Encouraging more exercise in indoor rabbits

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Katie94

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Our vet commented that our house bunnies were a little overweight a few months ago and changing just their diet has not really helped with weight loss at this point. The vet thinks exercise is likely a big contributing factor now. While they have space I feel like they are very lazy by choice so this does make sense. They seem to lose interest in their enrichment toys very quickly so at a loss of what to do to help them. Anyone have any ideas?? Thank you
 

John Wick

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You may need to intentionally engage them with the toys more frequently and/or get new toys to their liking. I personally find it uncommon that rabbits will willingly engage with a random toss toy on the ground for very long.

Here's an example of me engaging with my Fable:

You can also make pellet toys so it's more work to eat them:

 

Blue eyes

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When do they get the opportunity to exercise? Are they free roam or do you provide x amount of supervised time each day? In other words, what is their routine and situation? Are they indoors? outdoors? Is there carpet, slick floor?

Aside from exercise, what are those diet changes you've made? What is a typical daily diet?
 

Katie94

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@John Wick thanks for the videos that homemade treat ball looks quite fun!

@Blue eyes they are free roamed during the day usually 7:30am to 11:30pm and then put in our spare bedroom at night. I could leave the door open all the time but unsure if they would be too noisy in our room while we sleep. All of our house is carpeted and they are indoors all of the time. They are fed 5 pellets a day morning and evening we tried cutting out pellets all together but around feeding time they would wind each other up and start chasing so kept some just to keep the peace at their usual feeding time. Otherwise they get unlimited Timothy hay and a handful of greens/herbs per day.
 

Blue eyes

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@Blue eyes they are free roamed during the day usually 7:30am to 11:30pm and then put in our spare bedroom at night. I could leave the door open all the time but unsure if they would be too noisy in our room while we sleep. All of our house is carpeted and they are indoors all of the time. They are fed 5 pellets a day morning and evening we tried cutting out pellets all together but around feeding time they would wind each other up and start chasing so kept some just to keep the peace at their usual feeding time. Otherwise they get unlimited Timothy hay and a handful of greens/herbs per day.

They are certainly getting plenty of opportunity and time to exercise! Had to ask because some people may only let their rabbits out for an hour per day and wonder why the rabbit doesn't run around 'on demand.' And there's nothing in the diet that would seem excessive by any means!

Other than the suggestions already made by @John Wick the only other idea would be to create an exploring area with tunnels, cardboard boxes with doorways cut out, etc. These often entice a rabbit to explore for a few days. Then the space can be changed about with different boxes and different arrangements to entice them to check out the "new" arrangement. By switching it as they bore of it, it'll keep them engaged.

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I agree with John Wick, intentionally engage them. I play with mine everyday, pick him up, hug him kiss him fake bite his back. I put him down and pet him, sometimes softly sometimes harder. Occasionally I chase him when he zooms around my feet. I talk to him a lot, sometimes sing (badly, but he doesn’t care). He’s learned that when he makes an extra effort to jump up on the sofa and straight out the blanket, he might get a biscuit. Or at least a hug and an “attaboy”. The point is that I’ve found when I take initiative to engage with Ted, he becomes more active, as a result. Good luck
 

DJJMM

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I am reading this thread with interest. Dash does not seem to enjoy free roaming. I have tried a number of things. If I "chase" him, he grunts, stamps and runs under something and will not come out. I try laying still on the floor, he ignores me, I try laying on the sofa, hoping he will come up to check me out, nope. I have set up play stations, put out toys, tried to engage him with tug of war (which he plays with me in his pen), and on and on. He wants to be outside. We live in New England, so it is still too cold to take him out yet. He will happily interact with me when I sit in his 4' x 10' pen, but not to run around the house. I used to stress about it a lot, but he is who he is and he gets plenty of attention. He isn't overweight, so that is good, but I wish I could get him to run around the house more. If he is out and about, he hides under whatever he can, and it is impossible to block off everything. He is very aloof to pretty much anyone but me. So even my husband can't get him to run and play. I will keep checking this thread in case there is an idea that might work for him. Sigh...............good thing I love him so much.🤣
I will make some of those treat balls, that is cool.
 

Fluffy19

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Our vet commented that our house bunnies were a little overweight a few months ago and changing just their diet has not really helped with weight loss at this point. The vet thinks exercise is likely a big contributing factor now. While they have space I feel like they are very lazy by choice so this does make sense. They seem to lose interest in their enrichment toys very quickly so at a loss of what to do to help them. Anyone have any ideas?? Thank you
I had similar problem! my new young buns laying down most of the time, I was very concern of their health so I started training them. you can do it too buns love it, they came to the training spot and give me the look when i am too busy with other things. I do it every morning and evening and offer small piece of vegetable. give you bun hay and reduce pellets, no fruit then yr bun should loss weight. @ ok I am sorry, I tried to upload VDO but it doesnt show, i dont know why. I train my bun to do jumping bars, walk around an objects and tunnels.
 

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