When you think about springtime, there are a lot of things that might spring to mind. Easter, baby chicks, rabbits, and daffodils. But are the latter two compatible?
As a rabbit owner, you’ll need to make sure that your bunnies are well fed and one might think that these animals would eat anything they found in the wild. To an extent, this is true. Wild rabbits certainly have access to a lot more plants than domestic rabbits. But that doesn’t mean that all of them are safe.
Daffodils are toxic to rabbits as well as many other types of animal. For this reason, you’ll almost never see a wild rabbit chowing down on one of these yellow blooms. What’s more, daffodils do not taste good to rabbits so even if they do try to have a little nibble, they’ll soon be deterred.
If you have domestic rabbits, you should always avoid feeding them daffodils. It’s best to avoid offering wild foods as a rule of thumb as you cannot be sure that there aren’t pesticides, other chemicals or parasites present. Stick to store bought foods and lots of timothy hay.
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Daffodils come from a genus known as alliums and this family includes a lot of other plants such as crocuses and amaryllis. What they all have in common is that they come from a bulb. So, generally speaking, if a plant comes from a bulb, you can feel confident that it is not suitable for rabbits to consume.
Daffodils and other plants in this family contain a chemical known as lycorine. Lycroine has emetic properties which means that it will cause nausea and vomiting. It is also possible for your rabbit to experience other nasty symptoms when exposed to this chemical. In the worst possible scenario, it could cause heart and respiratory problems.
Knowing that rabbits cannot eat daffodils, many gardeners consider using these plants as a way of keeping wild rabbits out of their yard. Is this humane? Well, it’s certainly better than using chemicals and traps since the rabbits are unlikely to even attempt to eat the daffodils and so won’t get sick.
It’s best to strategically place your daffodils at parts of your property where rabbits can enter. It’s also a good idea to avoid placing daffodils in amongst plants that rabbits like as they’ll just overlook their presence and continue munching on whatever takes their fancy
Apart from daffodils, there are several other types of flowers that rabbits cannot eat. In the wild, they will be naturally deterred by these but domestic rabbits may have access to them, perhaps without the owner’s knowledge.
If you are going to let your bunny hop around your backyard or you want to offer a treat, be sure to avoid the following flowers.
- Deadly nightshade (see also ‘ Can Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?’ )
- Meadow saffron
These plants would not usually be found in a domestic garden so are more applicable to wild rabbits. However, there are some plants that are common in and around gardens in the USA and around the world, that could cause your rabbit some serious harm. If you want to keep your pet safe, make sure not to grow these plants in your garden.
- Lily of the valley
- Morning glory
- Sweet pea
For more information, check out this comprehensive list of plants and flowers that are toxic to rabbits.
If you suspect that your rabbit has eaten any toxic flowers then you should take them straight to your vet who will be able to perform a proper assessment. That said, your rabbit may display symptoms at home that alert you to the fact they’ve indulged in something they haven’t.
Typically speaking, rabbits may experience vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, irritation in the mouth, weakness and fatigue, seizures, bleeding, difficulty breathing, and in the worst cases, it could be fatal.
The good news is that there are some flowers that rabbits can happily munch away on without becoming ill. If you want to offer a treat to your pet (and it should be exactly that; a treat,) then flowers are a good choice.
For example, rabbits love eating roses. One of the great things about these plants is that your pet can eat the whole thing; petals, leaves, stem, and all. Your bunny may also be partial to a few daisies from time to time as well as dandelions. Since these are often seen as nuisance plants, feeding them to your rabbits might be a good way to tackle the problem.
Another plant that rabbits love is the sunflower. However, while this is safe for them, it contains a lot of fat so should only be offered in small amounts and very occasionally. The same can be said with most flowers as these aren’t a crucial part of your rabbit’s diet.
You might also decide to offer your rabbit a selection of herbs. These furry little creatures can’t get enough of this type of greenery and for the most part, it’s good for them. Things like coriander, parsley, mint, basil (see also ‘Can Rabbits Eat Basil?‘), and many others are suitable for your bun.
Rabbits are relatively complex animals and need a very specific type of care. This can be off-putting to some potential pet owners and rightly so. If you don’t think that you can provide the right care for a bunny then it’s best not to get one.
However, if you are ready to take on the challenge then the good news is that your rabbit’s diet can be kept very simple. Rabbits need as much as 85% of their diet to be made up from hay or dried grasses.
Most commonly, pet owners opt for timothy hay but there are other types available. The most important thing is to ensure that you choose hay that has been specially blended for rabbits. Again, going out into the wild and picking your own dried grasses could lead to your pet becoming very ill.
As well as hay, you should provide your bunny with suitable rabbit pellets. Usually, you would choose junior pellets up until around the age of six months. At this point, you can transition your rabbit onto an adult food which will give him or her all the most essential nutrients.
Additionally, you should make sure that you give your rabbit a handful of leafy greens from time to time. It’s also OK to offer certain fruits in moderation.
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems at the best of times but there are some foods that could cause more trouble than they’re worth. Despite rabbits living in the wild and having access to a range of plants, not all of them are good.
Daffodils are toxic to rabbits and will cause anything from mild symptoms like nausea and vomiting through to more serious ones like cardiac arrest. In any case, it is advisable to avoid offering these plants as well as any other from the allium family to your rabbit.
There are some plants and flowers that are suitable for rabbit consumption but these should never form part of your pet’s main diet. To keep your rabbit fit and healthy, always provide plenty of fresh hay, rabbit pellets, and leafy greens.