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My bunny's addicted to fresh veggies. Is this a problem?

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overhear

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I just adopted a rescue rabbit a few weeks ago who was probably an easter bunny and weighs 2.6 pounds. I'm wondering if I'm feeding her unhealthy quantities of fresh greens. She gets lots of Oxbow western timothy and orchard grass mix, but she doesn't seem to love hay the way my last pet rabbit did. I've also been giving her a small mixing bowl of leftover greens -- like carrot greens, baby spinach, fennel tops, and kale -- twice a day, which is what her foster family fed her.

Now I now see that the house rabbit society advises giving bunnies way less veggies (1 cup per 2 lbs per day), so yesterday I tried to cut back on them but she was super-agitated and demanding more. I'm not kidding -- it was like having a toddler! She threw her bowl around the cage and when she was out she was literally foraging for food all over our living room. 😮

My plan is to slowly decrease her fresh veggies, but first I want to be sure that this change in diet is necessary because she seems healthy right now. I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts.
 

Nancy McClelland

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Our vet says that hay and veggies is all they need. Ours get more veggies than the "guide line" and they both are hay eaters as well. We do give a small amount of pellet and timothy cubes too. Over the last 2+ decades we have rescued 49--several made it to their mid teens, 3 to 15, 1 to 16, and our mini rex Bambi was a couple weeks shy of 19. Happy and healthy is all that matters.
 

Blue eyes

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Actually the House Rabbit Society has an article that recommends feeding 2-4 cups of greens per day (and to cut back on the quantity of pellets). It sounds from your description that the amount you are feeding is just fine!

If she's eating generous amounts of hay, greens are next in order of importance. Here's that article:
Natural Nutrition II: Pellets and Veggies | House Rabbit Society

My only caution would be that spinach (and possibly kale) are high in oxalates and so are not recommended for daily feeding. The following link has a list of which are safe for daily feeding and which should be given less often:
 

overhear

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Thanks for the sanity check. I have been watching the oxalates and trying to give her a mix. Since she does seem to be favoring the veggies over hay, I decided to skip the veggies this morning. Hopefully she'll go for the hay in the mornings when there's no alternative and start to develop more of a taste for it. Or I'll cave. I've always been a weak authority figure!

This is the article on the House Rabbit Society website that had me a bit panicked.
"An approximate amount to feed would be around 1 cup of greens for 2 lbs of rabbit body weight once a day or divided into multiple feedings a day."
[ ARTICLE URL ]
 

Blue eyes

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This is the article on the House Rabbit Society website that had me a bit panicked.
"An approximate amount to feed would be around 1 cup of greens for 2 lbs of rabbit body weight once a day or divided into multiple feedings a day."
[ ARTICLE URL ]
I wasn't doubting you on the HRS recommendations... 😊 just pointing out that even within HRS there are other opinions.

The main take away is that a rabbit does best when the bulk of their diet is hay. If she's eating her body size in hay every day then I wouldn't worry about the quantity of greens you've been feeding.

If, on the other hand, she isn't a good hay eater, then holding off on her morning greens is a good tactic. The trick will be to not cave! I'm sure you know they are stubborn, so the key is to be more stubborn than her (for her own good!). Stick with it so she can get the idea that she is not going to get any greens in the morning and she might as well get used to that hay!
 

JBun

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Just to add that if she refuses to eat hay when you remove the morning greens, it might work better gradually reducing the amount so she doesn't notice. Some rabbits can be extremely stubborn and refuse to eat even when starving, just because they aren't getting the food they want. And a rabbit not eating puts them at risk for GI stasis.

If she continues to refuse eating hay with either tactic, you may want to consider a vet appointment to make sure it's not a dental problem causing the hay eating issues.
 

overhear

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Just to add that if she refuses to eat hay when you remove the morning greens, it might work better gradually reducing the amount so she doesn't notice. Some rabbits can be extremely stubborn and refuse to eat even when starving, just because they aren't getting the food they want. And a rabbit not eating puts them at risk for GI stasis.

If she continues to refuse eating hay with either tactic, you may want to consider a vet appointment to make sure it's not a dental problem causing the hay eating issues.
Great suggestion, @JBun ! Unlike my human daughter who is that stubborn, bunny does seem to be eating the hay when she has absolutely nothing else. This morning I mixed some hay and baby spinach together and put it in her treat bowl. She's doing a pretty good job of picking out the spinach leaves but I think she might be accidentally eating some hay as well. 😊
 

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