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Should I stop feeding my bunny vegetables? - I'm worried about her droppings

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Xylo

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So a little background info, my bun is a 12 week old free roam lionhead (not sure if shes a mini or regular) and shes really good with using her litter box in the daytime, her daytime poops also look normal.
She does eat her cecotropes but sometimes she might leave one or two in the litter box.
Anyway my bigger concern is that at night she will only pee in the litter box, she poops beside or near it but not in it, and these poops usually are soft and mushy. Not like cecotropes but like regular poops that are gone mushy.
At first I thought it was because she's only been with me a week and shes still adjusting (she came from unfortunate cicumstances) she seems to just poop where she sleeps at night, but theres been no improvement and the stools are getting softer, so I thought it might be the veg, I've tried searching online but theres a lot of conflicting information and not much on what veg to feed a rabbit her age. It doesn't help that she's really fussy.
I tried reducing her veg intake to just the mornings when she gets mild spinach leaves, tender stem broccoli and kale. I was giving her celery too but I was told not too as it contains too much water.
She also gets unlimited burgess junior rabbit pellets and unlimited green oat hay, she doesnt like medow grass and no pet shops here seem to sell alfalfa hay.
I always spot clean her litter box before bed and top up the hay but in the morning the majority of her poops are beside the litter box not in it anyway.
She does get kale or spinach leaves in the evening when we do training. I've tried getting her to take other food rewards but she wont take it if it isn't kale or spinach. She wont eat any fruit, or carrots at all, and while she'll eat broccoli she munches it throughout the day, she wont take it as a food reward.
I really don't know what to do, I don't want her to starve and shes great with the training but I also don't want to make her sick, and she wont train if it isn't for a green leafy veg.

Any and all advice is appreciated as I'm brand new to bunny care and I want her to be as healthy as possible.
 

Nancy McClelland

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No brocoli--it's a cruciferous vegetable--causes gas which can be deadly to bunnies. Try a variety--there are several links here as to what they can be given safely and it may take time. Our two like Cilantro the best and Arugula. You can mail order Alfalfa thru Amazon but you'll need to eliminate it at six months as it's very high in calcium and can cause problems once they are full grown.
 

Blue eyes

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Couple things.... one is that you've only had her for a week. She really shouldn't have any diet changes or new foods during her first week (or two) at a new home. They tend to be stressed anyway when they first move and adding new foods can lead to GI problems. I'd suspect that is what you are seeing.

For now, just keep her on her Burgess pellets and plenty of hay. Nothing else (except water of course). Keep her on that for a minimum of two more weeks so her gut flora can return to normal. There is no rush in giving her any greens at all at this point.

The second point is that, yes, 12 weeks is usually one of the recommended times to begin introducing greens to a rabbit. However, your rabbit is still very new to your home. So, as explained, this is not the time to be doing any diet changes.

As for training, I wouldn't be worrying about that either at this point. She should be getting accustomed to her new surroundings. This typically takes a rabbit a number of weeks (though could be longer) to get settled in. Remember that rabbits do not train more easily the younger they are (contrary to other pets like dogs or cats). Rabbits train most readily after their hormones have settled or after they are fixed. so don't worry about "missing out" on any training opportunities.

Litter training is a different beast. Many young rabbits will litter train and then forget that training with the onset of hormones. They typically settle into good potty habits after they are fixed.

If you are interested in other training (in a few weeks time from now), you could try offering handheld pieces of her pellets.

When the time does come to start offering her greens again, please be sure to go slowly. She should only be offered one type of green at a time at first. This one green should be fed in a tiny quantity to allow her gut to adjust to this new green. As long as her poos don't change, then she should be offered the exact same green the following day but a little bit more. Each day, increase the quantity of that same green for about 5 days -- always checking for a change in poos.

After one green is offered as described for that many days, only then should a different green be offered. The reason to do this just one type at a time is so that you will be able to tell if one particular green doesn't sit well with her.

There is a list of greens that are safe for daily feeding (and another for only occasional feeding) at the following link to my website. It also explains how to safely introduce greens.
 

Milyvan

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Also, Small Pet Select has all types of hay and it comes sooo fresh you can smell it. They're not too expensive and if you sign up for their "weekly cuties" e-mail there's always a free shipping code for orders under $40. You also get points with every order -and they add up fairly quickly- you can use towards $$$off your order. (We have enough for $20 off our next order and it took us about 5 months to save that but there's lower and higher redemptions.)

This isn't a solicited e-mail: Our buns just love SPS hay! (They won't even touch off-the-shelf stuff anymore.) It hasn't been sitting around in warehouses in distribution centers, y'know? We alternate between Orchard Hay and 2nd Cut Timothy but they also have Alfalfa among others. If anyone wants to check 'em out it's just Terrific supplies for rabbits, guinea pigs, small animals, dogs, cats (shop.smallpetselect.com/)

Regardless, lagomorph love to you & her!
 

