Adopted rabbit not eating

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Prap, Jun 14, 2019.

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  1. Jun 14, 2019 #1

    Prap

    Prap

    Prap

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    My parents adopted a rabbit today that I'm gonna help take care of (As I also have rabbits).
    None of us have ever adopted a rabbit that is not a baby so we're kinda unsure of the process. He is 1 year old and a teddy. We had to drive 2 hours to pick him up.
    He didn't eat, pee or poo for the 2 hour car ride. That was at 2 pm. When we got home i managed to get him to eat some dandelion greens (Small handfull), some banana and a bite of carrot. He hasn't had any drinks or gone to the toilet yet (It's 5:30 pm). Currently i found some massive dandelion leaves he's been eating several ones off. I can't get him to eat any hay.
    He was a perfectly healthy rabbit and had no issues eating. He lived in a garden and I don't think he had unlimited hay just grass and herbs and was fed pellets on the side. Will he start eating on his own? Does he just need time settling in? I'm aware it's all a super stressful experience for him, and he's going from being an outdoor bunny to indoor freeroam. I have critical care but I'm unsure at which stage i should go for that because I don't want to stress him out any further.
    At which point will i need to take him to the vets? And again I'm really worried about the stress of doing much with him. It's a new home and he's probably not super happy about and needs some time. I'm just really not sure of what precautions we should take as we've never adopted an adult rabbit, and it's hard to find information on the internet... He's at least eating plenty dandelion and he's nowhere near dehydrated and also takes fruit and veg snacks alright-ish.
     
  2. Jun 14, 2019 #2

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    I would leave him be for now. If he is still not eating hay or using the bathroom in the morning, then it's probably a problem. He seems to need time now. Could you post a picture of him?
     
  3. Jun 14, 2019 #3

    Prap

    Prap

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    He seems to be loving the dandelion leaves very much has been eating a fair few of those. But he was in a garden, so i assume he's been eating quite a bit of those. I'm not sure he's had a very controlled diet as he had a full bowl of pellets, plenty of carrots, pepper and broccoli. They did say the latter wasn't often but it was a fairly large amount and i saw no hay. I'm just hoping he'll start eating the hay too, but if he isn't used to it he may be a bit harder to convince.
    He's already calmed down a bit and started exploring but is super careful and skittish so we're giving him some space to settle in. My own rabbits don't drink frequently but do drink loads when they actually drink, so I'm not sure if that's just a normal rabbit thing and he may just not be thirsty yet. He's a very sweet rabbit though
     

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  4. Jun 14, 2019 #4

    Prap

    Prap

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    I messaged them and they said they've tried hay but he doesn't really like it much. Any tips on getting the little guy to eat more hay, and will it be alright feeding him grass until i find a solution to the lack of hay? :)
     
  5. Jun 14, 2019 #5

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    What kind of hay is it?
     
  6. Jun 14, 2019 #6

    Prap

    Prap

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    Hay works a bit differently here. I've noticed in America you always refer to it as timothy or alfafa (If i get it correct), however i have checked and checked and there's no such thing anywhere. We have a wide selection of different types of hay. What I've been recommended by different sources is something similar to the picture, and it's always just referred to as "hay" and then comes with different types of herbs or dried greens and is very fine and loose. Only other option is hay directly from different farms but it's very thick and doesn't seem very nice.
     

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  7. Jun 14, 2019 #7

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    My suggestion to get him to eat more hay would be to try every kind of hay you can get your hands on. You can also try putting hay in multiple different spots such as in a cardboard tube, paper bag, a box with shredded paper, and wherever else. I have a paper bag of hay that my bunnies enjoy pushing around and chewing holes in to get the hay out. I also have a box with paper and hay. You could try sprinkling dried herbs on top of the hay.
     
