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Rabbits Losing Weight?

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Cassidy909z

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I have eighteen rabbits in total, twelve adults and six 2-week old babies. Not all, but some adults are losing weight. I was looking at pictures from when I first got them and to now and they look a little slimmer. None act sick, and they're all active and completely healthy to my eye. I make sure their food bowls are filled at all times and they have a steady supply or hay (the kind that horses eat, not alphalpha or timothy). I was wondering if it'd be okay to start feeding them alphalpha just to fatten them back up. They sell it by the bail at my local tractor supply. I've read that it is not good for them, but would it be okay as just temporary? It's turning to summer so maybe that could be a reason for the weight loss. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

majorv

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It sounds like you're free feeding them...do they each have separate food bowls or do they all share food? If they share then maybe some aren't getting as much, but if they each have their own space with a bowl to eat from then my next thought is the possibility of internal worms/parasites. It's easy enough to check for and treat.
 

Cassidy909z

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They all have their separate feed bowls, and all are in separate cages besides three young females, but they do fine. I was wondering if it was worms but they don't always eat a whole cup of food a day, and all of my rabbits are 6-8lbs. Could that still be a possibility?
 

Cassidy909z

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Oh and another thing, could it be that I didn't transition their food? Most of the rabbits that I'm having this problem with came from bad situations, and I didn't get food samples or even the brand name.
 

bigjake

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alfalfa is just fine for rabbits, especially if they are working rabbits. You can tell when they get too much by their urine. I would go ahead and let them munch on it. You can also do an all natural de-worming just in case. Feed a teaspoon of pumpkin seeds per rabbit per day for 14 days along with their normal diet.
 

majorv

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Oh and another thing, could it be that I didn't transition their food? Most of the rabbits that I'm having this problem with came from bad situations, and I didn't get food samples or even the brand name.
As long as they're eating plenty of hay then it will help minimize the effects of the sudden change in their feed. It sounds like they're already on the new feed. As far as the alfalfa, you could try mixing it in with your regular hay rather than feeding it straight.
 

Cassidy909z

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Thanks for all the advice, I'll pick up some pumpkin seeds if I can find them and do that just in case.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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I wouldn't gauge your rabbits' condition from photos. Instead, take each rabbit out of the cage and run your hand from the back of the neck, over the rump, and down the table. Is the fur soft, shiny and even in length? Does the body feel solid and well-fleshed or thin and bony?

As long as the rabbits have a healthy condition and nice looking coat, their diet is probably good. If you notice poor condition, a dull coat, or if the rabbits feel very rough and boney, it may be time to consider another diet.

This can be an iffy time of year to judge condition too. With the seasons changing (at least where I live), a lot of my rabbits are molty and in rougher condition than usual. So if a handful seem to be "off," it may not be cause for alarm. But when the whole herd seems that way, usually it's best to change to a better pellet.
 

Cassidy909z

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They all feel fine to me, and their coats are in good condition. The weather is changing over here as well, first part of the week I was wearing shorts and now I can to dress in layers! lol. I was thinking the last owner fed a more fatty diet than me. I couldn't find any pumpkin seeds at my feed store so I started mixing my hay with alfalfa and hopefully that will put a little more weight on them.
 

BlueCamasRabbitry

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What breeds are they? Knowing what breeds they are will help you to know what their average weight should be.
If you want to keep track of their weights, start weighing them on a monthly basis.
The babies should be on alfalfa until they're about six months old. You don't have to keep them on it that long, however. You could wean them off it around the time you wean them from momma.
For the adults, calf manna is a good weight booster.
 

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