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Feeding your rabbit green foods

Leafy green foods are also important and a variety should be fed daily to rabbits of all ages. New plants should be introduced gradually to weanling rabbits.

Examples are broccoli, cabbage, chicory, chard, parsley, watercress, celery leaves, endive, radicchio, dock, basil and other herbs, kale, carrot and beet tops. Wild plants such as bramble, groundsel, chickweed, dandelion, plantain, sunflower, wild strawberry, dock and yarrow can also be given if available. All green foods should be washed before feeding. 

Green plants are a useful way to provide variety, some nutrients, water and some dental wear, but as they are generally 90-95% water and often relatively low in fibre excessively large amounts would need to be consumed to fulfil daily needs. Therefore they should not be fed in very large quantities. Dried plants and herbs, often mixed into hay, are now also available.

Any greens should be introduced gradually and preferably fed consistently in order for caecal bacteria to adapt. There are a few myths about feeding lettuce to rabbits. Some lettuces (e.g. iceberg) contain a substance called laudanum, which can be harmful in large quantities and so they shouldn’t be fed. Lettuce is high in water and has very little nutritional value, so, although some types can be fed in small amounts it is not generally recommended. Darker, more leafy and fibrous varieties (e.g. romaine lettuce) can be fed, as they are higher in fibre and nutrients. Like any food it should be introduced gradually to avoid digestive problems. Large amounts of lettuce, for a rabbit unused to it, can cause digestive upsets.

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