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Should I add pellets to my rabbit's diet?

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Allen Wrider

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Hey, everyone.

My two bunnies are the same size and have been hay fed only since I got them. So far it hasn't been an issue, but I've noticed lately that my Dutch bunny, Skippy, eats a LOT MORE than my florida white Quinn does. She goes through the same amount of hay in half the time. At first I thought she was pulling it all out of her feed box, but after observation, I'm finding she will eat every clean strand she can get ahold of.

Should I add pellets to her diet? I'm feeding her more often to compensate but I'm worried she's not getting enough of something.
 

Blue eyes

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Without pellets or greens, it's a good idea to provide a mineral block for added nutrients. If you decide to offer some pellets, I'd start rather slowly and be sure to find a healthier pellet type.

You could also try offering some greens. Again, they should be offered only one type at a time for starters. Here's a guide on how to safely introduce greens:
 

JBun

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How old are they and how long have they been on this diet? What is the hay growth(soft and leafy, mix of soft and hard stems, or mostly hard stems)? Have you checked their body condition to make sure they are staying at a good weight and not getting skinny, particularly your white bun?

I've had rabbits on a no pellet diet before, because of genetic and acquired digestive issues some of them had. They got unlimited medium coarse grass hay, some leafy greens, some forage, and a salt and mineral lick, and they did really well on this for several years. Stayed healthy and maintained a healthy weight. So no pellet diets are possible with the right kind of hay and balance of supplemental foods, if the rabbit can maintain a healthy weight on the diet.
 

Allen Wrider

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How old are they and how long have they been on this diet? What is the hay growth(soft and leafy, mix of soft and hard stems, or mostly hard stems)? Have you checked their body condition to make sure they are staying at a good weight and not getting skinny, particularly your white bun?

I've had rabbits on a no pellet diet before, because of genetic and acquired digestive issues some of them had. They got unlimited medium coarse grass hay, some leafy greens, some forage, and a salt and mineral lick, and they did really well on this for several years. Stayed healthy and maintained a healthy weight. So no pellet diets are possible with the right kind of hay and balance of supplemental foods, if the rabbit can maintain a healthy weight on the diet.
They've been on this diet pretty much the entire time I've had them. Quinn I raised from real young, but Skippy I got maybe eight months to a year ago?

I had no idea that hay had different levels of courseness. I've just always been giving them timothy hay, with 3 or so leaves of romaine lettuce every other day. The timothy hay is a pretty solid mix of green and yellow, though, if that says anything.

(this is a short video of my hay)

As for the age, I thought they were both around 2 or 2.5 years, but getting my dutch's nails trimmed recently my groomer said she still had her "baby nails" (this was maybe 4 months ago). I didn't think to ask at the time what that meant.

She was eating pellets VERY infrequently with her old family, so when I made the decision to take her off of them, it didn't seem like a big deal. She took to it well.

To answer your concerns about my florida white, Quinn doesn't appear to have lost weight. She also drinks water less frequently than my dutch. I'm not seeing any type of worms or parasites in either of them. I don't think they're sick, but maybe I should get their health checked anyway?
 

JBun

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Looks like a medium coarse hay, which is what I prefer for my buns. It's a good blend of the soft strands for protein and nutrients, and hard stems for fiber.

Since they've been on a no pellet diet for a while, in my opinion as long as they are maintaining a healthy weight and seem to be healthy and happy, I would stick with it. I would still have my buns on a no pellet diet if I didn't have one odd bun that it caused weight loss in. I would suggest keeping a closer eye on Quinn's body condition and weight, just to be sure she maintains good condition, as well as making sure her poops look good and stay a healthy size. But she may just eat and drink less because she has a slower metabolism and doesn't need as much as your other bun.

About your buns nails, baby nails really only last until a bun is about 3 or 4 months old, so since you had had your bun longer than 4 months at the time, I would say the groomer is incorrect. Rabbits nails can grow thin and pinpoint as they get longer, which resemble the sharp pin like nails they have as babies. Even my adult 8 year old rabbits nails can get like that if I let them grow a little too long before I trim.
 

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