First time bunny owner. Any help appreciated.

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Space Monkey

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Orchard hay is generally speaking softer than timothy hay no matter when it's cut in the season. personally i only feed orchard grass as a "treat hay" meaning I give a handful once or twice a week while timothy is always accessible. it's up to you- most rabbit owners with allergies to timothy feed orchard :)

also, i recommend looking for a farm near you that sells hay so you can get it for less!
If it's a treat hay or an alternative to Timothy, no wonder she prefers it! Lol. Interesting that you say it's softer because in my research I read that Timothy is best for teeth. She is an avid chewer of her willow balls and sticks, so I think we're good there. Although I hope she's not ingesting the willow she's chewing. She's so funny because she'll pick up her balls and sticks with her teeth and throw them. Yesterday she destroyed her bundle of willow sticks and dragged them all over the place.

Freya is devouring her pellets and eating a bunch of hay. She has no loss of appetite at all, but she's a weirdo and here's why. I've offered a single grape on 3 occasions and she refuses it. Granted this was day 1. On day 2 I offered a single strawberry and she refused that too. Today is day 4 1/2 and I had a banana for breakfast. I remembered while eating it that it's a favorite treat for rabbits, like it's rabbit crack. So I took a very small piece and offered it to her. She sniffed it and refused it. I sat it next to her food bowl thinking she'll surely want it after she settles down from the excitement of humans saying hi to her. It's still there, and she's passed it up many times to eat pellets instead. I don't get why she won't eat fruit. Maybe it's a blessing that she prefers to devour her healthy food items and won't touch the treats, but it just doesn't make sense to me.
 

SirLawrence

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I have one bun, Lucas, who refuses pretty much all treats (except banana) but is a great eater when it comes to hay and pellets, and another, Lawrence, who loves most treats, oats, the occasional raisin, but HATES banana. I mean, he recoils like it bit him and runs off flicking his feet at me.

Like I said before, we're dealing with a bunch of individuals, here! 😂 😂 😂 Every rabbit I've met is a weirdo! I call mine "weirdo" all the time, and they're starting to answer to it.

I would definitely take it as a blessing! It will save you money on treats, and a lot of that sugary stuff can cause stomach upset...
 

Space Monkey

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Ok. Freya has had a habit of circling my son and me and lightly nibbling on us in passing. I let her out to free roam the room she stays in and she's doing binky after binky and running zoomies. About 5 minutes ago she was running in circles around me (I'm laying on the floor with her; it's just me here, school started) and then she sprayed pee on me. Why?????? Of course I said "oh Freya come on!" and she took off doing binkies.
 

Catlyn

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Ok. Freya has had a habit of circling my son and me and lightly nibbling on us in passing. I let her out to free roam the room she stays in and she's doing binky after binky and running zoomies. About 5 minutes ago she was running in circles around me (I'm laying on the floor with her; it's just me here, school started) and then she sprayed pee on me. Why?????? Of course I said "oh Freya come on!" and she took off doing binkies.
Haha, Freya likes you! She's courting you, trying to get your attention. I can't remember, how old is she? Past four months and you have a teenager with hormonal activity going on. When you get her spayed, she should stop spraying you, but the nibbles will most likely never stop-she might want your attention, to move your body part in her way, or to groom you showing that she cares for you.
 

Space Monkey

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Haha, Freya likes you! She's courting you, trying to get your attention. I can't remember, how old is she? Past four months and you have a teenager with hormonal activity going on. When you get her spayed, she should stop spraying you, but the nibbles will most likely never stop-she might want your attention, to move your body part in her way, or to groom you showing that she cares for you.
She was born on March 27th of this year, so a little over 4 months old. My plans for her are to let her acclimate until she's 5 months old, and then slowly phase out the Alfalfa pellets for adult Timothy pellets and slowly get her on leafy greens by the time she's 6 months old at which point (at 6 months) I'll schedule her to be spayed.
 

