How to clean my very picky bunny

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Ventura Lop

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Hi guys, so I have a 3 year old Holland Lop, Mookie. I don't work so I am home with him all the time, needless to say we have bonded incredibly. He loves to play, has never seen a cage and runs and investigates any new thing I can invent for him. However, he does not eat hay, at least not the amounts that are recommended, not even close. He eats his hay kibble but not as much as recommended. He loves fresh greens and that is his primary form of consumption. I mix it up, fresh cilantro, romaine, green/red organic lettuce, dandelion greens, etc. He gets Cheerios treats as well, probably too much. He seems SUPER healthty because we constantly play and he is incredibly active. He has those soft poops, that I have read are common among rabbits. AND, those soft poops have caused HARD buildups on his undercarriage, most notably on his tail. I brought him to a pet groomer and they pretty much shamed me with all of his poop buildup.

Oh, he only poops and pees on 'dog pee pads' on my bed, I'm sure this has something to do with it.

First question, is he really healthy? Is his youth and exuberance hiding what could be a health issue because he doesn't favor hay? Am I just a really bad owner spoiling him too much and should just feed him hay?

And, how do I clean him? I use baby wipes but it doesn't seem to do the trick and I am petrified of getting him wet to do a true cleaning.

Non-expert owner pretty much at a loss.

Love my boy
 
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Ventura Lop

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Ok, I've been sitting here on this site reading, and I've apparently been screwing up all along. Too much love, not enough intelligence. I need to feed Mookie hay, and let him figure out that that is it. It will kill me in initially, but I know it is for his best.

Thanks for giving me a place to admit defeat.
 

Diane R

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Your bunny may seem healthy to you but he is not. What you describe sounds like it could be intermittent soft stool syndrome. His gut bacteria are out of whack basically. Treatment is a hay only diet - yes just hay, NOTHING else, for a couple of weeks or longer, until droppings are consistently normal. Find a few types of grass hay he is willing to eat lots of. Then gradually add in one new food at a time, wait a couple of weeks between introductions. Don't give more than 1 tbsp pellets. Don't give more than the size of their head in fresh food (ideally herbs rather than human veg). Don't give Cheerios to rabbits ever, totally unsuitable food. Your bunny will be OK once he is on a good diet, he just needs some tough love for now.
 

Apollo’s Slave

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Thanks guys. I pretty much figured this was the case but didn't want to admit it. Any suggestions on hay?
Timothy, meadow, orchard grass, rye grass, Bermuda, oat hay and there are so many more! Just check you local farm, pet stores, or online. Small pet select has good hay! Make sure the hay you get is good quality, meaning it’s bright green with long strands and a sweet smell. And try to get hay that has as little dust as possible
 

Ventura Lop

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Thanks for the input. I've tried variations of Timothy hay from Kaytee, etc, I will keep trying. I'm sure I just spoiled my little buddy with greens, etc, and now it's time to crack down. Makes me sad but I know it is necessary.
 

ArtistChibi

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If possible, avoid Kaytee brand. Their hay is not the best quality and some of their hay has extra things that should not be in it. There are other brands like Oxbow, Small Pet Select, Standlee, Durmor...
 

Apollo’s Slave

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I’m not sure your budget, but these seem to be good.


Look for hay that’s green (see picture) rather than the regular brown pet store quality ones (see picture again)
 

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Ventura Lop

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Thanks guys, I hope so, but my budget is tiny. I'm on disability and can't afford the 'good stuff', but know that Mookie will always be #1 in my finances... I will try to get my buddy the best.
 

Mariam+Theo

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Since you have a super tight budget, I suggest looking on Facebook Market Place or Craigslist for hay. Most of the bales will be a mix of Timothy and Orchard which is great for your rabbit. If you can't find hay from a farmer, you can buy Timothy bales from Tractor Supply. They are only $20 and they last me 6 months for my one rabbit. In the past I have gotten bad bales, so now I will buy the bale and open it up when I'm still in the parking lot to make sure it is fresh. It is bad (not green, smells funny, has moldy spots, flaky, etc) I will take it right back inside the store and swap it out with a different bale. I also buy a huge orchard grass bale from a local farmer for $10 and it will last me over a year. I suggest mixing hays if you can since sometimes rabbits will be picky and stop eating one type of hay so it is always best to have a backup.
 

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Ventura Lop

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Just so you guys know, he literally will NOT eat hay. I get it, I have to force it., But just want you guys to understand, he's not like your bunnies. At all. He WILL NOT eat hay. I will starve him since you guys say so, but I'm not joking when I say that's the only way he will eat it.
 

ArtistChibi

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>.> Oh...trust me. PRETTY sure people are aware of how picky rabbits can be about food. VERY picky.
Example: I have three types of rabbit pellets. One from Oxbow, one from Small Pet Select, one from my local feed store. Xiao Wu loves all three. Tu Shen prefers the feed store pellets. Tu Shen doesn't like oat hay. Xiao Wu loves it. Tu Shen will eat Kale, stem and all. Xiao Wu will if there's no other veggies left. Some rabbits dislike bananas or apples, others prefer them.
It's mainly based on their personalities and I think how they're raised. At least what I've noticed so far. Pretty similar to how dogs or cats are with their food.
 

Mac189

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Give him a little more time. A lot of rabbits are not very impressed by hay when they get tasty treats and are full all the time. Try offering him very limited pellets and no treats with the best hay in the batch you have. He will cave once he's actually hungry. I have one slightly pickier rabbit and one that will eat anything that doesn't eat her first. Rabbits are very accomplished beggars and self-aware enough to know it. If he thinks he can make you cave on tasty food, he will wait it out. He's not starving yet, give him just a little bit of pellets while transitioning to hay so he stays hungry, but his gut remains moving.
 

HalaBuns

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He will eat it when he’s hungry, if there is no other available option. Having rescued a couple of bunnies who had most likely never seen hay in their lives and were ravenous, they got stuck in immediately. I am not saying you should starve him, but he’s not going to let himself go on full hunger strike if there is actually food there.

If my bunnies have needed encouragement to eat hay for whatever reason, I try brushing their noses with it until they snatch it. That is usually out of annoyance, but it does get them chomping away.

Please don’t feel sad for making this change, it’s the best thing for him x
 

Apollo’s Slave

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You could try to add a tiny bit of his regular pellets to his hay. You can also do dried forage and dried herbs work too as you are on a lower budget (just the regular stuff from your kitchen - basil, thyme and mint are favs for us).

I agree with @HalaBuns. Sometimes they need a little bit of encouragement, and when my bunny gets a bit grumpy about the hay he has, I’ll grab a little bundle and wave it *slowly* about his face, letting it touch his mouth. He usually gets annoyed with it and will use his teeth to remove it - and will usually eat a little bit of it.

You might also want to try offering a lot of hay to him in a big storage tote, or laid down on a towel. With the picky bunnies, they prefer to search around and find the absolute best strands of hay for them to eat.
 

SirLawrence

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I made all the same mistakes with Lawrence, and thought he'd never eat hay! It took me basically taking the junk away, and leaving lots of hay. He would hold out for junk (like we all do), but would eventually get hungry and eat the hay. I buy Standlee bales of timothy grass from Tractor Supply for $20 for 50 lb. It lasts a good long time, like 6 months for one bun! And feeding recommended amounts of pellets, you won't go through them quickly either! I've found that rabbits are more of a time investment than a monetary investment! (for one or two house rabbits, anyway...)
 

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