If you keep rabbits then you know the importance of providing them safe chew toys. How to make a rabbit chew toy is very easy, and much cheaper than purchasing toys from the store. In all actuality you can make it for free using natural plant base items around you.
Yes, I made the mistake of spending $4 on a bunch of sticks wrapped in willow branches. Yes, my husband raised his brow at me when I brought it home. And yes, he shook his head in disapproval. I’m gonna to tell you, I will never make that mistake again! If you have 10 minutes, and access to a few items, you too can make a rabbit chew toy without it costing you a thing.
Rabbit’s teeth never stop growing, so in order to keep their teeth filed down they need things to chew on, and a rabbit who is not given an appropriate chew toy will often find their own things to chew, destroying things they should not be. Our new acquired buck had made it a habit to chew on his plastic laying mat, but once he was provided an appropriate toy his naughty habit of chewing on his mat instantly stopped.
For this project we used apple twigs and willow branches, but I could have also used other natural resources around us such as Alder, Birch, Juniper, Pear, Blackcurrant, Redcurrant, Hazel, Maple, Grapevines and Spruce. Keep in mind, branches from single seeded fruit is considered very toxic for rabbits and should never be provided as a food item or used to make chew toys; some of these items include cherry, plum, peach and apricot.
Another great natural item your rabbits will love to chew are pine cones. Timber Creek Farm has a great tutorial on how to prepare pine cones, which were naturally harvested, and turn them into safe chew toys for your rabbits.
Step 1 – Collect Your Material
Once you have collected the material strip the branches of its leaves and cut them to your desired length. But don’t toss the leaves into the compost, they make a great treat for your rabbit. Willow branches and grapevines make for an excellent natural twine and this is what we used to tie the bundle of twigs together.
Step 2 – Start Assembling
What I love about this simple DIY project is that your children can assist you in making it, and trust me they will love helping! They can assist in gathering the branches, stripping the leaves, and even help to wrap the twine.
Once you have gather a handful of twigs, I used between 8 -10 per bunch, place one end of a willow (or grapevine) branch into the center of the bundle. In order to keep your natural ‘twine’ flexible using them while they are fresh is best, but if they should become stiff you can soak them in water for 10 minutes prior to working with them. This will help to return some flexibility into the branch.
As they, or you, begin wrapping keep in mind that it will need to be wrapped tightly, this will prevent the bundle from falling apart.
To tie off the twine simply weave it in and out of the wrapped bundle. Again, make sure that the tie off is tight to prevent the chew toy from falling apart.
Step 3 – The Finished Product
I made the chew toys 8 inches long, but the next time I plan to shorten it to 4-5 inches. Our buck likes to toss his toys in the air and since it was a bit to long he was unable to play catch with it. Yes, I am sure his a rabbit and not a puppy!
Well, that’s it folks! Making this rabbit chew toy will not only save you a few dollars (okay, a LOT more than a few dollars in the long run), your children will love working with you (or independently) on the project and it provides an all natural item for your rabbit, which in turn keeps them from being bored, while helping to care for their teeth!