Catlyn

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She'll most likely acclimate faster than that, and diet changes don't intervene with the surgery as you're doing it slowly anyway. Four months is actually a good age to slowly start including vegs in her diet, no need to wait two more months.
You can schedule her to be spayed earlier than that, some vets do spays from four months of age. Your vets might also have a super long waiting list, i've read of some people waiting two months after they booked their time. That's not a problem for me, all our fixing ops have had a waiting time of no less than a week, with Iris we called on a friday and took her on the next wednesday, but it differs significantly.
In my experience, once she's a little accustomed, she should be good to go so that she wouldn't have to be stressed over and over again.

Still, it is up to you and if you can take the hormonal behaviours up to come, no hurries, six months is totally fine.
 

SirLawrence

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Ok. Freya has had a habit of circling my son and me and lightly nibbling on us in passing. I let her out to free roam the room she stays in and she's doing binky after binky and running zoomies. About 5 minutes ago she was running in circles around me (I'm laying on the floor with her; it's just me here, school started) and then she sprayed pee on me. Why?????? Of course I said "oh Freya come on!" and she took off doing binkies.
Are we sure Freya is a girl? I mean absolutely? I know either sex can do this, but it seems to be more male behavior... and at 4 months, hormones may already be starting!
 

Space Monkey

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Are we sure Freya is a girl? I mean absolutely? I know either sex can do this, but it seems to be more male behavior... and at 4 months, hormones may already be starting!
That's what the breeder/show person said, and that's what the pedigree states as well.
 

4 bunny Mom

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congrats on your new companion! You picked the right site to come to for advice. I have learned more from this site than anywhere else, and everyone is so nice and helpful. Plus, no judgement ever. We've all been a new rabbit owner once; so, we have all been there.
Your new bunny sounds like she is settling in very nicely, and you are doing an EXCELLENT job. 👍 Kudos to you and all your research is paying off as Freya is obviously very happy with her new home by what you have been posting.

The spraying...I have 3 girls and they have all sprayed at one time or another. Very typical at her age right now, she is starting her transformation and her hormones are kicking in. So you may get some spraying and that is pretty normal. I admit the first time my girls sprayed I wondered if "she" was a "he". But, no...this is very typical for girls.

Just wanted to say "welcome" to the wonderful world of rabbits and all the joy and love they bring. Each rabbit has it's own personality and moods; but, they are all treasures.
Warning: rabbit love is addicting, and you will become Freya's slave. Don't worry, we're all slaves and humble servants too, and we wouldn't trade it for anything. We're all here for you and Freya.😁
 

odyssey~

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Although I hope she's not ingesting the willow she's chewing.
it's perfectly fine for them to eat willow, I get fresh willow from a tree outside every so often and Odyssey loves eating it!
Ok. Freya has had a habit of circling my son and me and lightly nibbling on us in passing. I let her out to free roam the room she stays in and she's doing binky after binky and running zoomies. About 5 minutes ago she was running in circles around me (I'm laying on the floor with her; it's just me here, school started) and then she sprayed pee on me. Why?????? Of course I said "oh Freya come on!" and she took off doing binkies.
like the others said spraying is a territorial behaviour which fixing could easily resolve. females can be fixed as soon as 4 months so you should be good to go if you can find a vet near you that is rabbit savvy, and you know enough for post-op care.
it's great that she's doing binkies and zoomies- she must be really comfortable and happy now!
circling before spaying is considered a hormonal behaviour (I think) but after getting spayed it takes about a month for the hormones to die down. she still might circle you after getting spayed (my rabbit does, and I tripped over her a couple of times since I didn't notice she was doing it lol) for attention.
leafy greens you can start now. I recommend starting with a green leaf lettuce such as romaine.
you're doing a great job!
 

JBun

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This is a lot of information. So if you're feeling overwhelmed at all the rabbit care stuff coming at you right now, may save this for later.

Not all rabbits will experience GI stasis, but they are prone to it because anything that causes them pain can cause GI stasis to set in because they usually stop eating when they're hurting. There are different levels of it too. Most often it will be a minor case of a stomach upset from something they eat, that resolves itself within 12 hours and usually a few doses of baby gas drops. But sometimes it can get more serious because of a slow gut and partial obstruction, or other problem.