  8. Jun 14, 2019 #8

    Prap

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    Yeah. I had an ill bunny that wouldn't eat so i have loads of different types from that. I messaged the owner again and they seem to have lied about his age on the post and he's actually a bit older than 2 years... I can imagine it won't be easy getting a bunny who has not been eating hay for 2 years to suddenly eat it again. He has now been nomming some more dandelion and a few pellets and although everyone's still super worried about him I'm happy he's not completely off eating. He has still not pooped or peed as far as I can tell (Using wood pellets in his toilet because of his long fur). Because of the lack of hay I'll probably take him to the vets to make sure his teeth are all good.
    I have 2 rabbits myself (Still babies however) and they also prefer to get the hay right out of the bag. I have a hay rack but they choose to ignore it and just go straight to the bag :)
    He's being very quiet and not at all playful right now so I'm not hopeful the ideas will work, but I'm going to give it a try anyway
     
  9. Jun 14, 2019 #9

    Poopy Poo

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    Hi, he's super cute! :)
    When I adopted Fred he was left on street in a cardboard box and people found him and kept in their shed for a week, then they brought him to me 2 hours drive in a plastic box, so when I picked him up and brought home it was about 8am so he was in a car since 6am at least, there I didn't see any water or hay in the box just plastic box. So I put him into a medium size cage with hay bedding, food, water and some green leaves he looked like very slow and I honestly thought he's very old or ill, but I just let him be covered the cage a bit so he'd feel safer there and I was home all day with my college work so just with my laptop but in the same room doing my work. There was no movement in the cage he was in one corner until 8pm, I really worried as he didn't drink just was sitting there in that corner keeping his head a bit on his right side, absolutely still. It was January and was already dark in my room and I didn't need more light with my laptop so just heard that he started drinking, and this sound was like five minutes at once, as he had no drink for more than 12 hours. Then he ate some food I came to say good rabbit Fred and left him alone, then he started eating. Next morning I just came to change water, gave him some food and hay and said Morning Fred how are you is it all good? He didn't say anything so I left him alone and was just coming twice a day to give water, food and greens, and after a week or so he was eating and drinking fine even if he finished his food before I woke up in the morning he'd pee into his empty bowl to demonstrate his disappointment with me.

    This is completely normal think of stress that he is having new home and as I understand he has no own place? I'd give him something if you don't want to keep him in a cage but give him some box where you put his toilet, hay and food/water, it'd be easier for him to make himself comfortable in a smaller space, then he will start exploring territory. Honestly I'd give him a cage for a week or two so he'd feel safe there and even can cover with a blanket and let him be there for a couple days.
     
  10. Jun 14, 2019 #10

    Poopy Poo

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    I've got four rabbits and all drink and eat differently, Fred and other boy Leo they drink only 50-70 ml of water daily and one of my lop girls Bernie drinks 400 ml daily and eats tons of hay, if he had no hay previously I think if it will be in his place with food and water he might start eating it little by little, you can stuff toilet rolls with hay or make some other toys stuffed with hay so he can see and play with it could help as well.
     
  11. Jun 14, 2019 #11

    JBun

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    Try and keep his diet as much the same as he's used to as possible for now. It's never good to make sudden diet changes with a new rabbit. If you have access to fresh grass and the kind of safe foraged plants he would be used to, then I would feed him that and the type of herbs, greens, and veggies he's used to(limit sugary ones), and also feed him the exact same brand and type of pellets he's used to and the amount he's used to. Once he's had some time to settle in then you can think about the dietary changes you want to make. It's just always best to make the changes gradually, from the old food to the new food.

    I have a girl bun that was found outside and had been living on fresh forage. She wouldn't eat hay either, but she would eat pellets. So I fed her a small amount of pellets as she wasn't used to them yet, and gradually increased the amount each day. To get her used to hay I had to start with feeding her fresh grass while she got settled in. I was also drying some of that grass. Then I started to add some of the dried grass along with just enough fresh that she would run out after a while and have to try the dried grass. Once she was eating the dried grass well, I increased feeding the dry and decreased feeding the fresh. Once she was mostly eating the dried grass, I started adding in some of the usual grass hay that I feed the rest of my rabbits, and decreased the amount of dried grass slightly to encourage her eating the grass hay. Once I knew she was eating the hay I started decreasing the amount of dried grass and increasing the amount of hay, until I got her onto eating only the hay. So it was quite the process, but it's the only thing that worked to get her eating hay.
     
