Rabbits love having a wide variety of foods in their diets to keep them satisfied with lots of different healthy flavors, just as humans enjoy having different foods.
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What is Wheat Grass?
Wheatgrass is the tender young shoots of the first leaves or sprouts of the common wheat plant. Humans often use these tender greens to put in their smoothies for great nutritional value. Wheatgrass has vitamins, minerals, amino acids in it.
Wheatgrass is grown for the cereal grain that it produces. It’s usually harvested before the seeds are ripened for green wheatgrass or it can be dried into brown hay from wheatgrass. When the seeds ripen, the plant’s stalks will then turn a deep golden brown color and this is when it is used for bedding for pets.
Can Rabbits Eat Wheat Grass?
Bunnies can eat wheatgrass and also the hay from wheatgrass when it’s dried out. But rabbits can’t eat products made from wheat such as grains and bread. As with all diet changes for your rabbit, you should introduce the wheatgrass to it with a tiny portion at first and watch your rabbit closely for any signs of digestive upset, gas, or diarrhea. These items will occur within about 2 hours of consuming a new food because a rabbit’s digestive system moves very quickly.
What Nutrients are in Wheat Grass?
Wheatgrass is packed full of vitamins for good health, including vitamins A, C, K, E, and vitamin B6. It’s also a good source of thiamin, niacin, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, selenium, and a lot of dietary fiber that aids in digestion for both bunnies and humans.
How To Introduce Wheat Grass to Your Rabbit
It’s very important for you to realize how to feed these sweet tender shoots to your rabbit. Whenever you give your rabbit to eat, you should never replace the hay in his diet. Your furry friend should always have 80% of his daily diet as a good quality hay, such as Timothy. The hay keeps its digestive tract in good working order and it also helps to effectively wear down your rabbit’s ever-growing teeth as well. Wheatgrass has a much smaller percentage of fiber in comparison with hay.
Your rabbit should also be eating fortified rabbit pellets each day at the approximate rate of 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pellets a day for every 6 pounds of body weight of your rabbit. In addition to these two items, a rabbit’s daily diet includes about 10% to 15% fresh vegetables and a tiny bit of fruit. Leafy greens are a majority of the fresh vegetables and wheatgrass can be given to your bunny along with other mixed fresh greens.
You shouldn’t feed baby rabbits any leafy greens until they are at least 12 weeks old. Adult rabbits usually eat 1 cup of greens per day for every 2 pounds of their body weight. A good mixture of fresh greens should have 3 to 5 different plants with low oxalic acid.
Start off with only a small number of shoots and watch your rabbit closely for any signs of stomach ache. Gradually increase the small amount over the course of at least one week, up to two weeks, so his body can get used to the new food type gradually.
It’s best not to feed your rabbit the golden brown straws to eat if you have green shoots because there is less nutritional value in dried grasses.
You also need to make sure that there are no pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides on the wheatgrass that you feed your furry friend. These items can cause him great harm and can actually result in death.
Where to Source My Rabbit’s Wheat Grass From
In order to be certain that there are no additives on wheatgrass that can make your rabbit sick, you can grow your own for your nutritious rabbit food. You can actually buy kits that have trays, soil, and seeds for you to grow on a windowsill or on your patio or porch.
Each rabbit breed has different optimal diet. Learn more about Harlequin Rabbits and Lionhead Rabbits.
Related: Can Rabbits Eat Lemongrass?
How to Grow Wheat Grass At Home
Your first step to growing your own bunny greens is to find organic wheatgrass seeds. This will ensure that the seeds haven’t been treated with any manmade products that could harm your rabbit.
You then need to rinse your seeds and prepare them for soaking. In a planting tray that’s 16 inches square, you will need about two cups of seeds to cover the bottom of the tray. Put your seeds in a colander or fine mesh strainer and rinse them under cool water. Allow all the water to drain out of the colander or strainer and put the wet seeds in a bowl.
Pour about three times as much water as you have seeds in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow the seeds to soak for at least 10 hours or overnight. Repeat rinsing the seeds and adding water to the bowl twice more so that you’ve soaked them for a total of 10 hours or three nights. At this point, your seeds will be sprouting. Drain the seeds well.
Put paper towels on the bottom of your planting tray and add organic soil to the tray to about 1 inch deep. Sprinkle the seeds on the soil and slightly press them down, but don’t cover them. Water the growing tray with a squirt bottle evenly and lightly. Put moist paper towels on top of the seeds to protect them.
Each morning and evening lift up the paper towels and water the seed tray slightly. Then replace the damp paper towels on top of the seeds. Do this for 4 days and then remove the paper towels and you will see your sprouts growing. Water the grass each day with a misting of clean and cool water.
Keep the planting tray in partial sunlight and when a second blade of grass is starting to grow out of the original blade it’s time to harvest. This is usually within 9 to 10 days of growing your wheatgrass. You simply use scissors to snip off the blades of grass at the soil level.
Growing Wheat Grass in the Ground
If you would rather grow a larger quantity of wheatgrass, you can follow the same steps as you do to grow them in a tray, but plant the seeds on the ground instead.
If you have an abundance of wheatgrass, you can actually harvest it and store it over the winter to use as pet bedding for your rabbit and any other pets to help keep them warm when the cold winds are blowing. You should store your harvest of hay out of direct sunlight in a dry area that is not air-tight so it keeps its nutritional value as much as possible for many months.
If you allow your pet rabbit to be loose and roam around on the lawn for exercise and fun, make sure he can’t access your wheatgrass crops. He could eat too much and get an upset stomach if he’s grazing on it for too long. The best idea is to put a fence around your wheatgrass if you plant it on the lawn.
Wheatgrass is nutritional and good for your furry friend and most rabbits love it because it has a sweetness to the tender young shoots. It can be a very rewarding project to grow your own wheatgrass for your bunny because it grows incredibly fast to reward you quickly for your efforts.