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JBun

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Is he new to you, what is his exact diet(type of pellets, hay, any other foods), and when the cecals first come out are they fully formed(look like a blackberry cluster) or are they pasty at all(before getting stepped on and smooshed)?
 

WendyHodgins

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Is he new to you, what is his exact diet(type of pellets, hay, any other foods), and when the cecals first come out are they fully formed(look like a blackberry cluster) or are they pasty at all(before getting stepped on and smooshed)?

He is new as of 8 weeks old. Never owned a bunny before so doing alot of research. He is 3 1/2 mo . He generally passes his cecotrophs in the early evening. It's 5:00pm now and I can smell him! It comes out both ways, in clusters and on the floor and all over his bum. I feed him unlimited alfalfa, a little veggies in morning, and was feeding him a little amount of pellets. I ran out of pellets, and there is so many conflicting ideas on the web about if you should or shouldn't give them pellets and how much to feed a baby-ish bunny that I held off to see if that helped. It kinda did, but just ordered some highly recommended baby pellets from Sherwood. I have to comb out the ceco's from his fur which really makes him mad. I gathered some up from the litter box and put it with his veggies to see if maybe he would eat them that way, but sadly no. I know these are very nutritious from him, so quite concerned. Terrified of him getting GI Stasis.
 

JBun

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He's had enough time to settle in, so it could be that he is still young and easily distracted. It could also be the unlimited alfalfa, which I think is the most likely cause. Alfalfa is high in protein, and if it's really leafy, that makes the protein content even higher. Unlimited alfalfa is pretty rich even for a baby, and too rich of a diet can lead to excess cecals that get left uneaten. I would try reducing the alfalfa and start mixing in some grass hay. It may be that he is just getting too much protein and needs more fiber in his diet. I wouldn't worry about trying to feed the cecals to him. It's likely he is producing more than he needs because of the alfalfa, so hopefully reducing the alfalfa and feeding grass hay with more fiber and lower protein, corrects the problem.

Once you start gradually transitioning him onto the pellets, I would suggest gradually reducing the alfalfa hay, reducing more each day as the pellet amount is increased, while providing unlimited grass hay. Then once he's up to a normal daily ration of pellets, he should be completely off the alfalfa hay and just eating grass hay. There's no need to be feeding both an alfalfa based pellet and alfalfa hay. Too rich, too much protein. Plus feeding alfalfa hay can make for a picky bun and make it difficult to transition onto grass hay once they are adults and no longer need alfalfa. It's all about finding the right balance of protein and nutrients for health and growth, and the right balance of fiber for good gut movement.
 

NYAngela

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Small pet select sells a combo box of hay that’s a mix of 75% Timothy & 25% Alfalfa. I’ve been giving to my bun since we have him, he’s 4mos now so he eats both. Maybe you could create your own mix if you already have alfalfa so he gets some Timothy and that will make the transition away from alfalfa easier in a few weeks (that’s what I’m hoping for) I use the Sherwood baby pellets as well, if that’s the kind you’re looking into the main ingredient is Alfalfa Hay
 

zuppa

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At that age you should transfer him to non alfalfa hays, I can't diagnose without seeing him but generally alfalfa hay is too rich it's okay for the babies but by 4 months he should eat only grass hay like timothy or meadow or orchard etc and a small amount of pellets, also can you tell us what brand of pellets and ingredients and fibre, protein percentage. This is a common problem when you feed alfalfa-based pellets and also alfalfa hay this diet is too rich at his age and he misses his cecals. Now you don't do any sudden changes in his diet but gradually transfer him to grass hays mixing grass and alfalfa hays over a couple weeks, and also if your pellets (most likely) based on alfalfa you should get adult pellets without alfalfa or at least with lower protein level. Max 13% protein and min 19% fibre. Also by 4 months you should start limiting his portions as he doesn't need unlimited anymore.

I never feed alfalfa hay, only grass hays since birth and unlimited alfalfa-based pellets they start eating around 5 weeks of age, but by 4 months their pellets are limited. Otherwise they start getting very fat by 4,5 months.

So I would suggest transferring him to grass hays from alfalfa by mixing for a week or two and gradually decreasing alfalfa and increasing hay, and I see now you feed Sherwood baby pellets they are alfalfa based, you can also move him (gradually) to non-alfalfa adult pellets.

This should fix your problems. The reason I don't feed alfalfa hay is because baby pellets are all alfalfa based and it's enough for them, also after alfalfa hay they often won't eat regular hays but they need them, by 4 months they should eat unlimited grass hay, not alfalfa, and a small amount of max 13% protein pellets. Vegetables and greens usually start adding from 4-6 months, in limited amounts, introducing slowly, one type at a time.
 
