Domesticated rabbits are sensitive creatures. So, you must be careful about what goes into their diet.
Thus, for the most part, rabbits cannot eat fresh grass clippings.
Clippings are mostly taken from lawnmowers and go through the process of fermentation. As a result, they can upset your rabbit’s stomach.
There’s a lot to keep in mind when determining the diet for your pet rabbit.
This is why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide about when it’s suitable to feed rabbits fresh grass clippings and other aspects of their diet.
Can Rabbits Eat Fresh Grass Clippings?
Generally, rabbits should not eat fresh grass clippings from the lawnmower since they undergo the process of fermentation, which can cause your rabbit’s stomach to get upset.
When It’s NOT Suitable for Rabbits to Eat Fresh Grass Clippings
There are some cases in which you should not let your rabbit eat fresh grass clippings at all. Here are those instances.
When It’s Clippings from a Lawnmower
It’s best not to feed your rabbit grass clippings from a lawnmower. Those clippings can start to ferment.
Lawnmowers can heat and crush the grass. Thus, this “mulching” speeds up the process of fermentation.
Fermented Grass Clippings from a Lawnmower Can Cause Serious Digestive Problems
Therefore, the clippings will ferment and lose their freshness. As a result, your rabbit could have an upset stomach if it consumes it.
- If a rabbit has consumed fermented grass, you can determine if they show the following symptoms.Gas is the first and most common symptom of rabbits eating fermented grass. Gas can be quite painful for rabbits, causing them to stop eating food altogether for some time.
- The lack of food can cause your rabbit to get constipated. Take your rabbit to the vet immediately if you suspect that it’s constipated. Constipation in rabbits can be fatal if not treated right away.
Don’t Let Your Rabbit Access Your Lawnmower
You should also make sure that you don’t leave the clippings in your lawnmower, especially if your rabbit can access it.
Your rabbit may want to eat the clipping in the lawnmower.
As a result, it could hurt itself from the metal mechanism on the device.
In addition to that, it may choose to burrow and fall asleep in the grass catcher of your mower. So, it’s best to keep it away from your pet.
When You Don’t Know the Source of the Grass Clippings
It’s never a good idea to cut grass clippings from any place with which you’re not familiar. This is because you won’t know if the grass is contaminated.
There are different chemicals and other materials that can contaminate grass (as mentioned below).
So, it’s always best to cut the grass from your own front or back yard. That said, the grass on your property should be completely clean and safe for rabbit consumption.
When It’s Suitable for Rabbits to Eat Fresh Grass Clippings
There are certain conditions that must be met if you want your rabbit to eat fresh grass clippings.
If all of those aren’t met, you could severely put your rabbit’s health at risk. Here’s what to keep in mind.
If You Have Cut Fresh Grass with a Pair of Scissors
It’s only suitable for rabbits to eat fresh grass clippings if you’ve cut some grass yourself with a pair of scissors.
This way, you can ensure that the grass is fresh and hasn’t undergone any form of fermentation.
The Grass Is Not Contaminated with Chemicals
You’re most likely going to get grass clippings from your own front or back yard.
So, you must ensure that you have not used any form of chemicals on the yards.
These chemicals include pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals that kill weeds. Any of these can be toxic to your rabbit’s health.
Know the Symptoms of Poisoning in Rabbits
It’s important to know what the symptoms of pesticide poisoning are.
This way, you can identify the problem and have your vet treat it right away. The symptoms include the following.
- Drastic variations in your rabbit’s body temperature. Your rabbit could be cooler or warmer than normal.
- A loss of appetite and a reluctance of eating.
- Staying away from other pets and humans. It could be depression in some cases.
- Convulsions and seizures in some extreme cases.
The normal temperature for rabbits is between 102 degrees Fahrenheit and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. You should consult your vet and purchase an appropriate thermometer to measure your pet’s temperature.
Other Animals Don’t Have Access to Your Yard
Some pet owners choose to have rabbits along with other animals such as cats or dogs.
In many cases, that can be safe for rabbits if the large animals don’t pose any threat.
However, it can become problematic if your other pets have access to your back or front yard. So, if you have a dog or cat, it may urinate on the grass without your knowledge.
The urine can be harmful to your rabbits if they eat the contaminated grass. So, it’s best not to risk letting your rabbit eat grass clippings if other pets play in the yard.
Wild Animals That Could Contaminate the Grass
Other wild animals, such as birds, could also contaminate your grass. Their traces of feces or urine can be harmful to your rabbits if they ingest that.
Create a Separate Area Where Your Rabbits Can Feed to Avoid Contamination
To avoid this contamination problem, you could create a separate area where your rabbits can feed.
It could be a small open space with clean, fresh grass. You could use that spot to cut clippings.
Just make sure that you’ve installed something to barricade entry from other animals.
This way, you can rest easy knowing that you’re feeding your rabbit clean, fresh grass.
What Grass Is Safe for Rabbits to Consume
Regular lawn grass should be safe for your rabbit to consume—provided the parameters mentioned above are met.
However, it’s best not to let your rabbit eat much of it if it has never been a part of its diet.
