By Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., Purina backyard nutritionist
August 18, 2023
Planting a garden is the best of both worlds – you get fresh veggies for your family and food for your backyard animals. Whether rabbits, goats, chickens or other animals, fresh garden vegetables are a great treat or healthy addition to their regular diet.
Home-raised milk, eggs and meat are wonderful things, but wouldn’t it be nice to feed your animals some home-grown produce? Adding a few items to your garden can make your summer feeding schedule way more fun.
Veggies are always good, right?
Actually, that’s not true. Some vegetables can be harmful or lack nutrition for a wide variety of animals.
For example, tomatoes are great for animals, but the stem and leaves can be toxic. For rabbits, carrots are a common treat or snack, but in reality, they can cause weight problems—when fed in excess they provide too much sugar and lack nutritional value.
When testing out new garden items with your animals, try each food individually so you will know how your animals will react. As a rule of thumb, any food with high sugar content isn’t good for your animals. Most animals prefer carbohydrates and fiber, especially when they are easy for animals to digest.
The bottom line is, do your research and ensure it’s safe before adding new garden items to your animal’s diet.
More treats aren’t always better
The more treats the better, right? It’s a similar feeling with animals and humans, but treats from the garden can get excessive quickly, affecting your animal’s health and digestive systems.
Green veggies are a great treat alternative – they’re fresh and different but healthy for your animals.
Feed your family and your animals with your garden this summer. Whether as treats or part of a complete diet, fresh vegetables are a great way to keep your animals healthy and wanting more.
For more resources to find the right nutrition for your animals, visit purinamills.com/education.