Yes, rabbits can eat elm leaves. Elm leaves are a good source of fiber and vitamin A for rabbits. They also provide some calcium and phosphorus. Feeding your rabbit elm leaves is a slightly more labor-intensive process than feeding her some of the commercial food you buy in the store. But if your rabbit doesn’t like its commercial food or if it has dietary issues, such as bladder sludge, it’s worth making elm leaf twigs part of your rabbit’s diet.
*What to look for:
Rabbits like to eat fresh elm leaves, but they can dry out and lose their nutritional value. Feed your rabbit only freshly picked twigs. Wait until late summer when the tree’s twigs are lush and green before you feed them to your pet. Notice whether the leaves are on long stalks or if they’re attached to small branches. Elk leaves can also be attached to small twigs, stems, or branches, but elm’s twigs are smooth and round. Elm leaves grow from a singular point at the end of a branch or stem.
*What to do: *
Rabbits will eat the leaves right off the twig as you hold it up to them. But if you want to give your rabbit a more varied diet, you can also strip the leaves off the stem and place them in a bowl or dish. Keep in mind that elm leaves are crunchy, so your rabbit might not like them if they’re wet. You can also dry the leaves for a few days before giving them to your rabbit to eat over time.
*What not to do: *
Don’t ever feed your rabbit wilted or rotting leaves, because they can make them sick. Also avoid twigs with brown spots on the leaves, which are signs of fungus. Elm leaves are also toxic when consumed by dogs, so keep them away from all other pets in your home.
Elm leaves can be a high-fiber food for rabbits, so overfeeding them to your pet may cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. However, these problems can be remedied by simply reducing the number of leaves you’re feeding your rabbit and by increasing the amount of hay and water she consumes every day. Too much of any food can be harmful to your rabbit, so always monitor her diet and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.