Garden parsley or parsley, botanically known as Petroselinum crispum, is a culinary herb and vegetable native to the Mediterranean region. However, it has been naturalized and cultivated in many parts of the world. It has a fresh, slightly bitter taste that is anise-like.
This herb and vegetable belong to the family Apiaceae (celery, carrot or parsley family), and many European, American, and Middle Eastern cuisines use it.
There are three leaf varieties, i.e., the flat-leaf (Italian), curly leafy (French), and another one with stems resembles celery (grown in Southern parts of Italy). Also, there is the root parsley (Hamburg) popular in eastern, central, and southern Europe.
The leaf varieties serve as garnishes (chopped and sprinkled on food like rice, potato dishes, fish, lamb, goose, fried fish, steaks, meats, veggies, etc.) while you can use the root variety in stews, soups, casseroles. Also, you can just as you use carrots as a vegetable or snack.
Can bunnies eat parsley?
Yes. Rabbits can eat parsley greens (leaves and stems) of the flat leaf, curly leaf, and the root parsley in moderation once or twice a week. They are all safe for your rabbits. i.e., they are not toxic or poisonous. Similarly, parsley root, which closely resembles parsnips, is also safe.
Yes, you now know that bunnies can have parsley, and it is ok. However, you need to understand how the right portions to give this pet. Too much of any herbs, vegetables, flowers, non-leafy veggies, and other greens may prove detrimental.
When offering parsley greens, you can chop a small amount and sprinkle it on their fresh vegetable mix as a treat. One or two stems with their leaves are enough for adult bunnies. Don’t give to your baby bunnies that haven’t fully been weaned. Also, first, try to see if your rabbits will like it since these animals tend to avoid most herbs due to their strong aromatic scent.
While bunnies can have more and it can be part of the leafy greens you offer to your furry friend, we don’t see the need to do so. However, note that an excessive amount of leafy greens will result in diarrhea, gas, bloating, and stomach upset as they are low in fiber.
When it comes to the root parsley, you need to give them a small amount, such as a teaspoon for a two-pound rabbit as an occasional treat, just like you with other non-leafy veggies like carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers, among others.
Finally, remember to begin with very tiny amounts as you observe how their tummies react. Rabbits need time to adjust to any new food, and a quick change may cause stomach issues and soft stool or diarrhea.
Is parsley good for rabbits?
Yes. Parsley is good for your bunnies. It will add a new flavor, taste, and texture to your usual bunny diets. Like humans, rabbits love variety.
Additionally, it is very nutritious. For instance, parsley leaves are rich in vitamin A, C, K, folate, iron, and has a substantial amount of calcium, potassium, folate, magnesium, and zinc. It is also an excellent source of flavonoids and antioxidants like apigenin and luteolin.
It will support healthy bones (rich in vitamin K), help bring the right free radical and antioxidant balance (has potent antioxidants), and boost eyesight, i.e., it has lutein and zeaxanthin good for macular degeneration due to aging.
Other vital benefits of parsley include being anticancer, supporting heart health, having antibacterial properties (act against yeast, molds, and some bacteria), among others.
Is it high in oxalates and calcium?
Indeed, bunny diets shouldn’t be high in calcium or oxalates to minimize as these two may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Also, your concern that parsley being high oxalates and calcium is genuine.
However, these levels shouldn’t worry about you. A research “Calcium and Oxalate Contents of Curly Leaf (Petroselinum crispum) and Flat Leaf (P. crispum var. neapolitanum) Parsley Cultivars,” notes that a large proportion of total calcium and oxalates in leaves and stems is are unavailable for absorption.
Therefore, you shouldn’t worry that this herb may cause any kidney damage or any other effects of high oxalic foods. Instead, it would help if you were worrying about foods like spinach, mustard green, Swiss chard, radish tops, and so on that are indeed high in oxalic acid with some also high in calcium.
Do rabbits eat basil while in the wild?
While parsley is good for rabbits and some love this herb, you deserve to know that, like any other culinary herb, it is not one of the most preferred plants. Therefore, wild rabbits will avoid parsley, i.e., they are unlikely to cause much damage.
Instead, they will go for your zinnias, barberry, roses, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, peas, Swiss chard, beans, and so on.
Is cow parsley safe to rabbits?
Yes. Wild beaked or cow parsley, wild chervil, keck, or Anthriscus sylvestris is also a culinary herb that is a member of the family Apiaceae. However, it belongs to a different genus Anthriscus (mother-die), but it is also safe to bunnies.
However, ensure you don’t confuse it with poison hemlock, botanically known as Conium maculatum) or fool’s or poison parsley (fool’s cicely, whose binomial name is Aethusa cynapium) which are poisonous. Similarly, avoid Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota).