Rabbit Safe Foods

NOTE: use your brain when giving foods to rabbits. start tiny, monitor health, and then increase portions. Too much of any one thing is never a good idea.

NOTE: I am NOT vouching for the safety of this list, as you will see from my personal notes that I don’t have a problem with some things that she says are a problem, and other things are cautionary that she doesn’t comment on. I saw it, thought hmm….this might give some ideas. Why not keep an reference to it.

The following comes from here.

Bunny Forage


‘ve been looking for a list of plants and such that are OK to feed to rabbits, as well as those that are big no-nos. I stumbled across this list while researching as to whether it is safe to feed pigweed to chickens (it seems to grow very well in spots where I have had my mobile chicken pen…)

I call this method of research where I find answers to one question while searching for the answers to another “Planned Serendipity”

The rest of what follows is from http://www.carlaemery.com/newsletter03.htm

Home-fed Rabbits–Rabbits are a little picker than chickens. They are, of course, herbivores. They like to eat at night. In the daytime when I’m working in the garden, I stuff their cages with stuff I know they like: sunflower stalks, Jerusalem artichoke stalks, Bermuda grass, celery and celery root, carrots, prunings from fruit trees. In the morning, there’ll be much less, as they eat their way through the jungle. A rabbit in a cage crammed with food is a happy rabbit! I grow wheat and snip off green tops for them. They love that too. Here’s more info on what rabbits can and can’t eat…


Acacia: no food value, but twigs can be entertainment
Alfalfa: fresh or hay
Apples: all parts
Beans and bean vines (not soybean)
Beets: both top and root of regular, sugar, or mangel
Bermuda grass
Blackberry bush leaves
Bluegrasses, including Canadian
Bread: dry, or soaked in milk
Cabbage: some is okay, too much may cause goiter
Carpet grass
Carrot: root and tops.
Cereals (if fat-free and fresh)
Cheeseweed (malva)
Clovers: any but sweet clover
Corn: fresh or dried ears, fresh or dried stalks.
Cow Parsnip
Fescue: red, etc.
Filaree (stork’s bill)
Grains: all types, unless dirty, damp, or moldy
Grapefruit: all parts (don’t feed too much)
Grass: Lawn clippings, grass grains, as long as they carry no
insecticides & are fresh
Hazelnut leave
Jerusalem artichokes: tops, stems, or roots
Kentucky bluegrass
Kohlrabi: all parts of plant okay
Lettuce: all kinds – personal note: be aware that iceberg lettuce can cause problems. Feed VERY limited amounts.
Malva (cheeseweed)
Meadow fescue
Milk: fresh or sour, as well as milk products
Millet: foxtail and Japanese
Napier grass
Oranges: all parts (don’t feed too much)
Orchard grass
Peas and pea vines
Potato: but, not peelings, sprouts or leaves!
Prairie grass
Redtop grass
Rhodes grass
Root vegetables
Rye, rye grass, and Italian rye grass
Sheep sorrel
Sorghum grains
Spinach: in limited amount
Sprouted grains
Sudan grass
Sunflower: leaves, stalks, or seeds
Sweet potatoes: vines or tubers
Swiss chard: in limited amount
Turkey mullein
Turnips: all parts of plant


Some greens are high in oxalic acid in the uncooked state: pigweed, amaranth greens, spinach, comfrey, and Swiss chard. To a small-weight rabbit, especially a young one, these can be a problem. I do feed some spinach and chard to mine because they like it, but I don’t give them a whole lot. The plants listed below range from deadly poisonous, to hard-on-a-bunny, to no nutritional value.

Bracken fern
Castor beans
Cherry leaves
Chokecherry leaves or pits
Comfrey — Personal note: some folks feed this with no problems.
Hemlock, poison/water
Jimson weed
Johnson grass
Milkweed — personal note: yet wild bunnies have been known to eat this no probs.
Miner’s lettuce
Moldy bread, moldy anything
Pigweed – personal note: mine will eat the young leaves, they leave the stalk and older leaves
Potato leaves, sprouts, or peels
Rhubarb leaves
Soybeans or soybean vines
Sweet clover – personal note — what’s wrong with clover?
Tomato leaves

Other personal notes: mine will eat melon rinds of all sorts … plus any flesh I leave on them. I make a point of only feeding one slice per week. Don’t want to overdo this wet food at all. Mine do not do well on cabbage itself, they can handle limited amounts of broccoli stalks. I am VERY careful with this family of plants.

For other ideas check out carla’s page here.


63 thoughts on “Rabbit Safe Foods

    • I gave my 2 house Rabbits Corncobs regularly not realizing that they eventually compact in the gut (as they cannot digest them properly) I found this out when they both became ill, and I had to rush them to the vet who immediately put each of them on a drip, and it was touch and go for a week! The bill was horrendous…. but at least i have my little bunnies back,(and a hard lesson has been learned) !!!

