Pine Cone Rabbit Treats Keep Bunnies Active

pine cone rabbit treatsPine cone rabbit treats are a great way to provide stimulation and a healthy chew toy for your bunny. With a simple process you can prepare the pine cone so that it is a safe chewing toy that the rabbits really enjoy. 

Foraging for Healthy Pine Cone Rabbit Treats 

The other day I went to the bank. Not unusual but this particular day, a large pine tree had fallen over in the high winds. This was a mature beautiful pine and pine cones were everywhere! It was a forager’s dream. I knew that pine cone rabbit treats were a good activity for bunnies but hadn’t found any to give to our rabbits. I did the banking business I had come for and asked if I could collect some pine cones. Asking permission before foraging on property that isn’t yours is always a good idea. A short time later I had two large reusable grocery totes filled with pine cones.

pine cone rabbit treats   Pine cone rabbit treats

Since I hadn’t given our bunnies pine cone rabbit treats, I asked two other rabbit owners for advice. I knew I had read something about the pine cones needing to be prepared before giving them to the rabbits. But what type of preparation was needed?

Preparing Pine Cone Rabbit Treats 

Both friends told me the same information. The preparation is intended to keep the rabbits from getting any mites, or other insect pests, along with any diseases that could be on the pine cone. I was assured that no insecticides or weed killer had been used around the trees, too. It was obviously a very healthy older pine tree and I was sad to see it toppled by the wind. Also, I was sorry that I couldn’t carry off more of the pine cones and the broken pine limbs for the goats! While I am sure that wild rabbits just jump right in and gnaw away on fresh pine cones, I decided to err on the side of caution and follow the procedure for making pine cone rabbit treats the safe way.

Step 1

Collect the pine cones from a pesticide free source. 

Step 2

Wash the pine cones in a sink full of warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Remove dirt clumps, insects, and dried sap. 

pine cone rabbit treats

pine cone rabbit treats

You may need to keep pushing the pine cones under the surface of the water until they get wet.

Spread the pine cones out to dry for three or four days. You can also use a dehydrator set on low to speed up the drying time.

pine cone rabbit treats

Step 3

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the pine cones in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake on low heat (around 250 degrees F) for 2 hours.

Step 4

Cool the pine cones completely.

Step 5

Give your bunny his new Pine Cone Rabbit Treats!

pine cone rabbit treats

Why Do Rabbits Need Toys?

Rabbits kept in captivity as pets need a lot of mental stimulation in order to not become destructive. Toys are one way to provide the activity needed to keep the bunny healthy. In addition, bunnies need something hard to chew on or their teeth will become overgrown. Rabbits in the wild wear down their teeth by chewing branches and other hard surfaces. Pet rabbits benefit from this too. If you don’t provide suitable toys they will begin chewing on furniture and baseboards and other objects you wish they wouldn’t chew!

Providing chew toys that you make at home is an economical way to provide the mental stimulation and physical exercise that your pet needs. When gathering sticks to make a chew bundle, make sure the wood is safe for rabbits to chew. Maple, Alder, Pear and Willow are good choices. Small branches from an apple tree make a tasty treat! Do not use branches from cherry, plum, peach and apricot trees as they can be toxic.

See also

How to Make a Rabbit Chew Toy

Rabbit Care Basics

Rabbit Care Basics for the Farm, Homestead or Home

pine cone rabbit treats




Bunny Treats for Your Pet Rabbits

Bunny Treats for Your Pet

Lets just admit it, we love to feed our rabbits bunny treats. Watching those cute little noses wrinkle as they eat some goodies is just fun. While we may want to keep the rabbit’s diet as close to natural as possible, it still is ok to bring a treat to our pets or farm rabbits and watch them eat enthusiastically. We have both house rabbits and farm rabbits and they all love a treat. Rabbits are herbivores and this means they should mainly be eating plants. Fruits and vegetables are a product of plants and should be given in moderation.

Bunny Treats

Is feeding your pet rabbits complicated? Not really! Since rabbits are herbivores they are happy with grasses and legumes. Rabbit diets should consist of water, pellet food, and hay. These should be the core of a good rabbit feeding program. There are many rabbit formulas to choose from and for the most part the all purpose timothy pellet will be the right choice. If you have a rabbit with a specialized need, such as lactating, or fiber producing then you may need to choose a specialized formula. Most pet supply dealers should be able to help you choose the correct ration for you pet.

What vegetables and fruits can you give for bunny treats?

The following list is not all inclusive. You may find a treat the is the favorite of you bunny. And with any treat, it is important to remember that a small amount is fine, but a large amount may cause health problems.

Carrots– everyone thinks of carrots when they think of bunny treats. And it is true that rabbits love carrots. Carrots are also high in sugar, so a little bit goes a long way.

Apples – Pears – Bananas – Also good choices but in limited amounts. These are high in sugar also.

Bunny Treats

Banana Days are very popular but must be limited due to sugar content in fruit

Leafy Greens, including Kale, Spinach, Romaine, and other leaf lettuces. Avoid iceberg lettuce as it is mostly water and can cause diarrhea. Some greens are high in oxylic acid which can damage kidneys if fed in high amounts. Spinach, and Swiss Chard are in this group of greens, so limit these to one leaf per rabbit per day.

Safe Foods for Your Rabbit

Bunny Treats

Leafy green plants such as dandelion greens, and plantain leaves are great treats and high in nutrients and vitamins.

Herbs – Adding fresh herbs to your rabbits diet will boost immunity and overall good health. The top herb to consider adding would be Chamomile for calming and soothing, particularly during the first year of life when the hormones are raging. Occasionally adding some oregano for immune health can be beneficial too. Lavender is also sometimes used to increase calming but only a pinch! Brittany May from Happy Days Farm recommends using these three but only using the Chamomile regularly. She notes that in the wild, rabbits would find what they needed to feel good. In captivity, we need to supply these herbs, occasionally. (Simple Herbs for a Stressed Out Rabbit)

Remember that feeding only fresh fruits and vegetables is not the natural diet of rabbits. Even the famous Peter Rabbit ended up sick in bed after visiting Mr. McGregor’s garden!

Digestive Problems

A final word about diarrhea in rabbits. Feeding the wrong diet to your bunny may lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea is a symptom not a disease in itself. Diarrhea can be very serious and lead to death quickly. Keep some whole oats or oat hay on hand. I find it easier to keep some whole oats in the house in case there is an occurrence. Feed a good size handful of oats. Do not use the sugar sweetened oatmeal mixes. Use whole plain oats.
Baby rabbits are particularly susceptible to diarrhea from eating fresh greens and fruits. Do not feed baby rabbits any fresh foods until they are fully developed. At that point, introduce fresh produce very slowly so that your rabbit can enjoy the bunny treats without getting sick. I waited at least 10 weeks of age and started with offering a small piece of carrot as a treat.

Bunny Treats

no fresh greens or fruits for baby bunnies!


bunny treats


Further sources –  
      (affiliate links, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale if you choose to purchase these books from this link. Your price does not change)


Natural Rabbit Care 


Lots of Rabbit info here

I write about many homestead and livestock related topics on the blog Timber Creek Farm. Do you want to know more about raising chickens? My new book, Chickens From Scratch, is available now through the Timber Creek Farm website or from Amazon.com