Saturday, 16 June 2012

More free forrage feasts...

This week we are featuring two very common plants that are great for feeding to your rabbits and are all over the place at present. Again, these can be dried and kept for the winter when tasty natural foods are hard to find. The first is Cleavers. It has several names - Goosegrass, Sticky Weed, Claggy Maggie..perhaps you call it something equally fitting where you live. Photobucket This plant needs no introduction as we have all found it stuck to our clothes after a walk at some point, no doubt! It is an exceedingly common plant, and it is safe to use. It is thought to be diuretic, and to have tonic properties, but it may take some rabbits a few goes to get used to the taste. The second plant is Common Hogweed, also known as Cow Parsnip. Photobucket This plant is a member of the carrot family and can grow up to 3 metres tall! It can be found on grassy verges and open woodland and has very large leaves. Only the leaves and stalks should be fed, not the flowers. It is regarded by some as one of the most valuable wild plants for rabbits and has no harmful properties, as long as the flowers are not used. Please don't confuse this with the imported Giant Hogweed, which is far bigger and very caustic to even touch. Common Hogweed is a native species and perfectly safe both to touch and for your rabbits to eat. Giant Hogweed generally grows along watercourses and can grow to over 5 metres tall. You can read about it here http://www.ceh.ac.uk/sci_programmes/documents/GiantHogweed.pdf Make sure you can identify hogweed and do not confuse it with other similar looking but harmful plants like fool's parsley. These are covered in more detail in the following books (please remember prices include postage) http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=207 http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=982

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