Herbs and twigs from Mother Nature

Healthy food determines the wellbeing of guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits and other such animals. In addition to grain, ready-made food, hay and vegetables, these animals should also be eating greens and herbs. Here are some tips on which herbs and twigs to feed your pets.

The most important rule to follow when sourcing fresh herbs and twigs is never to feed your pets greens that have been sprayed or found growing on the roadside. These plants may contain toxins that could harm your pets. If you are not sure where the greens came from, you should grow your own.

Which greens suit which animal?

As guinea pigs cannot produce their own Vitamin C, they must take on this nutrient through fresh greens in order to survive. In addition to yellow pepper (which is particularly rich in Vitamin C) and carrots, guinea pigs are also partial to fresh culinary and wild herbs. You can give them dandelion, yarrow, chickweed, ribwort and goutweed as a snack between meals. These animals also like dried herbs. Guinea pigs are also fond of nibbling on fresh twigs and leaves. Not only do they taste good, they also provide the animals with a good way of passing the time while keeping their incisors in shape. Fruit trees (without fruit) and
raspberry branches are ideal. Lime, poplar and willow are also suitable.

Rabbits also like to munch on greens. In addition to grass and hay, fresh herbs such as basil, cress, dill, chervil and marjoram provide valuable vitamins, proteins and minerals. Dandelions are especially popular with little bunnies and just as healthy. They strengthen the stomach and help digestion. Grass, on the other hand, should only be given in small portions. Rabbits also enjoy fresh twigs from birch, apple and pear trees. Greens not only serve as food but are also great for nibbling. Rabbits can entertain themselves for hours with twigs and branches, while ingesting active ingredients from the bark which help to regulate their digestion.

Hamsters also like to eat herbs. Just like hay, herbs provide small rodents
with important raw fibres that they need in their diet. Parsley, dandelion, grass, plantain and coltsfoot will provide your hamster with vitamins and minerals.

In addition to grass and herbs, branches and twigs from non-toxic trees can also serve as food for mice. The leaves and buds can remain on the branch. Green treats may include dandelion, chickweed and ribwort, in particular.

Loved by all rodents

Generally speaking, branches from all fruit trees and walnut trees are non-toxic and thus unproblematic. Cherry, apple, pear and hazelnut are particularly popular varieties. Rabbits, guinea pigs and other such animals also like all types of willow and berry bushes. Most rodents will eat twigs from blackcurrant and blackberry bushes. Chamomile, sage, dill, balm and savory are also considered a treat by most small animals.

Elderberry, softwood branches and chestnut, on the other hand, are not as digestible and should not be fed to your pets. While maple, beech and oak are not toxic, most small animals don’t like the taste and will usually leave them untouched. Birch and ash are also only eaten if there is no alternative.

Important: The animals need to adjust to grass gradually, otherwise they could suffer from digestive problems and even colic. Please also make sure that your pets don’t eat too much parsley. They love parsley with a passion, but this herb can make them susceptible to urinary and kidney stones. Young nettle shoots are sure to pop up in your garden in the spring and these are a good alternative.

Call into your local store today to discuss your small animal’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts