Monday, April 20, 2015

Planting Herbs for Small Pets

Many small pets enjoy eating delicious herbs, including rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and hamsters. Herbs are beneficial and healthy for these pets too! I like to give my pet rats herbs every now and then. Since I have access to fresh herbs year round, it makes it easier.

Since it's Spring and Earth Day is in a few days, I thought I'd share some tips on planting herbs for small pets. Many people are out gardening right now, so why not plant something for your furry little friends to snack on? You can even use the herbs for your own human recipes every now and then, that is if you can get your pet to share with you.

First of all, you are going to need to decide which herbs you want to plant and grow. Many herbs do well indoors, so if you don't have a yard or live in an apartment you'll still be able to manage growing some herbs fairly easy. 

So, what kind of herbs can small mammals eat? Here's a list of a few common ones:
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
Gus is helping to till up the soil. 

My pet rats have not tried all of these herbs yet, but some of their favorites from the list include parsley, cilantro, and basil. Funny considering those are also my favorites... 

Herbs in 4" pots. 

I live on the same property as my family's garden center, so it's easy to walk outside and just grab some herbs from the greenhouse any time I need or want to. I realize that this is definitely not everyone's situation. To make things easier, I decided to plant a variety of herbs in an old planter for my patio. And you can too! 

After you've picked your herbs to plant and the container in which you are going to plant them, you are ready to get to work. Make sure you don't over fill your container, because the plants will need some room to grow. Fill the bottom of the container with a couple of inches of dirt as shown below. 

Just an old dingy plastic planter for our herbs.

Next, remove your herbs from the containers you bought them in. I'd recommend doing this by holding the plant upside down and gently squeezing the plastic pot until you're able to work them out. You can carefully "squeeze" out some of the excess dirt so that more roots are exposed. Then, you just add them to their new container. 

It's time to start adding more dirt now! I called upon the assistance of my daughter. This is a great activity to include your children in. Fill your herb container up until it's almost full. I like to pat my dirt down a little bit afterwards. 

Fun for kids too!

I placed my miniature herb garden on my lawn table (pictured at the top), but may move it over to the patio later on. After planting, you should water the herbs well soaking all of the dirt until moist. A good tip is to water until you see water seeping out through the holes of the bottom of the container. 

I know they don't look like much now, but they will grow! For larger small mammals like rabbits and guinea pigs, you may want to plant more herbs at once. They can go through A LOT of greens in one sitting. 

Gus is sampling his parsley. Yummy!

Gus and Jack have already enjoyed some of their parsley and basil. They gobbled it right up! I'm waiting for the dill I planted to grow a little more before I give them some of it. 

Does your small pet enjoy eating herbs? Which ones are their favorites? Let us know in the comments! 


  1. that's a cool idea! we will plant some green things for Hell-mut too, maybe he likes some herbs what grow not on our meadow?
    easy rider

    1. Ooo yes definitely, and how could I forgot to include reptile friends on here?! I may need to go back and edit it.

  2. Great idea. I am surprised cilantro is on the list, I would think it would upset their tummies.

  3. Learning again from you Ann :) Of all that you listed, the one that surprised me was fennel. I would think it's too bitter for them, but apparently not. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Cathy! Just because it's on the list doesn't necessarily mean they will eat. They all have their own personal tastes and everything I guess you could say. My brother's rabbit's favorite food was Baby Bokchoy.

  4. How cute! I'm glad Jack and Gus get to enjoy some fresh herbs too. I'm excited to finally get are potted herb garden planted this week!
    -Jessica from Beagles & Bargains

  5. I grow quite a few for,Speedy,how ever the one he doesn't like is Dill,so I got rid of that,xx Rachel

  6. Love this idea. I feel we have become very reliant on our pets getting all their nutrition from packaged food, but I think just as with us, its almost always better to get their nutrition straight from the source.
    Thanks for the great idea. Are there any healthy ones for dogs?

  7. Awesome! I'm making an herb garden on my patio and was curious if it would be okay for my dog since she tries to eat anything!

  8. Well now, that is a nifty and thrifty idea for providing treats to small pets! I didn't know they could eat all those different herbs. Ma has never had a rat or mouse...just a bunny and he loved to eat dandelion, a weed! BOL
    Happy Monday Miss Ann and crew!

  9. Mom grew catnip once, but that is the extent of gardening around here :)

  10. They are just adorable! I don't have any small pets, I'd worry about Bain and Kisa. One day I'd like to have some though, especially rats. I love rats, but my boyfriend absolutely does not. Too bad for him! ;)

  11. We plant organic oat grass for our cats. Just planted some a week ago and it should be ready for my cats to start munching by next week!
    --Wags and purrs from Life with Dogs and Cats

  12. The mom grows catnip for us. It stays outside in the summer but she cuts some off for us to enjoy. We can't wait for the catnip to start growing this year!

  13. That sounds like a whole lot of yummy stuff. And what a great project!

  14. I bet the rats are going to love those herbs! It turns out that I don't have much of a green thumb. Part of that might be my lack of windows. Perhaps one day I will give the herb garden thing a shot :)

  15. I think it's so great that you can grow herbs for Gus and Jack! I got some catnip plants for Sam last year too, and even the dogs can eat some herbs. I love to grow them for ourselves too! I love to garden but don't always have good luck, but I think herbs can be fairly easy.

  16. Mom grows us catnip and kitty grass. Those herbs for other small pets sounds pawsome.

  17. I have a question what kind of herbs can mini pigs can eat?

    1. Hi Antonia, unfortunately I have no experience with pigs or mini pigs. However, there is one blog I know of that is dedicated to mini pigs -


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