How to get a rabbit to eat more hay

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by Augustus&HazelGrace, Oct 22, 2019.

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  1. Oct 22, 2019 #1

    Augustus&HazelGrace

    Augustus&HazelGrace

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    My approx. 4-year-old spayed rabbit Gus, refuses to eat hay. I have reduced her pellets from 1/4 cup to 1/8 of a cup and she still refuses to eat it, she will just go hungry until pellet time, around 5 pm every day, and she gets fresh hay and water in the morning she also gets cilantro and parsley and celery during pellet time and whatever other veggies we might have in the house. I have tried the clover mix hay, timothy hay, and even timothy hay with chamomile in it, I don't want to get her the kind with carrots or the other stuff in it because that is kind of counter-productive for what hay is for. What would you all recommend that I do to get her to eat more hay? Also, she is still overweight even with the 1/8 cup of pellets per day and her veggies (about 1 cup per day) for two months. she is supposed to be 5lbs and she is between 6.5- 7lbs. But she was boney about 6 months ago ( Maybe a month after her spay) and I was giving her a 1/2 teaspoon of calf manna pellets to get her weight back up, but she hasn't had any of those in 2 months. It's like I can't get her weight to where it needs to be and vet told me before her spay that she needed to stay 5lbs to be able to do her surgery.
     
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  2. Oct 22, 2019 #2
    Have you tried orchard grass? Oat hay? Bermuda? There are tons of types of grass hays out there to try out that aren't timothy. They all may have very different textures and tastes and one may appeal to her if you keep trying it.
     
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  3. Oct 22, 2019 #3

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    Other types are hard to find around here, and most farmers won't tell me in messages what type of hay it is and I don't want to buy it and it ends up being a kind I have already tried. And most of the signs for hay don't tell me what kind it is or don't have a location or a number and my parents are not going to drive around looking for something we don't know where it is.
     
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  4. Oct 22, 2019 #4

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    I won't buy bales from Rural King either because they are extremely dusty.
     
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  5. Oct 22, 2019 #5

    John Wick

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    How are you presenting hay to her? Rabbits are foragers, so sometimes if you present hay in multiple ways, it sort of tricks them into thinking "Aha! I've found the best patch, so I'll graze on this", while if it's just a giant pile in one or two litter boxes, it's easy for s rabbit to decide nothing is good and not want to explore them as an option. That has been an observation with my rabbit.
     
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  6. Oct 22, 2019 #6

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    I have it in a hay rack, a hay ball toy thing and a big pile by her litter box, She is in a hutch so she has a smaller litterbox than I would like.
     
  7. Oct 23, 2019 #7

    Pippa and Buttercup

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    Have you tried oat/en hay?? My rabbits were in the same situation as yours, but I switched to oaten hay and they liked that more..
     
  8. Oct 23, 2019 #8

    zupper

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    You can give her pellets in two portions one in the morning one in the evening, just in halves. I agree with what John said you can give her more choice, even can sprinkle pellets on her hay so she will have to slow down a bit and will have to dig/eat some hay if she wants to find them.
    There are so many other ways, one of my rabbits won't eat much hay either but he likes I stuff his toys with hay and he eats it, not all but better than nothing. His poop is perfect and he's in an excellent shape, he has lots of exercise so I don't worry too much but I'd like him to eat more hay.
     
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  9. Oct 23, 2019 #9

    Blue eyes

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    Try calling feed stores rather than farms. All feed stores I've seen sell hay bales by type. They should have a different price per bale of each type of hay. The types they have and their prices will vary with the growing seasons so you'll have to call to see what they have.

    (I googled "Kentucky feed stores" and a bunch came up)
     
  10. Oct 23, 2019 #10

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    Do you think they would sell me small amounts to try so that way I'm not buying whole bales of stuff she doesn't like? Where I put her pile of hay is on a wire bottom so they would just fall through. She does have a shelf to get up on and two cubby holes to get into so she is not on the wire all the time, plus she stays on the shelf almost all day. Sorry I feel like I have to explain how her hutch is set up because I know that hutches are not what's best but it's what I got and I would much rather her be inside free roam but that's just not feasible for me She does get to go out in a playpen in the yard for 1-2 hours depending on the weather. My grandfather works at a Southern States and they don't sell hay, but I could call the one in my town and see ( he lives in the neighboring county). I could also call Tractor Supply but it is an hour each way to drive to pick up a bale, I think there is a feed store about 20 minutes from me I will have to check that one out. Her poop is fine but she sheds so much all year I worry about a blockage. Doc said it was hormones but it has been a while since her spay and she changes colors each time, not like slight changes but big changes. When I first got her she was a Smoke Pearl, then she molted and she was chinchilla, then another molt and a Smoke Pearl again, another and now she is a blue/grey color with no points. Has anyone heard of this happening before? I don't have pictures of this and each molt took like 4 months and she would only go a week without shedding before starting again.
     
