Bedding vs Litter

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Liquidtravel

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Hello all,

I am a very new Flemish Giant Rabbit owner. In fact, I am new to rabbits in general. I recently read an article that confused me somewhat - Flemish Giant Rabbit: Diet | Size | Breeding | Housing | Hutch and Cage. In the article toward the bottom under Frequency Clean Your Flemish Giant Rabbit Enclosure, the author states the following:

"Their bedding needs to be spot-cleaned every day. You must remove droppings, leftover food, bits soaked in urine, and the like. You should also clean the litter box daily. "

My confusion is that I was under the impression that their bedding was the litter. I am wrong. In fact, in the article, the author links bedding and litter to the same thing, but they also clearly indicate they are separate things. I assumed at first that bedding meant an actual pet bed and litter meant the bedding material you normally buy for their litter box but after thinking about it, I was very confused and thought best to ask.

Also:

Early on, I have only had my rabbit about 3 months, I had read to put hay in their litter box close to a hay feeder to entice your rabbit into the litter box to start litter training. I did that, but now, whenever I put hay in the box, my rabbit poops or pees all over it and will only eat it when freshly supplied but then after, will no longer eat it. If I put his hay in a hay box, he pulls it down, mixes it all over the floor of his habitat, and then pees on it outside of his litter box. I mean, why wouldn't he, that is what I trained him to do. I am going through a lot of hay to make sure he had a fresh supply to eat before he pees on it.

So, 2 questions:

1. What is the difference between bedding and litter related to the article I posted?
2. How do I make sure he gets enough hay without wasting so much before he pees on it.

thanks
 

Abi :)

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Hey! Basically when rabbits are kept in hutches or cages they are often filled with bedding, it is essentially paper based bedding that can also be used as litter. The bedding is usually for outdoor buns and it is meant to be absorbant in case the buns poo. The article you read was probably talking about cleaning the bedding in a cage as it can get vegetables, and other nasty things stuck which isn't very hygenic. I'll leave pics below to show what I mean. And litter is referred to what is put in a litterbox, often wooden pellets or paper pellets.

As for hay not getting ruined consider a hay box to hold your hay, this way your bun can't pee on it all. (see picture below)

Hope this helps <3

An example of wood shaving bedding (this shouldn't really be used it can cause respiratory problems)
Screenshot 2020-07-07 at 15.21.41.png

An example of straw bedding
Screenshot 2020-07-07 at 15.21.56.png

An example of a hay box setup (the buns pull the hay out of the holes) If you can't make one of these yourself you can find people on etsy that sell custom ones (theres also a video about how to make the below if you are interested)
Screenshot 2020-07-03 at 17.39.35.png

Video on how to make setup above-
 

Cloverhouse

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what type of litter are you using in his box? You might be able to train him by having his hay in an area away from his litter box so he will lose the association of hay/pee. There might be some accidents at first but I think it's doable.

Maybe put his feed and hay in an area away from the litter box entirely.

Has he been neutered yet? Behavior changes as they hit their teen age stage and than again after being fixed.

I don't suggest using bedding with rabbits because I think they will get the idea that everything with soft bottom is basically a litter box. Some people use bedding of some type in hutches, so they have a litter box, but also a lot of straw or loose paper around. In my experience that only leads to bad litter box use, as they simply go all over.

I have had the best results when I have a litter box with only hard surfaces around it. That creates a clear distinction between potty and not potty.

If your bunny really likes to nibble hay while in the litter box, then you may just have to put a few big handfuls in it fresh every day, and let that be his hay place as well. But you could try putting the hay and food at least a few hops away from the litter box and see how that works.
 

Liquidtravel

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For his litterbox, I use a combo of pine shavings and carefresh bedding materials. I don't put bedding inside his cage. It is an extra-large dog kennel but he usually doesn't hang out in his cage as the door is always open. The flooring is obviously hard surface and not wire. But, he spends most of his time hanging out in my bedroom on the carpet.

He is neutered and for the most part litter box trained. I have used a hay box. It was attached to the inside of his cage but he always pulled it down. I have tried putting it in a box, but, if it is too big, he sits in it and pees. If it is too small, he flips it over and piles up the hay and sits in it and pees outside his litter box. All of this is inside the dog kennel. I have not tried putting a hay box outside the dog kennel because I don't want to take a chance of him pulling out the hay on the carpet and peeing on it.

Your last statement is basically what I have been doing, putting hay in his litterbox daily.
 

Blue eyes

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"Their bedding needs to be spot-cleaned every day. You must remove droppings, leftover food, bits soaked in urine, and the like. You should also clean the litter box daily. "

1. What is the difference between bedding and litter related to the article I posted?
2. How do I make sure he gets enough hay without wasting so much before he pees on it.
Bedding and litter materials can be the same thing, as you've found out. How it is used is really what defines it. Bedding refers to what is spread all over a cage floor. It really serves no purpose other than to confuse bunny as to where to potty and to make more mess to clean up. The exception would be for outdoor rabbits that need it to keep warm.

