During the summer, I feed my rabbit treats I get from my yard including twigs, leaves, and grass. However, during the winter here my trees lose their leaves and the grass is mostly dead. Are there any treats I can gather from my yard or neighbor's yard during these winter months? I hear most evergreens are poisonous, but maybe there are some I have never heard of.

My yard is small so I have only an apple tree and a hemlock. The apple tree is great during the warm season. As far as trees go, I would have to go to my neighbors' yards but I am not sure what kinds off the top of my head. I live in West Virginia If that helps and there are plenty of trees around. Pines, spruces, hemlock (poisonous), and holly are common evergreens but I don't know which and which parts are safe.


2 Answers 2


As you probably know, rabbits love to chew and they need to chew. Fresh wood is generally a good thing and you can give them fresh cut apple branches. When we still had rabbits, we used to supply them with plenty of apple branches from our yard (we had 3 apple trees) all year round. In the spring and summer that meant also getting leafy branches, but even in the fall and winter, the buns still loved the apple wood even without the greenery.

Not all wood is safe, however, as you noted. For the most part, avoid trees that bear fruit with pits (e.g. peach) even if drying them out should make them safe. Given how many varieties of wood is actually safe, why chance it? There are pine options that are safe, including spruce and juniper, and a whole lot more tree varieties (see page 21), such as maple, aspen, poplar, pear, and more that should be readily available to you given your location.

If nothing else, the odd raisin here and there in the fall/winter will help make your bunny forgive you that bleak period where they don't get yard treats. :)


Because there is no area tag in your question, I will answer for my area (western Europe). (I found the area sentence in your question, please excuse me...)

You can feed your rabbit bamboo. It will stay green during winter and gives a good basic food for rabbits.

Other vegetable which stays green for (almost) whole winter are cabbage (for example broccoli, savoy, kohlrabi leafs, unhesitating if you do not feed grains) and parsley.

Another good food is "Gründüngung" (cover crops / green manures). You could crop it during fall and winter until the temperatures get too deep.

And at last (because it is not "fresh" but from the garden also): dry leafs from trees like apple, pear, cherry, maple, linden/lime (lat. tilia), hazel and all, your rabbit like in fresh as well. You can collect and dry them in fall yourself, but you can search for them in winter also. They should be dry and "nice to look" not dirty or pulpy. It is a welcome variety in your rabbits winter diet.

For all new food you should respect the rule, to accustom your rabbits slow. You can use the rule of thumb "one more hand full every day" until the amount for your rabbit is reached.

Besides you should know, that your rabbit will probe the food with less bites, then left it aside. This do not mean, your rabbit do not like new food. It is smart: The rabbit overlooks itself for some time after the probe, and if it feels well after this, it will consume the new food with delight.

  • Some of your suggestions here need to be limited see rabbit.org/suggested-vegetables-and-fruits-for-a-rabbit-diet May 15, 2019 at 12:36
  • @JamesJenkins This depends on what sort of diet model you support. My rabbits were feed "ad libidum". This means, they have any time fresh and dry food to consume, so they will select themselves like in nature. I assume, one do not starts the rabbits with fresh food in winter, so the "one hand more every day" was left out, but I can add it :) May 16, 2019 at 7:14

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