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No Appetite for Pellets While Pregnant?

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Happy Hollands

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One of my pregnant bunnies has not been finishing her pellets this week. She's most definitely interested in eating all of her veggies and hay, though. I'm thinking maybe she's feeling full from being pregnant, as she seems perfectly fine otherwise. Still destructive as ever lol. For reference, she weighs 3.7 lbs. and gets 1/4 cup of pellets daily (2 tablespoons, morning and night). She is due on December 10th! She eats about 1/2 - 3/4 of her pellets, but they are not always gone (poops look normal though).

Any ideas or insight why she isn't interested in pellets??
 

Mariam+Theo

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It could be that she is getting too many pellets, or that she has a tooth issue.
 

Happy Hollands

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Yes I'm not too sure. This began around halfway through her pregnancy, I'm wondering if since this is her first litter it could feel weird for her to have babies inside.
 

JBun

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Their eating can sometimes slow down prior to giving birth, but this would be too early for that. As long as she is eating her other food really well and not losing a lot of weight(maintaining good body condition), I wouldn't worry about it, at least until after having the kits and she is nursing. Then she definitely needs to be eating pellets, and lots of them, pretty much unlimited. If you feel she does need extra for now and she still won't eat enough pellets, a little good quality alfalfa hay can usually be added in to provide the extra protein and calcium pregnant and nursing does need.

It may also just be she is needing and craving the extra fiber from hay for good gut motility, and so is selecting more hay over pellets. Another thing to consider is if this started right after opening a new bag of pellets, there could be something wrong with the pellets themselves.
 

Happy Hollands

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Thank you! She has actually gained quite a bit of weight since breeding. I will definitely look into getting some alfalfa, she is currently eating a orchard / timothy blend! Yes, I did just open a new bag of pellets around the time this started, but it is the same brand I usually use...

What puzzles me is that her poops look completely normal considering her change in diet.
 

JBun

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Same brand doesn't necessarily mean it's ok. If it's a higher priced pet store brand like oxbow or sherwood, then I would presume the feed is ok as there is better quality control with those. But if you feed a bulk farm store feed, cheaper ingredients are used and quality control isn't as strict. So more of a chance that even though the same brand, there can be a change of quality with different feed batches. So if you use a bulk feed like this and it's a different batch number than the last bag, there is a chance it could be a problem with the feed itself causing her to not want to eat it as much. And the problem could even possibly be mycotoxins or mold, which is bad. Or it could just be one of the ingredients is off in some way, making this batch of pellets less palatable.

The more hay that is eaten will usually make the fecal poop look lighter in color and bigger, but that will depend on the coarseness of the hay and protein content. A leafier green hay with more protein generally means slightly darker and smaller poop. A coarser hay with more indigestible fiber means lighter colored and bigger poop. But if she is only eating slightly less pellets, then the poop won't change that much. If she is eating a lot more hay, no poop change could just be because the hay is leafy and isn't adding a bunch more indigestible fiber.
 

Happy Hollands

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Same brand doesn't necessarily mean it's ok. If it's a higher priced pet store brand like oxbow or sherwood, then I would presume the feed is ok as there is better quality control with those. But if you feed a bulk farm store feed, cheaper ingredients are used and quality control isn't as strict. So more of a chance that even though the same brand, there can be a change of quality with different feed batches. So if you use a bulk feed like this and it's a different batch number than the last bag, there is a chance it could be a problem with the feed itself causing her to not want to eat it as much. And the problem could even possibly be mycotoxins or mold, which is bad. Or it could just be one of the ingredients is off in some way, making this batch of pellets less palatable.

The more hay that is eaten will usually make the fecal poop look lighter in color and bigger, but that will depend on the coarseness of the hay and protein content. A leafier green hay with more protein generally means slightly darker and smaller poop. A coarser hay with more indigestible fiber means lighter colored and bigger poop. But if she is only eating slightly less pellets, then the poop won't change that much. If she is eating a lot more hay, no poop change could just be because the hay is leafy and isn't adding a bunch more indigestible fiber.
That is a very good point. I do buy my pellets in bulk, do you recommend discarding this bag? I feed my different rabbit's different brands depending on purpose, the other two buns that get this same food are fine. Including a mama and her 5-week old litter. Maybe she can taste the difference and is extra picky!? If recommended, I will slowly transition her to another brand (I will admit, I've never done this with a pregnant doe so I am a bit nervous to change her diet). Her poops are darker in color, yet still a healthy size. She is due in a week, and has already started nesting so I am hopeful she will go back to herself once she kindles 🙏
 

Happy Hollands

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Poo sample comparison.
PXL_20201206_015128906.jpg
The doe I am concerned about poop is shown on the left hand side. Compared to another one of my rabbits of similar size (well... about a pound difference in weight). See the difference? Her poops are so big! Presumably because she is eating so much more hay now. I am definitely monitoring her poops, and changing her litter more often so I can keep a very close eye on them! She is due in 4 days, so I do not have intentions of taking her to the vet unless her appetite for pellets slows further and poop quantity decrease. Our vet is about 30 minutes away, and it would be extremely stressful to her to go in the car and be handled by strangers unless absolutely necessary. Anything else I can do at home, or should I just keep doing what I'm doing? Also, her energy levels are pretty normal for a pregnant doe, but I will most definitely keep you all posted :)
 

Happy Hollands

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*UPDATE* My doe has returned to herself, full appetite and all! She has a litter due in the next few days, so I am very thankful she is in good health.

Still have no idea why the lack of appetite occurred. It is very possible that she wasn't feeling too great during the pregnancy! Or maybe I just know her too well, and she was having a few "off" days.
 
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