Indoor rabbits should not have bedding strewn over their cage floor.

For litter, pine shavings (unless kiln-dried) emit harmful fumes. Neither shavings nor Carefresh-type litters do much for odor control either. They make a mess and tend to get tracked about and stick to rabbit paws. I'd suggest switching to wood pellets. These work better than anything else for odor control. They are also incredibly cheap too.

Like you, I put hay on top of the litter (pine pellets). I put fresh handfuls in a couple times per day so that they always have fresh hay available. That is how they get their hay -- in the litter box. They won't eat soiled hay (again, as you've noticed) but the fresh additions keep them supplied.

I'd encourage getting hay by the bale from a feed store or farm (if you aren't already). It is super cheap. So cheap that you will not bat an eye at any hay "waste."

Here's a link to my website that explains a bit more about that litter box set up.
 

Blue eyes

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I was looking over that Flemish link and noticed they suggest using a water bottle. That seems rather cruel to me for such a large rabbit. Bottles make tedious work of getting water and this often results in less water drinking. This is not healthy for a rabbit. A bowl would be more suitable. [not sure whether you are using a bottle or bowl] :)
 

Liquidtravel

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@Blue eyes - I have been using a water bottle since I first adopted my flemish. I have tried switching to a bowl a few times but he just flips it over as soon as I put it in front of him. I tried bigger bowls and he tries to get inside of it so bowls do not work for my bunny. He seems to be ok with the bottle and I hear him several times a day getting drinks. So, so far so good with the water.
 

Blue eyes

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This is the kind of bowl you can use...

It can't be tipped or spilled. I used to use water bottles and when I switched to bowls I was shocked to see how much more the rabbits would drink. I felt bad that they had been deprived.

They also eat more hay when they have more water. :)

1594151401250.png
 
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Blue eyes

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zuppa

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If your rabbit has no problem with drinking from his bottle there's no point in changing to bowl. Some rabbits don't like bowls or struggling but most rabbits can learn. Giant water bottle 1100 ml (37 oz) works really well and would be enough for a flemmie for sure. Bernie can easily drink 600 ml sometimes but most days it's 300 ml a day. Fred only drinks 70 ml but he doesn#t have any problems with using his bottle. Just Bernie drinks often and Fred drinks only 2-3 times a day but really long, he stays at his bottle for a few minutes non stop. He never struggles.

But some rabbits don't understand how it works so they are trying to break it instead of licking ball. For those I would keep bowl under bottle probably so they could have another option. They're just stubborn and don't learn. Most babies learn how to drink from a bottle quite quickly.

By the way, bigger bottle like giant has larger ball so it is easier to use than smaller bottles. I have giant bottles for summer all the time.

With bottles I know that they drink clean water and how much exactly
 
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Blue eyes

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I would disagree regarding bottles. I've seen a rabbit actually angrily biting the bottle tube trying to get more water. He was the rabbit that convinced me to change to bowls. I put a bowl under his bottle and he never touched the bottle again. Since then I've only used bowls for my rabbits. His bondmate, btw, never seemed to have an issue with the bottle, but also switched exclusively to the bowl once it was offered.

I realize some rabbits seem ok with bottles, but I'd say at least try a bowl and give it a fair amount of time and see what happens. One can never really know if a rabbit is ok with a bottle until they are given a comparison.

As for cleaning, I find bottles a pain. They often look clean but if you can reach your finger inside and touch the inside wall, they get slimy (clear slime) really quickly. I suppose if one vigorously cleans each bottle with a bottle brush every day, then it would be clean, but what a time-waster (imo) that would be.

With a bowl that can't tip, it's easy enough to see how much they drink each day. :)
 

zuppa

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I would disagree regarding bottles. I've seen a rabbit actually angrily biting the bottle tube trying to get more water. He was the rabbit that convinced me to change to bowls. I put a bowl under his bottle and he never touched the bottle again. Since then I've only used bowls for my rabbits. His bondmate, btw, never seemed to have an issue with the bottle, but also switched exclusively to the bowl once it was offered.

I realize some rabbits seem ok with bottles, but I'd say at least try a bowl and give it a fair amount of time and see what happens. One can never really know if a rabbit is ok with a bottle until they are given a comparison.

As for cleaning, I find bottles a pain. They often look clean but if you can reach your finger inside and touch the inside wall, they get slimy (clear slime) really quickly. I suppose if one vigorously cleans each bottle with a bottle brush every day, then it would be clean, but what a time-waster (imo) that would be.

With a bowl that can't tip, it's easy enough to see how much they drink each day. :)
If you like using bowls I have no problems with that at all. :)
 
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