Rabbits have a complex digestive system that is designed to deal with hay, certain types of greens, fruits, leaves, branches, twigs, some veggies, and, not a lot else.
The good news is that, because rabbit diets are quite constricted, you don’t have to spend vast amounts on food. But, they will need to be provided with large amounts of hay. This can be achieved by designating a small area in your backyard for feeding your rabbit.
Unless you grow your own veggies, you will need to purchase your rabbit’s food at the store. But, as long as you feed your pet bunny hay, greens, and leaves, and give them a constant supply of water, they should live long, happy, healthy lives.
Herbs can also be fed to rabbits, but you must pay close attention to what herbs you’re giving them. Because many herbs have distinct flavored and scents, some may cause gastrointestinal issues for rabbits.
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When we consider basil, this is perfectly safe to feed to rabbits, as long as they are 12 weeks old or older. And, when feeding it to them, you must only give moderate amounts occasionally. Too much can lead to stomach upsets and digestive problems.
Read on as we discuss the benefits and risks of feeding basil to rabbits, as well as how much basil you should feed your pet bunny.
Check out our other articles on feeding rabbits to ensure your pet is getting a perfect, balanced diet to keep them healthy and fit.
Is Basil Safe To Feed To Rabbits?
Herbs are like leafy green vegetables but with stronger scents, and, often, stronger flavors. Many types of herbs are safe for rabbits to eat, which is why many rabbit owners grow their own herbs in their backyards.
Herbs that are regarded as safe to feed to rabbits include rosemary, parsley, tarragon, oregano, and different variations of mint.
Basil is another herb that is safe to feed to rabbits. However, a rabbit must be at least 12 weeks old before being fed basil. And, when introduced to their diet, it should be done slowly and gradually. Otherwise, they could experience digestive issues.
In most cases, the only way in which basil could cause serious digestive distress is if a rabbit replaces hay with basil in their diet, but this should never be done. Hay should make up at least 80% of a rabbit’s daily diet.
If they do not eat hay, they will lack the fiber required to maintain a healthy body. Eventually, they will suffer from digestive complications.
When you feed basil to a rabbit, though, you need to be wary of its scent. Many herbs, basil in particular, have pungent scents, emanating from their leaves. This strong aroma and taste is why basil is included in so many recipes for human consumption.
Just by adding a bit of basil, a dish’s flavor can come to life. The same applies to oregano and rosemary leaves.
And, just like humans, rabbits love the taste of basil. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t allow your pet rabbit to nibble at basil whenever he or she wants to.
You can plant both sweet and Thai basil leaves in your backyard, and these are considered the better options for rabbits, due to their weaker aromas and tastes.
When growing basil yourself, you should plant it, as well as other herbs, in pots that are out of the reach of rabbits. Therefore, they can not help themselves throughout the day. We also recommend installing bird netting over your basil leaves to keep them protected.
Do Rabbits Like Basil?
Ask any rabbit owners, and they will tell you that they can have varying taste preferences. Some adore fruits, such as pears (see also ‘Can Rabbits Eat Pears?‘) and bananas, whilst others prefer something else. The same applies to basil.
If your bunny has taken a liking to basil, it is not a bad thing. Basil is a highly nutritious leafy green that is recommended for a rabbit’s diet. Basil provides key nutrients that your rabbit requires every day.
Chances are, if you put down some basil for your rabbit, they will eat it up in no time.
So, whilst some rabbits may not love basil, the majority will happily gobble it up when presented with it.
The Benefits Of Feeding Basil To Rabbits
Basil contains a range of benefits in terms of nutrients. Perhaps the most significant benefit is that it contains large amounts of vitamin A. this helps with vision, reproduction, development and growth, and aids the immune system.
Vitamin A also helps various organs work properly, such as the heart and lungs.
Basil also contains small traces of vitamin E, choline, protein, niacin, calcium, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These all provide support in keeping a bunny healthy.
How Much Basil Can A Rabbit Eat?
The current weight and age of a rabbit determines the quantity of leafy greens, vegetables, and herbs such as basil you should feed them, but in general, feed your rabbit a variety of vegetables, and these foods should make up 10% of your rabbits diet in total. The majority of your rabbit’s diet should come from hay.
Typically, it is safe to feed your rabbit 1 – 2 stems with leaves of basil per day. Remember that your rabbit should eat several different types of dark leafy greens daily.
So, can rabbits eat basil? Yes, they can, but only from 12 weeks old. When introducing the herb to their diet, do so gradually and slowly. For the first few weeks, only give only a few leaves at a time, and check how they react to it.
If they seem healthy, you can gradually increase the amount over time. Just always make sure your bunny is getting enough hay to give them the fiber needed to stay healthy and strong.