Another poopy butt question, though a bit different than others...

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Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
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SW Ohio
I do realize that there is no shortage of these poopy butt posts, and I found about 100 of them before posting here. Our issue does not fit in ANY of the others that I read about.

Every single poopy butt story I read resulted from diet. Either too high of a carbohydrate diet, too much fruit, the wrong kinds of greens, hay, or vegetables or just being fat and/or lazy. I also see that most of the poopy butts result from wet misshapen feces or a surplus/unattended cecotropes.

Our bun is almost 3 years old, and a big-boned bun (leans toward a Rhinelander, though is almost certainly a mixed breed) of about 8-10 pounds. He gets unlimited timothy hay, and out of the manger that hangs on his cage that's 14x9x5 and is kept overflowing, he'll eat about half of it daily. About once a month he'll get a treat of a handful of cilantro or carrot tops - ONLY the tops, never the carrots - and about 2-3 times a year we'll give him 1 or 2 purple clovers only from our yard, which is chemical-free. Other than that, he has a very regular diet of Oxbow Essential adult rabbit food. I have followed the instructions on the back of the bag since we brought him home at about 4 months old - because Oxbow is supposed to be pretty reputable - and since he has been an adult, I have been giving him 1/3 C of food pellets daily. I did notice that, oddly enough, HRS suggests less food as the buns get bigger and Oxbow says the opposite.

He has always been litter trained, and has never really had a problem there. He rarely drops anything more than the firm round pellet, and I only rarely see softer less-round pellets in or around his litter box.

All that having been said, over the last week or so we have noticed that his rear end has been abnormally dirty. Not particularly smelly, and not a result of clumpy ceco; not diarrhea, and not even really any thick residue at all, but more like normal stuck poops and a lot of discoloring of the fur on his butt, legs and backs of his feet. During the butt bath we gave him today, the water was almost immediately discolored and we had a good number of firm round pellets coming off his fur.

This is the mystery I'm trying to solve: What could be causing this?? Though he gets a complete litter change about once a week, he will make little piles in his litter box and his pen and sit on them, which is something I considered pretty normal for rabbits . Could doing this over a period of time actually contribute to this level of mess? Is he just too fat to clean himself well? Is he eating too many food pellets? Diet aside, I just can't imagine what could be causing his dirty butt, but I'm really not a fan of the bunny baths, so I'd like to avoid this problem in the future.

I'd be grateful for any and all insight or recommendations.


Well-Known Member
Jan 11, 2019
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Hi. From your description he eats hay but not that much, he eats 1/3 cap oxbow adult pellets and he gets greens (carrot tops and cilantro) only once a month?

My rabbits get greens daily, carrot tops are great I get them from an organic veg store around the corner they save some for me when people buy a bunch of carrots and want them without greens. Cilantro is also great, with your size and age I would feed him every day starting from smaller portion but surely he could have a bunch a day. I don't have clover so can't tell from my experience but think some fresh grass is fine if as you say you don't spray anything on your yard.

That's what I see unusual in your diet, that less greens than recommended.

Also he can eat less hay because your pellet portion is a bit more than usual, pellets are only like addition, think like vitamins, his main food must be hay. When they get more pellets they love them, and they are full so eat less hay.

If there's a problem with his poos I would recommend to cut pellets, you can keep him on hay and water for a week and see if his poos will get back to normal.

Also I would be interested to see some pics of his toilet, what you use to fill the box, what type of litter?

Is he indoor or outdoor? Once a week sounds fine but depending of what litter do you use. Stuck poos would be very unusual for an adult rabbit, if you keep his toilet clean and dry it shouldn't happen at all, maybe you want to rethink his litter, maybe clean it twice a week or something, can you post a pic of his toilet and his butt here?

If there was no changes to his diet last week it may be just he has too much pellets. I know you feed him like this for 3 years and it was fine until now, but maybe it's just time to review his diet.

I adopted a 2 year old rabbit in December and I had to change his diet because his poos were not normal, but he had grain/muesli type diet with grainy snacks every day, also dairy based snacks. I don't feed Oxbow so can't tell from experience but it is reputable brand and many people here feed Oxbow pellets. Also I reduced his pellets and he started eating more hay, first he demanded his pellets and didn't want to eat hay, he was literally asking where are my pellets, I won't eat that hay. Any diet changes shouldn't be made abruptly you could reduce pellets slowly and then try keeping him on hay for a few days. In fact he should eat same amount of hay as size of his body.

That's my thoughts after reading your post but I would be really interested if you could post some pics.

Momma Luvbun

Jun 16, 2020
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My doublemain lionhead gets this issue. I found it is a couple of issues for him. I also have a lop that began to get dirty and I found getting talon pellets for the litterbox helped.
The lionhead on the other hand has had a hard time with intermittent soft ceceltopes. He doesn't eat them properly. He actually backs up over them then spins around and expects them to be there. He proceeds to do this a couple of times which I feel causes the poops to get stuck in his fur. He also may have some underlying condition like arthritis, which makes it hard for him to menouver enough to get them.
I also stoped everything except hay for two weeks straight.
Then little by little I add back their pellets and greens.


Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Sep 10, 2012
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Utah, , USA
Are you sure it's not urine discoloring the fur, is his back end wet at all? Are you finding any droplets or urine spots outside of the litter box?

If you're sure it's not urine, if it's the fecal poop that's sticking to his fur, have you found any on the floor or in the litter box that seem to be coated in a sticky substance or seem to have a mucousy or gel like substance on or near them? Could there be any correlation to when this occurs and something different that was fed that day or the day before? Right before this started happening, did you start a new bag of hay or pellets?

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