Friday, January 9, 2015

Feeding Rabbits Naturally

Within the last 18 months, I've transitioned my animals off commercial feed.  It's full of GMOs, and I want nothing to do with them.  I wrote about the chickens here.  But I have also transitioned my rabbits to a whole grain mix, forage, and hay.  One of my goals this year on the homestead is to beef up my rabbit forage in the yard.  There are already several native weeds and cultivated perrenial plants growing in and around my yard that the rabbits love.  I just have to harvest them.  Some of them are


Purple Dead Nettle


Wild Violet

White Clover




My rabbits also get to take advantage of my garden plants, like basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, marigolds, borage, mint, lemon balm. thyme, echinacea, fennel, various greens, and carrot tops.  They get clippings from the thornless blackberry brambles and the willow and apple trees.

Though these plants/weeds grow wild in my area, I don't have any in my yard, so I bought seeds this year to grow them.



Stinging Nettle

Whenever I get the opportunity I put my rabbits out to forage for themselves.  This is my rabbit run area, and I plant it with PlotSpike Clover Blend, a deer forage.  I like this blend because it does not contain any rapeseed, which is the basis for canola, another GMO product.  While this photo does not show forage, the one below it is the same area once I seeded it.  It was full of clover and other good weeds.  Not only does letting the rabbits forage save me time, but it gives them the change to exercise and dig holes and be rabbits.  

I also cut out the bottoms of some old rabbit cages and am able to move them around to different areas of my yard for additional forage.

One plant I really hope to get going this year is Moringa.  It is a powerhouse of nutrients and will be an excellent protein source for the rabbits.  My region is borderline on successfully growing it, so we'll see how it goes.

If you want a more extensive list of rabbit safe plants, vegetables, and fruit, take a look at this one.

Rabbit Safe Plants, Fruits, and Vegetables
Some of what I grow is considered medicinal so I always check this list if I'm unsure of what I'm feeding, especially with nursing does as some of these can impact milk flow.

Medicinal Herbs for Rabbits

As always, when introducing a new food, do it gradually!  Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and even a small amount may be too much for your rabbit.

I'll leave you with some of my grow-outs munching at the bunny salad bar.


Happy homesteading,



  1. Hi Candace,

    This is cool! We buy organic feed for our chickens, but I have been trying to establish more forage for them in the last year; I also have access to a bit of freegan food for them (here in the EU, there is no GM food in stuff for human consumption, but it's still allowed in animal feed).

    I honestly can't remember how I found your blog, but I've been a subscriber for a while and I'm glad to "see" you again (my own blog is a bit neglected these days). Thank you for taking the time to share your experience :)

    1. Galadriel: Thanks for sticking with me. My chickens LOVE comfrey. As a matter of fact, they ate one plant down to the ground. I really hope it comes back this spring. I popped over to your blog, and it looks really interesting. I look forward to reading more from you.

  2. Candace, what an excellent post. Lots of good information and great photos.

    1. Thanks, Leigh! Coming from you that means so much!

  3. Candace!!! I am so excited to "see" you! Great info here, I'm definitely going to check into some of these plants, I would love avoid commercial GMO anything and everything.... Thanks for the 411

    1. Thanks! It's so nice to be "seen"! LOL! I hope you are able to implement some of this.

  4. Really good post thanks! I'm looking at breeding rabbits for meat this year but I don't want to be buying in lots of feed and feeding them as naturally as possible if I can.

    1. Thanks,Kev. It's definitely healthier for the rabbits to eat a varied diet and more economical for me. Good luck with your venture when you take it on.