My bunny is not a hay eater

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by Ventura Lop, Aug 30, 2019.

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  1. Aug 30, 2019 #1

    Ventura Lop

    Ventura Lop

    Ventura Lop

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    Hi all, my nearly one year old male neutered Holland Lop, Mookie, barely eats his hay. When I originally got him at about 6 weeks he did, but gradually he just stopped. He does eat his high fiber pellets, and I round out his diet with leafy greens daily (mostly celery leaves). I have him running free in my apartment and he is very active and seems happy. My concern is with his teeth as I have read that hay is especially important for grinding teeth. I try to push the hay on him and have tried different kinds, but he just doesn't seem interested. Will his hay pellets be enough or do I have to resort to feeding him only hay for a while to get him back on the program?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. Aug 30, 2019 #2

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    Hay is also needed to keep fur balls moving through the system and if they get a blockage they can go into stasis and ultimately death or expensive surgery. Try cutting back his pellets or removing them completely. He will get enough nutrients from the veggies, he will get hungry during the day and will eat the hay. Some people only give their bunnies a tablespoon of pellets a day and you can do this if you are worried about taking them away completely. I also have a picky hay eater and this is what I had to do to get her to eat more hay.
     
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  3. Aug 30, 2019 #3

    Ventura Lop

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    Thanks for the quick reply. The packaging for the pellets I use (Small World complete rabbit feed) states that 'Hay and other forages can be fed, but are not required.'. I was hoping this was the case but I always take the marketing on packaging with a grain of salt. I'll start reducing his pellet intake and see how he responds.
     
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  4. Aug 30, 2019 #4

    Blue eyes

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    Once a rabbit is an adult (6 months of age) his pellet amount should be measured and limited. You are right to take the package suggestions with a grain of salt. (The pellet manufacturer, though, wants you to buy more! ;) )

    A 5-7 lb rabbit should really receive no more than 1/4 cup of pellets per day. Hay should make up at least 80% of their diet. Here is a visual I made to help people to see what a daily diet should look like.
    upload_2019-8-29_19-31-22.png
     
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  5. Aug 30, 2019 #5

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    @Blue eyes May I have permission to use your photo? I teach my local 4-h rabbit club that I recently started up and this would be a great thing to show to the class.
     
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  6. Aug 30, 2019 #6

    Ventura Lop

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    Wow, Mookie isn't even close to that. If I'm lucky he eats a quarter cup of hay over a couple of days. So, do I start working towards the proper diet slowly or just jump in and go full bore tomorrow? He won't be happy with me, but if it's in his best interest I'll definitely do it.
     
  7. Aug 30, 2019 #7

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Of course! Thanks for asking.
    Here is an additional source that supports these recommendations (in case you need it):
    http://rabbit.org/natural-nutrition-part-ii-pellets-and-veggies-2/
     
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  8. Aug 30, 2019 #8

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    Thank you! I appreciate it !
     
  9. Aug 30, 2019 #9

    Blue eyes

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    Sudden changes aren't recommended. Maybe best to cut gradually back on those pellets. How much of the pellets does he eat per day, do you know?
     
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  10. Aug 30, 2019 #10

    Ventura Lop

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    He eats about a quarter cup a day, but at 4lbs he's not as big as other rabbits. He definitely eats at least the recommended amount of greens. I absolutely spoiled him rotten until fairly recently with too much of his favorites (Cheerios, diced apples, carrots and celery), I know this is why he has ignored the hay, but even drastically reducing those treats hasn't affected his hay intake.
     
  11. Aug 30, 2019 #11

    Blue eyes

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    Cheerios should be not fed except perhaps on very rare occasion. The apples and carrots are considered treats (high in sugar). Those should be limited to a total max of 1 tbsp per day. So an inch slice of carrot on one day means no apple that same day. I'd consider avoiding all treats until he starts eating more hay.
    Celery is fine along with other regular greens (should be cut in pieces to avoid long strings that could tangle in gut).
     

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