Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is one of the family Amaryllidaceous bulb-forming perennial flowering plants, others being shallots, scallions, leek, garlic as well as Chinese and common onions, widespread in North America, Asia, and Europe.
They serve as a culinary herb where its sliced green stalks (scrapes and leaves) and immature, unopened flower buds act as an ingredient in soups, potatoes, fish omelets, and other dishes.
Also, you may eat its flowers as part of a salad, and it is one of the four fines herbes used in many French cuisines. Besides culinary, chives may help control pests (repels insects) as well as provide nectar to pollinators.
Can rabbits eat chives?
Chives are a popular herb. You will find it in many of your local groceries, and some people grow it in their garden. If you are one of the people who use it often, you deserve to know if your rabbits can eat it or not.
No. Rabbits should eat chives leaves, scrapes (hollow and tubular stems), bulbs, or clustered pale purple flowers. All parts of chives are toxic or poisonous to rabbits since they have disulfides and thiosulfates that give them the intense flavor and aroma.
All other genus Allium members like garlic, common onions, scallions, leeks, shallots, and Chinese onions are also toxic or harmful rabbits.
When consumed in large quantities, chives may trigger Heinz body formation that will cause hemolytic anemia (as red blood cells are damage), methemoglobinemia (less oxygen delivered to cells), agglutination, as well as hemoglobinuria (hemoglobin in the urine) with cats more vulnerable. However, dogs, rabbits, and other small animals may be are vulnerable too. (1)
Furthermore, disulfides and thiosulfates may cause an anaphylactic reaction as well as to have an immunosuppressive effect in your rabbits as well as make it easy for the rabbit’s body to absorb toxins from their digestive system.
Signs of chive toxicity
If your bunny ingests a tiny amount of chives, you may not notice any symptoms or side effects. However, if he consumes a large amount, something that hardly happens since these herbs repel bunnies (they don’t like their taste or aroma), expect these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drooling
- Mount irritation
- Urine color change to reddish due to it having hemoglobin
- Weakness, dizziness, collapse, and fainting
- Pale gums
- Decrease tolerance to exercise if they end up being anemic
If you suspect your bunny has ingested this herb and has any of the above symptoms, consider taking him to your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
If you plant chives, don’t worry much since they are some of the rabbit resistant plants that these animals hardly eat. However, some domestic bunnies may nibble or even eat these herbs.
To prevent chive eating in your garden, consider fencing or exclusion, using rabbit repellents and deterrents, natural bunny repellents, and so on to keep these animals off your garden.