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How can I get my rabbit to stop wasting so much hay?

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gelliebean

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My girl is currently on two different hays: Third cut timothy and orchard grass. She would not eat much hay and after switching her over to a softer hay she did eat a bit more..

But she's still wasting so much! I'm probably refilling 3x her body size in hay each day. She will remove all of the hay from the hay net and once it's in her litter box she usually pees on it and doesn't eat it. I catch her eating a bit, and if I hand feed her the hay she will eat all of it. But I'm wasting so much.
 

Watermelons

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Time to start buying bales from a feed store! Bunnies love peeing on hay and most recommend putting some loose in their litterbox anyway.
The harder it is to access their hay the less their likely to eat. Let her make a mess and waste some. As long ad she eats lots too!

You said hay net? That has me a bit worried.
 

gelliebean

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Time to start buying bales from a feed store! Bunnies love peeing on hay and most recommend putting some loose in their litterbox anyway.
The harder it is to access their hay the less their likely to eat. Let her make a mess and waste some. As long ad she eats lots too!

You said hay net? That has me a bit worried.
I found a local distributor that sold small pet select. A bit more expensive than what I was paying for Oxbow. When I first switched her over she ate a lot and now she wastes away. Do you think she needs more variety?

Why does hay net worry you? It's a twine-like material bag I got at Ikea and cut a large hole in to allow her to get hay. She has a wooden hay holder before but she outgrew it.
 

Madelyn L.

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I use very fresh hay (otherwise my bun will not eat it) also, during his breakfast and supper, I sprinkle some pellets in the hay so he will forage through it and eat more hay. He loves this and thinks it’s very fun. He binkies and runs around every time the pellet bag crinkles. 😅 I don’t give him many pellets because I don’t want him to get fat. He already eats enough 😂
 

Watermelons

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Please dont use any type of "hay bag" not only is that an ingestion risk but its a strangulation risk.
Loose hay is always better and more inviting but if youre set on using a hay rack even ikea has better options including a few i will link below.

Most rabbits prefer "fresh" hay, as in new to their cage that day or freshly fluffed up looking new.
There is no reason to pay more for hay or offer 10 different types. What was wrong with the oxbow?
Find a local feed store that will sell you flakes or a whole/half bale.


 

gelliebean

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Please dont use any type of "hay bag" not only is that an ingestion risk but its a strangulation risk.
Loose hay is always better and more inviting but if youre set on using a hay rack even ikea has better options including a few i will link below.

Most rabbits prefer "fresh" hay, as in new to their cage that day or freshly fluffed up looking new.
There is no reason to pay more for hay or offer 10 different types. What was wrong with the oxbow?
Find a local feed store that will sell you flakes or a whole/half bale.


Do you think I should get a bigger litter box? She has a standard cat-sized one. I tried loose feeding her hay for a really long time but she would dig through it so it was mixed throughout her litter and then pee all over it... Maybe I'll try taking away the bag again to see if she eats more.
 

gelliebean

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I would definitely second the idea of considering buying by the bale. It is soooooo much cheaper that way and you'll never need to worry about wasted hay because it is sooo cheap.

This is what I mean by "bale"
She's just soo picky! Loves hay the first few days she tries it and then gets sick. At least when I buy from rabbit brands like small pet select or oxbow I can switch the varieties out. I'll try some out though.
 

Watermelons

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Your profile says youre from Calgary so you should have TONNNSof options for feed stores or barns and someone is bound to have a flake you can buy of a few different varieties. Horse quality no alfalfa.
Make you you give her new hay daily. A nice fluffy pile. If you just add it to yesterdays she might be less likely to eat it. It has to be "new"
 

JBun

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Do you limit her pellet amounts each day, and if so how much are you feeding and what's her approximate weight? Is she still underweight and are you still feeding her BOSS? What other foods is she getting and how much per day?

Also, did the vet do a thorough dental check during one of your recent visits there with her? Sometime picky hay eating has to do with mouth sores from tooth spurs, especially when the rabbit seems to prefer softer hay over the stalky hay.
 

gelliebean

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Do you limit her pellet amounts each day, and if so how much are you feeding and what's her approximate weight? Is she still underweight and are you still feeding her BOSS? What other foods is she getting and how much per day?

Also, did the vet do a thorough dental check during one of your recent visits there with her? Sometime picky hay eating has to do with mouth sores from tooth spurs, especially when the rabbit seems to prefer softer hay over the stalky hay.
She's getting just under 1/4 cup of food (8 little scoops equated to 1/4 cup and now I'm feeding her 6) and this is quite a bit because her Sherwood pellets recommend to feed 1/8 to 1/4 for 4-6 pounds. Her last check up three weeks ago she weighed 1.42kg or 3.1 pounds. Still feeding her BOSS. She gets a salad which usually consists of spring mix, cilantro, bok choy.. whatever I buy at the store that week. Sometimes she will get a banana chip or freeze-dried strawberry piece, both from the Oxbow brand.

