Do you have thyme in your garden and also happen to pet rabbits or even wild rabbits that frequently visit your garden? If you do, you will understandably want to know if it is even safe for them and do rabbits eat thyme at all.
Yes, rabbits eat thyme. It is also safe for wild rabbits to eat thyme. However, it can become problematic if you overfeed your rabbit thyme, feed it rotten thyme, or if thyme has chemicals on it.
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Read on as we take you through the perks and possible downfalls of feeding your rabbit thyme and any other frequently asked questions about rabbits eating thyme.
What Is Thyme?
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) also known as summer thyme or common thyme is a popular herb that many people grow in their gardens with relative ease. It’s an aromatic perennial evergreen plant/herb that belongs to the same family as mint, sage, and dead nettle.
This herb is native to Asia, North Africa, and some regions of Europe. These plants have medicinal and culinary value. The common thyme variety, Thymus vulgaris is the most commonly used thyme.
Can Rabbits Eat Thyme?
Yes, your pet rabbit can eat thyme. However, there are a few practices you must follow when providing thyme to your rabbit. It is safe for your rabbit to eat though it should be in moderation.
Thyme should not account for more than 5% of your rabbit’s daily diet!
The thyme benefits your rabbit medicinally as well as nutritionally. It has some nutrients that are necessary for the development of rabbits’ well-being.
Minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, and Vitamins C, A, and B9 are found in thyme.
Can Rabbits Eat Thyme Leaves and Stems?
Thyme leaves and stems are edible and you can serve them up to your rabbit. Try to harvest them early and provide them to your rabbit. This is because when young, they are full of minerals and nutrients and are also tender and easier to eat and digest.
These two parts are the most important parts and hence, the most eaten parts as well!
Can Rabbits Eat Thyme Flowers?
The flowers of a thyme plant are also edible. However, rabbits generally do not take a liking to flowers. So, you are better off just offering your rabbit the leaves and stem of the thyme plant.
Try to harvest thyme for rabbits before it flowers as by this time the plant has matured and the stems become woody and the leaves are not as tender.
In fact, this works out perfectly since thyme flowers are actually more useful to us! You can collect thyme flowers with the leaves and stems and use it to make thyme essential oil. Also, these minute white or pink flowers find use as a garnish for salads, soups, or other dishes!
What About Lemon Thyme?
Lemon thyme is popular for its citrus smell and taste. It shares the same minty, earthy aroma as the common thyme, but with a lemon scent. Rabbits can eat lemon thyme too, again in moderation.
Lemon thyme has higher levels of calcium and acidic content than normal thyme. So stick to smaller portions!
What are the Health Benefits Of Thyme to Rabbits?
You now know that thyme has nutritional value to your bunny, but do you know that it has medicinal value too? Care should be exercised when treating your rabbit’s digestive tract as it is complicated. Let us show you what these health benefits actually are: :
- The herb thyme can help treat diarrhea as well as other digestive issues
- Thyme contains a compound (thymol) that destroys harmful bacteria that causes stomach infections
- Thyme contains rarer but crucial nutrients for rabbits such as Potassium and Copper, not to mention other minerals and nutrients such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamins like C, A, and B9
- These nutrients help prevent cardiovascular diseases in your rabbit
- However, the biggest benefit of eating thyme is that it kills worms and parasites that are in the digestive tract of the rabbit, acting as a non-chemical deworming aid
- It also increases the level of testosterone in male rabbits, enhancing reproductive health.
So, providing your bunny with a bit of thyme now and again isn’t such a bad idea.
Should I feed My Rabbit Fresh Or Dried thyme?
If you are a bit cash-strapped you can buy dried thyme as it is cheaper than fresh thyme. Both fresh and dried thyme is safe for your rabbits to consume. You can observe your rabbits eating habits to see if they prefer fresh or dried thyme, then you can then act accordingly.
You should also take into account how easy it is to source the fresh/dry thyme your rabbit prefers. Should you have fresh thyme in your garden and your bunny prefers dry thyme, you can look into methods on how to dry the fresh thyme.
For rabbits that love fresh thyme, you can either buy from your fresh produce market or invest in your own little bush. Start your own herb garden as there are other herbs that could help your rabbit too!
Is Thyme Toxic To Rabbits?
Thyme is not at all poisonous to your bunny and instead has quite a few beneficial factors you may not be aware of. Rabbits do suffer from bloating every now and again, especially when they eat something that affects their digestion.
You can then give them thyme, to ease the bloating. Thyme also helps other stomach-related issues.
NOTE- Thyme is not toxic if given fresh and grown without chemical usage.
How To Feed Your Rabbit Thyme?
Follow the steps below on how to feed your pet rabbit thyme:
- Reject thyme that is showing signs of yellowing, or wilt or that has been eaten by insects.
- Examine the thyme for snails, slugs, or insect eggs and larvae.
- Select thyme that is green and fresh.
- Wash the thyme in cool clean water to wash away any residual pesticides, fertilizer, or dirt.
- You can then place a measured amount into your rabbit bowel.
- Place this in the rabbit’s feeding area, this could be in the house (if it is residing with you indoors) or in an outdoor hutch.
- When the rabbit is finished eating, remove the bowel and any wasted thyme.
If you have followed these steps and your rabbit refuses to eat, do not force your pet. We as humans and animals too have our likes and dislikes.
How Often Can I Give Thyme To My Rabbit?
Yes, thyme is safe enough to give your pet rabbit every day, but make sure that it does not exceed 5 to 10% of their daily diet.
The reason for this is that the rabbit’s digestive system works well by eating high-fiber food like hay. And while thyme offers some vitamins and minerals, it does not contain any fiber or much nutritional value.
Possible Risks of Rabbits Eating Thyme
Although thyme is safe for your rabbit to consume, there are a few risks involved. These mainly arise when they eat too much of this herb or if it is old or diseased. In any of these cases, these are the problems to be aware of.
– Parasites In Thyme
Just like other plants, thyme can act as a suitable food source or breeding ground for various insects or even bacteria. So, it shouldn’t surprise you much that there are a few parasites to look out for when growing thyme.
Therefore it is necessary for you to check for insect eggs, insects, bugs, and slugs. Some of these pests can be ingested by your rabbit and cause it to fall ill.
– Chemical Poisoning
If you are buying store-bought thyme or sourcing it from a farm, there is another risk you must be aware of. There is a possibility (even the slightest chance) that the herb has been sprayed with pesticides or other enhancing chemicals.
Washing your thyme before presenting it to your rabbits is vital. It removes any residues as well as freshens the herb up. Also, sourcing your thyme from a supplier who grows it organically with no chemical use is a long-term and safe solution.
– Over Ripened Thyme
Once green plants exceed their lifespan, they will start to rot, especially if they have already been harvested. Rotting thyme will start to lose its composure, discolor, and even smell if it has gone far enough! The leaves and stems will no longer be in a good condition.
They may be wilted and have started to turn yellow. Do not give your rabbit thyme that is in this condition as it can cause them to experience digestive problems or other symptoms that point to the digestive system such as diarrhea and vomiting.
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If you are running out of things to feed your rabbit and you want to give them something with a few health benefits, the herb thyme comes to mind.
Yes, you can feed your rabbit fresh thyme or dry thyme. It helps the digestive system as well as works as a deworming medicine.
Unfortunately, overfeeding your rabbit or feeding them rotten/adulterated thyme can lead to poisoning, digestive problems, or parasitic infections.
You can feed your rabbit thyme but only 1 or 2 stems a day.