WILD CARROTS, CHEAP EATS!

Did you know that beautiful Queen Anne's Lace is the wild version of our domesticated carrot?

All the adopters we've known, hundreds of them now, we 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. Retail pet stores sell you things whether or not they are healthy for your animals (they sell cigarettes too, right?). 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 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.

For our rabbits, we often see obesity as a major issue for 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 are complete and total junk and horrible for your pet rabbit's health. Your bunny will beg you for them! We always tell adopters 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. Artificial sweeteners are equally as bad. You may find some papaya tables which contain sorbitol, an artificial sweetener, which makes some people very ill and may make your rabbit ill too.

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. Rabbits are more prone to pesticide poisoning (and resulting cancers) than children because of their small size. The amount of these toxins build up residually in their fat tissue and stay there waiting to become cancer when there's enough of it.

Carrots are a wonderful treat. We recently had a wonderful pair of adopters ask 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. Carrots are 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 moderate amounts.

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. 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. Fortunately, organic carrots are not that much more expensive than non-organic.

During summer there is a wonderful alternative to store-bought carrots. Look around and wild carrots are everywhere you see. We purposely let the wild carrots grow to about 4 feet high in our yards, wherever they pop up so that the carrot root 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 we like to let the Queen Anne's Lace grow as tall as it can before we pull out the aromatic weed. Here are some photos of the Queen Anne's Lace (photo above, white flower) plant which surely you recognize. You will surely recognize the carrot top leaf (photo below) which you are no doubt used to seeing in the grocery store.

That's a fairly large wild carrot as you can by the ruler in the photo above.
It is covered with dirt but once scrubbed, it will be white and yummy for the rabbits to munch on.

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! Since Queen Anne's Lace looks a lot like hemlock, make sure the root has the carrot aroma. It should be very strong and unmistakeable.

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!

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