  1. I’ve fed corn frequently to my buns…particularly in the winter and have had zero problems with it. I find that if it is mixed with other things in the diet it is not a problem. NOW…if it were a sole or main food, that would be a different story.

    Rabbits can have troubles digesting it.

  2. Hi, My rabbit loves eating paper and cardboard. She runs in my room and eats: hay, carrots, rabbit pellets, Nasturtium leaves, a little paupau every now and then, strawberries, and sometimes a little spinach. What am I doing wrong?

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  4. Thankyou I newly have rabbits and made the mistake of letting them eat anything they wanted for the first week (my daughter’s pets) so I have copied this list and will get an eating plan up and going for the babies (2). Very useful, particularly the harmful ones.

  5. Thankyou for this list i have been particularly worried about clovers as i have alot in my garden bu the one i have are the white clovers and are fine for my rabbit. also i wonderd about onion?

  6. thanks i cant wait for christmas when i can give my bun some orange… he goes bananas over it and mine loves sweet potato especially if you mash it up without any added like butter etc!!!!

  7. rabbits can eat potato.. they just can’t eat the GREEN potato. Most rabbits, prefer to have their potato cooked and mashed. DO NOT add butter etc to it though.

    I must add this caveat: bunnies can be given a greens only diet, but if you do so you must make sure you also give them a BALANCED diet. Rabbits are herbivores..that means they eat trees, branches, a variety of greens. They also need salt and minerals.

  8. My 2 month old “dutch dwarf” bunny ate a few cat kibbles tonight.
    I’m a new bunny owner and didn’t realize it might be bad until reading up on bunny diets. It was Purina One Chicken & Rice Formula. I think it only ate about 2 or 3 small pieces at the most. Any advice. She seems okay, and is eating just fine but I haven’t seen any poops lately so I’m a bit worried.

  9. i wouldn’t worry on it. 2-3 pieces shouldn’t hurt her.

    I’ve heard of a rabbit who would ONLY eat cat food and did quite well, though it is not a diet that I would recommend. πŸ™‚

    • bunnies are ok to eat certain types of lettuce but the big no no one is ice burge lettuce that is toxic to them. They are fine to eat gem lettuce.

  10. Don’t let him eat it by keeping it cleaned up. πŸ™‚ As to losing your bunnies from feeding them lettuce…perhaps you fed it to them too quickly OR you had an illness running through your rabbits that the lettuce merely pointed out more clearly. Many rabbits can eat lettuce with no issues.

  11. some rabbits can eat tomato leaves and be just fine. They are toxic…not immediately poisonous. So it’s a matter of seeing if he handles them okay. I wouldn’t advise giving him more of them. πŸ™‚

  12. Peter Rabbit ran into the briar bush for a reason (and it wasn’t just to hide from Brer Fox. πŸ™‚ raspberry and blackberry leaves are just fine for them, as are roses. Currants on the other hand don’t tend to go over well. Though mine have eaten gooseberry.

  13. In my rabit’s hutch under all the bedding hay etc I’ve got a plastic table cloth to soak up any moisture.
    Not sure if this is cause she’s only very young, but she sometimes eats the table cloth.
    Can this harm her???

  14. please be carefull feeding rabbits apples, the seeds are poisonous Apple seeds contain cyanogenic acids. humans are protected by the hard shell but rabbits chew them and release the poison cyanide

  15. my rabbits have had many apples…I’ve watched them eat them and what happens to the seeds is they disappear into the bedding. Also remember that yes the seeds are poisonous but they aren’t immediately deadly. You have to eat ALOT of apple seeds to kill a body.

    • Apple seeds can definitely be very toxic to rabbits. My mini lop almost died from eating a few seeds that were in a wedge of apple. His breathing was almost non existent and very labored. He kept passing out and I’d have to revive him. Very touch and go. He pulled through and I learned a hard lesson.
      Mr Bunstein is happy and healthy.

      • I give my bunnies apples as a treat but always cut out the seeds as they are toxic. To be on the safe side always cut the whole apple core out before feeding to your bunnies.

  16. It think some bunny owners are a bit too precious with this whole diet thing. Use common sense. Everything in moderation, really. I know this sounds irresponsible, but if my rabbit decides to eat corn, well I also believe that their judgement is better than mine when it comes to sensing their food and diet. I’m quite liberal though..

