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Need guidance on young rabbit diet

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Luci&Skittles

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Hello!

I have a 4 month old and 5 month old Holland Lop. I have read so much controversial information on what to feed them. Currently they are on an unlimited amount of young rabbit pellets from Oxbow and unlimited Timothy Hay mixed with a little alfalfa. I was giving them a leaf of romaine twice a day with maybe a sprig of cilantro or parsley. I noticed about 50% of their poops are either oblong or just misshaped. So I cut back on the greens and triedto encourage more hay but it’s still a struggle. I am bringing them to the vet tomorrow just for an initial visit and to see when they will be ready to be spayed, but anyone have some adviceon what their meals should look like until 6 months? Again there are people saying no greens until 6 months, others say it’s ok and then who knows how much is enough. Some people say unlimited pellets, some same rationed pellets. I know each rabbit is different but clearly I’m not meeting their needs according to their poop. Help!
 

Lucas the Bun 💕🐇

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All of it is really informational but she talks talking about 2-7 months at
2:25

(Alfalfa pellets are best, but be very careful when changing diet, young buns have a really sensitive digestive system.

Welcome to the forum 😊

any pictures of your rabbits.

You mentioned ‘them’ ( young rabbits should be separated (if they aren’t already) as they can fight and really hurt each other (because of hormones).
 
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JBun

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Oblong poop isn't normal. Slight possibility it could be because they need less pellets and more hay in the diet, though highly doubtful it's just diet related. Oblong poop indicates nerve disfunction in the gut(unless only a few strung together with fur which can be normal, though also not a good sign). If they will eat the hay well, I would try gradually reducing their pellet amount over the next week, and continue to free feed the timothy hay, making sure they are eating the hay really well. They are about to the age where pellets need to be reduced to the recommended adult amount anyways(approx. 1/4 c/day per 5 lbs of body weight). I would also recommend monitoring body weight/body condition to ensure they are maintaining a good body weight and don't become too skinny on the altered diet.

If a higher fiber(grass hay) lower pellet diet doesn't cause their poop to return to the normal round shape, there are a couple possibilities. The parasite coccidiosis can cause this type of poop abnormality, as it causes problems with the lining of the digestive tract. Because you aren't seeing any of the other signs of cocci then it would mean it would probably not be too severe a case. Since you are going to be at the vet, I would suggest collecting fresh poop samples from both(store in covered container in fridge to keep fresh) before you take them, to have the vet do a fecal float test to check for cocci when you take them in.

The other possibility is a disease called megacolon. It's most common among white charlie/spotted rabbits, but it can also occur in other rabbits if the nerves of the digestive tract have been damaged in some way as to not function properly. I had a rabbit that developed it after severe bouts with GI stasis. I had another that was born with it. Oblong poop was normal for them, but I was able to keep it more normal looking and maintain better gut function for both by following a strict diet.
 

Luci&Skittles

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Oblong poop isn't normal. Slight possibility it could be because they need less pellets and more hay in the diet, though highly doubtful it's just diet related. Oblong poop indicates nerve disfunction in the gut(unless only a few strung together with fur which can be normal, though also not a good sign). If they will eat the hay well, I would try gradually reducing their pellet amount over the next week, and continue to free feed the timothy hay, making sure they are eating the hay really well. They are about to the age where pellets need to be reduced to the recommended adult amount anyways(approx. 1/4 c/day per 5 lbs of body weight). I would also recommend monitoring body weight/body condition to ensure they are maintaining a good body weight and don't become too skinny on the altered diet.

If a higher fiber(grass hay) lower pellet diet doesn't cause their poop to return to the normal round shape, there are a couple possibilities. The parasite coccidiosis can cause this type of poop abnormality, as it causes problems with the lining of the digestive tract. Because you aren't seeing any of the other signs of cocci then it would mean it would probably not be too severe a case. Since you are going to be at the vet, I would suggest collecting fresh poop samples from both(store in covered container in fridge to keep fresh) before you take them, to have the vet do a fecal float test to check for cocci when you take them in.

The other possibility is a disease called megacolon. It's most common among white charlie/spotted rabbits, but it can also occur in other rabbits if the nerves of the digestive tract have been damaged in some way as to not function properly. I had a rabbit that developed it after severe bouts with GI stasis. I had another that was born with it. Oblong poop was normal for them, but I was able to keep it more normal looking and maintain better gut function for both by following a strict diet.
Thank you so much for that information. I will definitely collect poop samples. The pellets they eat is Oxbow Young Rabbit Simple Harvest. I’ve attached a photo.
 

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Luci&Skittles

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All of it is really informational but she talks talking about 2-7 months at
2:25

(Alfalfa pellets are best, but be very careful when changing diet, young buns have a really sensitive digestive system.

Welcome to the forum 😊

any pictures of your rabbits.