  11. Oct 23, 2019 #11
    It doesnt hurt to phone and ask. Many feed stores will even sell the hay sweepings for small critter owners.
    Do you have a petco or petsmart you ever visit? Usually the brands they cary often have orchard or oat hay. Or you can order the special hays from them online then return to them in the store if she wont eat it. Petsmarts return policy is pretty great.
     
  12. Oct 24, 2019 #12

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    Petco and petsmart are also an hour from me. I could try online though.
     
  13. Nov 3, 2019 #13

    Morgan Mayon

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    You can make hay more interesting to your rabbit by mixing in food they like best. This could include dry food, fresh vegetables or dried (bunny safe) herbs.
    Most rabbits have bad hay eating habits because they eat too much dry food. A healthy adult rabbit should only be fed a small quantity of dry food (50g per average size adult rabbit per day is plenty).
    Dry food tastes good but it doesn’t provide the fibre levels and chewing action needed to keep your rabbit healthy. Reducing the amount of dry food you rabbit gets should help encourage them to eat more hay.
     
  14. Nov 3, 2019 #14

    Duckfarmer1

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    First, my question is though..did the dr say..after the spay she needs to stay at 5 lbs...what breed is she? Why do you think she can’t be more than 5 lbs? Does she look obese? Does she have health issues?
     
  15. Nov 3, 2019 #15

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    @Duckfarmer1 Yes, the vet said 5 pounds max. She does look obese. No health issues but she sheds a lot and I want her to eat more hay to prevent blockage. Also, rabbits are prone to diabetes and being overweight increases that risk. I don't know what breed she is a rescue.

    @Morgan Mayon I have done that and she just picks the good stuff out. She is getting only half that and I don't want to take them away completely as I'm afraid she won't eat at all. She always seems as if she is starving and I hate to not give her any.
     
  16. Nov 3, 2019 #16

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    This is her 6 months after I got her over 3 years ago. I am on a computer and don't have any recent pictures of her. Maybe yall have ideas on breed. I just call her a mix breed. I think she may have some lop somewhere in her as her daughter has helicopter ears, and I know that didn't come from her dad's side as he is a pure dutch. She is also not as big as she looks in this picture, it was just really close up.
     

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  17. Nov 4, 2019 #17

    Blue eyes

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    Did you ever have any success in contacting that feed store?

    If not, and you have to drive an hour for the hay bale, it would be worth it. If you have 3 rabbits (?? as in your avatar??) then a bale will last you up to 6 months. So taking 2 trips a year shouldn't be a big deal.

    Feed stores will often allow you to take a handful of various hays from their fallout if you ask them (and explain what you are trying to find out). Just label the handfuls and test them out.
     
  18. Nov 4, 2019 #18

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    The only time my parents decided to go to the town with the feed store is after it was closed so I haven't had a chance to go yet. (I can't drive by myself yet) But I was planning on ordering the sample pack from The Hay Experts website if I couldn't get a chance to go. https://www.thehayexperts.co.uk/taster-selection-pack.html It's $5 so not a huge deal but easier if that store only has one or two types of hay.

    I have three but not all the same ones, the only one I have is the one on the right. The other ones I have are her daughter and another male which I am currently trying to find a new home for. So it will only be two. But no 2 trips a year isn't so bad. I can go when I need my body wash ( long story short they only sell it at this store that is an hour from me and shipping is outrageous) I buy 2 which last me 6 months anyway so that would be perfect.

    I just worry about what kind of stuff they sweep up with the fallout. When I worked at Rural King there is no way I would feed what hay we swept up to any rabbits.
     
  19. Nov 4, 2019 #19

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Umm... are you aware that the sample pack in your link is 5 pounds -- currency for the United Kingdom? They may not ship to the US (and if they do, the shipping alone would surely be more than $5).
     
  20. Nov 4, 2019 #20

    Blue eyes

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    I've had them let me get it myself. Usually just a handful that is sitting loose on one of the lower bales... not what's scraped off the floor.
     

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