Yes. Rabbits can eat chicory leaves, stems, flowers, or even roots. Edible cultivated variety such as radicchio, sugarloaf, Belgian endive, or Catalogna, wild leaf (usually bitter), and forage varieties like Forage Feast, Puna, Choice Oasis, Grouse, or Six Point are all safe to bunnies.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) belongs to the family Asteraceae (dandelion family). People grow it as animal forage, for its salad leaves, roots, or blanched buds (chicons). It is not uncommon to find it growing on the roadside.
Feeding chicory to your bunnies
While we have said it is safe, you need to know how to feed it to your rabbits safely and correctly.
a). Chicory leaves or tops
Chicory leaves are an excellent source of beta-carotene (vitamin A), pantothenic acid, and folate as well as vitamin C, E, and K. calcium and manganese, dietary fiber. It also has many other nutrients in smaller amounts.
If you want to serve chicory leaves to your rabbits, mix it with other 4-5 leafy greens or vegetables and gives. A cup full of this mixture is enough for a bunny weighing to pounds and should account for about 10-15% of the total food your rabbit eats.
Avoid excessive amount as it may cause stomach upsets since it is low in fiber. A typical rabbit diet should have at least 80% grassy hay like timothy, 10-15% fresh foods while the remainder will be high-quality, high-fiber rabbit pellets.
Of the fresh foods, fresh leafy greens should account for about 75%, while fruits, flowers, and non-leafy vegetables form the remaining part.
If your bunnies have never had it before, introduce it slowly over a week, beginning with a small amount as you see if it causes any stomach upset.
Finally, ensure your source has not been sprayed with farm chemicals or herbicides, as this makes it potentially toxic.
b). Chicory root
Chicory roots may substitute oats in horse diets since they are higher in protein and fats. Their extract, inulin, has various uses, including as a sweetener in food manufacturing, to make dietary fiber, or added to yogurt as prebiotics. Furthermore, you can also or baked, ground to make a coffee alternative.
If you want to offer fresh chicory root to your bunnies, let them have only a small amount occasional as a treat. Give them about a teaspoon for a rabbit weighing two pounds.
Also, you can let your bunnies, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and other small animals chew dry roots as a treat. The inulin this root has will serve as natural prebiotics that will boost digestive tract health.
- Other names – Blue sailors, blue weed, coffeeweed, blue dandelion, wild bachelor’s buttons, and ragged sailors. Others are succory, hendibeh, blue daisy, bunk, cornflower, wild endive, and horseweed. In North America, chicory may refer to curly endive (Cichorium endivia). These two are related but not the same species.
- Other uses – Has significance in herbal medicine, where it is as one of the plants used in making Bach flower remedies.