Rabbits eat grass, and if you don’t have a lawn they can access, you’ll need to grow your own indoors. However, this is not difficult.
To grow rabbit grass indoors it is necessary to choose an adequate shallow tray, place the growing medium and rabbit safe grass seeds. Grass is not challenging to grow, but it does require a certain soil and environment to grow well.
Rady to provide some fresh greenery to your rabbit to feed on, keep reading.
Growing grass sounds easy as you are used to seeing it literally everywhere. Indeed, it isn’t very hard. That being said, there are some steps you can follow to ensure that your grass grows well and provides for your rabbit.
To grow grass indoors, you will need:
- A shallow container of an inch or so depth. For a few dollars, you can use a microgreen growing tray as this cheap one on Amazon. It will save space when growing grass.
Tip: Some gardeners use common planters, but I do not recommend them. It will be a waste of potting soil as grass can grow in just a few cms of soil. Indeed, think about your lawn. It is grass, like the one that your rabbit needs. Lawn grass is sold in an inch or carpet. That’s because all grassroots are generally shallow. Anything 2 inches (cm) deep or more is suitable.
- Potting mix, ideally with a low level of fertilizer. Pesticides, additives, or nutrient-dense fertilizers like Miracle-Gro are not safe for rabbits to consume. Some soil also comes with hard yellow soil ball. These are fertilizer pellets. Despite not having any information at hand on how safe are for accidental ingestion, definitely are not going to do any good to your rabbit. Check the label and avoid also potting mix containing animal-based compost (this is obtained by feces that might carry diseases).
- Grass seed. Make sure to purchase strictly grass seed, or a pet-friendly blend. Avoid seeds for landscaping (such as lawn) or meadow grass mixes that are likely to have plants/herbs included that are toxic to rabbits.
Once you gathered all the necessary material, here the 4 steps towards a rabbit friendly carpet:
- Fill your pot or tray with soil. Leave ¾ inch (1.5 cm) of space at the top.
- Sprinkle the grass seed evenly over the soil.
- Place a thin layer of soil on top
- Water the soil with a sprinkle watering-can or with a spray bottle, until the soil, is damp. As discussed in this detailed seed germination guide I would avoid any strong jet of water. This might displace the seeds making them going too deep (reducing germination) or making the grass less uniform.
Finding all three components might be a bit of a headache. This kit on Amazon includes everything you might need, from the right soil to seeds and even containers.
Place your seeded container by a sunny window, or somewhere with plenty of light. Remember, grass-like any other plant does not care for the source of the light (either natural or from grow light). Check every other day that the soil is moist, and gently water when dry. In a few short weeks, you will have short grass. Place the entire container in your rabbits home for them to nibble on, or harvest it periodically.
It is important to remember that rabbits do not just eat grass. In addition to the food pellets, you may be feeding your rabbit, mix in freshly grown carrots, and dandelions into their diet. Rabbits love these treats and will greatly appreciate your effort!
Dandelions, like grass, are easy to find in nature. However, it is vital to remember that rabbits can be harmed by the pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and pollutants that naturally growing weeds may be exposed to. In other words, do not go picking dandelions on the side of the road for your rabbit, and do not take carrots from a garden using chemical fertilizers or herbicides to grow to produce. Organic is the way to go for your rabbit.
When growing grass for your rabbit, it is always a safe bet to buy grass seed meant for rabbit feed. However, any natural, chemically-untouched grass seed is suitable. Some grasses or cover crops, such as ryegrass and fescues, have more nutritional value than others such as orchard grasses, so look into buying a variety of seeds.
Here a need to be clear.
There is not necessarily a difference between grass meant for feeding rabbits and grass meant to grow in your garden. In most cases, lawn grasses or other aesthetically cultivated grasses are just not right for your rabbit because of the pesticides used to grow them. In other words, if your regular grass is organically grown, it is safe for your rabbit! Indeed, if you well remember, rabbits do eat regular grass in nature, after all.
A mature rabbit should consume mainly fresh greens, with a ¼ cup of pellets per six lbs of body weight per day as suggested by Pet Coach. Essentially, an adult rabbit should be offered unlimited amounts of timothy and fescues. That can end up being a lot of greens— which is why it’s so useful to grow them!
The nutritional needs of a rabbit vary based on age. A young rabbit will need a higher nutrient-dense diet, consisting mainly of pellets you can purchase at the pet store or here on Amazon.
Another grass related gadget that can be extremely useful for your rabbit is a grass mat. What is it? It is just a pat friendly mat done of dry grass. There are two benefits to having a grass mat for your rabbit: (a) it is a soft surface that protects their paws from the cold and hard floor of their, and (b) safe to chew (rabbits have a natural tendency in doing so) c) help trimmed their teeth.
When selecting a grass mat, make sure to go for the all-grass/ only-grass types like this made of woven seagrass as this one on Amazon. They are also extremely light and transportable.
As mentioned earlier with meadow grass mixes, some plants are not safe for your rabbit. Grass cutting from lawnmowers ferment quickly and do not make suitable feed. Additionally, dandelions or grasses gathered from roadsides are not safe, since they might have been exposed to the car exhaust.
If you are looking to gather outdoor grass, make sure that you harvest from an area relatively untouched by machinery/pollutants, cats, and dogs. Why? Well, having soil infested with gut bacteria from feces and urines of other animals can be a problem for a rabbit. Only gather meadow fescues, timothy, orchard grass, and ryegrasses, which are safe for rabbits— if you can’t identify it, don’t feed it to your rabbits.
To grow grass safely and skillfully for your rabbit, just remember these five tips.
- Organics Only! Use pet-friendly, organic materials for growing, and for all feed. Pesticides, additive, and chemical fertilizers are harmful to rabbits.
- Keep your growing grass in full sun and in moist soil.
- Add dandelions, carrots, and other rabbit-friendly plants to your grass feed, to keep life nutritionally dense and varied for your rabbit.
- Purchase an all-natural grass mat for the comfort and care of your rabbit.
Is grass good for rabbits’ teeth? Grass, as well as other food and material (such as cardboard), are good to sharpen their teeth. This is not a problem, as it would be for other animals like humans, as rabbit teeth keep growing throughout their lives.
Grass or hay for rabbits? The grass is richer in nutrients as did not go through the drying process through which water and corresponding minerals and nutrients get lost.
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