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Almi

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Hello all. I'm pretty sure I haven't been here in several years...possibly five or more. I gotta admit, I chuckled a bit at my avatar...I was just like, Yep, that WOULD be my avatar. Lol.

A little bit about myself: My name is Jamie. I live in Minnesota, U.S. I am 25 years old; wife to a wonderful husband; SAHM to four young children, two dogs, a fish, and a bunny. Their ages are as follows. My daughters: Sunny, 3 years. Jova, 3 years. Maribel, 2 years. My son: Dainin, 7 months. My Japanese chins (dogs): Pig (male), 5 years. Ema (female) 4 years. My bunny: Jasper (male), 2 months.

So you can get a good idea of what our household is like - never a dull moment! :)

On to my first question! I am wanting to avoid feeding my rabbit PELLETS. My family (dogs included) does not eat prepackaged, preserved food ourselves, and in my experience, feeding a rabbit a diet largely comprised of pellets makes them fat and sick. To me, it would be like feeding my child cereal as the staple of their diet. Even if they're timothy-based, rabbits still need variety like any other animal. I'm also not a fan of the other ingredients typically seen in a commercial, prepackaged rabbit diet, besides the fact that anything shelf stable is going to have degraded nutrient quality. I would be willing to feed them in moderation as a treat, and that's it.

So, we let part of our back yard grow wild. The grass and weeds get tall, some of them taller than I am! The largest portion of them grows out of our compost garden, which we let grow wild on the years we don't do anything with it. What I am wanting to do is cut some grass (and weeds/wildflowers?) for bunny to eat, but I'm concerned about anything poisonous being in there, and I'm also not sure what parts to feed and what parts to avoid (if any). Now, I'm extremely rusty on my plant/grass identification. The last time I did any of that was in high school. Based on my location (I could also provide a sample picture), would anyone be able to link me to (or rattle off) a list of poisonous plants to avoid and how to identify them? Alternatively, could anyone help me identify what's growing in my yard specifically? Resources, experiences, personal knowledge welcome. Basically, I'd like to be able to chop down an entire section of grass without having to weed anything out before I feed it to him.

I'm also curious to see some sample daily (or weekly) diets for your rabbits, especially if you don't use pellets (or use them minimally). Feel free to tell me in great detail about your regimen. So far, our bunny gets free choice of grass hay, fresh greens every day, vegetables, fruits, and some pellets occasionally (to use up the bag which the breeder gave me...he eats them like they're bunny crack).

Next question(s). He thinks it's a good idea to leave little bunny butt pellets around the house, particularly on rugs and corners where he has a litter box. From what I know, this is a way of marking territory of sorts, correct? Does anyone have any tips or tricks for getting him to do it less - or stop altogether? I know that I've never had a rabbit which would not poop around the cage (though they often spare their sleeping box), but I've also never had a rabbit that was allowed to have free range of part of the house for a good portion of the day. So I never had a reason to convince them to discontinue the behavior. Maybe it would help to get him neutered? Take him out before I feed him or something?

My next predicament involves his little poopies as well, but in this case, it's my couch. I do not allow pets on the couch, ESPECIALLY pets who think it's a good idea to leave a few turds on each cushion before springing off to the next moment's mischief. Obviously, it's pretty easy for him to hop right up. The question is, how do I train him or convince him to stay off?

Thanks in advance! I really love this little guy. I've finally realized that I'm just a rabbit person. And now I'll end this with a pic:

girlsnbun_zpsec87646e.jpg
 
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Almi

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Wow, having a lot of trouble posting photos today. It's been a long time, and I still use a desktop computer. Sorry that's so small...at least it's showing up like that for me. I'll just try again since I can't edit now...

4de057db-4ccb-4764-a940-ade6f50eeff3_zps53ab1966.jpg



(If this doesn't work then I give up, it's not that important!)
 

ChocoClover

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I let my rabbits run in the grass and they eat whatever they want. They will not eat anything poisonous that is growing. I'm not sure that they would eat something bad if it is dried, but google has an answer.

Also, my rabbits eat pellets daily. They are not fat and lazy, and it is easier to scoop a cupful of pellets than to pick some grass and clover. You are right about the nutrient deficiency, though.

As for his poo problems, they are completely normal. He leaves poo around the house to mark his territory. If you get him neutered, he might not leave as many. Sad to say, it is unlikely he will stop completely. Just place the poo in the litter box when he leaves it and he might start to learn to mark his territory there and not on the floor. You can also put some Timothy hay in his litter box. I've read that helps.

If you make him a cushy spot away from the couch, he might want to lay there instead of on the couch. Especially if you put a fabric roof over the cushion and sew it together. I did it and my bun loved it.
 

Almi

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Okay, so you're saying they're pretty good at determining what is poisonous and what is not? That's a relief. One more question - the grass around here has gone to seed, does it matter where it is in its life cycle? Can bunny be given the seeds as well?

Well, I'm mostly referring to the crappy (usually alfalfa-based) pellets and mixes you can buy commercially from the store. I am sure good quality pellets exist, and from the sounds of it, your bunnies probably get a lot of exercise (which combats obesity and illness). I just personally think they are kind of pointless, unless for some reason you are unable to feed fresh food.

