Don't Discount Dandelions!
Dandelions are one of the most beneficial greens you can feed rabbits, nutritionally and medicinally. I am expanding my research but what I have on dandelions are that they purify the blood, aid respiratory ailments, anti-inflammatory, bladder infections, diarrhea, increases milk flow in nursing does.
Tests conducted on dandelions in rabbits show that it is effective against pneumonia, bronchitis and upper respiratory infections.
Rabbits can eat the whole plant, flower, leaves and root. Dandelions are well known for their curative powers. It has both laxative and astringent qualities and regulates constipation and diarrhea.
They also have an important effect on the hepatic system. The leaves strengthen the enamel of the teeth, and are a source of potassium, making dandelions a balanced diuretic.
Dandelions can be given fresh in unlimited quantities. (Fermented or wilted plants can cause bloat. Though my personal experience is that I have picked fresh, the rabbits will sometimes leave the plants for a few hours before they finish it if I picked too much but they never had bloat. So don't pick wilted plants at the very least).
Dandelions are rich in protein and poor in fiber. the digestibility percentage is high at an estimated 70%.
My personal experience with this plant is that when ever any of my rabbits get diarrhea I instantly turn to dandelions -- even if they are young and have red, swollen vents with nasty smells. I would take away pellets and give my rabbits or kits dandelions and hay. I usually see improvement the next day and the more serious cases I saw improvement 2-3 days later. I have never lost a rabbit to diarrhea.
I have shared this with other breeders and they have reported similar results, some that have already tried it with enteritis and have felt that dandelions would be very beneficial for that.
Also I read on a vet site that there are natural preventative measures of cocci, this is what they said:
"Branches and leaves rich in tannin (willow, hazelnut, oak, ash, fruit trees, eventually pines) are excellent in preventing coccidiosis. Before a rabbit is given a twig to chew, it is important to check that it’s picked from a tree that is not toxic to rabbits. Furthermore, the tree must not have been exposed to chemicals or pollution from busy roads."***** Karen Sez *****
Excellent review Rhyana, thanks for posting.