Sunday 18 March 2012

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary in Time

Pea, Pod, Cosmos or Goofy enjoying an extra treat

Did you know that one of the things bunnies like to eat the most is fresh herbs? Oh you did? Well, erm, that's OK then. If you didn't, you might want to check out the RWAF list of veggie snacks safe for bunnies.

Herbs are great for bunnies but they have a very strong aroma and taste so consequently some take a while to get used to them. And here's why that's important.

A few weeks ago Jemima had a 'bad day'. I still don't know what triggered it, but she spent the day avoiding me, wouldn't eat her breakfast or any treats/pellets I offered her. This was not like her at all, usually even when she is sick she still eats in horse-like portions. She was lively enough, shot off like a rocket if I went near her (probably knew she was at risk of being carted off to the vets), but clearly something was up and she wanted to be left alone.

As you will most likely know, if a rabbit stops eating it is something to be concerned about. Their guts are in almost continuous motion with their unstoppable mission to turn all grass and hay into very large piles of poo. If the gut stops moving, if they go into GI stasis, there is a chance you won't get it going again and that's the end of that. If you hit 24 hours of no eating/pooing you are definitely in proper emergency territory.

Well whatever caused Jemima's illness, the one thing I could get her to eat during that day was parsley. She'd only pick at it at first, but it was just enough to keep me from going into stress-overdrive until, thankfully, she started to bounce back. By the next day was eating normally again.

My experience is not unique it turned out, as discussing the incident with fellow volunteers we found that a number of our bunnies had found herbs to be the only food they could face in times of sickness.

So here's my point. Those of us that have had bunnies for years have had at least one close call with stasis, where the vet has sent you home with gut-motility medicines and liquid food to syringe feed, where you are desperate for them to eat something. If you take the time to gradually introduce your bunnies to different fresh herbs and find out which ones they really like now, it may give you just the head-start you need when you find yourself in this situation in the future.

Plus of course, your bunnies will love you more for giving them such tasty food!

1 comment:

  1. Well I must have a clever mum because she gives me fresh cut herbs all the time with my greens like parsley,basil and coriander I liked from th first time she gave them to me yummy!