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WendyHodgins

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He is new as of 8 weeks old. Never owned a bunny before so doing alot of research. He is 3 1/2 mo . He generally passes his cecotrophs in the early evening. It's 5:00pm now and I can smell him! It comes out both ways, in clusters and on the floor and all over his bum. I feed him unlimited alfalfa, a little veggies in morning, and was feeding him a little amount of pellets. I ran out of pellets, and there is so many conflicting ideas on the web about if you should or shouldn't give them pellets and how much to feed a baby-ish bunny that I held off to see if that helped. It kinda did, but just ordered some highly recommended baby pellets from Sherwood. I have to comb out the ceco's from his fur which really makes him mad. I gathered some up from the litter box and put it with his veggies to see if maybe he would eat them that way, but sadly no. I know these are very nutritious from him, so quite concerned. Terrified of him getting GI Stasis.
At that age you should transfer him to non alfalfa hays, I can't diagnose without seeing him but generally alfalfa hay is too rich it's okay for the babies but by 4 months he should eat only grass hay like timothy or meadow or orchard etc and a small amount of pellets, also can you tell us what brand of pellets and ingredients and fibre, protein percentage. This is a common problem when you feed alfalfa-based pellets and also alfalfa hay this diet is too rich at his age and he misses his cecals. Now you don't do any sudden changes in his diet but gradually transfer him to grass hays mixing grass and alfalfa hays over a couple weeks, and also if your pellets (most likely) based on alfalfa you should get adult pellets without alfalfa or at least with lower protein level. Max 13% protein and min 19% fibre. Also by 4 months you should start limiting his portions as he doesn't need unlimited anymore.

I never feed alfalfa hay, only grass hays since birth and unlimited alfalfa-based pellets they start eating around 5 weeks of age, but by 4 months their pellets are limited. Otherwise they start getting very fat by 4,5 months.

So I would suggest transferring him to grass hays from alfalfa by mixing for a week or two and gradually decreasing alfalfa and increasing hay, and I see now you feed Sherwood baby pellets they are alfalfa based, you can also move him (gradually) to non-alfalfa adult pellets.

This should fix your problems. The reason I don't feed alfalfa hay is because baby pellets are all alfalfa based and it's enough for them, also after alfalfa hay they often won't eat regular hays but they need them, by 4 months they should eat unlimited grass hay, not alfalfa, and a small amount of max 13% protein pellets. Vegetables and greens usually start adding from 4-6 months, in limited amounts, introducing slowly, one type at a time.
 

WendyHodgins

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I'm so confused. Everybody says a different age to start them moving over to adult food, and everyone has a different opinion on how much alfalfa to feed them. How do I know who is right?
 

JBun

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Best way to know is by your experience from seeing the results of the diet you feed. This is judged by output(poop and urine), the health of the rabbit, and the rabbits body condition. If your rabbit has healthy poops and urine, a healthy weight, isn't showing signs of discomfort or pain, is doing well, and isn't having health issues or reoccurring GI stasis, then you know that what you are doing is working. If your rabbit is exhibiting ongoing/reoccurring digestive issues or other health issues, then you know that there is a problem, either dietary or disease.

I've had rabbits that had megacolon, and having the right diet for them was essential to keeping their digestive system as stable as possible and keeping them healthy. I learned what the best diet was for them by trial and error. I saw something wasn't working, that their poop didn't look healthy, and the diet that they were getting was making them unwell, and I adjusted until I found a diet where they had as healthy looking poop as possible for their condition, and a diet that kept them from having reoccurring GI stasis. I had to remove pellets from their diet, I had to feed a specific quality of hay, I knew they couldn't have any sugary/high carb foods. All this I learned by watching how they were doing and what their poop looked like from feeding these foods. With pellets one rabbit would start to show signs of discomfort and pain within a half hour of eating them. The other rabbit would start to get moist log shaped poop if his hay was too leafy and soft and not coarse enough, and both would get very irregularly shaped fecal poop if they had any sugary/high carb foods in their diet. This was all learned by observation and experience.

People come on here all of the time asking for help with GI issues. And excess cecals is a common complaint. In baby rabbits the most common reasons are going to be that it is because they are young and easily distracted from eating them like they normally would, that they are in a new home and distracted from eating them like they normally would, that there is something in their environment distracting or scaring them from eating them like they normally would, or that they are getting too rich of a diet, usually from too much protein in alfalfa hay or pellets. It's almost always going to be one of these, with obesity, arthritis, and dental problems also being possible causes but mostly in older rabbits. So it's a matter of examining all possibilities and eliminating possible causes until you find the solution.

Every rabbit is different. Not every rabbit is going to be able to tolerate or do well on the same diet. There are lots of opinions and general dietary recommendations, but there is never a hard fast rule. You have to be able to adjust for the needs of each individual rabbit. Some rabbits are just more sensitive than others, and some have health conditions that require a specific diet to help keep them healthy and stable. Finding the right balance is usually a matter of trial and error. You have to find the right balance for your individual rabbit. Understanding the basics of the rabbits digestive process might be helpful.
 

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