So I actually have another diet question. I've just been feeding him whatever leafy greens I happen to have around at the time, which is usually along the lines of things like spring mix, spinach, cilantro, etc. I get WIC and food stamps, so he can have as much fresh food as he can eat. (Please, no judgments...I use the free food to feed us WELL on whole foods...not to buy chips, pop, and candy.) Anyway, the question is, would a diet of unlimited hay, lots of fresh greens from the fridge, vegetables, and some fruits be a balanced diet? Or should I go for the fresh grass as well? What about growing some wheat grass or something for him indoors?

Yeah, that's exactly what I've been doing for the poopies. He does seem to lay off once he's marked an area a few times. I think that's why he's after my couch...because he's not allowed on it. Do you think if I let him be on it regularly, that he'd stop?? Lol rabbit psychology 101. Wish I knew what the little guy was thinking sometimes. Naughty little thing got into a [tied closed] cloth bag of bananas yesterday and ate part of the peel off one. Silly rabbit.

I don't think he wants to lay on the couch, but I have been thinking of making him a spot to lay. He does have his own private space in the corner of the livingroom next to the couch. Mostly he enjoys jumping on top of things and running around trying to get into trouble. He usually lands himself back in his cage after an hour or so, lol. I've noticed that he poops way less (if at all) if I let him out before he's eaten and feed him before I put him away. (Simple science, right?) I'm also pretty good at telling when he has to go pee, and tossing him to the box before he has an accident. I'm sure as he gets older, he will get better and better. I am definitely considering neutering him at this point. I wanted to avoid unnecessarily altering his body, but if it's going to save all of us (including him) a headache, I definitely might go for it.

Thank you for your input! I really appreciate it. :bunny19
 

whiskylollipop

Laura the Bunsnuggler
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I love that avatar. :)

Oxbow is a pellet brand I use and trust. The thing about quality pellets is that they are designed to be a proper, complete feed with all the nutrients and vitamins a bunny needs in the correct doses. Trying to DIY mix up a nutritious diet of only fresh greens can risk certain mineral deficiencies in the long term, and I personally wouldn't want to take the chance.

That said, there is plenty of evidence that mostly-homemade diets can and do work well for bunnies. I find a happy balance in giving my buns 1 cupful of varied fresh greens a day each, and rounding off their diet with 1/4 cup of pellets to make sure they're also taking in any minerals the greens missed.

Oxbow is expensive though, as a student it's always a dreaded expense for me. But as I'm not on food stamps (gimme food stamps, New Zealand!) fresh greens are actually more expensive for us than Oxbow pellets! Oh well. To keep costs down, maybe you could feed a diet 3/4 composed of fresh greens, with a couple spoonfuls of pellets daily to round off?

As for bunny poop, neutering should definitely lessen his urge to mark. But it's best to learn quickly to accept that there will be poops here and there as long as the bunny's allowed to run around! If the poops are healthy and solid they're easy to sweep off the couches and such, it's not like they smell or leave stains, so I don't really mind. You won't be able to train him off the couch though. Rabbits do what they want. :p
 

missyscove

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I wouldn't trust your rabbit to not eat something poisonous if it was offered to him. Rabbits are bad enough at eating things they're not supposed to (fabric, remote control buttons, important parts of your favorite outfit) and I've definitely known of buns who chomped on toxic plants.
Personally I like to think of the pellets almost like a multivitamin for my rabbits. I have two rabbits who share just 1/4 cup of Oxbow a day and they love it enough to think they're getting treats and will do tricks for them. They're also fed an unlimited supply of a blend of 5 different types of grass hays (orchard, timothy, oat, wheat and barley) with other hay varieties added in on occasion (meadow, some of the botanical hays with herbs in them, and a rare stem of alfalfa as a special treat). They get about 2 cups of greens morning and night and I mix up what greens I buy every week.

With a rabbit who is still growing, nutrition is especially important. He should really be getting as much of his pellets as he will eat in a day as well as alfalfa hay which is higher in protein and calcium for a growing bun. If you're not going to feed pellets, at least get him on alfalfa hay.

Neutering usually helps to improve litter habits. I consider a rabbit fully litter trained when they pee in the box 100% of the time. Almost all rabbits will have some territorial poops sometimes, especially if there are other people and animals in what they consider to be their territory.

If there's somewhere you don't want him to go, block it off. My rabbits are technically not allowed on the bed, but will jump up there as soon as I leave the room so if there's something I don't want them to get to either it gets blocked off or they go back in their cage.
 

Aki

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I suggest you read this:
http://rabbit.org/faq-diet/
their website does have a list of suitable vegetables and wild plants you can give to your rabbit. But please, don't trust your rabbit to know what's not good for him. The kind of rabbits we have don't come from the wild and they have NO idea of what is poisonous and what isn't, most rabbits will eat anything as long as its kinda green.
Also, you can skip the pellets when your rabbit is fulling grown (before that), but it's much harder to be sure your rabbit has got all the vitamins and such that he needs with only vegetables. I personally don't like the idea of pellets much, so I chose good quality pellets and I give only 10g of it to each rabbit in the morning. I then give them hay all the time and 100g of vegetables / rabbit in the evening (the quantity must be adapted to your rabbit size). I give them different vegetables everyday and at least four different vegetables everyday.
Neutering helps with litter habits. Of course, some rabbits are cleaner than others - an area where females are far superior to males in my experience (and that's not just rabbits, unfortunately).
 

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