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Thread: willowherb.

  1. #1
    Wise Old Thumper halfpenny's Avatar
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    Default willowherb.

    Can rabbits eat rose bay willowherb and nettles.
    The horses and goats love willowherb and we have lots of it here and wondered if the rabbits could have some.
    Last edited by halfpenny; 01-09-2010 at 01:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I'd love to know this, too, as it grows in my garden but have always been careful not to feed it to my buns.

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper prettylupin's Avatar
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    Nettles yes although some buns prefer them rolled and dried to remove the stings first. Depends how hardy your buns are!

    Rosebay willowherb - no idea sorry.


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  4. #4
    Warren Scout leong's Avatar
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    Rosebay Willowherb is a funny one, it appears to be safe for buns (we feed it ours with no ill effect) however it's toxic to horses and cattle. Goats and sheep have a resistance to pyrrolizidine alkaloids found in willowherb and the rabbits digestive system is very similar to this group (they are known as Pseudo-ruminants, i.e "hind-gut fermenters")

    Because it's a bit of an unknown I wouldn't like to recommend it (however we've never had any problems with our buns, and they love it)

    There's a good article discussing lethal dose here

    http://www.comfreycentral.com/research/pa.htm

    You'll notice from the chart of comparative ranking of animals based on susceptibility to poisoning, the rabbit would have to be fed 115% of it's bodyweight for a lethal dose compared to just 4% for a cow. Many, many plants however contain PA's (even ones on documented safe lists).

    Nettles are fine, i tend to dry them in an oven on low heat for a couple of hours as it removes the sting.


    EDIT, on a completely off bunny note, you definatley shouldn't allow horses to eat RBW.
    Last edited by leong; 03-09-2010 at 10:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper halfpenny's Avatar
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    I'm confused- cattle, sheep and goats are ruminants. Horses and rabbits are hind gut fermenters. I would never put any of my animals in a field of just willow herb- but they all love a treat of it. Never thought it would be bad for horses.
    Thanks for replying.

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