bunnies refusing to eat hay!!!

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RoseCottageBuns

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I have three rescue bunnies, who have had a bit of a tough time, but I rescued them about 3 months ago and they are showing some real signs of improvement. however, they will not eat hay. I have tried everything...alfalfa, timothy, meadow mix , evenly from my own field that my horse and my two already established buns love, but they are just not interested. They love the burgess nuts I give them and and eat all the forage I find for them, but refuse point blank to eat hay! I have tried spraying it with apple juice and pineapple juice to get them started, but they just turn their noses up. Someone suggested that I simply dont give them nuts for a few days and just hay, and that will start them eating it, but it seems very harsh. I am worried about their teeth. If anyone can give me any advice, I would be most grateful.
 

Blue eyes

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Nuts?? Do you mean actual nuts?
Nuts should not be fed to rabbits at all. They are extremely high in fat and not good for them.

What is their normal diet? Do they get greens? Pellets? What kind?

Absolutely stop giving them nuts regardless. Rabbits may refuse hay if they get too much of fatty or sugary foods.
 

Popsicles

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I’m assuming they are referring to the pellets as nuts, much like horse owners do. If not, of course please stop feeding nuts!
But you can definitely cut down on pellets if you don’t want to stop them completely. They probably aren’t eating the hay because they are full up on yummy pellets and forage!
 

RoseCottageBuns

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I give them each about 2 eggcup fulls of pellets a day, and the rest is forage. i do not give them nuts! my mistake, I meant to say pellets. Would they be ok if I just gave them hay for a while???
 

alexisjeanne13

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Hi! I also rescued my rabbit Nova from a bad place and she wasn’t very interested in hay at first. However she LOVES treats. She thinks every crinkling bag is a treat for her. I found a bag of “treats” at the pet store that were just 100% sun dried hay compressed into cubes. I gave those to her for a while because she thought the were treats and she’d scarf them right down! It made me feel better to know she was still getting fiber into her! Whenever she did eat her regular hay I would watch her and I noticed she would dig through for the pieces with the fuzzy tops (sorry I don’t know the name for them!). I started hand feeding her some of those and eventually she started eating hay by herself. She is practically always in her litter box now chomping away. :)
 

Blue eyes

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Clearly I'm not a horse person.;)

I'm guessing an "eggcup" is about 1/4 cup. The recommended amount for an average size rabbit (5-7 lb) is 1/4 cup daily. So if an eggcup is actually about 1/4 cup, and they are under 7 lbs, then they may be getting fed twice as much as they should. That could cause them to eat less hay. (If so, then reducing the pellet amount might encourage them to go for the hay.)

How much and what type of "forage" do they get daily?

When you offer hay, does it sit for days in the cage? Have you tried refreshing it daily? That can entice them to eat it.
 

RoseCottageBuns

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Thank you both for the advice. i like the idea of hay cubes, i may give those a go. They are quite small buns, and do not weigh any more than about 5 lb, so I should perhaps cut down on the pellets. I always change the hay, daily and sometimes twice daily, and the forage is usually, dandelion, grasses, sorrel, ground elder, plantain, hazel and beech leaf, all sorts fo stuff from the verges and the feilds at the back of my house. They get greens, but i never give them sweet stuff like fruit or carbs like broccoli etc. I try to get their diet as true to nature as possible. Will cut down on their pellets, and see what happens.
 

Blue eyes

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If they are getting a wide variety of greens (forage) then the pellets may not be necessary. It's possible they are getting all the nutrients they need in the variety you are already providing. :)

Be sure to check the ingredients on the bag of the hay cubes. The ones you want are as described by alexis -- hay is the only ingredient. I have seen some others that have other added junk like molasses.
 

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