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RUNNING BUN MAGAZINE - All things "bunnified," news from the rabbit multiverse, deep down in the Earth, where it's still warm.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Muck Digger of the Running Buns: Satisfaction


Rabbit Treats: Wild Carrots -
Cheap Eats! Yummy for Your Bunny!

Freshly pulled wild carrots!
All content and images © Running Bun Magazine. Use without permission prohibited.

All the adopters I've known, hundreds of them now, I try to impress with the fact that healthful treats versus junk food treats are very important and can be the road to health for your companion house rabbit or the road to rabbit illness.

Healthy treats for companion house rabbits are so important. The retail pet stores like Petco and PetsMart are in business to sell you things whether or not they are healthy for your animals. Arguably, there is debate about what is health and what is not for all animals including us humans. And there is as much debate on how best to raise and care for animals including us humans.

But most people agree that no matter what animal you're talking about, be it humans or companion house rabbits, refined sugar treats and candies are not good for you. They are yummy and we love them but one has only to look around and see the obvious detrimental health effects it has on those who imbibe them. Obesity among humans is a good example, our society is hedonistic and our candy industry has the kind of variety you only find elsewhere when you're talking about things like the diversity of life!

Similarly for our companion animals, in this case, specifically rabbits, we rabbit rescuers often see obesity as a major issue for the rabbits we adopt out. Obese rabbits are more susceptible to a variety of health problems ranging from intestinal issues to cancer. Your pet rabbit should never have treats that have refined sugar in them. Those yogurt drop things they sell at the pet store? They are complete and total junk and horrible for your pet rabbit's health. Sure your bunny will beg you for them! I beg my husband to bring home Chocolate Chip and Cookie Dough ice cream for me when he calls me from the grocery store. Sadly, he complies and I find myself also calling him to say not to bring home any ice cream as often!

I always tell adopters that the best treat for their little pet rabbit is healthy, natural treats. Ingredients to watch out for are sulfites used as preservatives which you may find in dehydrated or dried fruit. These are not good for anybody and sadly, even the online bunny shops are now putting this in their rabbit treats. Artificial sweeteners are equally as bad. You may find some papaya tables which contain sorbitol, an artificial sweetener, and I don't know about you but I cannot eat or chew anything with sorbitol in it as it makes me very ill.

So please, only small amounts of natural fruit treats for your pet bunny. A slice or two of banana a day will buy your way to the very warmest parts of your bunny's heart. Strawberries are also cherished but be warned that you should only buy ORGANIC strawberries as according to Consumer Reports, strawberries are one of the foods containing the most pesticides and rabbits are more prone to pesticide poisoning (and resulting cancers) as are children because of their small size and the amount of these toxins that build up residually in their fat tissue.

Carrots are a wonderful treat. I recently had a wonderful pair of adopters ask me if it was normal for their adopted bunny's poop to be orange. It turns out they were feeding their little rabbits several huge carrots a day. This is very fattening because of the high sugar content of carrots. That is fine though, in moderation. Hopping while intoxicated on carrot sugar is life threatening to your pet rabbit. So chop the carrot up into slices and feed moderately. For a 5 pound bunny, I would recommend about 5 or 6 slices of carrot a day or 2 or 3 baby carrots. They do prefer the normal sized carrots though. Baby carrots have a different texture and do you like them? Neither do I. So your bunny probably won't like them either. Also keep in mind that carrots are a root vegetable and as such contain pesticides in the pulp so you can't wash it off. So buying ORGANIC carrots is the way to go again. Fortunately, organic carrots are not that much more expensive than non-organic.

This time of year though, there is a wonderful alternative to store bought carrots. Look around and wild carrots are everywhere you see. I purposely let the wild carrots grow to about 4 feet high in my yard, wherever they pop up so that the carrot root in the ground can grow as big as possible.

Wild carrots you say? Never heard of them? Well carrots were domesticated from the weed Queen Anne's Lace. That's right! That prolific weed you see just about everywhere right now has a little carrot growing in the ground underneath of it! Granted that wild carrots are pretty small compared to the behemoth vegetables in your supermarket. That's why I like to let the Queen Anne's Lace grow as tall as it can (much to my neighbor's chagrin) before I or my husband go out and pull out the aromatic weed.

Queen Anne's Lace

Here are some photos of the Queen Anne's Lace (bottom photo above, white flower) plant which surely you recognize. You will surely recognize the carrot top leaf (see first photo above) which you are no doubt used to seeing in the grocery store. The Queen Anne's Lace is that lovely white flower that is a bunch of little flowers forming a circular disc-shaped bloom. Let it grow tall and then you'll have some wonderful wild carrots to pull out of the ground at the end of summer!

Be sure that you know where you harvest your wild carrots from have not been sprayed with pesticides. Don't pick them along the highway. It's dangerous for you to be out there and they are covered in exhaust fumes from cars. Pick them in a meadow in the woods in parks or let them grow in a weedy patch of your yard. After you pull the root (the carrot part) out of the ground, smell it. It's not orange but it smells just like carrots because it is a carrot!

Then wash the plant thoroughly to remove any bacteria, fungi, or bugs and scrub the dirt off the root under tap water. Chop the entire thing up (well don't chop up the flower, that's fun for them to do with their teeth) and serve the entire plant to your bunny and enjoy the happy faces you see!

Just pulled, Needs washing and scrubbing.
All content and images © Running Bun Magazine. Use without permission prohibited.

 -Thumper S. Thompson
All content and images © Running Bun Magazine. Use without permission prohibited.