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Results of Favourite Plants for Pet Rabbits Survey

FAVOURITE PLANTS FOR PET RABBITS- Results of survey March 2017-2018

There were 333 respondents. The number of rabbits they owned were:

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The respondents mainly came from UK (299). Other countries were USA (12), Poland (7), Denmark (5), Canada (3), France (2), Sweden (1), New Zealand (1), Ireland (1), The Netherland (1), Australia (1).

Question 3:  ‘Has a rabbit that you have owned ever suffered a definite adverse effect from vegetables, herbs, fruit or wild plants?’

There were 231 responses and 102 people skipped the question 

Poisonous plants

It is not known how many rabbits were exposed to poisonous plants. Probably very few.  102 respondents skipped the question. 228 people answered 'no' when asked if they had owned a rabbit that had died from eating a toxic plant. The remaining three people attributed a rabbit’s death to eating a poisonous plant (daffodils, lily and ferns). No details of clinical signs or post-mortem findings were given. 

Seven people described a rabbit’s illness after eating  toxic plants, which were eucalyptus, daffodil bulb, daffodil, bluebell bulb, fuchsias, tomato plant and foxglove.  The symptoms that were described included anorexia, lethargy or pulse abnormalities.  All the rabbits recovered. 

Safe plants

 34/333 respondents described advers effects from 'safe' plants. The signs that are described are listed here.  It is obvious that some plants do not agree with some rabbits digestive system but, in some cases, there could be underlying pathology that would account for the intolerance. 

Questions 4-8: Selecting plants for pet rabbits

The answers to Question 4 about vegetables and herbs for rabbits can be seen here. It can be seen that there is variability in rabbit's likes and dislikes with kale, parsley and coriander as favourites, which is not surprising.

The answers to Question 5 about fruit and root vegetables are summarised here. I was surprised by the answers about parsnips, which are a firm favourite with my rabbits. 

The answers to Question 6 about growing plants for rabbits are summarised in a long graph that can be seen here.  It was good to see how many people grow their own fruit, vegetables or herbs. Basil, mint, strawberries, roses and carrots are the most popular. 

The answers to Question 7 about foraging for wild plants can be seen here.  Grass and dandelions featured heavily with plantain, brambles, wild rose, willow, hawthorn  and clover as favourites too. These results are consistent with my approach to foraging for pet rabbits. It is a way of feeding rabbits with a range of plants they enjoy.

The answers to Question 8 about drying wild plants can be seen here. Stinging nettles, fruit tree leaves, marigolds, dandelions, plantain and willow leaves appear to be the easiest.

Lastly, the tips and comments from respondents are interesting. They can be seen here