Why Baby Rabbit Eating So Much?

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Snowflakes

New Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2022
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Location
Uk
Hello, we got a baby rabbit a few days ago & she seems to be constantly hungry. Is this normal? I know in the wild they spend most of the day eating grass, but I've read they should only get 1 egg cup of rabbit food pellets a day with fresh hay. Is this correct?

Our rabbit is a 10 week old female mini lop. We had a rabbit many years ago, who I don't recall eating all the time. She literally eats the pellets as soon as we give her bowl, then has a brief rest then eats again, brief rest, eats until all gone then will still keep going back to the bowl to try to find more.

She has fresh hay daily also & has been eating this too on & off but not like with the pellets, she seems ravenous even sratching digging into the empty food bowl.

She drinks a lot too, we have a small bowl & having to refill it 3 times a day.

Is this all normal?? She's not over weight, you can feel all her bones & didn't see any food in the cage at her breeders home so maybe she was underweight & making up for it now? Too young to be pregnant surely but it did cross my mind. Her tummy gets big on the sides but it's all that food.

Her poop seems normal, there's a lot of it as she's eating a lot so that makes sense. Extra food, extra poop.

Should I give more food pellets? Keep the bowl full? Should I be concerned? Do baby rabbits eat more because they are growing? Please advise.
 

Mariam+Theo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
2,741
Reaction score
2,532
Location
Tennessee
What type of pellets are you giving her? What type of hay? Baby rabbits eat a lot, but it’s best that you encourage them to eat hay at a young age. Hay should be 80% of an adult rabbits diet.
 

John Wick

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
810
Location
United States
As a young rabbit, she is recommended to have "unlimited alfalfa hay and unlimited alfalfa-based pellets", as alfalfa will provide the dense nutrients needed as she rapidly grows during this stage of her life. You should provide her with more pellets. If you find she literally eats nothing but pellets through the entire day and ignores the hay, then you can take the pellets away for part of the day so she also incorporated hay into her diet, but is still eating a good amount of pellets as well.

 

Mariam+Theo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
2,741
Reaction score
2,532
Location
Tennessee
As a young rabbit, she is recommended to have "unlimited alfalfa hay and unlimited alfalfa-based pellets", as alfalfa will provide the dense nutrients needed as she rapidly grows during this stage of her life. You should provide her with more pellets. If you find she literally eats nothing but pellets through the entire day and ignores the hay, then you can take the pellets away for part of the day so she also incorporated hay into her diet, but is still eating a good amount of pellets as well.

This is actually old information. Baby rabbits should have 1/4 cup of alfalfa pellets because if you feed them unlimited pellets it can form bad habits. Since rabbits typically prefer pellets to hay, the rabbit will only eat pellets and never eat hay. This can lead to dental and digestive problems later on. This link explains it more.
I suggest unlimited Timothy hay rather than Alfalfa hay. Though baby rabbits do need alfalfa hay, it is best that they get it through pellets. It is very hard to switch a rabbit from Alfalfa hay to timothy because they like the alfalfa much more.
 

John Wick

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
810
Location
United States
This is actually old information. Baby rabbits should have 1/4 cup of alfalfa pellets because if you feed them unlimited pellets it can form bad habits. Since rabbits typically prefer pellets to hay, the rabbit will only eat pellets and never eat hay. This can lead to dental and digestive problems later on. This link explains it more.
I suggest unlimited Timothy hay rather than Alfalfa hay. Though baby rabbits do need alfalfa hay, it is best that they get it through pellets. It is very hard to switch a rabbit from Alfalfa hay to timothy because they like the alfalfa much more.
Ah, thank you for commenting. My use of quotes was intending to convey a "This is what they say, but..." tone-- I have no idea why I expected that to translate in a forum comment, so I appreciate the reply. I do agree yes, it should not actually be "unlimited" pellets, and to be more clear with my follow-up sentence, you do not want to allow pellet over-consumption to deter hay appetite. 1/4c sounds on the low side in my personal opinion (especially if not paired with some alfalfa hay), however, the sentiment stands that you want there to still be plenty of hay consumption as opposed to sole pellet fixation for a young rabbit.

