Can I Use Grass Clipping For Weeds In Flower Beds Garden Plants That Are Safe for Your Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

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Garden Plants That Are Safe for Your Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

You can harvest various garden plants/weeds to feed the rabbits or guinea pigs. During periods of bad weather, when the animals are confined to their huts, they will appreciate a bed of mixed grass clippings with embedded weeds. However, they prefer relatively short grass grass to coarse, long grass grass. The range of wild plants will of course depend on the season, but the largest selection will be available in spring and early summer. Before feeding any plants, check that they are not likely to be poisonous. If in any doubt, the best approach is to ignore any plants unless you are absolutely certain they will not harm your stock. As a general rule, all of the following are safe to use as food:

Stinging nettle (Rubus fruticosus): Rabbits especially like the young leaves. You can also offer older leaves, but be careful not to leave thorns on the stems if they are also fed. This is not a problem if one of the thornless cultivated varieties is available.

Chickweed (Stellaria media): There are different forms of chickweed and their distribution can be quite localized. However, in good conditions it is a vigorous growing plant and produces tiny white flowers.

Clover (species Trifolium): The plant is not easy to collect in bulk, as it often occurs sporadically in grasslands and usually feeds on grass. It is also often present in hay.

Tussilago farfara: This plant and its flowers are readily eaten by both rabbits and guinea pigs. It grows in all types of soil.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): easily grown from rootstock if desired. You can offer both flowers and leaves, but preferably together with other items, as this plant is said to have a laxative effect. As summer progresses, the leaves tend to die back and brown spots may appear on the surface. It is probably best to avoid leaves in this condition. In a protected and moist environment, the plants grow for most of the summer and long into the fall. Other, similar plants that are usually available a little later in the season are various forms of thistle (Sonchussp.) and lapsana communis (Lapsana communis).

Growsel (Senecio vulgaris): A common weed that can act as a laxative, but is often infected with a white or reddish fungus on the underside of the leaves. Do not use plants affected in this way to feed rabbits and guinea pigs.

Mallow (Malva sylvestris): More commonly found in rough grass than in the average garden, but still useful for forage.

Plantain (Plantago species): Various forms are known, and the plants are sometimes described as “rat tails” because of the long seeds that develop in late summer. Some species have wider leaves than others.

Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris): Traditionally used by rabbit breeders as a natural scratch deterrent, this plant is quite distinctive when in flower. It has small white flowers followed by distinctive triangular seed pods on a central stem.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): also known as Milfoil; this plant has delicate feathery leaves and a compound flower head. Rman is most noticeable in late summer.

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