Momma Luvbun

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Great advice given above on training as well as litter training. So I'll pipe in on the soft poop.

My lionhead (also came from a not so good place) has taken quite a while to get "normal".
Often he would get buildup of poop on his undersides, and I'd need to get my bunny groomer to remove the clumping.
So I did a bit of research and found this article was exactly what was going on with my boy.

Now I feed him unlimited Timothy hay, throw in some oat, grass or botanical hay from oxbox for a change up.
My buns only get 1/4 cup oxbow pellets (no extra fillers like fruit or nuts) for supper and I give them romaine, parsley, blackberry leaves, dandelion, dill for their green selection.
For treats they get a pie e of banana strawberry grape or apple.

My boy hasn't had any buildups lately, which I believe is due to not giving them as MUCH greens and more hay selection.
I did have to eliminate ALL food though to get him stabilized. That included the pellets.
Hope that helps some.
Keep us posted.
 

Momma Luvbun

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So after I go saying just a couple hours ago that my little fella hasn't had any build ups lately, I see he is again having a flareup. This is what he gets stuck to his fur and Hinds.
This is why the article I gave in the last comment was very informative.
So now that my little Smurph is having an episode, he will be given only hay until he gets back to normal.
 

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JBun

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Something to keep in mind when trying to sort out mushy cecal problems. Some rabbits develop it because new foods are introduced into their diet too quickly and so their gut bacteria didn't get enough of a gradual change to adapt to the new food. So restricting to free fed hay(plus a salt lick) and then gradually adding back in the other foods can usually work to get it all stabilized with no more mushy cecals.

Then there are some rabbits that have a more sensitive digestive system, whether genetic or acquired, and no matter how gradually you introduce certain foods, they still end up causing a problem. Which means that either that particular food needs to be eliminated from the diet completely or may be able to still be fed in very restricted amounts without it causing issues.

I've had a few rabbits like this. One was born with genetic megacolon and another had permanent acquired megacolon like symptoms. Both could not tolerate pellets(any type, and may were tried) or any sugary/high carb foods, without it causing a worsening of their megacolon symptoms and sparking the start of GI stasis. So these buns were permanently put on a no pellet diet, and only got free fed hay and limited leafy greens. Once on that restricted diet they both did extremely well for several years.

I had another that had cecal dysbiosis(mushy cecotropes) from when she was a baby. And with her I was able to eliminate it by restricting her pellet amount to a very minimal amount. About 1 tsp a day as an adult rabbit. But also a few years she was on a hay and greens diet as part of the bonded groups diet.

So it's all about finding what food is causing the problem and figuring out whether eliminating or just restricting the amount of that food, will keep dysbiosis from occurring.
 

Xylo

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Couple things.... one is that you've only had her for a week. She really shouldn't have any diet changes or new foods during her first week (or two) at a new home. They tend to be stressed anyway when they first move and adding new foods can lead to GI problems. I'd suspect that is what you are seeing.

For now, just keep her on her Burgess pellets and plenty of hay. Nothing else (except water of course). Keep her on that for a minimum of two more weeks so her gut flora can return to normal. There is no rush in giving her any greens at all at this point.

The second point is that, yes, 12 weeks is usually one of the recommended times to begin introducing greens to a rabbit. However, your rabbit is still very new to your home. So, as explained, this is not the time to be doing any diet changes.

As for training, I wouldn't be worrying about that either at this point. She should be getting accustomed to her new surroundings. This typically takes a rabbit a number of weeks (though could be longer) to get settled in. Remember that rabbits do not train more easily the younger they are (contrary to other pets like dogs or cats). Rabbits train most readily after their hormones have settled or after they are fixed. so don't worry about "missing out" on any training opportunities.

Litter training is a different beast. Many young rabbits will litter train and then forget that training with the onset of hormones. They typically settle into good potty habits after they are fixed.

If you are interested in other training (in a few weeks time from now), you could try offering handheld pieces of her pellets.

When the time does come to start offering her greens again, please be sure to go slowly. She should only be offered one type of green at a time at first. This one green should be fed in a tiny quantity to allow her gut to adjust to this new green. As long as her poos don't change, then she should be offered the exact same green the following day but a little bit more. Each day, increase the quantity of that same green for about 5 days -- always checking for a change in poos.

After one green is offered as described for that many days, only then should a different green be offered. The reason to do this just one type at a time is so that you will be able to tell if one particular green doesn't sit well with her.

