Diet should be 80% hay?

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by _Moby_, Dec 8, 2017.

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  1. Dec 8, 2017 #1

    _Moby_

    _Moby_

    _Moby_

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    Hi!

    I'm having trouble gauging if my bun is eating enough hay to where it consists of 80% of his diet.

    Right now (4 months old) he gets about 1/4 cup of pellets in the morning and at night, and 1-2 cups of veggies in the evening.
    He eats hay fairly consistently throughout the day (timothy, oat, organic meadow), but how can I tell how much is 80%?

    For instance, how much is a 5" strand of timothy hay in comparison to pellets?

    Hope this question makes sense. I think that he is eating enough of it where its not an issue, but I want to ensure that his diet is the best it can be.
     
  2. Dec 8, 2017 #2

    ladysown

    ladysown

    ladysown

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    stop stressing so much. if your bunny is healthy and eating well, he'll be fine.

    2 cups of veggies for how big of a bunny? you haven't said the size of your rabbit.
     
  3. Dec 8, 2017 #3

    _Moby_

    _Moby_

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    I'm not stressing. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to keep him healthy and happy.
    He is 2 lbs. And it's more like 1 cup of veggies per day, but sometimes I give him sprigs of cilantro as a treat.
     
  4. Dec 8, 2017 #4

    JBun

    JBun

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    For adult rabbits(over 6-7 months old for small to medium breeds), usually a pile of grass hay the size of their body each day, plus 1/4-1/2 cup pellets per 5 lbs of body weight, is good. Though generally you should always be providing enough hay that it lasts them the whole day. If they run out then they aren't getting enough hay. If they are not eating a pile the size of their body each day and their body weight is normal(not skinny) or overweight, then they may be getting too many pellets and that needs to be decreased while the hay amount is increased. If their body condition is too skinny and poop is normal, they may need pellet amounts increased.

    For a young growing rabbit, they usually need more food. Either more pellets or more hay. As long as there are no poop problems(mushy poop or smaller than normal poop), growing rabbits are usually fed more pellets than an adult rabbit would get, as they need the added nutrition for growth. If they are eating a pile of hay the size of their body each day and running out of hay, then they probably need their pellet ration gradually increased, while you also provide more hay. I usually will feed young growing rabbits, enough pellets to last til 3 hours before the next feeding, and then they will eat their hay during this time til I feed them their pellets again. And I feed twice a day(every 12 hours). However, if they have poop issues, such as mushy poop or smaller than usual poop, instead of feeding more pellets I will feed more hay. Enough so that they never run out. Good quality(not moldy) grass hay is usually the best thing to clear up digestive problems.

    While you are trying to find the right balance of what to feed your rabbit, it's important to always keep a close eye on their poop and look for any changes in it, as well as keeping a close eye on their weight and body condition, to make sure they aren't losing too much weight. Any problems with poop or weight can indicate a diet or health issue.
     
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  5. Dec 9, 2017 #5

    Aki

    Aki

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    It's hard to gauge exactly how much hay rabbits are eating, considering they are generally letting so much of it go to waste. I generally give hay at least 5 - 6 times a day and if the rabbits come immediately to eat some (I stay to watch them eat a few strands everytime) I consider it's fine. The best way to know if your rabbit is eating enough hay is looking at the poop. Mine are on timothy hay and when they eat enough the poop will be pretty big, round with a regular shape and have a yellowish tint coming from the indigested fibers. If you notice the poop getting smaller / misshappen / darker it's generally the sign that you need to increase the hay consumption (by giving less pellets and offering hay from another bag too, considering rabbits can be difficult and won't eat a hay that doesn't appeal to them much which can happen even with a bag from a brand you've been giving him forever). When in doubt, you can crush a poop between your (gloved ^^) fingers - they should get crushed pretty easily and you can see the fibers inside. A poop which is hard to crush lacks fibers.

    If you haven't read it, the House Rabbit society website is very good concerning diet. It has a good list of vegetables and explains the ratio of each thing well. Considering your rabbit is only four months old, you'll probably have to begin to give less pellets in a month or so. Weight your rabbit regularly to make sure he doesn't get fat (rabbits are really hard to put on a diet and they tend to gain weight quite easily) and adjust his diet. As an adult, he should be eating very few pellets and more vegetables with of course, a ton of hay...
     
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  6. Dec 9, 2017 #6

    lilnaugrim

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    I've found it's 2 cups of veggies per day for SIX pound of body weight. So, he's getting way too many veggies at this point. If you cut that back to like half a cup, he should eat more hay as well which will be good. My vet says, as long as they're eating all or most of the hay you offer each day, they can have more veggies but do make sure he's eating a good amount of hay first before offering :) Hope that helps some on that aspect at least.
     
  7. Dec 10, 2017 #7

    Cloe-trash

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    My vet told me that giving Briar bits of veggies often are good, as much hay as she wants, and then at most like 1/4th cup of pellets but that she doesnt even need those. I'm suddenly worried that I'm doing things wrong.
     
  8. Dec 10, 2017 #8

    _Moby_

    _Moby_

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  9. Dec 10, 2017 #9

    Blue eyes

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    I wouldn't see this as an exact science. Even on the House Rabbit Society website, there is varying info. This article states:

    Once pellets have been reduced, it is equally important to make sure that fresh grass hay is available to the rabbit at all times, and that fresh vegetables be given in larger amounts than has previously been recommended (up to 2-4 cups a day).
    http://rabbit.org/natural-nutrition-part-ii-pellets-and-veggies-2/


    I'd suggest going by the general ....

    unlimited hay, refreshed daily
    limited pellets (over 6 months, based on body weight)
    generous greens daily
    occasional treats
     
  10. Dec 11, 2017 #10

    Aki

    Aki

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    I've always heard it was 10% of the body weight in vegetables (2/3 leafy greens) IF there were no pellets. If you give pellets, you have to adjust the quantity - I personnally give around 8% of body weight in vegetables and 2-3% in pellets. But, like the others said, those are just approximations. You have to adjust depending on your rabbit. Some get fat easily or will do more exercise than others so you have to take that into account.
     

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