how much should i be feeding my rabbit in winter?

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i have a 8 month old male rabbit called Glen. i usually feed him 1/4 of pellets a day, 2 large handfuls of lettuce (1 handful in the morning and 1 in the evening), a couple slices of pepper or cucumber or carrot and he has fresh hay on hand all the time.

Since its becoming colder and he is an outside rabbit, he’s started going crazy for food. His pellets which usually last him all day only last him 10 minutes and he eats all his food in minutes. He’s also become very jumpy when i give him food, he trys to escape or take food out of my hand and he’s even bitten me a few time (very uncommon for him)

i think i should be feeding him more as he’s burning more calories to become warmer but i’m not sure how much. i increased his pellets to 1/3 cup yesterday and it hasn’t helped

any advice would be great!
 

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JBun

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How big is he(approx. weight)? Is that 1/4 cup(now 1/3c) pellets, once a day or twice? Do you give him fresh hay at least once a day, plus enough that it never runs out, accounting for hay that gets peed on and is no longer consumable? Have you checked to make sure he's still eating plenty of hay, a pile at least the size of his body per day? Also, in his living area, does he have a space that's protected from wind and the elements and insulated with bedding, that he can go to and keep warm if needed?
 
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How big is he(approx. weight)? Is that 1/4 cup(now 1/3c) pellets, once a day or twice? Do you give him fresh hay at least once a day, plus enough that it never runs out, accounting for hay that gets peed on and is no longer consumable? Have you checked to make sure he's still eating plenty of hay, a pile at least the size of his body per day? Also, in his living area, does he have a space that's protected from wind and the elements and insulated with bedding, that he can go to and keep warm if needed?
He has the pellets once a day
He has never ran out of fresh hay and i give him about 2 piles the size of his body (one where he uses the toilet and one near his food bowl) which he is still eating
His living area is relatively protected as its sheltered, it has areas which are completely protected and some areas which are less protected which are covered in more windy and cold weather
I don’t know how much he weighs exactly as he hates being picked up and i figured weighing him would be too stressful and scary for him but id say hes just over 6 or 7 pounds
 

JBun

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At that size and being outdoors, I would think feeding up to 1/2 cup a day would be alright, as long as your rabbit is still eating a pile of hay the size of his body per day, and the increased pellets doesn't lead to mushy cecotropes. If he's eating more hay than his body size per day and his fecal balls all look to be a good size and consistency(break apart easily, not hard), you may be able to increase pellet amounts even more than that, maybe up to 3/4-1c(I would split into two feedings) depending on how cold it gets, and especially if you feed a good quality pellet that has a high fiber content.

I would suggest to gradually increase the amount over a few days at least, though if there are signs of mushy poop you may need to make the increase even more gradually than that.

As hungry as he sounds, I would closely monitor his weight and droppings. If he starts dropping weight, even with his food increased to a sufficient amount, or if you see signs of worms in his poop, or other unexplained health issues arise, the increased appetite/weight loss may not have to do with cooler temps so much, but due to intestinal parasites or another health issue. In which case he would need to be seen by an experienced rabbit vet for a thorough health exam, with his heart and teeth checked, possibly a fecal float test done, and even possibly a blood test to ensure the increased appetite and weight loss isn't due to kidney or liver problems and xrays to rule other internal health issues out.


Hopefully it's just the cooler temps and increased food will sort his increased appetite. I know when I had horses, in the winter they did need their total food amount increased from 4 flakes to 6 hay flakes a day, with this being in average 30f day and 20f night temps. So I would think that outdoor rabbits would need at least an equal increase, or even more as they have a higher metabolism than horses.
 
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