I lived with my rabbits for most of my life before I went into veterinary medicine. One of my bunny’s favorite meals was lettuce with sprinkles of chopped carrots. I spiced up his diet with fresh herbs. But, it didn’t settle well in my bunny’s body, the first time. There were some negative reactions as a result of the herbs. This led to more serious problems when I persisted with the diet. My first pet almost died because of this!

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme
Can Rabbits Eat Thyme

As a pet parent, you might want to go for self-medication—using herbs— when your rabbits are ill. It is wrong. You must seek the advice of a rabbit doctor before you do this! In this article, we revealed everything you need to know about feeding thyme to your rabbits. There are benefits and risks you should be aware of.

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme? So, is thyme healthy for your rabbits? Yes! Thyme has important nutrients that can boost the well-being of your rabbit. Nevertheless, it can cause health problems if it is a major component of your rabbit’s diet.

What You Should Know About Thyme

Thyme is an aromatic plant that belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It has over 400 species known for its medicinal value and is often used for cooking and ornamental purposes. The varieties that are widely grown are common or garden thyme, botanically known as thymus vulgaris. And creeping or wild thyme is scientifically called thymus serpyllux.

Others are lemon thyme, English thyme, juniper thyme, silver thyme, Italian oregano thyme, caraway thyme, etcetera. Each species vary in flavor. Some have a strong, sharp smell that could repel rabbits.

Nutritional data published by the US Department of Agriculture showed that thyme has:65.1g of water, 101 kcal of energy, 5.56g of protein, 1.68g of fat, 24.4g of carbohydrate, 14g of fiber, 405 mg of calcium, 17.4mg of iron, 160mg of magnesium, 106 mg of phosphorus, 609 mg of potassium, 9 mg of sodium, 1.81mg of zinc. 0.55mg of copper, 1.72mg of manganese, 160mg of vitamin c, 0.048mg of thiamin, 0.471mg of riboflavin, 1.82mg of niacin, 0.409mg of pantothenic acid, 0.348mg of vitamin B6 and some traces of vitamin A and carotene.

What Are The Health Benefits of Thyme?

Thyme is often used as medicine to treat bloating and diarrhea in rabbits. It clears out unwanted gases trapped in the gastrointestinal tract. It is used for deworming and treating stomach infections. This is a result of its thymol content. Thyme has thymol, a naturally occurring biocide that destroys microbes that could cause harm to your rabbit’s body organs.

Thyme leaves help in boosting the reproductive function of your male rabbits by increasing the secretion of sex hormones during heat periods. Thyme contains vitamins that help rabbits to build immunity against diseases. It is also rich in essential minerals that boost healthy living. It prevents heart diseases and cures respiratory problems and fever in rabbits. Its manganese and iron content helps bone development and prevents excessive bleeding from wounds by blood clotting.

Do All Rabbits Enjoy Eating Thyme?

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme

Thyme has a pungent flavor that could repel your pet rabbits. A little sprinkle of thyme on their main diet could make them eat it. Generally, rabbits may savor the slight flavor of thyme in their grass diet. Although some may refuse to eat! Do not worry or force your bunny to eat if it rejects it. There are many alternative herbs you can feed to them. Anyway, you just have to add it to their diet to see if they will enjoy it.

Which Part Of The Thyme Plant Should I Serve To My Rabbits?

You can give your rabbits thyme stems or it’s leaves to eat. Thyme stems usually have a stronger flavor than their leaves and can be a little woody. Making it hard for your rabbits to chew. This could make them refuse to eat the stem. You should go for the thyme leaves, which they may enjoy eating the most.

Your bunny might detest thyme flowers. It’s recommended that you harvest thyme leaves before they bud flowers. You can serve the stem or leaves to see the one they will enjoy eating the most.

How Much Thyme Can A Rabbit Eat?

Do not give thyme to your rabbits daily. This herb should be served as a special treat. Three times a week is enough. Doctors advise that hay and other fiber-rich foods should make up 80% of their daily diet. Always serve small amounts to them as excess feeding can have a counterproductive effect on your rabbits.

When Can Rabbits Start Eating Thyme?

You can serve thyme to your rabbits as soon as they are 12 weeks old. Do not serve it to your baby rabbits as their digestive tract is too sensitive and undeveloped to break down its nutrients. If you are giving thyme to your rabbits for the first time, don’t be in a hurry. Give them a small amount at first and wait for at least 24 hours to see how it settles in their body. If it goes well in their system, you can slowly increase the quantity until they get to an adult age.

What Species Of Thyme Can Rabbits Eat?

With over 400 species of thyme with varying flavors, you may be concerned about the one that is best for your rabbit. The most recommended thyme are common thyme and lemon thyme. Common thyme has a minty taste that your rabbits may savor. And it is very safe for them to eat.

Lemon thyme has a stronger flavor and more acidic content. Though it appears similar to common thyme. Most rabbits may reject eating it due to its pungent smell. However, you can serve it in small quantities to see if they will like it. Creeping thyme beautifies landscapes and looks very appealing to eat. But have a more biting taste and may be rejected by your rabbits.

Can Wild Rabbits Eat Thyme?

Wild rabbits can eat thyme in the field but it’s always their last resort. There are varieties of grasses and plants they enjoy eating. And would rather choose to eat them than settle for thyme. Nevertheless, during winter when there are just very few grasses to eat, they may settle for dried thyme.

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme – Dried?

Yes! Rabbits can eat dried thyme although its nutritional value is a bit different. You can get dried thyme from a food store at a cheaper price. It’s easier and readily available if you’re on a budget. Regardless, you have to serve it to your rabbits first to see if they will enjoy it. If you have thyme plants in your garden, you can harvest them, dry and store them for your rabbit’s consumption.