  17. My grandfather bred rabbits for ten years and I have had two as pets. The second one is now 8.5 years old. I also work with Gainesville Rabbit Rescue in FL. In my experience, NEVER give them bread or crackers or things with grain. They can’t digest it. A very little bit (including corn) won’t hurt them, but they don’t digest it. It just passes through. Too much can stop up their very sensitive digestive system and it all has no nutritional value for them. Ironically, a rabbit’s diet is closer to that of a horse than any other animal, even mice. Milk products are another no no. Fruits are good but in moderation, I can’t think of any that are bad for them. Never let them have seeds of any fruit, maybe strawberries and kiwi as an exception. Regular potatoes= bad for bunnies. Sweet potatoes= good for bunnies. Sweet potatoes have a lot of the same vitamins that carrots do, hence the orange color in both. Cabbage and broccoli in severe moderation. Broccoli usually goes well if introduced to their diet slowly but I would avoid cabbage at all costs. My grandfather fed his rabbits cabbage once and lost like 20 to severe diarrhea within 24 hours. At the same time, any high water content food (like celery) can lead to diarrhea if you give them too much. Diarrhea is a big deal in rabbits. My best suggestion if your rabbit has diarrhea is to keep them on a strictly hay (timothy) diet for a few days until their system evens out. Romaine lettuce and most green, leafy veggies are great, but DO NOT give them iceberg lettuce. It has no nutritional value and a high water content that could give them diarrhea so I would strongly suggest to avoid it entirely.
    Ideally, a rabbits diet should be 1/2 hay (let them eat as much of it as they want), 1/4 pellets (plain, not the kind with little treats in it; maybe a cup a day, depending on the size of the rabbit. Too much makes them fat) and 1/4 fresh veggies. They can have fruits as a snack but I wouldn’t do more than once every 2-3 days. A strawberry a day is acceptable or an apple slice a day but bananas have high sugar content so I would split it into halves or quarters and not give them more than a total of one banana a week.

  18. it is lovely to hear from rabbit aware folks. And that’s one of the things that is so nice about rabbits, is how very versatile they are. They can thrive under so many different types of management. Your method Punkbunny might work for your rabbits, but they might not work for others.

    I have successfully fed my rabbits all sorts of things, and have also successfully raised them without hay and they have done just fine. Not all rabbits do well on veggies, some rabbits thrive on them. There is just not one set way of caring for them. As long as overall the rabbit is healthy and appears content the rest is just personal preference. πŸ™‚

  19. We have had my son’s pet rabbit for 11 years. His favorite 2 treats are fresh blueberries and believe it or not, the Austin Peanut butter crackers! I was worried, as I don’t think they are particularly healthy for him, but he has had 1/2 a cracker in the morning and the rest in the evening along with his pellets, and some fresh fruit and he’s still here! πŸ™‚

  20. Can my lionheas eat leaves from my ginger plant in my garden? A friend was over & put a leaf in his cage. He ate a little before I got the leaf out of his cage. He loved it & was upset when I took it out. Would it hurt him is I give him more?

    • Please don’t feed your rabbits dog biscuits, rabbits are herbivores/fibervores (meaning they need a high fiber diet for their digestive system to function at its best) dog and cat biscuits are for carnivorous animals as they contain traces of meat or meat flavoring and that’s very bad for rabbits……. wouldn’t recommend trying them on one.

  21. Where did you get your information about burdock root? I have a sickly 13 year old rabbit who has ecuniculi all his life and without burdock in his diet he wouldn’t be alive today. I really feel that your information is partially not correct. I’ve done extensive studies on homeopathy with rabbits for over 15 years and am a vet tech for 20 years. The vets I work for consult me about any rabbit cases and I’m not a vet. I’m just knowing my stuff and I know it well. So maybe you should remove burdock from your bad list after doing a widespread research reevaluation of the most sacred healer burdock.

    • All these people asking questions about rabbits here should read the first page info about dogs mostly and I am concerned that you should be asking your vet or local rabbits or 4h clubs these intimate questions aboutvrabbits. People who are not Dr’s technically should not be giving out advice because if something goes wrong the person who asked you can legally sue you and they will win especially since documentation is available for all the world to see.Tread lightly on the info you give because your intentions may be in the right place but your info may not be as for sure as you think. Just a heads up to all parties.

    • Hello All. Great topics and discussion. I have had rabbits all my life. We live by the ocean and collect sea/clam shells. We also cook clams/mussels/oysters for dinner. I toss the leftover shells into our garden. Recently when letting our French Lops out for a stretch they found the clam shells and enjoyed gnawing on them. Is this OK?

  22. I fed my rabbits iceberg lettuce not knowing it was bad. One is a wild baby bunny that I found alone at my daughter’s house while mowing. It came right to me. I’m not sure if I should let it go when it gets bigger or not. We haven’t handled it but the day it came to me. Need help with both things please and thank u

    • Iceberg lettuce is not bad for your bunnies unless you feed too much of it. In regards to the wild funny I would simply Let It Go wild bunnies do not do well in captivity. Unless of course it is a bunny who simply looks like a wild bunny and isn’t in which case it’s a feral domestic which means keeping it as a pet would be a good idea.

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