My rabbit won't eat hay, help?

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by Sasha2003, Aug 11, 2017.

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  1. Aug 11, 2017 #1

    Sasha2003

    Sasha2003

    Sasha2003

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    I recently got a three year old rabbit from someone, and he refuses to eat his hay (timothy hay). I believe his diet at his previous owner's was mainly pellets, and I was wondering if there was any way to get him to start eating hay, or if there were any substitutes to give him more fiber and things for him to chew on to help wear down his teeth. He will eat the grass outside, but he doesn't eat much of it and I can't take him outside much because I have other things I have to do. I plan to build a run so he can stay outside for a bit so he can eat the grass, but in the meantime I don't know how to get him to eat more fiber.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  2. Aug 11, 2017 #2

    katiecrna

    katiecrna

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    Give him a bunch or hay and don't give him any pellets. He will eventually eat the hay.
     
  3. Aug 11, 2017 #3

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    You can also try different types of grass hay... bermuda, orchard grass, oat grass, meadow, etc.

    They are less likely to eat hay if they are getting too many pellets. Cutting back on pellets can encourage hay eating.

    Refreshing the hay also can make a huge difference. Don't wait til it's gone before refreshing. Try refreshing it twice per day. For some reason that encourages bunny to eat more.
     
  4. Aug 11, 2017 #4

    Aki

    Aki

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    Getting a rabbit who was used to 'junk food' to eat hay can be challenging. How much pellets are you giving now? The best way to make the rabbit eat his hay is to leave him with only hay for the majority of his day - my rabbits eat their pellets in maybe 15mn around 9 am in the morning and they only have hay until their vegetables around 11 pm. It's also possible, as it was suggested that you'll be more successful with another type of hay. Second crop or organic hay or hay mixed with herbs can sometimes work better as they have a more pronounced flavor (I sometimes put mint leaves cut in very small pieces in the hay to encourage a rabbit to try it). Your current hay might also just not be to your rabbit's taste - the taste of the hay varies from one package to another, I've bought the same brand for years and sometimes one package will be eaten very well while the next one will barely be touched and I'll end up throwing away 3/4 of it. In theory the 'greener', better smelling and less dusty hay is the best but sometimes my rabbits will snub hay that looks fine to me and there is nothing I can do to change their mind. I stopped trying to play 'who will be the most hard headed' with them a long time ago and just throw away what they don't eat because... a hay package is still cheaper than a vet visit if your rabbit doesn't eat enough hay and end up with GI stasis ^^'. Nevertheless, they sometimes end up changing their mind on their own : I bought a very pricey hay last year that they wouldn't touch, like not a single piece. I left it inside a cupboard for months, feeling bad to throw it away as it was supposedly a very good quality hay (it had flowers in it and everything!) and I tried it again about a few months later and they actually ate like half of it. Rabbits... :rollseyes
    Eating grass is good as it indeed helps the guts to move and it's better than nothing (I generally give grass when I feel like my rabbits didn't eat as much hay as they should have) but it lacks variety and can't really replace hay entirely... especially if he doesn't eat much of it. So I say, persevere and try things. It might take time to make him eat what he should but it's worth it...
     
  5. Aug 11, 2017 #5

    Sasha2003

    Sasha2003

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    Thank you for all of your help! I'll start getting different types and brands of hay and see if he'll eat any of them!
     
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  6. Aug 13, 2017 #6

    RavenousDragon

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    My two LOVE orchard grass and oat hay grass. You could try those as others suggested (we use them as treats and give timothy as the main hay because it's so cheap).
     
  7. Aug 13, 2017 #7

    Sasha2003

    Sasha2003

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    I bought him a different brand of timothy hay today and he is eating it!! \(˚▽˚)/ He is still not eating very much of it but it's definitely progress!! I've cut back on the amount of pellets I give him and hopefully he'll start eating more but I'm glad he is at least eating more than he was before!!!
     
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  8. Aug 14, 2017 #8

    katiecrna

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    How much pellets do you give him?
     
  9. Sep 7, 2017 #9

    Andrea123

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    Is it good then to just get some grass from the garden to put in the hay cage to encourage eating the hay?
     
  10. Sep 9, 2017 #10

    Preitler

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    Just be sure it is untreated, no fertilizer, funghi-, herbi- and pesticides. It's unbelievable what some people put on their lawn :rollseyes.

    The more diverse, the more weeds, different grasses etc. the better. Hay is just dried, dead grass, everything that is in hay is in grass too (and more). Might be worth a try to introduce some grass to get him interested in hay, but as with everything new, start slowly with small amounts.

    Also, I would only take from areas where no wild rabbits roam.
     
  11. Sep 9, 2017 #11

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

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    We use Orchard Grass as I am allergic to Timothy. All our bunnies are rescues and Peter was the same--only wanted pellets, but our vet insists that bunnies only need hay and fresh veggies. I filled a hay rack and a bowl with hay and put 4 pellets in the bottom of the bowl. After 2 days we had a hay eating machine and he doesn't hardy touch the pellets anymore--he just turned 12 in March--that is, we have had him for 12 years, but he could be a little older.
     
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