Rabbit isn't eating food but does eat fruits?

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Eddie D.

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My rabbits are about 1 1/2 years old and I have been feeding them the same food for about a year and suddenly they don't want anything to do with it. They still eat fruits and grass outside but they seem a little sad and don't want to explore. They also have smaller droppings than usual and they drink water normally. They have enough space to be happy and have never gotten like this. Any help would be appreciated.
 

JBun

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What food aren't they eating? How long are they outside with access to grass and are you certain they are actually eating it and eating it well? What fruit and how much of it are they eating in a day?
 

Eddie D.

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I give them very little fruit each week (maybe half an apple for 2 rabbits/per week) and mostly feed them timothy hay and timothy hay pellets and they aren't eating the timothy hay pellets. They are outside about 14 hours a day (6 am-8 pm) and they have access to grass the entire time. They don't eat the timothy hay pellets but they do eat the fruit that I give them but I don't know why.
 

JBun

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Do they eat very much of the timothy hay, or just the fresh grass? Are the pellets a new bag? Try smelling the pellets for a sour or musty smell, or signs of mold(white/black spots, white dust).
 

Eddie D.

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They eat about the same of grass and Timothy hay, and it is an average amount. The pellets are the same ones I have been giving them for a year and they just suddenly stopped wanting them. And as far as I can tell nothing is wrong with the food.
 

WildThumper2010

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It could be a tooth/mouth issue. My rabbit would slowly start eating softer things when he would have an issue. I’d get them to the vet to get them checked out.


Also, unless your rabbits are in need of gaining weight, rabbits don’t need to eat pellets! Despite what they may try to tell us :) pellets are actually bad for their overall dental health and can lead to obesity because they’re highly processed. Just stick to hay, greens and fruits.
 

JBun

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So a reduction of poop size is going to be caused by a gut slowdown. This can happen if a rabbit starts eating less. So possible reasons I can think would be too many sugars are being fed(eg. the apples) and this is causing the upset, or like suggested, a possible dental issue. When rabbits have a gut slowdown, pellets will often be one of the first things they stop eating, favoring hay to help get their digestion moving normally again, and once motility gets back to normal, then the rabbit will start eating pellets again. Unless a dental issue or other underlying health issue is the cause, then the reduction of appetite will continue.

My suggestion would be to stop feeding the apple and to also closely monitor hay and grass consumption to see if that improves and the poop size improves, with the apples not being fed. If it doesn't and if the poops don't get back to normal after a few days, or if your rabbits condition worsens, then I would get them checked by a knowledgeable rabbit vet, in particular get the teeth checked.

 

JBun

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A rabbit not eating is an emergency. If it could be gas, I try baby gas drops, 1ml for a small to medium rabbit, 2ml for a large rabbit. But if that doesn't get them back to eating within the hour, then it's time to get to the vet. Or if there is true diarrhea(not just mushy cecotropes with normal round fecal balls), signs of bloating like a distended belly or very loud tooth grinding, or if the rabbits condition is deteriorating, then it's time to get the rabbit to the vet immediately.


 

Eddie D.

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They started eating again but ever since yesterday their droppings have been getting smaller and smaller, I stopped giving them pellets 2 days ago and only greens and hay but they aren’t improving like I hoped. I saw something online that said it could be that I was feeding them too many pellets and that rabbits don’t need them and that it could be fixed by just not giving them pellets and just hay and leafy greens. Is this true or could it be something much more serious.
 

JBun

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Sometimes too many pellets and high carb/sugary foods like fruit, can cause a gut slowdown due to too many carbs/sugars in the diet and not enough fiber. But if you've stopped feeding the fruit and they haven't been eating the pellets, and they still aren't doing better, then there could be another reason for the lack of appetite. Could be a dental issue, but that doesn't seem the most likely since both rabbits are being affected.

With them being outdoors grazing, my guess would be they are eating something outdoors that is causing a problem, or they could have picked up intestinal worms. If it's worms, a 5-10 day course of fenbendazole(liquid Panacur, Safegaurd) will usually treat an intestinal worm problem, unless it's tapeworm related. If it could be a poisonous plant or something outdoors causing the digestive upset, then it would be a good idea to keep them in and free feed grass hay only(and fresh water), to see if that helps get them back to normal. If it does, then you know it's either something outdoors or maybe one of their veggies they're sensitive to.

Medirabbit: pinworms
 
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