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Old 09-25-2012, 05:33 PM   #1
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Hello from Canada. It is 24C by day and 5C at night now in Southern Alberta. We're enjoying an extra-long summer.

My new rabbit is not eating the rabbit food I offer him. He has had a food change. "Nugget" is three or four, possibly a Palomino mix, un-neutered male. I received him from a home that kept three rabbits outside in a tractor on the lawn year 'round. His only food was alfalfa pellets and fresh grass.

I am told he and one of the other three rabbits were re-homed because three males were fighting.




I've moved him into a raised hutch inside of a large enclosed run. He lives alone now. There is a small pet crate inside of the hutch for him to burrow in. Its not shown here but I've also put a medium-sized dog igloo on the ground in the run. He has lots of choices of where to be and lots of room to run and jump. The hutch has a pop hole and ladder to the ground and another ladder that goes to a nest box on an upper level. There is lots of straw bedding.



Nugget is not litter trained. I have given him a litter box with a mix of pine pellet litter and straw in it. He does not seem to be using it. I cannot find his preferred corner for pooing. His output seems to be low. I may confine him to the hutch to litter train him and monitor his peeing and pooing.

I have offered Nugget leaf lettuce, fresh cut herbs, alfalfa hay, rabbit food pellets, a piece of banana, water and branches to chew on. He eats the lettuce and hay, not much more.

Its been two days. At what point should I worry that he's not eating his pellets?





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Old 09-25-2012, 05:51 PM   #2
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He is probably just adjusting to the new space. As long as he's eating hay and pooping I wouldn't stress. Do you have any of his old brand of pellets to help him transition? Rabbits can be very reluctant sometimes to eat something different than what they are used to. By mixing the old with the new they get used to the new brand and it is an easier transition, also for their tummy. How old is he? If he is a year old you will want to transition to timothy or other grass hay rather than the alfalfa, but since that is what he is used to I would let him settle a couple weeks first.

It looks like a nice set up as long as he gets lots of human interaction so he doesn't get lonely. Is there fencing on the top? I can't tell from the picture, but it is a good idea to prevent birds from getting him.



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Old 09-25-2012, 07:18 PM   #3
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heh, sounds like he was a victim of clueless owners - grass is no substitute for hay and unneutered males should never be kept together, so of course they fought >.<

I'm glad he's found a better home now! offer him timothy hay (or other grass hays like orchard grass, oat, coastal, bermuda, etc.) and restrict his access to grass a bit if you can and hopefully he'll take the hint and start munching on the hay. as minilop said, if you can get some of his old pellets, that really helps with transitioning to a new brand.

if you get him neutered, it helps with behavior (spraying, etc.) and tends to greatly improve litter box habits. it can also have some health benefits (I've heard testosterone can cause some health problems in unneutered males), though fixing a male rabbit for health reasons is FAR less important than it is with girls.

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Old 09-26-2012, 04:33 AM   #4
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Are you offering him that entire head of lettuce? Maybe he's just filling up on that and doesn't have any room left for pellets.

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Old 09-26-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
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I know this is probably a debatable point, but I have read that rabbits can live on fresh veggies and unlimited hay and be just fine without any pellets... If he is as old as you say (3 or 4) then he definitely should be switched off alfalfa. Gradually transitioning to a new one is best. Just like with pellets, rabbits may need time to adjust to new greens too. You could try a "salad" and mix all the lettuce, herbs, etc. together and give it to him at once.

And like MissyCove said above ^^^^ a whole head of lettuce is a lot, especially if it's in there all the time. Then he'll definitely be reluctant to try anything new.

Sounds like he will be MUCH happier with you! He'll be king of his own little kingdom with no one to question his authority

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Old 09-26-2012, 05:57 PM   #6
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Any time we get a new bunny, it takes time for them to make the transition to our routine and feeding. We had some that wouldn't touch hay till the pellet amount got severely reduced. A couple took more than a week to start eating the daily veggie ration. They all like pellets, veggies and orchard grass now. As to the litter box, rabbits tend to leave poop all over but seem to favor one spot for urine, so that is what you should look for when placing a litter box. Ours do leave major amounts of poop in their boxes but also distribute it all over still.

