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Dwarf Bunny Food & Poop

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Cinnamon

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Hi. I’m new here and in desperate need of help/advice. My 4 mo. old dwarf rabbit was given more Timothy hay last night and his stool became soft and some stuck on his butt. His diet is mostly only an alfalfa pellets. Does Timothy hay gives rabbit diarrhea? We give him Timothy hay on his feeding area, but last night he ate more of it than usual because we gave some hay by his pellet dish.
 

Preitler

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No, hay doesn't normally do that, but rapid diet changes can. Although hay normally is safe, I still would ramp up over the course of a week or so before giving him unlimited hay, at the same time reducing his pellets to the recommended amount.

I guess giving a kid raised on fries and hamburgers a big plate of healthy vegetables would have a similiar effect.
 

Cinnamon

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No, hay doesn't normally do that, but rapid diet changes can. Although hay normally is safe, I still would ramp up over the course of a week or so before giving him unlimited hay, at the same time reducing his pellets to the recommended amount.

I guess giving a kid raised on fries and hamburgers a big plate of healthy vegetables would have a similiar effect.
Thank you so much for replying! I had read so many articles and try to find some reason for his soft stool. And I cannot find anything about Timothy hay specially, giving rabbits diarrhea. You just confirmed it. Thank you. I didn’t want to make a rash decision to stop giving him Timothy hay. Now I just need to figure out why his stool went from completely normal to soft and 1 of it looks like a diarrhea where it smeared all over his carpet area.
 

Mariam+Theo

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Ok, that sounds like normal poop, besides it being hard. I would follow Preitler's instructions and see if it helps.
 

JenGibs

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Is he eating pellets? Pellets often cause soft stools. If that happens to my buns (they are chunky monkeys and love their food) I put a small amount of rolled oats in their pellets and it firms it right up.
*I must say I know they aren’t sick or anything bc I know them and I know how this goes with them. Also, rolled oats only- not the instant ones that will swell with water.
 

Cinnamon

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Is he eating pellets? Pellets often cause soft stools. If that happens to my buns (they are chunky monkeys and love their food) I put a small amount of rolled oats in their pellets and it firms it right up.
*I must say I know they aren’t sick or anything bc I know them and I know how this goes with them. Also, rolled oats only- not the instant ones that will swell with water.
Yup! He eats mostly pellets and some hay. But after much reading and the response received from the wonderful people here (thank you guys again), we’ve decided to up his Timothy hay and decrease his pellets. Of course gradually. And monitor his water intake. Would you recommend treats? Like organic carrots? He’s 4 months old.
 

Mariam+Theo

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You can slowly start to add some veggies to his diet (dark leaf lettuces-no iceberg, cilantro, parsley, bell pepper, cucumber, SAFE FOOD LIST FOR RABBITS). I wouldn't add fruits or carrots yet because the sugar might mess with his tummy, but after he gets used to the veggies you can add some.
 

JBun

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It's very rare for a non grain grass hay like timothy, to cause any digestive upset, but also not unheard of for a rabbit in rare instances to be sensitive to a grass hay. Most common reason would be that the hay is a very soft leafy early cut and too rich, with not enough hard stems with indigestible fiber to balance out the rich leafy part. It's a bit like when animals graze on the first spring growth of fresh grass and get digestive problems. That new growth can just be very nutrient dense and too rich for them to be eating too much of it, so it can lead to digestive issues.

If the hay you have is very soft and leafy with little to no crunchy stems, then my guess would be that is the problem. Which would mean you would need to find a more mature cut of hay with more hard stems in it for the indigestible fiber they provide and that rabbits need for good gut motility. I like a grass hay that is a mix of leaf and stem. Not too leafy and not too hard and coarse with only hard stems. I've found that's the best growth for my rabbits to provide the needed nutrients from the leafy parts, and the fiber needed from the crunchy parts. You may still be able to feed the leafy hay, just not too much, and if you can balance it out with a more coarse grass hay.

If your hay does have plenty of crunchy stems, then it could be it was sprayed with something and that's causing the upset. I can't imagine any other reason unless your rabbit just happens to be sensitive to timothy hay. In which case maybe try orchard grass hay.
 
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JBun

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If he wasn't having any problems on pellets and before introducing the hay, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that pellets are causing the problem. Though pellets often are the cause of mushy cecotropes, because he wasn't having problems prior to the introduction of hay, I would start there first with changing the hay to see if that makes a difference.
 

JBun

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I wouldn't suggest introducing anything new to his diet until you get this sorted out. Reason is that if you add something new and it causes upset, then you won't know which thing is actually causing the digestive issue. So I would get this problem sorted first, make sure things are normal for a good week or longer, then start with leafy greens, one at a time and a small amount, only increasing after a few days if there are no signs of digestive issues. After a week or longer, then another item can be tried.

With rabbits it's always better to start slow and give their digestion time to adapt to the new food. The exception usually is grass hay, but as you've learned, even that can sometimes cause issues.
 

Cinnamon

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If he wasn't having any problems on pellets and before introducing the hay, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that pellets are causing the problem. Though pellets often are the cause of mushy cecotropes, because he wasn't having problems prior to the introduction of hay, I would start there first with changing the hay to see if that makes a difference.
Thank you so much. Truly appreciate your input and sharing these information. We are slowly increasing his Timothy hay so he’s not eating too much of the pellets. The brand we give him is All Living Things Market Medley Natural Timothy Hay.
 

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Blue eyes

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Thank you so much. Truly appreciate your input and sharing these information. We are slowly increasing his Timothy hay so he’s not eating too much of the pellets. The brand we give him is All Living Things Market Medley Natural Timothy Hay.
I'd encourage you to check a local feed store for hay. It is infinitely cheaper and is considerably fresher. It hasn't been bagged and shipped and stored then re-shipped, etc. The largest bag of the brand you linked runs about $19. For probably the same cost (give or take), you can get a bale of fresh timothy (or other grass hay) that weighs twenty (20) times as much. It makes it a lot easier to not worry about 'wasted' hay. ;)
 
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