You mentioned ‘them’ ( young rabbits should be separated (if they aren’t already) as they can fight and really hurt each other (because of hormones).
Yes my girls are separated but close to each other. Here are some photos :)
 

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zuppa

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At 4,5-5 months you can start reducing pellets and transferring to adult pellets, I would also exclude alfalfa hay, actually your pellets have enough of alfalfa so wasn't really needed.

80% grass hay, timothy is fine
start limiting pellets and gradually transfer to adult pellets (mixing old pellets with new over min one week or two weeks, gradually decreasing old and increasing new pellets)
and unlimited water.

At 4-5 months you can feed a little romaine no problem, when introducing new greens do it slowly, one type of greens at a time. You can feed one leaf of romaine a day if they already eat them.
 

Luci&Skittles

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At 4,5-5 months you can start reducing pellets and transferring to adult pellets, I would also exclude alfalfa hay, actually your pellets have enough of alfalfa so wasn't really needed.

80% grass hay, timothy is fine
start limiting pellets and gradually transfer to adult pellets (mixing old pellets with new over min one week or two weeks, gradually decreasing old and increasing new pellets)
and unlimited water.

At 4-5 months you can feed a little romaine no problem, when introducing new greens do it slowly, one type of greens at a time. You can feed one leaf of romaine a day if they already eat them.
Thank you! So Luci is 5.5 months old, so remove the alfalfa hay from her diet and start transitioning to adult pellets?
Skittles is 4.5 months old, so same for her as well?
 

Mariam+Theo

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I would began swapping both of them over to unlimited timothy, meadow, orchard, or oat hay and 1/4 cup of timothy pellets each. You can get timothy pellets from oxbow if you want to stick with the same brand. I have attached a chart for when swapping over pellets because sudden changes in diet can harm a rabbit. I wouldn't be giving them a ton veggies until they are 6 months. If you are going to give them veggies give them mostly herbs. Don't give them gassy veggies such as cabbages, broccoli, and kale.
 

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Luci&Skittles

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I would began swapping both of them over to unlimited timothy, meadow, orchard, or oat hay and 1/4 cup of timothy pellets each. You can get timothy pellets from oxbow if you want to stick with the same brand. I have attached a chart for when swapping over pellets because sudden changes in diet can harm a rabbit. I wouldn't be giving them a ton veggies until they are 6 months. If you are going to give them veggies give them mostly herbs. Don't give them gassy veggies such as cabbages, broccoli, and kale.
Thank you!!
 

Happy Hollands

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Hi 👋 Your bunnies are beautiful!

The following is an appropriate diet for young Holland Lops - any changes should be gradual, especially when introducing something new:

1/4 cup pellets (try feeding 2 tablespoons in the a.m. and 2 tablespoons in the p.m. to break it up into 'meals')

1/2 - 1 cup herbs & vegetables

Treats (choose 1 daily):
1/2 tsp. oats​
2 black oil sunflower seeds (for coat condition, especially during molting)​
Small portion of fruit (up to the size of your pinky)​

Unlimited 2nd cut Timothy hay

• Unlimited fresh, cold water
(for extra health benefits, add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to their water - they love the taste, and it prevents UTI, etc.)

Hope this helps! ♥
 

Luci&Skittles

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Hi 👋 Your bunnies are beautiful!

The following is an appropriate diet for young Holland Lops - any changes should be gradual, especially when introducing something new:

1/4 cup pellets (try feeding 2 tablespoons in the a.m. and 2 tablespoons in the p.m. to break it up into 'meals')

1/2 - 1 cup herbs & vegetables

Treats (choose 1 daily):
1/2 tsp. oats​
2 black oil sunflower seeds (for coat condition, especially during molting)​
Small portion of fruit (up to the size of your pinky)​

Unlimited 2nd cut Timothy hay

• Unlimited fresh, cold water
(for extra health benefits, add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to their water - they love the taste, and it prevents UTI, etc.)

Hope this helps! ♥
Thank you SO much. It helps to have portions broken down. ❤
 

Luci&Skittles

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Hello!

I have a 4 month old and 5 month old Holland Lop. I have read so much controversial information on what to feed them. Currently they are on an unlimited amount of young rabbit pellets from Oxbow and unlimited Timothy Hay mixed with a little alfalfa. I was giving them a leaf of romaine twice a day with maybe a sprig of cilantro or parsley. I noticed about 50% of their poops are either oblong or just misshaped. So I cut back on the greens and triedto encourage more hay but it’s still a struggle. I am bringing them to the vet tomorrow just for an initial visit and to see when they will be ready to be spayed, but anyone have some adviceon what their meals should look like until 6 months? Again there are people saying no greens until 6 months, others say it’s ok and then who knows how much is enough. Some people say unlimited pellets, some same rationed pellets. I know each rabbit is different but clearly I’m not meeting their needs according to their poop. Help!
**UPDATE** Went to the vet and he said the girls look great! He said to give them 1/4 cup of pellets a day so that’s really the only change I need to make at the moment. Those occasional weird poops he didn’t seem concerned with, so that’s good. I appreciate all your feedback and I have learned so much already from just this first post!
 

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