Rabbits eat all sorts of things that most people would throw in their compost pile. In addition to melon rinds and store-bought vegetables, bunnies also love many common weeds. Feeding your rabbit safe edible weeds will help keep your rabbit healthy while saving you a bundle on rabbit feed.
Dandelion – The name “dandelion” is derived from the old French word “Dentdelion,” which means lion’s tooth. This name describes the shape of the dandelion leaves, which are deeply toothed, giving them a spiky appearance. Dandelion leaves are best when they first emerge from the ground in early spring and are completely edible. Rabbits love to gnaw on the leaves and there’s an abundance of them available because they are one of the most common weeds. Rabbits enjoy dandelion leaves no matter when they’re picked, but it’s best to pick plants without blooms.
Knotgrass – Knotgrass is a common weed found just about everywhere, including along the roadside. The weed grows anywhere from 1/2 foot to 6 feet in height. The leaves are oval or lance-shaped and are varied. The weed has many healing qualities and can be given to bunnies who suffer from stomach issues or kidney issues.
Nettles – Nettles may not seem like a likely choice to feed your rabbit because they’re covered in tiny stinging hairs that sting your skin if you come into contact with them. Pick the edible leaves from the plant while wearing thick work gloves. Remove the leaves and wash them immediately before touching. The stems of very young nettle can also be fed to your rabbit.
Thistle – There are many varieties of thistles and they are normally all considered to be noxious weeds. Young thistle plants are delicious to rabbits. Larger thistles should be carefully crushed so the sharp thistle points are no longer a problem. Thistle leaves and flowering tops are best collected in July on a dry day around midday.
Pale Smartweed – Pale smartweed commonly inhabits areas around water. It’s also found in orchards, pastures, irrigated crop fields and rice fields. The weed can grow to be as tall as 5 feet and is described as having a weak stem. The plant is edible and safe for your rabbit and may be helpful for a rabbit with stomach issues.