Can Rabbits Eat Chives? Are Chives Poisonous to Rabbits?


Quite a large percentage of humans enjoy the use of chives in their different foods. Only a minimal amount of people want to miss out on the sweet-smelling savour and tantalizing aroma that the slices of this green herb add to soups, curries, and even salad.

Aside from the chive itself, another beautiful component is the purple flowers that the herb produces. Just like chives, the flowers are edible and not only beautiful but they contain an aroma that makes eating joyous.

They are usually added to salads to beautify their appearance. Yes, I will recommend Chives and their flowers to every human out there. But the question right now is focused on rabbits, not humans. Chives might be safe for humans but are they safe for rabbits?

Can Rabbits Eat Chives?

Rabbits are very cute and curious animals. They are beautiful to have as pets and pets need to be fed. Many times we are tempted to feed our pets the food that we eat and it is important to note whether it is safe for them to eat it or not.

If you’re part of the large percentage of people who enjoy the use of chives, considering that it is a herb and it is green, you might very well think it is safe for your rabbit to consume.

The answer to the question though is very tricky. Over time, the argument is that rabbits can consume chives. The counterargument is that rabbits cannot. Research has shown that both answers are correct in their spheres and it is important you know why. However, the answer to the question is yes, rabbits can eat chives, and no, rabbits shouldn’t eat chives.

What Are Chives?

Before going further, let’s examine what chives are. The appearance of a chive is similar to that of green onions or scallion. However, a chive is not exactly in the family of green onions. Chives are herbs that are green, thin, and long.

Thinner than green onions. They are from a family of bulb-forming perennial flowering plants. This family also includes garlic, leek, onion, etc.

This family of herbs is established to be toxic for not just rabbits but even a lot of animals. Fun fact, wild rabbits run from the herb. They are disgusted by its smell and taste. This probably makes you wonder why certain people support the ingestion of chives by rabbits when even wild rabbits run from them.

Why Can Rabbits Eat Chives?

The number of people who have agreed that rabbits can eat chives always adds a clause to the sentences. “That the rabbits eat only a minuscule amount of chives.”

Chives as earlier established are green herbs and they contain a lot of nutrients. Examples of those nutrients are carbohydrates, sugar, some fat, some vitamins, fibre (dietary), and elements such as Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium. Chives are also known to contain little amount of acid.

Although chives do not contain too much fibre, this is still an important nutrient for rabbits, and chewing a bit of chive can provide it to rabbits. In addition, chives can also serve as a form of antioxidant for rabbits. But the trouble comes when your rabbit consumes too many chives.

Why Rabbits Can’t Eat Chives 

Chives have more disadvantages than advantages. Considering the nutrients listed in the previous paragraph, chives contain substances that can cause harm to rabbits, especially if they eat a large amount of them. Hence, this is the reason why it is safer to say no, rabbits can’t eat chives.

Aside from the fact that rabbits get irritated by the smell and taste of chives, the herb has a high tendency of affecting the digestive system of rabbits. Chives contain the lethal amount of acid possible to irritate the digestive system of a rabbit. It is important to note that rabbits have a sensitive digestive system.

This is the reason why it is important for the food eaten by rabbits to be checked. Also, the reason why rabbits should be allowed to consume mostly fresh foods or fruits. Hence, chives are not much advisable for your rabbit.

What Happens When My Rabbit Eats Chives?

Chives are known to contain some chemical substances. These are certain disulfides and thiosulfates. These substances provide the aroma and flavour enjoyed by the human consumers of chives but are one of the reasons a rabbit must not consume too many chives.

Disulfides are known to attack the red blood cells of the rabbit and make them weak or flabby and liable to burst. Of course, this doesn’t happen immediately after a rabbit consumes the chive. It dangerously lingers for a few days. This effect is known as hemolytic anaemia.

Other than this, an upset stomach is very common after rabbits eat chives. Common to this is the anorexia that flips on in the rabbit. The rabbit can become irritable with food, not only because of the stomach but because of a mouth infection that can also occur. When you suspect that your rabbit has consumed too many chives, it is important to watch the rabbit carefully. Below are a few symptoms to watch out for:

I. Weakness or Dizziness

 A common factor to note is weakness in the rabbit. Due to the heaviness or indigestion in the rabbit’s stomach, it becomes difficult for the rabbit to move or stay awake for long.

II. Irritable to Food

This is pretty much obvious. Your rabbit may refuse to eat many times and get irritated by food. This is a good thing to note and report to your vet as soon as possible.

Other common symptoms are;

  • Mouth irritation – continuous chewing of the mouth and gum. This can lead to pale gum too.
  • Change in urine colour.
  • Cough
  • Bloating 

What to do?

As much as it is important to take your rabbit to the vet as soon as you observe these symptoms, if you can’t make it immediately, you can do the following;

You can feed the rabbit with some grass, hay, and even water. These substances help to speed up or ease the work of the rabbit’s digestive system and simultaneously relieve the rabbit of its stomach upset.

Another thing to do is keep the rabbit in a dry but cool environment. This enables the rabbit to relax.

At the same time, reduce the movement and the rate at which you carry the rabbit. With too much movement, the rabbit is further weakened and the upset is not helped. Most importantly, keep checking the urine and the excrete of the rabbit. Diarrhea can be common and the reduction is an improvement. 


The argument of whether a rabbit can eat chives or not might be prominent. But you must learn whether or not you want to go through the danger.

It is established that there is more harm than good but if you can make sure to watch what your rabbit ingests, the how and its behaviour, you can serve the rabbit bits of chives once in a while.

If you can’t be as careful, it is best to avoid chives entirely. Instead, stick to other herbs such as basil, lavender, mint, parsley, rosemary, etc for your rabbit. 

Written by Justin Michaels

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