It's nothing to let yourself overly worry about. Being observant with a rabbits poops and eating habits, is just part of being a good rabbit owner. If she's eating, or active and exploring during her usual times and her usual way, which is usually morning and evening for rabbits(usually sleep during the day), and you're seeing normal sized poop being produced, then it's a good indication everything is usually fine.

You'll get more attuned to notice when something is off as you get more familiar with your rabbits usual behavior and eating habits. A rabbit that won't eat at feeding time, seems quiet and withdrawn, may be hunched up in a corner not wanting to move, or repeatedly changing position pressing the belly(not the same as contented flopping) and can't seem to get comfortable, and/or loud tooth grinding(not to be confused with gentle contented tooth purring/chattering), are all signs a rabbit isn't feeling well. There are contented bunny behaviors that can look similar, like flopping and relaxing, dead bunny flop, and contented tooth purring, but it's learning to recognize the other body language cues altogether, to help determine if it's a sick rabbit you have or just a happy relaxed bunny.



Some emergency supplies that are good for all rabbit owners to have on hand, I would say the baby gas drops(simethicone) and 1ml oral syringes are what I have used the most. Critical care is good to have too but should only be used in specific circumstances, post neuter/spay if needed, and after illnesses when a rabbit isn't eating on it's own and the vet has ruled out bloat or a complete obstruction(can be dangerous to syringe feed a rabbit with bloat or a complete bowel obstruction). But do have CC and feeding syringes on hand before you take her in for her spay, in case you do end up needing to syringe feed post recovery.


Emergency supplies I like to have on hand:
Critical care - apple banana flavor, keep in freezer to extend shelf life
Baby gas drops(simethicone active ingredient)
Pedialyte(only the unflavored one, no artificial sweeteners)
Questran(rx) or activated charcoal - for emergency diarrhea only(not just mushy cecals), when there isn't a vet available until the next day
1ml oral syringes
6-12ml wide tip oral feeding syringes(normal tips get clogged)
Rabbit safe warm pack(sock filled with rice, snuggle safe)

Being vigilant is just part of being a rabbit owner. Once you get a feel for your bun and her personality, quirks, usual behaviors, I think you'll start to feel more comfortable about things. The fact that she is eating a bunch of hay is the best indicator of good health and helps prevent many of the usual rabbit health issues. If her body condition is good and she's eating lots of hay, then not too many worries there.

You can feed orchard or timothy. If she's producing healthy sized poop, has good body condition/is a healthy weight, and is eating a pile at least the size of her body per day, then it doesn't usually matter what variety of grass hay you feed. Though there are some particulars that might make you decide to choose one over the other, or a different cut of hay.

There are different cuts of hay, and the softness or coarseness of the cut can affect how fast food moves through a rabbits digestive tract. So if you have a rabbit with fecal poop that seems too small consistently but the rabbit is a healthy weight or maybe a little overweight, then a coarser hay cut may be better than a leafier cut of hay. Or if you have a rabbit that is too skinny and needs to put on more weight to be healthy then a softer cut may be better. Soft hay has more protein and nutrients for weight maintenance/gain, and coarse hay less protein and lots of indigestible fiber for weight loss and good gut motility. I prefer a medium cut that has a good mix of leaf and stem. If you want to read more about the differences in hay cuts and the particulars about them in relation to a rabbits health and digestion, I go into more detail in this thread.


A medium coarse(mix of leaf and stem) timothy hay is a good all around grass hay to feed. It's the most readily available grass hay in the US, for herbivore pets. It's what I feed my rabbits, but I buy it in bulk at a feed store as it's cheaper. It has a good amount of protein, nutrients, and fiber to help a rabbit maintain a good healthy weight, keep the gut motility functioning well, and provide for the usual amount of tooth wear needed to prevent sharp points developing on the molars, for most rabbits.

Orchard hay is one of those hays that may be preferred for better tooth wear. Particularly for rabbits with molar spur issues, as orchard is a more abrasive hay(good thing for rabbits) so may help wear down and prevent the sharp points on the molars from developing. You'll find with rabbits that it's all about the right balance to maintain a healthy weight, good gut movement, and good dental health.



