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Bunny will not eat anything except for alfalfa

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gelliebean

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Hi everybunny!

A month ago I rescued a little bun that I found in a parking lot. She was estimated 4 months by the vet. Now that she is five months old, I am trying to wean her off of the alfalfa. But she refuses to eat anything not alfalfa.

I've tried several different types of hay including timothy, oat, orchard grass, and botanical (all from oxbow). I've tried mixing in different herbs, sprinkling pellets in there, crushing alfalfa and mixing it in there. She will always eat around the other hay just to get to the alfalfa and herbs. I've tried pretty much any sort of recommendations given by bunny blogs and youtube channels. I've left her with other hays for 6 hours and she will just starve herself. Afterwards, I'm forced to give her alfalfa so she doesn't go into GI Stasis.

She will eat around the good stuff no matter what. I have also limited her pellet and fresh veg intake to encourage her to eat more hay. I really need help, she can't keep eating alfalfa forever.
 

gelliebean

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Thanks for the suggestion! I will buy those and see if she likes them. Spoiled girl has eaten the majority of my bank account. For a little street rabbit she sure is a princess. She should be grateful she isn't foraging for dead grass anymore.
 

JBun

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This is exactly why I really hate sites recommending rabbit owners feed alfalfa hay to baby rabbits. It creates this kind of problem and isn't even necessary to feed if the rabbit is already getting alfalfa based pellets.

I would try a gradual reduction method. So you would need a feeding schedule of twice a day(every 12 hours), where you do a normal feeding of pellets and top her hay. I would have it so she runs out of alfalfa hay 2-3 hours before her next feeding time, and only have the grass hays available during that time. The idea is that she will have food available and hopefully will get curious enough to start trying the hay, but doesn't go too long without eating food that it affects her gut motility risking stasis occurring. It could take weeks though, for her to decide to try it.

Hay blocks can be a good enrichment activity, but don't replace hay. They mostly just get chewed on and not necessarily consumed. Though if your bun decides it's fun to chew on, that could maybe be helpful.

If none of these things work, a compressed timothy/alfalfa hay pellet may work. It worked for one of my buns that refused to eat loose hay. He would eat the hay pellet and after several weeks he started eating loose hay.
 

gelliebean

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My thoughts exactly. This was my first time owning a bunny and with myself finding her in the parking lot, I didn't have a lot of time to research what I needed to keep her for the night. I just brought home a bag of alfalfa, she ate it so I kept buying it for her. Having your bunny become dependant off of alfalfa totally sets them up for failure. If I ever have a young bun again I would definitely stay away from alfalfa, the transition is pretty stressful for me.

She enjoys chewing her timothy hideouts, but unfortunately not her hay. She'll bite the timothy (or other grass hays) into tiny pieces but she won't actually eat them. I'll pick up some compressed timothy hay for her soon. Hopefully it'll work.
 

JBun

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When she eats the alfalfa, is it just the leafy bits she eats, or have you noticed if she also will eat the stems? Have you noticed any odd chewing behaviors like dropping food from her mouth, moving her head to the side while chewing, raising her head up while chewing, or any drooling?
 

gelliebean

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No she will eat all parts of the alfalfa. She does the biting thing because of the smell. She was very interested in the botanical hay and once she realize it was timothy she wouldn't actually eat it, she won't touch it anymore. To move the hay out of her way to get the alfalfa and pellets she'll dig with her front paws.
 

JBun

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Ok. I was just checking to see if her lack of interest in hay might have to do with a dental problem, but it doesn't sound like that's it. Just a picky girl :p
 

AVIE

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I didn't mean to suggest the Timothy blocks as a substitute for hay, but as a way to develop a taste for Timothy.
 

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