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme – Fresh?

Yes. Fresh thyme is also very healthy for your rabbits. It is the most nutritional form! If your rabbits enjoy fresh thyme the most, you can feed it to them. But, you have to check if it’s readily available and convenient for you to get before going for it.

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme
Can Rabbits Eat Thyme

Can I Give Thyme Juice To My Rabbits?

Thyme juice is a more concentrated form of thyme and it’s very acidic. It can cause stomach upset in your rabbits. Only feed thyme plants to your rabbits if you want them to live a healthy life.

Thyme Recipe For Rabbits

Follow these steps when feeding thyme to your rabbits:

  1. Do not feed yellowed or insect-bitten thyme to your rabbits. Select fresh and healthy ones when buying or harvesting.
  2. Examine the thyme and pluck out any insects that could harm your rabbit’s digestive system.
  3. Wash the thyme properly with clean water, removing any dirt or herbicide dust stuck to the plant’s surface.
  4. Place a small amount on a clean, shallow dish that can easily be toppled over. Two or three leaves per serving are enough.
  5. You can add this flavor-rich herb to your rabbit’s hay. Most rabbits savor the taste in their hay diet. You can also mix it with other fiber-rich foods your rabbits eat.
  6. Serve water to them alongside the food.
  7. Watch how your rabbits eat it to see if they love the flavor.
  8. Remove the bowl after feeding and dispose of any leftover thyme.
  9. Ensure you clean the feeding space. Dirts may harbor insects or germs that could harm your bunny.

Are There Health Problems Associated With Feeding Thyme To Your Rabbits?

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme? Yes. But there are health risks that are involved when feeding thyme to your rabbits. They include the following:

  1. Parasites in thymes: thyme plants can host parasites that may harm the digestive tract of your rabbits. It’s very important you thoroughly examine the thyme plants. And remove any insects or egg-like growth (larva) stuck to the surface before feeding it to your rabbits.
  2. Harmful chemicals on thymes: chemical fertilizers or pesticides used on thyme plants could be very harmful to your rabbits when ingested. Always wash thyme properly, under running water before serving it.
  3. Wilt or insect-bitten thyme: do not give over-riped or insect-bitten thyme to your rabbits as it can cause digestive problems.
  4. Overfeeding problems: excess thyme can upset your rabbit’s stomach causing inflammation or unhealthy bacterial growth in their gut system. Thyme should be given in small amounts—as a special treat!

How Do I Find Thyme For My Rabbits?

You can buy thyme from farmers or grocery stores in your locality. To save yourself the stress of searching for where to buy, you can place orders for it in this grocery store. And get it delivered to your house in a few hours.

Can I Grow Thyme At Home?

Yes! You can grow thyme at home in a garden space or a plant vessel. Getting fresh thyme grown with organic manure can be difficult and expensive. So, you should grow it and save yourself the stress of worrying over pesticide or price issues.

How Can I Grow Thyme?

Before planting your thyme, you need to know the following:

  1. Thyme plants grow well in sandy soils that cannot easily be water-logged.
  2. It needs a PH range of 6 to 8 to thrive.
  3. It thrives in areas with enough sunlight. When growing it indoors, keep your plant vessel close to a sunny window.
  4. Thyme plants grow vigorously and should be spaced out to about 12 to 24 inches.

How To Plant Thyme Indoors

You can choose to grow thyme from the seeds or the stem. However, growing it from your seeds is hard as it germinates very slowly and unevenly. It’s easier to grow it from the stem cuttings.

Follow these steps if you want to grow thyme from the seeds:

  1. Get a good plant vessel, most preferably a clay pot.
  2. Fill it halfway with good sandy soil
  3. Dig a small hole in the soil and plant the seeds—two or three seeds are enough.
  4. Water the soil and make sure it’s always moist as the seeds germinate.
  5. Place the container under a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and above. Seeds sprout easily under these conditions.
  6. The seeds germinate after four weeks. Allow the sprout that looks more strong and healthy to grow further. While you uproot and discard others.
  7. Always water and expose the plant to enough sunlight.
  8. Apply organic fertilizers in small amounts to help the plants grow  well within a few days of their growth
  9. Allow the plants to grow further. Remove any thick growing items or flowers.
  10. You can transplant your thyme to a garden during summer periods to ensure it’s exposed to enough light and favorable conditions.
  11. Most persons might want to propagate thyme with its stem cuttings to grow more plants. It is not always recommended because thyme plants don’t always grow sufficiently

Within two to four years, thyme plants become woody and their leaves tend to lose their flavor. At this point, you have to take some stem cuttings and plant them separately. You can trim the thyme plant when the roots become fibrous. By plucking out the plant and busting the roots apart. Afterward, you transplant new stem cuttings into your garden.

When harvesting your thyme, ensure it has not produced flowers. Cut off the leaves, wash and store them in refrigerators with plastic wraps. It can last for two weeks under this condition. If you want to dry thyme, keep the plucked twigs in a dark, warm place. Or spray them on a tray. Once it dries up, store it in an airtight vessel. It can retain its flavor for two years when kept in good condition.

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme

Can Rabbits Eat Thyme Thymes are good and medicinal to your rabbits when served in the right amount. But, overfeeding them with this flavor-rich herb can upset their stomach and have a counterproductive effect on them. Moreover, some rabbits may refuse to eat thyme due to its strong, biting flavor. You must observe how they eat it before adding them to your rabbit’s diet.

About the Author

Dr Esther Praag

Dr ès sc. Esther van Praag is a renowned researcher and scientist in the field of rabbit biology and diseases. She received her doctorate degree from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has published numerous papers in top scientific journals and has received numerous awards and honors for her work. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Esther-Van-Praag-2

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