The Stick Monster (New Bunny Toy Idea)

At last, some sunny days! I’ve been clearing up in the garden cutting things back and pulling out weeds (why are they always the first thing up) and sowing loads of seeds. Another thing I’ve been doing is harvesting a supply of chew sticks for Scamp to eat in the hope that a ready supply of sticks to chew will mean less chewing of other things like walls, doors, and skirting boards. Not that it will stop him, but just think how much more he’d chew if he didn’t have sticks too.

Chew sticks are a bit expensive to buy and, according to Scamp, just not as tasty as the fresh stuff so growing your own is a great way to keep a ready supply. Don’t these look good enough to eat?

Home grown apple, grape and raspberry chew sticks

These are…

  • Apple – Apple trees come in different sizes, unless you’ve got a giant garden go for a dwarf tree that will stay about 6′ (with pruning), you can even grow apple trees in big containers but that will limit their grow quite a bit so don’t expect as many twigs to cut. The down side is it will probably take a year or two for your tree to get established and produce more than a handful of twigs. Apple trees are quite common and easy for non green-fingered folks to identify so if you don’t have space for a tree yourself, ask around – I bet someone you know has one.
  • Grape – These grow like crazy which means loads of sticks, you can grow them in a pot against a wall, fence or over an arch. I cut them fresh when they start poking at people walking fast and there is still plenty left to turn woody in autumn.
  • Raspberry – I love raspberries! So I get the fruit and Scamp gets the leaves during summer and the sticks in spring. I picked a thornless variety so in late winter/spring, I just cut the whole lot to the ground which gives me three or four 4′ long sticks per plant. That’s from raspberries grown in a tub – you’d get even more if you’ve room to give them space in the ground. More on raspberries here.

Our hazel is almost big enough we might be able to prune it next winter and have another flavour of chew stick – I think you have to dry hazel first?

What to do with Chew Sticks

I noticed that chew sticks can be a bit hit and miss with bunnies. A stick on the floor is often considered just part of the landscape and given about as much attention as a human would give a twig on a woodland walk. Partly, I think, because shop brought chew sticks are old dry wood and therefore less tasty and partly because a stick on the floor is just part of the décor.

So, I decided to have a little fun. Introducing the stick monster:

Here are the steps to make your own…

1. Gather a selection of edible sticks and have them approved by a handsome assistant.

1b. Remove sticks from handsome assistants mouth

2. Jab a kitchen roll tube with a handy pair of scissors, whilst being careful to avoid rabbit trying to jump on your lap.

3. Post sticks through holes. Some sticks I pushed through one hole and out another, others just in one hole and I garnished the top with a few spares.

Then hand to bunny for testing…

I think this would work great hung up or even part wedged in a tunnel so a bun can chew through “roots” (encouraging natural behaviour). Scamp’s is presently wedged by the cupboard he’s got him eye on extending into.

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13 Responses to “The Stick Monster (New Bunny Toy Idea)”

  1. Jade says:

    I’ll have to give that a try with Mick–he has never been a fan of twigs, even when fresh, so perhaps offering them to him like that will stir up some interest.

  2. Michelle May says:

    How fun! Harrington and Hannah would love that! I’ll have to give it a try!

  3. Mei says:

    Scamp looks so cute! I tried that with Summer and Nibbles. They won’t that keen on the twigs but I suspect that is because I used dried willow sticks of the pet shop variety. However, I just planted some raspberry plants so hopefully when they grow out I will be able to try with fresh twigs.
    Do you know if gooseberry twigs and blackcurrant twigs are rabbit safe? I saw some in Homebase for a pound.

    • Tamsin says:

      I’m not sure about gooseberry but I think blackcurrant is fine. Raspberry grows really fast so you should have some wood to harvest in autumn or next year. Blackberry is another one that’s easy to grow and rabbits can eat the leaves and wood from.

  4. Kirsty says:

    Hi Tamsin & Scamp – thanks for the stick monster idea! I came back from the allotment today with fruit tree prunings & the stick-monster took a good chewing when I got home! Might try hanging it in the run tomorrow…

    • Tamsin says:

      Oooo I’m jealous of you with a whole allotment of prunings! I’m glad your bunnies had fun with this too 🙂

  5. Charlotte says:

    Love the stick monster!! I think Humphrey might like one of those…:)

  6. Natalie says:

    My rabbits would love this!! Except I don’t have those kind of sticks. I think any kind will work though! I’ll try it! 😀

  7. Sakura says:

    Im gonna try this out! looks great, i hope Marshmallow will like it, she LOVES sticks (by the way Marshmallow is a lop ear rabbit, not a food)

  8. Abby says:

    How do you make the apple sticks safe like do you peel them how do you sanitize them I don’t know so can you please tell me plus is it safe for my rabbit to have this she’s not 3 months yet on December 27 2015 she’ll be 3 months so yah please answer as soon as possible

    • Tamsin says:

      As long as you avoid trees that have been sprayed with pesticide then apple sticks shouldn’t need sanitizing. Avoid anything that is obviously diseased, got bugs or covered in moss but that should leave plenty of nice looking sticks. It’s no different to hay which is grow outside in a field, then packed up in a bag for your bunny to eat.

      They are best picked on a dry day if you plan store them instead of feeding fresh and hang them up or spread them out (don’t put them in plastic) so they dry through. Your rabbit will enjoy eating the bark herself.

      Three months is still quite young so start with a few twigs and build up gradually 🙂

  9. V Birch says:

    Great ideas! Lots of helpful stuff on your site. I was very concerned though to see grape vines given. These are toxic to rabbits! Raspberry, blackberry, salmon berry , blueberry, hazelnut, Birch, willow, apple and pear are great. Peach, apricot, plum, cherry, and grape branches are bad.

    • Tamsin says:


      Thanks – do you have a reference re grape vines being bad? It’s often hard to find definitive information but I’ve fed them myself in reasonably quantities with no sign of digestive problem, people eat them (which is generally a good indicator) and rabbits are considered pests to vineyards as the wild ones eat the grape vines.


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