’t offer them too much dill, even if they are keen, because they may make themselves sick on it.
Can Rabbits Eat Parsley?
Parsley is another viable option, but you should be a little more cautious about giving this to your rabbit. Firstly, parsley contains oxalic acid, which can be dangerous if rabbits eat large quantities of it.
It’s unlikely that you could do any damage just by feeding your rabbit parsley, but it’s worth being aware of which foods contain this acid (sorrel, spinach, some nuts and seeds, and many fruits). If your rabbit is eating a lot of foods that are sources of this acid, it may suffer from liver damage.
The risk is low, but it is a good idea to note it and feed your rabbit accordingly.
Furthermore, parsley is somewhat higher in calcium than many of the other herbs. Because rabbits process calcium in an unusual way, large amounts could lead to urinary stones.
Again, the amounts in parsley are low enough that it is unlikely to make a difference, but it is still a good idea to be aware of this and other foods that are high in calcium so you can plan your rabbit’s menu accordingly. Looking at the overall trends in the foods you offer will help you avoid issues.
Parsley is, therefore, a safe herb to offer, but it is best to limit the portions and frequency with which you give it to your rabbit.
Can Rabbits Eat Sage?
If you’re growing sage in your garden, you’ll be pleased to learn that this is also a safe option for rabbits to consume. Both the leaves and the stems are safe for rabbits, so it’s fine to pluck a few sprigs, wash them, and add them to your bunny’s food bowl.
This herb has antioxidants, vitamin K, iron, and potassium in it, and it has often been used to treat diarrhea and stomach upsets among humans. You should not treat a sickly bunny with it rather than taking the rabbit to a vet, but adding a few leaves to the treat bowl every week or so could be beneficial.
Can Rabbits Eat Chamomile?
Chamomile is often sold specifically for rabbits, and if you’re growing some in your garden, you can certainly feed it to your rabbit. The flowers and the leaves are both safe and are said to aid the rabbit’s digestion.
Some people claim that chamomile is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial, but again, it should never be used as a replacement for proper veterinary care if your rabbit is unwell. Using it to supplement and expand their diet is fine.
Can Rabbits Eat Lemon Balm?
Yes, lemon balm is again considered a safe herb for rabbits, although some will reject it because of its flavor. It is thought to have some ability to reduce stress and bloating, so it may be worth adding to your bunny’s food bowl if you think something is making your bunny uneasy or it has over-indulged in treats.
Can Rabbits Eat Dried Herbs?
Not everyone has access to fresh herbs all the time, and you might feel unsure about feeding your rabbit the dried variety. Fortunately, dried herbs are safe for rabbits to consume.
It’s a good idea to check whether your rabbit enjoys a particular herb before sprinkling it on top of other foods, as it may otherwise put the bunny off (especially if it has a strong scent). However, there shouldn’t be any danger posed by dried herbs, provided they are fed in moderation.
How Often Can You Feed Rabbits Herbs?
You shouldn’t be feeding herbs to your rabbit on a daily basis, even if they are healthy herbs. Like all treats, it’s a good idea to feed them in small portions and to regularly rotate what you offer.
The more variety you can give your rabbit, the greater the health benefits it will enjoy and the lower the risk that it will get sick as a result of eating too much of something.
You should mix herbs in with the rabbit’s daily portion of greens and count them toward this portion. As a rough rule of thumb, you can give your rabbit about ten percent of its diet as greens/vegetables or a portion around the size of the bunny’s head.
The rest of the diet should come from hay, with a small helping of pellets. A rabbit needs to eat predominantly hay in order to keep its digestive system healthy, as bunnies require a vast amount of fiber. This pushes food through their systems and ensures that they digest it properly.
If rabbits consume too many herbs, they are in danger of not eating enough hay. This can result in food lingering in the digestive system and starting to ferment there, which is uncomfortable and potentially deadly if not treated.
The condition is known as GI stasis, and if you ever suspect that your rabbit has it because it has stopped eating or pooping, you must make an urgent appointment with your vet. It must be treated if your bunny is to survive.
Of course, it’s better to avoid it, and you can do so by ensuring that your rabbit almost exclusively eats hay, with just a small portion of herbs and vegetables each day.
How Should I Introduce a New Herb to My Rabbit?
Any new food should be introduced slowly, as this reduces the risk of your rabbit having a serious reaction to it. Even food that is safe for most rabbits could cause a problem for some, so it’s best to be cautious.
When you want to give your rabbit a herb for the first time, just take a small snippet of that herb. A couple of leaves of basil would be good, for example, or a little sprig of parsley. You should wash this thoroughly and then give it to your rabbit and watch to see if it eats it.
If the rabbit does not eat the food, remove it and try again later. If it does, keep an eye on it for a few days and see how it behaves. If its droppings change consistency or it seems lethargic or miserable, that herb may not agree with your bunny’s digestive system, and it’s best to avoid feeding it in the future.
If your rabbit seems fine, the herb should be safe, and you can slowly introduce it to your bunny’s diet as a rotating treat for it to enjoy.
It’s best to only introduce one new food at a time. If your rabbit has a reaction and you’ve introduced a lot of new foods at once, you won’t know which caused the problem or if it was a result of a sudden dietary shift.
Introducing one at a time helps you to eliminate any problem foods efficiently without causing your rabbit unnecessary digestive problems.
What if I Find a Herb My Bunny Doesn’t Like?
If you find that your rabbit does not enjoy some kinds of herbs, you shouldn’t worry about it. No herb contains ingredients that are crucial to a rabbit’s health, and there are so many different foods that rabbits can eat you should simply look for other options.
Herbs are a good food group to choose from because they are low in sugar and generally higher in fiber than other treat foods such as fruits or vegetables, but your rabbit doesn’t need them to survive. If your bunny rejects one herb or even most herbs, don’t worry about it – just look for other healthy foods it can enjoy.