There is a list of greens that are safe for daily feeding (and another for only occasional feeding) at the following link to my website. It also explains how to safely introduce greens.
Thank you! I've been keeping her on that and it seems to have fixed her droppings!
The only thing is, now she isn't eatring all of her cecotropes, should I limit her pellets? She's only 12 weeks so I don't want to damage her growth or anything
 

JBun

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If the cecals are fully formed(look like a blackberry cluster) when they first come out and haven't been stepped on and squished by your bun, and aren't semiformed and pasty, she could just be leaving a few because she is a baby still and easily distracted. Also being in a new home can distract them from eating them like they normally would.

I would just keep an eye on it and if it doesn't clear up in a couple weeks when she's had a chance to settle in, or she is leaving more than just a few each day, then I would try reducing pellets a little as she may be getting more nutrients than she needs causing excess cecal production, and see if that helps. She may just need more fiber from grass hay in her diet, and less pellets to help balance her gut out.
 

Xylo

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Also, Small Pet Select has all types of hay and it comes sooo fresh you can smell it. They're not too expensive and if you sign up for their "weekly cuties" e-mail there's always a free shipping code for orders under $40. You also get points with every order -and they add up fairly quickly- you can use towards $$$off your order. (We have enough for $20 off our next order and it took us about 5 months to save that but there's lower and higher redemptions.)

This isn't a solicited e-mail: Our buns just love SPS hay! (They won't even touch off-the-shelf stuff anymore.) It hasn't been sitting around in warehouses in distribution centers, y'know? We alternate between Orchard Hay and 2nd Cut Timothy but they also have Alfalfa among others. If anyone wants to check 'em out it's just Terrific supplies for rabbits, guinea pigs, small animals, dogs, cats (shop.smallpetselect.com/)

Regardless, lagomorph love to you & her!
Yeah I've heard they're really good, but I live in Ireland and I can't really afford it because I'd have to import it from the US or the UK :(
At the moment the best hay I can find is the RediGras Oat Hay, most other quality hay brands don't ship here :(
 

Xylo

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If the cecals are fully formed(look like a blackberry cluster) when they first come out and haven't been stepped on and squished by your bun, and aren't semiformed and pasty, she could just be leaving a few because she is a baby still and easily distracted. Also being in a new home can distract them from eating them like they normally would.

I would just keep an eye on it and if it doesn't clear up in a couple weeks when she's had a chance to settle in, or she is leaving more than just a few each day, then I would try reducing pellets a little as she may be getting more nutrients than she needs causing excess cecal production, and see if that helps. She may just need more fiber from grass hay in her diet, and less pellets to help balance her gut out.
They do ook fully formed yeah, sometimes when shes sleeping they'll be squished but I'm pretty sure thats just because she goes in her sleep still, shes still only 12 weeks
 

Xylo

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Great advice given above on training as well as litter training. So I'll pipe in on the soft poop.

My lionhead (also came from a not so good place) has taken quite a while to get "normal".
Often he would get buildup of poop on his undersides, and I'd need to get my bunny groomer to remove the clumping.
So I did a bit of research and found this article was exactly what was going on with my boy.

Now I feed him unlimited Timothy hay, throw in some oat, grass or botanical hay from oxbox for a change up.
My buns only get 1/4 cup oxbow pellets (no extra fillers like fruit or nuts) for supper and I give them romaine, parsley, blackberry leaves, dandelion, dill for their green selection.
For treats they get a pie e of banana strawberry grape or apple.

My boy hasn't had any buildups lately, which I believe is due to not giving them as MUCH greens and more hay selection.
I did have to eliminate ALL food though to get him stabilized. That included the pellets.
Hope that helps some.
Keep us posted.
I'm so sorry your little lad had another flare up, I hope he gets better quickly <3
Thank you for the article! I'm trying to reduce the amount of pellets she gets so that she'll be encourages to eat more hay! It seems to be working, but I'll keep an eye on her!
 

JBun

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If you keep having excess cecotrope issues, it could possibly be the readigrass. It's higher in protein and lower in fiber than the medium growth grass hay that is most often fed to rabbits. 15% protein 21% fiber compared to approx. 7% protein and 32% fiber in a more mature growth of grass hay. It is similar to alfalfa in protein content, making it a richer hay. And too rich a hay can sometimes provide too much protein and nutrients, more than the rabbit needs, which then causes the excess production of cecals.

So if you keep seeing excess cecals after your bun has had several more weeks to settle in, and you have already tried reducing the pellet amounts and/or switching to a grass based pellet, and none of those things helped, I would suggest trying to find a different type of grass hay that has a little bit more stalky stems and less soft leaf, so it won't be as rich of a hay. If you have any farm stores nearby, they often will carry horse quality grass hay, which is what is also fed to rabbits. Another option is finding a horse stable that has good quality grass hay(never been wet, no mold, no noxious weeds) and see if they might sell you a bale or part of a bale. There are also a few hay suppliers for small animals in the UK, but I'm not sure if they ship to Ireland or not. Or maybe try amazon. Though if you can find a good horse hay supplier, that is usually by far the cheapest way to go.
 

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