There are also some other plants that your rabbit can eat. Some types of plants are listed below.
- Goose Grass (or Cleavers)
- Garlic Mustard (or jack in the Hedge)
- Smooth Sow Thistles
Other than these plants, you must make sure that your rabbit doesn’t feed on any wild plants. You will need to be extra careful if you let your rabbit graze in the yard.
Some wild plants and flowers can be fatal, even if they’re safe for other pets such as dogs. So, keep that in mind when letting your rabbit roam freely on your lawn.
How to Introduce Grass to Your Rabbit’s Diet for the First Time
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems. Therefore, it’s vital that you gradually introduce new foods to your rabbit’s diet.
This way, your rabbit’s stomach will have enough time to adjust to new food.
Feed It Small Amounts of Grass in a Day for a Week
The best approach is to feed your rabbit a bit of grass one day. Next, monitor its digestive health.
If there are no signs of an upset stomach, you can feed it some more grass.
Continue to keep giving it small amounts of grass in a day over the course of a week or more.
You can gradually increase the amount of grass you feed it after that.
Keep Checking If Your Rabbit is Fine with Eating Grass
It’s crucial that you keep checking how your rabbit reacts to the diet change. Inspect its poop if you can to see if there’s anything unusual.
In addition to that, keep an eye out for any changes in its behavior. Your rabbit should be happy and active if it’s healthy.
What to Keep in Mind if You Let Your Rabbit Graze in Your Yard
You can choose to let your rabbit feed on the grass directly from your yard instead of feeding it clippings.
However, you will need to make sure of a few things before you do that.
These factors are listed below.
Make Sure That There Are No Escape Routes
Many rabbits enjoy exploring their surroundings. As a result, they may even try to escape from where they’re kept.
You must ensure that there are no small spaces in your yard from where your pet can escape.
Keep an Eye on Your Rabbits Digging
Rabbits have an instinctive habit of digging. So, even if there aren’t any escape routes you can see, they may be able to dig one for themselves.
It’s important to remember that rabbits are prey animals.
So, when a pet rabbit escapes, it can be quite challenging to find it and bring it back home safely. Thus, it’s best not to take any risks.
Monitor Your Rabbit When It’s Grazing in Your Yard
It’s vital that you never leave your rabbit unattended when you’re letting them outside.
Monitoring your rabbit will allow you to make a note of how much grass it’s consuming.
You can stop it from grazing further if it eats too much of it.
The other reason for monitoring your rabbit is to ensure that other predators do not attack it. Birds and other animals could harm your rabbit or scare it if you’re not present.
Also, monitoring your pet can help you prevent it from escaping.
When Is It best to Let Your rabbit Eat Fresh Grass
Instinctively rabbits wish to graze on grass at dawn and dusk. If you’re awake that early in the morning, you could consider letting it roam freely in your yard.
Also, you could simply cut some fresh grass and feed it. However, you should make sure not to cut the grass beforehand.
Foods like hay for rabbits contain preservatives. Therefore, they can last for some time before going bad. That is not the case with fresh grass.
Fresh grass starts going bad as soon you cut it. So, cut it only when you’re ready to feed your rabbit.
Why You May Want to Give Your Rabbit Fresh Grass
Now, some pet owners may consider avoiding feeding their rabbits grass altogether due to the potential health risk.
However, there are some reasons why you may want to reconsider that decision.
Grass can be a good addition to your rabbit’s diet if you feed it in moderation. Here are some of the benefits.
Good for Their Digestive and Overall Health
It’s important to understand that rabbits are a regular part of wild rabbits diets. Grass provides various nutrients that are beneficial to rabbits’ digestive and overall health.
These nutrients in include fiber, vitamins, and more. So, your rabbit can stay healthy in the long term if you feed it clean, fresh grass clippings in moderation.
Enough fiber in the diet ensures that food passes through the rabbit’s digestive system.
Thus, it can help prevent various digestive health problems. However, be careful to let your rabbit adjust to this food gradually.
It May Help with Preventing Teeth Overgrowth
Rabbits’ teeth consistently grow. Therefore, chewing food helps keep them from overgrowing and becoming painful.
Fresh grass, in particular, helps with maintaining optimal teeth length.
Fresh grass has silica on the blades. This substance helps with keeping your rabbit’s teeth healthy.
Overgrown teeth can be painful and make it challenging for them to groom themselves and swallow.
Don’t Feed Your Rabbit Grass as a Substitute to Other Foods
If you plan to feed your pet rabbit fresh grass, it’s important that you don’t use it as a substitute for other foods.
Hay is also an important part of rabbits’ diets. So, it’s best that you feed that to your pet to keep it strong and healthy.
Hay can also be easy to access because you can buy it from a store.
That said, it’s a good idea to choose high-quality hay from a renowned manufacturer. This way, you can limit the risk of any health complications with your pet rabbit.
Last Few Words
Your pet rabbit’s diet is integral to its health. So, you should always do your research before feeding it any type of food.
So, even though fresh grass can seem safe, it may not be in some cases.
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