As we all know, rabbits consume hay, pellets, vegetables, and fruits. But do rabbits eat marigolds? Yes, but not all varieties of marigolds are safe for them. Make sure that your pet is munching marigolds that are safe to eat. Find out what are the benefits of marigolds to rabbits!
Benefits of Marigolds to Rabbits
Marigolds are one of the favorite supplements of hungry rabbits. If you have marigolds and notice that there are clean-cut bites, your pet is probably the culprit! You don’t have to worry about your rabbit’s health since marigold is rich in fiber.
Since rabbits are herbivores, they require food with high fiber. Rabbits’ guts digest fibrous vegetation, but their digestive systems may overwork.
It happens when they are processing foods high in sugar and carbohydrates. Once this happens, it will affect the motility of the cecum. It is a structure that breaks starches and digestible fibers.
Once the cecum functions are affected, rabbits may experience cecal immotility disorders. It may also lead to other gut diseases like gastrointestinal stasis (GI stasis).
If you provide a high-fiber diet to your furry pet, these conditions can be prevented. Feeding it with marigold will keep its gut healthy and viable.
Aside from fiber, marigold is also rich in water. A rabbit’s body comprises ⅔ of water, so it must consume enough water every day. It keeps the rabbit’s temperature in a normal range.
In addition, it aids in the digestion of your pet, making it easier to pass stool. Water also absorbs nutrients and expels waste.
Carotenes and carotenoids cause the flowers’ bright yellow color. These compounds help produce Vitamin A that keeps the rabbits’ eyes healthy. Lycopene, an antioxidant, is also found in marigolds. It can prevent your furry pet from having cardiovascular diseases.
Introducing Marigolds to your Rabbits’ Diet
Although marigolds are beneficial, you must properly introduce them to your rabbits. All of the parts of marigolds are safe for your pet.
However, they love the petals because of their sweeter taste compared to other parts. Don’t be surprised if your pet doesn’t want to consume marigolds. Some bunnies find the flowers’ smell off-putting, so they don’t like eating them.
Unlike other vegetables and fruits, marigolds are not included in rabbits’ favorite list. If there are other treats, they will prefer them more than the flowers.
However, they will still eat the marigolds if there are no other choices. As a reminder, don’t substitute these flowers with hay. Hay is higher in fiber than marigolds, and they are essential to your rabbit’s everyday diet.
Only give your pet a small amount when introducing marigolds to your rabbit. Check how its gut reacts to the new food.
If its droppings start to soften, stop feeding the flowers right away. But if your pet doesn’t experience any harmful effects, keep providing the marigolds but not in place of hay.
An adult rabbit can consume one large marigold or two small marigolds in one night. You can also give them a few petals every day. But keep in mind that having a variety of foods in your rabbit’s diet will ensure that it gets all the nutrients it needs.
Make sure that you don’t overfeed your bunny with these flowers. Overfeeding them with marigolds may lead to diarrhea and GI status. It may also produce soft and watery cecotropes that it cannot even consume.
In addition, you should not feed the young rabbits with marigolds. Their digestive systems are very delicate compared to adults. If you want to keep your rabbit safe, the type of marigold that should be given to it is calendula only.
Types of Marigolds you should not feed to your Rabbit
Another question that you must answer is: are all types of marigolds safe for your rabbit? Unfortunately, no. There are species of marigolds that you must prevent giving to your pet.
They can upset the stomach of your bunny. Here are some of the types of marigolds you should avoid:
French Marigolds are smaller compared to common marigolds. Their shades are bright yellow, orange, and red. Because of their intense aroma, rabbits find these types repulsive. Aside from that, they can make your rabbit sick. It can also cause skin irritation to your pet.
Another type of marigold that is harmful to rabbits is marsh marigold. Its leaves are toxic both for humans and rabbits. It has a protoanemonin that can result in skin irritation if touched. This oily toxin can also result in convulsion, and it may cause a lesion to your rabbit’s digestive tract.
Mexican marigold, also known as tagetes erecta, is not recommended for your rabbit. Although little is known about these flowers, they may be toxic to your pet. This is because they are mildly harmful to humans.
Ways to Keep Away your Rabbit from Marigold
If you intend to feed your marigolds to your rabbit, there are different ways to keep it away from your plant. One of these is to build a fence that can keep your rabbit away from your plants.
It must be two to three feet high so that any kind of rabbit won’t be able to jump on the other side of the fence.
Rabbits only go to places where they feel safe and hidden. If you want to keep your rabbit away from your marigolds, clean the area around them.
Cut all the tall grasses and remove the debris or piles where your rabbit can hide. Once it feels exposed, your rabbit won’t go near your plants.
You can also make safe repellants that prevent rabbits from eating your plants. You can use an owl decoy since rabbits are afraid of owls. Placing pinwheels in your garden can also keep your rabbit away from your garden. Their sounds and movements make the rabbits scared.
But as a reminder, your rabbit will like to eat fresh marigolds from your garden. Instead of stopping it from consuming your plants, you can let it enjoy eating. Through this, you will keep your pet happy and healthy.
Other flowers that are beneficial to rabbits
Besides marigolds, there are other flowers you can feed your rabbit. Here are some of them:
Daisies have little nutritional value to your rabbit. You can give it to your pet but in a small amount and moderation only. Since it is packed with Vitamin C, it can improve the immune system of rabbits.
It can also aid the digestion of your pet. However, you must wash them thoroughly before giving them to your pet. They may contain pesticides and insecticides that are dangerous to rabbits.
Rabbits love to eat the petals of roses because of their sweetness. Your pet can eat all parts of this plant. Aside from their fragrance, roses are also full of nutrients and vitamins. This plant is beneficial to your furry pet.
Aside from its seeds, sunflowers’ petals can improve your bunny’s health. It contains minerals that are beneficial to the skin and coat of your pet. Some sunflower petals are dried and sold commercially for rabbits’ consumption.
Fortunately, petunias are some of the flowers that rabbits can eat. These flowers are known for their medicinal benefits, not only to humans but also to rabbits.
Rabbits also find dandelions as delicious treats. All parts of dandelions are safe for rabbits to consume. Its leaves are also rich in Vitamin A, contributing to your pet’s healthy eyesight.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the signs that my rabbit is eating my marigold plants?
Some of the signs that your rabbit is eating are the small clean bites on the leaves and 45-degree bites on the stems. You may also check the ground to see if there are tracks of your rabbit. Aside from that, your pet’s droppings are the same size as the chickpeas.
Are all parts of marigolds safe to eat?
Yes, all parts of marigolds are safe to eat. However, most rabbits love to eat petals because of their sweet taste. However, some bunnies prefer to consume the leaves.
Do rabbits love to eat marigolds?
It may depend on your rabbit’s preference. Some rabbits like to eat marigolds, but some won’t eat them because of their smell. Although marigolds are tasty, rabbits may prefer other treats.
What flowers should rabbits not eat?
Some of the dangerous flowers to your pet are buttercups, primrose, and periwinkle. You should also not give foxgloves, columbine, and monkshood. These plants are toxic for your rabbit, and they may cause adverse effects.
Do rabbits eat marigolds? Yes, they do, but you must give them the right kind of marigold. Some types of these flowers are harmful to the rabbits’ health.
Although marigolds are not one of your pet’s favorite treats, they have benefits. These flowers are rich in fiber, water, and nutrients.