Owning an animal is a great joy and a great responsibility. Understanding our animal’s needs is essential to making sure that they receive the best care we can provide them. As a consequence, their diet is usually the first focus of ensuring their care. Rabbits, unlike some animals, have very sensitive stomachs.
Forget what we see in cartoons, your rabbit won’t just survive on carrots. They are herbivores which means they only eat plants. This is typically hay, grass or food pellets (should you choose that option for them). Could you jazz it up a little, and add a few snacks here and there?
Can Rabbits Eat Sage?
As earlier mentioned, a rabbit’s digestive system is very sensitive and they usually can survive on grass and hay which provides an adequate nutritional balance.
However, adding a few herbs here and there such as sage will pose no problem to your rabbit’s system. Keep in mind though that this does not mean every herb is great for your rabbit. This article is for sage only.
How Should Rabbits Eat Sage
First, it is important to understand how and why a rabbit eats. This provides a basis to understand how to feed them this herb. Rabbits are almost always eating. The average rabbit moves its mouth about 150 times a minute when chewing.
Typically, you should feed your rabbit twice a day but it is important to ensure that you let them have access to hay throughout the day. Rabbits have to eat in little bits multiple times a day. As much as 30 times of tiny food a day! Why? Because the rabbit’s teeth never stop growing. It needs to continually eat to wear down the teeth.
Think of it as chiselling the teeth to size. If it fails to wear it down, the rabbit gets painful dental issues caused by non or misalignment of the teeth. Only hay and grass can wear down teeth and so they are the most essential in your rabbit’s diet. What this means is that you cannot depend on sage alone as feed.
Also despite its constant eating, the rabbit can’t just eat anything. It needs a high fibre diet as its primary nutritional need. Sage is not just any plant-like grass. It is actually a mint plant and the most common is the Garden Sage.
Most people use it to add flavour in their foods. While Sage does have some fibre, this is not all its content and must be served sparsely to the rabbit.
The rabbit is also a selective eater and while it is a herbivore like cows, sheep and rams, it is a non-ruminant herbivore. This means that it has only one stomach and does not undergo as many processes to ensure food is well digested and filtered as the ruminants. Its digestive system is incredibly sensitive and a lot different than you would imagine.
The rabbit keeps as much calcium as it eats in its food. This means that as long as there is calcium in any amount in any food they eat, their bodies will continue to store it even when it does not need it.
Sage has a good amount of calcium and hay is just enough to provide all the nutritional requirements of your rabbit, you must remember to feed it small amounts of sage. If your rabbit feeds on too much calcium, it will lead to an overgrowth of the teeth and hence great dental discomfort.
Rabbits, as earlier mentioned, are picky eaters and so you want to ensure that your rabbit likes sage before you give them to it. Sage gives off a very strong taste and scent and while some rabbits may not find it as one of their favourite foods, some others may snatch it from your hands like the best thing since sliced bread (or dried grass, if we’re being honest).
All in all, your rabbit’s needs come first and there is nothing wrong with wanting to spice things up (literally) for your rabbit.
What Are The Benefits of Sage to your Rabbit?
With all these considerations to think about, you may have become a little sceptical or wary of adding anything to your rabbit’s diet. Never fear. The truth is that as with all animals, if we are to take special care of them, taking into consideration their needs and requirements for survival and living, we must consider every factor that is to play in ensuring their nutritional safety whether this is with their regular diets or not.
If you’re looking to add Sage to your rabbit’s diet, here are some reasons why this could be a good idea:
- Sage has no toxic parts. Unlike some fruits such as apples whose seeds and stems are highly dangerous to the rabbit, there are no parts of Sage that should pose any harm. You should have no fear of the rabbit having discomfort or you know, dying.
- Sage is an immunity booster. It has antioxidants which fight off free radicals (highly unstable atoms that can adversely harm the organs) and help to boost immunity. This means that Sage can help your furry friend get better at fighting diseases.
- Sage has as an added benefit vitamins, minerals and fibre. The added fibre is great for your rabbit as this is its essential nutrient after all.
What Are The Things To Watch Out For When Feeding Sage To Rabbits?
While we are all about jazzing things up, especially when it comes to adding some new teeth here and there, it is important that we resound that the sage healthy for your rabbit is the Common Sage, the Mint Sage and the Purple Sage: Salvia officinalis, Salvia dorii, Salvia leuocophylia respectively and even the Blue Mountain Desert Sage. Others of the Salvia family are not included.
It is also important that you give your rabbit this Sage in small amounts to watch how its stomach reacts to it and whether they like it or not. Ensure that you are not forcing it to eat it to avoid the possibilities of stomach discomforts such as gas, bloating and others.
Ensure to pick up organic sage and wash thoroughly. It must also be cut up in small pieces into the hay. As a general rule, make sure not to overfeed your rabbit with high-calorie foods and then compensate by adding sage. An overweight rabbit faces many health issues.
At What Age Should I Feed My Rabbit Sage?
There is no need to be overly sensitive about age when feeding your rabbits sage. As long as it is anywhere above three to four months, you may begin to test out additions to its diet as you please including sage.
Newborns and rabbits younger than 3 months do not have as strong a digestive system as their older counterparts and so it is not advisable to feed them anything more than their mother’s milk.
Rabbits may have sensitive stomachs but they are easy to care for and a pleasure to own. It is not out of place to want to add extra excitement to their feed.
Ensure though that their staple of Hay and Water is always readily available and you should have minimal problems.