  12. Jun 14, 2019 #12

    Prap

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    He has a cage with a blanket, litterbox and food and water :) We started out putting him in it to get him comfortable with the place slowly but he seemed super unhappy in there (He's had a huge garden all to himself with no one to keep track of his eating habbits and has been able to do whatever he pleased) so I felt bad for him and let him out to investigate. I'm happy enough i did that as he seemed to cheer up afterwards. He is still going to be let in there at night as the place is unfamiliar to him and if there's something I've learnt with new bunnies is that they always find new ways to make trouble until you get to know them! ;-)
    He's gone all in with the herbs, dandelion leaves and even nommed some pellets (Although small amounts. Previous owner also said he didn't eat many of them and mostly lived of grass and plants). He even pooped some cecotropes, not eaten them and also some normal poops. Can't tell if he has peed.
    He seems a little happier now and even comes to sniff me when i lie on the floor. He also ate a full small carrot (Although I'd never feed my own rabbits such a big amount of carrot, he seems to have been used to eating even larger amounts of carrot) So he's definitely not unhappy with eating, he just seems to be a super picky little boy!
    I also checked his teeth. He's a bit skittish still so i couldn't get a good luck at his bottom teeth but his front teeth are looking nice, healthy and short so I doubt very much there are any problems there thankfully :)
    He does wheeze slightly when he breathes, but I'm not sure if this may just be a weakness from his very flat face like with flat faced cats and dogs (We've had a pug). He squeaks something when being picked up so I've tried to avoid doing that. He doesn't seem to be in pain, so I'm guessing he's just got a dislike for this.
     
  13. Jun 14, 2019 #13

    Prap

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    Yeah we made sure to get a bag of his old pellets which I'll be feeding him for a while before I gradually switch it over to the mix I feed my girls. I never imagined rabbits could have such a tough time eating hay, but I'll try out some of your advice and I'll go check out the selection at my local pet store (Woman that takes care of the shop is a nurse vet and has been super helpful and likes to check out my rabbits when i go have their nails cut there too, so they're really good with advice as well). Everything sounds really helpful, i just hope i don't have to worry about him too much! It's not my rabbit but I've promised to help him out settling in. At least my own rabbits eat as much as a horse so I never have to worry about their diets. They also accept every snack or food i've thrown at them and aren't picky the slightest :)
     
  14. Jun 15, 2019 #14

    TreasuredFriend

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    Thank you to your parents and You for taking in this bun. Very glad that his former people are keeping in touch as to previous habits, environment, and what he was fed.

    Your parents are fortunate to have a daughter who is knowledgeable on GI stasis and signs of rabbits' normal or ill health. I'll keep following,
     
  15. Jun 15, 2019 #15

    Prap

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    He's definitely a lovely bun. I do find it slightly easier having them from baby buns, but it doesn't have the same happy feeling of giving a bunny whose family can't have him, a home.
    He's peeing and pooping well now, and whereas his poops were looking super unhealthy the first day (Very dark, small and "wet") they are now dry, brown and a nicer size. He doesn't like hay for sure, but I had some pellets lying about that helps keep their digestion going and keep them healthy which he absolutely loves so i mixed them with his normal pellets (Which he didn't really seem to like). It doesn't seem like anyone has taken much time to figure out his likes and dislikes with food, but rather just accepted that he didn't really like it or eat much.
    I'm going shopping for different hay sorts and hay-related products, and consulting the vet regarding his diet now he doesn't like hay. (I'm obviously gonna work hard getting him back on hay :) )
    He's currently living off his old pellets, our pellets, grass, dandelion leaves (He likes to eat loads!!) and he also seems to like leafy greens. He has plenty of appetite when eating and seems healthy so I'm moving forward on my mission to make him an even healthier bun. It may be difficult as he is absolutely the most stubborn rabbit I've met!! He also has very poorly litter habbits which is hard to fix currently with him not wanting his. I've tried feeding his greens to him in the litters and that does help. Other than fruit he does not take any treats, he just likes to throw them around. I can get him to nibble on the hay when i hold it but otherwise not so much, so I'm positive that if I find something he likes he'll eat it :)

    But I can at least say that bunny seems very happy and is relaxing loads. He hasn't been socialized very much but doesn't seem to object too much to a good head rub (Finally making happy sounds! :) )
    I have no doubt this sweet bun will be fine even though he requires some work diet wise, but he has a big loving home and a big garden to explore so he's now found his forever home and will not be forced to move ever again.
    Thank you all for your helpful tips regarding hay. I have some ideas and will slowly begin trying to win him over :)
     

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