Fennel is a plant that belongs to the carrot family. Scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare, this flowering plant has feathery leaves and yellow flowers.
Indigenous to Mediterranean shores, this plant is now cultivated in many parts of the world as a highly flavorful and aromatic herb - seeds, bulb, and foliage are all used for culinary purposes. Some cultivars such as finochio or Florence fennel has a bulb-like stem and it is used as a vegetable.
Do bunnies eat fennel
Yes. Rabbits can eat fennel, both "the leafy tops as well as the base"or bulb and you should not waste any of these parts but do not include the seeds. They are safe for this pet. Being fibrous, you should feed it as you normally do with leafy greens.
Nutritionally, fennel is loaded with many vital nutrients. For instance, its bulbs have carbohydrates, dietary fibers, some proteins, vitamin A, C, B complex as well as minerals including calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Your furry friend stands to benefit a lot from this healthy herb.
How much of F. vulgare should this pet have? The answer is simple, a packed cup of 4-6 different leafy greens one of them being fennel per a bunny weighing two pounds. This is enough per day. Other leafy greens you can mix include arugula, carrot tops, endive, mache, green or red lettuce, spring greens, dandelion greens, watercress, basil, cilantro, Bok Choy among many others.
Remember fresh foods should only account for 10-15% of your rabbit's diet. Hay such as timothy hay should account for over 80% and the remainder should be high fiber pellets, such as Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets.
Out of the fresh foods, leafy greens should account for at least 75% while the remainder can be treats of fruits and non-leafy veggies. Also, include unlimited fresh, clean water.
Whereas it is very healthy, feeding your furry friend with too much fennel can lead to intestinal disturbances including diarrhea and gas. Therefore, ensure you stick to the amounts we have recommended.
Before giving it to them, wash your fennel and chop it. Begin with small amounts as you watch the response of these pet's stomach. You can gradually increase the amounts to what we have stated.
Finally, if you are only feeding your bunny the bulb part of this plant, you need to reduce the quantities as opposed to feeding them the leafy parts. This is because it has slightly higher amounts of carbs and it can cause weight gain or obesity as well as a shift in the bacterial balance in the hindgut and possibly result in enteritis.
This crunchy plant will provide additional texture and taste to your bunny's diet. If available, you can include it in their diet. However, do not forget to keep varying the various fresh foods you give this pet.