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Old 09-26-2012, 06:46 PM   #7
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Actually, you might be surprised at how much lettuce a rabbit can eat. I brought home a bunny once and she wouldn't touch pellets or hay. I tried several different kinds and no luck. She would curl into a little ball, close her eyes and not eat. But she would eat greens. I guess that's what the people I got her from were feeding her. This tiny little baby bunny could eat a whole head of green leaf lettuce, a day. I'm not kidding. She weighed less than a pound and was actually pretty skinny when I got her. She peed a ton cause lettuce is mostly water, but she did start putting on weight and was actually pretty healthy and active, then after about a week of lettuce and cilantro she started nibbling on her pellets, and after another 2 weeks she was eating pellets normally. So Zone3's rabbit could easily eat that head of lettuce and still have room for more. He probably wouldn't be drinking much more extra water though.

Sometimes when someone brings a new rabbit home, it's just important that they ARE eating, anything. It can be stressful for rabbits to be in a new place and sometimes they'll just stop eating altogether. Give him a few days and just make sure that he is eating enough and that his poops are normal. As long as he doesn't have soft poop and they're normal looking, then what your feeding him should be ok. You'll want to make sure he's getting enough hay. The alfalfa is probably fine for now. You could try introducing some grass hay as well. I had a new doe once that wouldn't eat her pellets or hay, so I mixed a pinch of oats into her pellets and that seemed to do the trick cause she gradually started eating her pellets again, you could give that a try. He may just start nibbling on them on his own, so always keep some in there, just enough in his dish that if he eats any you'll be able to look in his dish and notice if any of it is gone. If you fill the dish full it will be harder to tell if he ate any of it. It took my bunny, that would only eat lettuce, at least 7 days before she even started just nibbling on pellets. Like MiniLopHop mentioned, if you can get some of his old pellets that he's used to, that may solve your problem entirely. If he's still not eating his pellets after a few days, when it looks like he's settled in and is happy and still eating his hay and veggies good, you could try decreasing the hay and veggies gradually and see if he'll eat more of his pellets. You could also try different kinds of pellets. Ideally, once he's eating his pellets good again, you'll want to switch him over to grass hay instead of alfalfa, because he'll be getting too much protein and calcium from the alfalfa, for an adult rabbit.

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Old 09-28-2012, 03:36 AM   #8
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MiniLopHop wrote: "Do you have any of his old brand of pellets to help him transition?"

No, I wasn't offered any and I failed to ask for some. They showed me the bag and it was a livestock pure alfalfa pellet sold in HUGE bags so I didn't want to buy it myself because I knew I'd never use that much of a food that wasn't well-rounded.


MiniLopHop wrote: "Is there fencing on the top? I can't tell from the picture, but it is a good idea to prevent birds from getting him."

Yes. We have hawks and magpies.


Imbrium wrote: "...offer him timothy hay (or other grass hays like orchard grass, oat, coastal, bermuda, etc.) ..."
I can't believe how difficult it is to find hay other than pure alfalfa in the pet shops here. I live in a community that is surrounded by agriculture. Of course the pet products are shipped in from far away, too.



On the weekend, we'll be going to a farm to pickup a bale of something other than alfalfa... and it will be a fraction of the price of one of those teeny pet store bags.



missyscove wrote: "Are you offering him that entire head of lettuce? Maybe he's just filling up on that and doesn't have any room left for pellets."

LOL Yah, I gave it all to him and you are probably right. With all the water in the lettuce he probably didn't need to drink, did he?

Nancy McClelland wrote: "...rabbits tend to leave poop all over but seem to favor one spot for urine, so that is what you should look for when placing a litter box."

Good tip. Thanks!

Thank you everyone for your ideas. Nugget is FINALLY eating pellets as of yesterday and today it looks like he drank quite a bit of water so I think he's going to be ok.

I've been looking for a girlfriend for him; I want to add another rabbit before he gets too territorial about the pen belonging to him and him alone.



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Old 09-28-2012, 05:06 AM   #9
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I'm glad he's started eating his pellets.

Be sure you have him neutered well before introducing him to a female. It takes time for their hormones to die down.

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:47 AM   #10
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missyscove wrote:
Quote:
Be sure you have him neutered well before introducing him to a female. It takes time for their hormones to die down.
Don't worry. I have ten years' experience of breeding/showing pedigreed cats behind me and I haven't had an oops litter.




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