Persistent poopy butt after eating pellets even in little portions

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cookiesncream

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I've been taking care of a Holland Lop aged around 2-3 months. I've noticed that every time I gave him pellets, even just a little (not more than 15-20 grams) a day in two serving time (morning and around evening) he always starts to have mushy poop/cecals.

This is not the case for the other bunny with similar age that I'm also taking care of, she's plump and well with clean bottom all day

I noticed that he's been fine for around a week after I've stopped giving pellets and just started to have mushy poop again after I tried introducing pellets back to his diet in very little portions (not more than 5 grams a day). I've already try to transition to 3 brands, the latest one is from Burgess (for junior and Dwarfs) and he still got sick after... Which baffles me since it's marketed as best for baby buns

Recently I also started to give him Benebac since I read somewhere that it's good for digestion, don't know if this is true tho but I'm just hoping it'll help

Is it okay to stop giving anything other than timothy, oats and alfalfa hay? He seems to reaally love oats which is still high in fiber so that's a good thing I suppose? My buns don't like timothy much unfortunately

He seems to be doing great without additional pellets but I'm just afraid he'll start to get worse later on or get his growth stunted. Is it okay only to feed more alfalfa for now to substitute the nutritional loss by the lack of pellets?

I'm tired of worrying about him every day... He's very playful and give kisses all the time it breaks my heart when he looks hurt when having his mushy poop episodes (I noticed he hunch when there's some problem with his tummy)
 

JBun

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A pellet free diet is sometimes necessary for certain rabbits with a sensitivity to pellets. And when done right with the right balance of protein, fiber, and nutrients, a rabbit can be perfectly healthy. After all, wild rabbits don't live on pellets.

I've had a few rabbits that had digestive disorders and couldn't have any pellets or high carb/sugary foods in their diet at all, or it would make them very sick. They were on free fed grass hay(usually timothy), select leafy greens and forage, and a salt lick to provide the dietary sodium that would usually be in pellets. On this diet they did really well, were healthy, and maintained a healthy weight.

So a no pellet diet can be done when it's needed for health reasons, but you do have to give a good variety of greens and veggies(and rabbit safe forage if available), along with unlimited hay and a salt lick, to provide the necessary nutrients needed for good health. It's also a good idea to regularly monitor your rabbits weight to make sure good body condition is maintained with the diet change.




Because oats are also a high carb food, they may contribute to causing the mushy cecotropes too. If the mushy poop is still occurring when pellets are no longer being fed, but you are still feeding oats, then you may need to remove the oats from the diet as well. But if there aren't any mushy cecals when feeding the oats, it should be fine to keep them in the diet, fed in limited amounts.

Some alfalfa is ok for now because they are still young. But as your rabbits become fully mature at around 6 months old, you will really need to have them transitioned off of alfalfa and onto a soft to medium coarse grass hay(not too coarse of a cut). Alfalfa is just too high in protein and calcium for adult rabbits that aren't does that are nursing kits. It can also create health issues like bladder problems, kidney problems, excess cecotropes, and obesity. So I would suggest working on gradually transitioning your rabbits off alfalfa and onto a grass hay like timothy, orchard, etc, by the time they reach 6 months of age.
 

cookiesncream

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A pellet free diet is sometimes necessary for certain rabbits with a sensitivity to pellets. And when done right with the right balance of protein, fiber, and nutrients, a rabbit can be perfectly healthy. After all, wild rabbits don't live on pellets.

I've had a few rabbits that had digestive disorders and couldn't have any pellets or high carb/sugary foods in their diet at all, or it would make them very sick. They were on free fed grass hay(usually timothy), select leafy greens and forage, and a salt lick to provide the dietary sodium that would usually be in pellets. On this diet they did really well, were healthy, and maintained a healthy weight.

So a no pellet diet can be done when it's needed for health reasons, but you do have to give a good variety of greens and veggies(and rabbit safe forage if available), along with unlimited hay and a salt lick, to provide the necessary nutrients needed for good health. It's also a good idea to regularly monitor your rabbits weight to make sure good body condition is maintained with the diet change.




Because oats are also a high carb food, they may contribute to causing the mushy cecotropes too. If the mushy poop is still occurring when pellets are no longer being fed, but you are still feeding oats, then you may need to remove the oats from the diet as well. But if there aren't any mushy cecals when feeding the oats, it should be fine to keep them in the diet, fed in limited amounts.

Some alfalfa is ok for now because they are still young. But as your rabbits become fully mature at around 6 months old, you will really need to have them transitioned off of alfalfa and onto a soft to medium coarse grass hay(not too coarse of a cut). Alfalfa is just too high in protein and calcium for adult rabbits that aren't does that are nursing kits. It can also create health issues like bladder problems, kidney problems, excess cecotropes, and obesity. So I would suggest working on gradually transitioning your rabbits off alfalfa and onto a grass hay like timothy, orchard, etc, by the time they reach 6 months of age.
Is it possible that alfalfa combined with pellets might be causing the excess cecals/mushy poops? Should I try reintroduce pellets again but hold alfalfa for now? I'm just worried that it might be bad for his growth by not giving him pellets. He's fairly skinny I think (~470 gram, 3 months old) since I can feel his ribs and bone protruding tho I'm not sure

I've stopped feeding pellets again for a week now and he's been doing real well and I've also cleaned his bum after the all the poop dried out

But I noticed that he's not eating his cecotropes (usually come out in the afternoon around 1-2 PM where I live) even tho they're fairly normal shaped now
 

JBun

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Is the alfalfa hay a good quality green leafy hay, and is the bunny eating a lot of it? Is he eating mostly alfalfa and very little timothy hay? Too much leafy green alfalfa and not enough fiber from grass hay, can cause excess cecals. But excess cecals and mushy cecals are two entirely different things.

