Cilantro also known as coriander, or Chinese parsley belongs to the Apiaceae family which has more than 3700 different species. In the US, cilantro refers to leaves and stalk while coriander to the seeds. In the UK the plant is known as coriander while its seeds as coriander seeds. Finally, in India, it is known as dhania.
Cilantro is an excellent source of several minerals and vitamins including vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, K, calcium, manganese, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, sodium, among many others.
In human beings this herb is known to help “decrease the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease while promoting healthy skin and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight,” notes Medical News Today.
Also, cilantro seeds can help in checking cholesterol, enhance digestion, promote hair growth, improve your skin among other benefits.
On how to use it, the coriander leaves are using in pickling, curries, salads, blending spices, adding flavor while the seeds are ground to powder and used in cooking.
What about your bunnies? Can rabbits eat coriander or cilantro or is it poisonous and harmful?
Can rabbits eat coriander?
Like other safe herbs such as basil, rosemary, parsley, mint, and oregano, rabbits can eat cilantro. Rabbit.org, Myhouserabbit.com and most sources consider it safe and have listed it some of the green leafy herbs you can let your bunny nibble. They are not toxic or harmful.
Also, cilantro does not have a lot of sugars and starches which are not recommended unless given as treats. Therefore, rabbits should eat coriander in moderation regularly but not daily since it is not harmful to them.
Rabbit.life notes that this herb can help improve digestion, prevent urinary infection, reduce gas among many other benefits to your furry friends if the cilantro leaves are given in moderation.
Note that a perfect diet for rabbits should have over 80% hay, 10 to 15% fresh foods, and about 5% high fiber hay. Fresh foods consist of leafy greens, non-leafy vegetables as well as fruits.
Non-leafy veggies and fruits should be given in small quantities as treats while leafy greens can be given sparingly. Also, give them different fresh foods each day – mix at least three different types and be varying them daily with leafy greens accounting for more than 75% of the fresh foods.
How to feed your bunnies with cilantro?
If you are giving them these herbs for the first time, you need to begin with small amounts and watch how your rabbit’s digestive system responds to them after a day. Remember not to give them daily. Give them after a couple of days.
You should remove their roots, wash your coriander thoroughly before giving it to your furry critters to help get rid of any remnant pesticides. The leaves should be fresh. Bunnies are sensitive to stale food.
Afterward, check for any noticeable changes in its stool such as being too solid or soft. If no noticeable change, you can continue increasing the amount given.
However, should you notice any change such as diarrhea, stop giving them this nutritive herb and stick to the regular diet you usually give your bunny.
What about coriander seeds?
As Petconsider.com states, the “leaves and the fruits (often called seeds) are safe treats for your furry friend.” However, the leaves are the healthiest part loaded with the many nutrients we already discussed.
However, note that seeds have a high amount of carbohydrates, fats, and calories. They are likely to cause stomach problems.
Coriander or cilantro can be used as a healthy snack or treat for your bunnies. It should not substitute the regular recommended rabbit diet.