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do rabbits need pellets?

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Teddy101

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Hi guys. Today i ran out of pellets for teddy. She still has a lot of hay left. Teddy eats probably 55 percent hay in a day( I know its not healthy). Teddy has eaten the same pellets ever since he was a little baby bun. Now, he eats the hay, but im scared if it doesnt full him up. Now, he is always eating his bedding. I dont want my teddy to get sick. I wont be able to buy some more until next week. What to do. Please help!! Please!!
 

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Jennifer
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Is it a money issue or an accessibility issue? Leafy greens can go a long way towards filling him up and keeping his diet more exciting. Also, what kind of bedding are you using?
 

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Jennifer
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He's actually eating wood pellets? Crazy rabbit! That's a great choice for bedding, generally, but if he's doing more than nibbling a tiny bit here and there, I would do something to put a stop to it. You can try carpeting the top of the litter box with hay to cover up the pellets - out of sight, out of mind, hopefully! If that doesn't work, you can put black and white newspaper over the pellets and tuck it in around the sides like putting a sheet over a mattress, then top that with hay.
 

JBun

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I think teddy101 meant kiln dried pine shavings.

Actually it is healthy for a rabbit to eat mostly, if not entirely, hay in it's diet. I've had rabbits that couldn't have pellets due to health reasons, and they were perfectly healthy being free fed hay and a few veggies.

You want to free feed your rabbit the hay, make sure it doesn't run out, and as long as your bun is eating it really well he will be fine. If you aren't free feeding the hay, then he is probably eating the bedding because he is hungry. Give him lots of hay and don't let it run out and he should stop eating the bedding.

If you have stopped feeding the pellets for several days, when you do get them again you will need to gradually start feeding them(start with a small amount and gradually increase the amount each day) and not just give them too him all at once or he could possibly get an upset stomach. If it's only been a couple days, then you should be fine just giving them to him again without having to do it gradually.
 
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Teddy101

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Oh thank you guys. And yes, I did mean kiln dried pine shaving. I usually switch her type of bedding often. Sometimes it's paper, sometimes aspen. This is my first Time trying pine.
 

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Jennifer
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Have you tried the kiln dried wood pellets? They sell 'em at livestock supply stores (anywhere you can buy hay & such) as horse bedding, it's usually $4-8 for a 40 lb bag - very effective odor control if you use a good amount and a bag lasts a long time. If you're on a budget, it's by far the cheapest way to go - anything you buy at a pet store is always overpriced. It's pretty much the same as the "feline pine" litter brand, but at a fraction of the cost.

My recommendation to cover his bedding with a layer of hay still stands. Building on what JBun said, how are you offering hay? Do you have some sort of manger system so that it's off the ground and won't get soiled (ie not just in/on the litter box)? Also, how often do you put out fresh hay? Three of ours are content to keep eating from a large/overstuffed manger until it's nearly empty - I really only have to add hay every 2-3 days. Nala, however, is super picky and you'd better put a fresh handful or two out 2-3 times a day or she won't really eat enough hay. Never mind that the stuff in the box is identical to the stuff in the manger.
 

Jenny Durling

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Rabbits aren’t really supposed to eat a lot of pellets. I given them to mine as “treats” when playing so I doubt each gets more than 1/4 cup daily if that. Give your bunny greens. You can get them free by asking at the grocery store or farmers market. There are also lots of edible weeds and grasses you might find in your yard. Just make sure it’s not sprayed.
 

Nancy McClelland

Larry
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Our vet says they only need hay and veggies--ours get unlimited hay, and a tablespoon of pellets in the morning and evening when they get their veggies. A couple of ours hardly ever eat their pellets.
 

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Jennifer
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Some pellets can be good, especially if you don't have a wide variety of leafy greens and herbs to offer on a regular basis to make up for the vitamins and minerals they normally get from pellets. The key is to feed them in moderation (and a pellet free diet IS a viable option, it just requires a little more effort when it comes to quantity, type and rotation of veggies). Usually, it's about 1/4 c per 6 lbs body weight per day for adults. Juvenile (under around 7 mos for most breeds/12 mos for large breeds) rabbits can technically have unlimited pellets, but most people find their rabbits do better and eat hay better (especially in the long run) if they somewhat limit the pellets for their young rabbit. I tend to recommend a maximum of 2x what their adult ration of pellets will be (based on their expected adult weight). Another good option is to hand-feed pellets as treats, which also helps them bond with you.

Think of it this way - if you had a kid, you'd probably give that kid one of those Flinstones chewable vitamins or something similar, right? But you certainly wouldn't let them eat half the bottle in one day. Pellets are the same way - they help bridge minor nutritional gaps just to make sure all the important vitamins and minerals get into your bunny... and like vitamins, they're a supplement rather than a meal.
 

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