They should of checked her teeth, but she's going back for another check up this afternoon and I will ask if they can look again. She had her first check up in October, another beginning of January, and she's going back today. The first time her teeth were getting a bit sharp but they didn't say anything negative about her teeth the second time around. But I'll make sure to ask. She loved her stalky timothy and loved the oat hay, this is what I was feeding her just over a month ago but she gets very bored of her hay easily so I will usually buy two types and alternate at least one every month.
 

gelliebean

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Please dont use any type of "hay bag" not only is that an ingestion risk but its a strangulation risk.
Loose hay is always better and more inviting but if youre set on using a hay rack even ikea has better options including a few i will link below.

Most rabbits prefer "fresh" hay, as in new to their cage that day or freshly fluffed up looking new.
There is no reason to pay more for hay or offer 10 different types. What was wrong with the oxbow?
Find a local feed store that will sell you flakes or a whole/half bale.


Started giving her loose hay and she seems to be eating a bit more. Think I will find a bigger sized litter box though, she gets it everywhere! Will probably opt for a hooded one or maybe a larger storage bin.
 

Milousmom

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Started giving her loose hay and she seems to be eating a bit more. Think I will find a bigger sized litter box though, she gets it everywhere! Will probably opt for a hooded one or maybe a larger storage bin.
A hooded one is great for keeping control of the mess.
 

Mariam+Theo

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Started giving her loose hay and she seems to be eating a bit more. Think I will find a bigger sized litter box though, she gets it everywhere! Will probably opt for a hooded one or maybe a larger storage bin.
A hooded one is great for keeping control of the mess.
I actually suggest staying away from a hooded litter box. Rabbits have very sensitive respiratory systems and the hood will trap the smell in the box. If the smell got too bad, it could possibly hurt your rabbit's respiratory system.
I suggest getting a large high sided storage bin if you don't want a huge mess. You could cut the side to make an opening, but make sure the plastic is not sharp so it doesn't cut your bunny.
 

Mariam+Theo

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feed less hay. Seriously. it's the best way to get them to not waste it as much. :)
I think it is needed that someone points out that this is not a good idea at all. Rabbits like to pick through their hay and find the best pieces (just like someone would pick the M&M's out of trail mix). Part of owning a rabbit is allowing them to be a rabbit, which includes being picky about their hay. I know that Theo doesn't like soft hay and prefers long strands, so when he only has soft hay in his litter box, I give him more long strands. I know that he would eat the soft hay, but wouldn't eat as much which could cause him to go into stasis. I can promise you, the vet bill and stress from dealing with a rabbit with GI-stasis is not worth forcing your rabbit to not be picky about hay.
 

Blue eyes

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Here's a good option for the hay. (photo)

Wanted to reiterate what @Watermelons stated, that how you feed the hay is very important -- especially for picky buns. Adding fresh hay twice per day is key. Don't wait until it is gone (or near gone) before adding fresh hay. That also means that the hay needs to be easy to get -- "a big fluffy pile" as @Watermelons states.

I really don't think your rabbit is getting "bored" of a particular type of hay, but rather that she perhaps isn't getting a brand new fresh pile every day (two or three times per day would be even better for such buns). Once a rabbit "likes" a particular food (wither type of hay, pellets, or greens) they don't suddenly stop liking it. Once they like it, they like it and it won't change. If they do stop eating it, either there's a physical problem -- dental or stasis, etc -- or the food itself is bad (old, moldy).
 

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gelliebean

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Here's a good option for the hay.

Wanted to reiterate what @Watermelons stated, that how you feed the hay is very important -- especially for picky buns. Adding fresh hay twice per day is key. Don't wait until it is gone (or near gone) before adding fresh hay. That also means that the hay needs to be easy to get -- "a big fluffy pile" as @Watermelons states.

I really don't think your rabbit is getting "bored" of a particular type of hay, but rather that she perhaps isn't getting a brand new fresh pile every day (two or three times per day would be even better for such buns). Once a rabbit "likes" a particular food (wither type of hay, pellets, or greens) they don't suddenly stop liking it. Once they like it, they like it and it won't change. If they do stop eating it, either there's a physical problem -- dental or stasis, etc -- or the food itself is bad (old, moldy).
It's so strange though.. I do give her 2 or 3 smaller piles a day so it can always be fresh.

For some varieties of hay, she would eat it one day and stop the next. Assumably trying it out and then deciding she doesn't like it. But for botanical hay, if she smelled me open the bag she would dart over to her litter box and try to steal the hay out of my hands as I put it in. Now she will not touch it but was eating her second cut timothy. I am going to ask them to double check her teeth today when she goes back to the vet this evening. I left a loose pile and it does seem like she's eating it. Maybe it's a me thing :p seeing her bag was empty and just refilling it right away instead of letting her dig everything out and then eat it. I will stop using the bag though, someone recommended it to me and I didn't know any better.
 

JBun

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If the vet says her teeth look good, I think the problem you might be having is that she is filling up on other food, so is pickier about her hay and less inclined to eat more of what you put out for her. You didn't mention if she is still underweight or not. Does she feel boney and are you still trying to get her to put on weight?
 

gelliebean

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If the vet says her teeth look good, I think the problem you might be having is that she is filling up on other food, so is pickier about her hay and less inclined to eat more of what you put out for her. You didn't mention if she is still underweight or not. Does she feel boney and are you still trying to get her to put on weight?
Still boney and still underweight. The vet said last time that her GI tract is moving nicely and everything there is healthy so as long as she is eating regularly she doesn't mind her being a bit thin, much better than being obese.
 
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