Excess cecals is from a diet too rich in protein and other nutrients, like you would get from a diet with too much good quality green leafy alfalfa and not enough fiber from grass hay. Uneaten normally formed cecals, can also occur when a rabbit is new to a home and gets distracted, with baby rabbits that are easily distracted, with a rabbit that is obese or has arthritis and has difficulty reaching down there to consume the cecals when they come out, with a rabbit that has dental issues and is having difficulty consuming the cecals, or with a rabbit that is overly stressed and distracted such as with a predator lurking around. So if the cecals are formed properly(not coming out watery or pasty), these are some of the reasons they can get left uneaten.

Mushy cecals is from a bacterial imbalance in the cecum causing the cecals to not form properly and come out mushy or watery. They get left uneaten because they come out smelling wrong because of the microbial imbalance. And this is usually from a diet with too many sugars/carbs and not enough fiber, causing the overgrowth of the wrong bacteria in the cecum. Though sometimes specific food sensitivities can also cause this with some rabbits. Once the diet is corrected, the microbial balance in the cecum can be restored, and the mushy cecals will clear up.

Pellets aren't the only food that provides nutrition for weight maintenance and growth for rabbits. Pellets are just hay and other nutrients, blended up together and put into pellet form. Good quality hay like a green leafy alfalfa hay, can also provide the necessary protein and nutrients needed for growth in young rabbits. If your rabbit is feeling bony, even after being on enough good quality leafy alfalfa in the diet for several weeks, then there could be an underlying medical problem causing the weight loss and also the mushy poop issues you were seeing previously(eg. intestinal parasites).
 

cookiesncream

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Is the alfalfa hay a good quality green leafy hay, and is the bunny eating a lot of it? Is he eating mostly alfalfa and very little timothy hay? Too much leafy green alfalfa and not enough fiber from grass hay, can cause excess cecals. But excess cecals and mushy cecals are two entirely different things.

Excess cecals is from a diet too rich in protein and other nutrients, like you would get from a diet with too much good quality green leafy alfalfa and not enough fiber from grass hay. Uneaten normally formed cecals, can also occur when a rabbit is new to a home and gets distracted, with baby rabbits that are easily distracted, with a rabbit that is obese or has arthritis and has difficulty reaching down there to consume the cecals when they come out, with a rabbit that has dental issues and is having difficulty consuming the cecals, or with a rabbit that is overly stressed and distracted such as with a predator lurking around. So if the cecals are formed properly(not coming out watery or pasty), these are some of the reasons they can get left uneaten.

Mushy cecals is from a bacterial imbalance in the cecum causing the cecals to not form properly and come out mushy or watery. They get left uneaten because they come out smelling wrong because of the microbial imbalance. And this is usually from a diet with too many sugars/carbs and not enough fiber, causing the overgrowth of the wrong bacteria in the cecum. Though sometimes specific food sensitivities can also cause this with some rabbits. Once the diet is corrected, the microbial balance in the cecum can be restored, and the mushy cecals will clear up.

Pellets aren't the only food that provides nutrition for weight maintenance and growth for rabbits. Pellets are just hay and other nutrients, blended up together and put into pellet form. Good quality hay like a green leafy alfalfa hay, can also provide the necessary protein and nutrients needed for growth in young rabbits. If your rabbit is feeling bony, even after being on enough good quality leafy alfalfa in the diet for several weeks, then there could be an underlying medical problem causing the weight loss and also the mushy poop issues you were seeing previously(eg. intestinal parasites).
I see... He's still eating timothy until a week ago then I switched to oat, barley & wheat hay since he loves and eat a lot of them. I think it might help him and he's poop are a lot normal shaped and black with golden spots in collor, bigger than before also. So his current diet now are around 50-50ish Alfalfa & Oatens

I think I'll see how he's doing for this week and hold the pellets from now then

What greens/veggies should I try to introduce to him to substitute for pellets? Are romaine lettuce enough?
 

fluffy_lop

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I had this problem, and took the rabbit right off pellets for ages. Every time I reintroduced them very carefully, the mushy poop came back. After quite a while (a couple of months) of just hay and greens, the rabbit can now eat pellets again, but only gets a small amount. Like you, I was concerned he was feeling a bit bony, and he has certainly put on weight with pellets. I'd say, go the hay, back off on alfalfa, and reintroduce later.
 

Freedom

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We have a flemish and cannot free feed him pellets as if he eats too many he gets diarrhea.
After trial and error we found the perfect balance and amount of pellets for him.
Anything over and he get the runs.
 

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