As mentioned, it's perfectly fine for a rabbit to eat untreated willow, or any other rabbit safe branches and leaves. My rabbits LOVE fresh apple branches. They'll sit there munching on the leaves, then strip the bark off the branch. It's all good fiber for them.

Medirabbit: safe branches and leaves

For a litter box, cat litter trays, plastic storage bins, I use a mortar mixing tray for my rabbits. Lots of different types to look at to find the right size.

Some rabbits are suspicious about trying out new foods. But usually if the food is leaf(not too long that it goes bad), they will usually eventually try it. I agree with Caitlyn, no need to wait until 6 months if her poop is normal and she's settled in well. Though I would recommend starting with non cruciferous greens. They're usually easier on the digestion and least likely to upset digestive balance.


Even though the breeder said you have a female, it's still a possibility for your bun to be a male. Some rabbits are very difficult to sex at a young age, and it's not until they've fully matured that you can tell for sure, usually by there being testicles that appear. That's a sure indicator :p

 
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nat1234

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Thank you! I'll certainly take time to digest all of this.

Right away I'll say: She is at the 1/8-1/4 cup of pellets. She's eating a lot of them. I need to try to "spice up" the hay for her though. She's not that big of a fan yet.

And right away I'll ask: is the cage really too small? Keep in mind she's a Mini Satin and won't get much bigger than she is now. Here she is in relation to her cage and the pen:

Eating her pellets like a dork:

View attachment 56627

Coming out to say hi:

View attachment 56628
the cage is a perfect size for her, room to run, stand, and stretch out. a dog pen would provide the exact same amount of space this pen does so there is no need to upgrade. just let her have access to both the cage and pen at all times!
 

Space Monkey

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Is having hay only in the litter box area ok? I don't know where else to put any in her pen, and I'm afraid that if I had some more elsewhere she'll get confused on where to be pooping and peeing.

IMG_20210803_154655082.jpg
 

4 bunny Mom

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You may not want to use cardboard for the liter box...it will get soggy pretty fast from her peeing in it. You can probably find a plastic (like rubbermaid) container to put there instead. I use a large underbed storage box for my rabbits and line the bottom with newspaper so they don't slip in it while hopping in and out. I have also used a dish tub with lower sides (not a deep one) and that worked great too. If the box is too small to keep fresh hay off to one side you could also add a hay manger that will clip to the side of the cage. That way she can sit in the box and eat while doing her business. It will keep the fresh hay off the bottom of the box for her to eat. Just make sure to keep giving her fresh hay, they are very picky when it comes to their hay. Mine will not eat it if it has been sitting there for awhile. Even if you don't think she needs more, just putting a bit of fresh stuff on top will entice her to start nibbling again.
 

odyssey~

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the cage is a perfect size for her, room to run, stand, and stretch out. a dog pen would provide the exact same amount of space this pen does so there is no need to upgrade. just let her have access to both the cage and pen at all times!
I'd respectfully disagree with this statement :)
From my experience, this amount of space really isn't much to work with for the ideal rabbit set up. Of course minimums are highly debated, but for one rabbit I'd really only ever use this as a home base or nighttime cage once the rabbit is fixed since rabbits can really have a lot of energy! I've seen zoomies that went from one end of the house to another!
Dog pens can in fact have more room :) When used as a gate/fence and walls of the house are used a seperate sides, xpens can give 30 sq ft+ depending on how you configure it!
Most rabbits will enjoy and use to the best all the extra space you give them and it never hurts to have more 😊
 

Space Monkey

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Ok so I was able to find a permanent litter box with the right dimensions at Pet Smart. I went to Meijer next and found a small meatloaf glass to use as a hay holder to keep it unsoiled.

Is this ok?

And yes I changed her towel and while I was working on the litter box she thought it was a great idea to poop on the towel.

IMG_20210805_181724023_HDR.jpgIMG_20210805_181731507.jpg
 

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