Re: the alfalfa and timothy hay, I've seen it go both ways with the transition (preference for timothy vs. alfalfa), so I don't have strong recommendations either way since the pellets will be the bigger proportion of nutritional intake.
 

Snowflakes

New Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2022
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Location
Uk
Thank you for the replies!

She is eating Hay as well as the Pellets so I won't worry too much then. She's having about 3 egg cups full of pellets daily, plus 2 big handfuls of hay.

The hay is Burgess Excell Timothy Hay with dandelion & marigold. No mention of alfalfa it just says feeding hay.

Pellets came from the breeder are the brand Allen & Page, they contain alfalfa but it's the 6th listed ingredient.

Any brands you recommend?
 

Catlyn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
2,045
Reaction score
1,200
Location
Estonia
Depending on where you live and what brands are avaliable to you, this link could offer some suitable pellets:
It also has a page for adult rabbit pellets when your bun gets old enough, if you need it.
Timothy hay is just timothy hay, it should be good to give. I'm not the one to give advice on alfalfa vs timothy/meadow/orchard/ehatever grass hay for youngsters because i've always saved myself the hassle by getting a rabbot at least 3 months old.
But i do know that packaged branded hay is expensive like no other. If you have the space and a place near enough, it would be better for you to hit a farm store/tractor supply/ local farmer/ whatever you got there and buy yourselves a block/roll/bale of hay. Usually they will let you shuffle around to find something that's fresh and has a mix of soft leaves& stiffer stems. It will last you eons longer, save a bunch on the wallet and also makes it less miserable when dear rabbits decide to stomp down and ignore half of it. They do go through hay like lawnmowers.
For reference, a ~10kg bale of fresh summer grass hay cost us 1.00€, 40 min drive away, super cheap for our region, and lasts roughly a month for a pair of big adult rabbits. Compare that to the same Burgess brand hay in 2kg bags sold for 8.50€. Dad got a trailer and got about 10 bales...
 

Blue eyes

Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
8,869
Reaction score
6,266
Location
Arizona, USA
plus 2 big handfuls of hay.
A general guide is that a rabbit should eat their body size in hay every day. That may be more than 2 handfuls. Be sure the hay never runs out. They should constantly have access to plenty of hay. If he's eating the timothy hay, then best to just let him and not bother to switch to alfalfa hay. The pellets can provide the alfalfa.

The rabbithouse links provided above have a good pellet brand comparison chart. They have 2 charts -- one for adults and one for youngsters, so be sure you're looking at the correct one for your little guy.

As explained by others above, youngsters can be given more pellets while they're growing. Adults have more severe limits on pellet amount. What we don't want is for the baby to reduce his hay eating in favor of the pellets. As long as he eats his body size in hay, he can have pellets. But if he eats less hay, then you'll know he's getting too many pellets. Since he seems to be a voracious pellet eater, keep an eye on how much hay he's eating. If it isn't the amount (volume) of the size of his body, then cut back on pellets.

To answer your question about that obsession with pellets, yeah, it's pretty normal. This can be used to your advantage in the future. My rabbits had free roam all day but I put them in their enclosure at nighttime. I could easily coax them into their enclosure every night by feeding them their pellets then. They'd eagerly hop in their enclosure to eat those pellets! (and, yes, they'd be eaten in a few minutes time)
 

PeanutsPlace

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
Messages
148
Reaction score
100
Location
East Coast America
Personally about the hay issue, I feed my bunnies a mix of alfalfa and timmothy hay. That way they got the proper nutrients as a baby. It worked out perfectly! We feed our bunny 1/4 in the morning then again at night when he was a baby. It was oxbow baby pellets. Hope this helps!
 

Diane R

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Messages
892
Reaction score
912
Location
London, UK
The hay you are using is fine but I always recommend giving a variety of grass hays. In the UK there are some very good online suppliers e.g. timothyhay.co.uk, hay-and-straw.co.uk, hay box, Just4Rabbits,.... You get better quality hay there. Two handfuls doesn't sound like a lot, they need to eat their body size in hay every day. Putting fresh hay down at least twice a day encourages more hay eating. 3 egg cups of pellets seems a lot. I would reduce that. Don't worry, they always seem ravenous when the pellets come out.
 

Latest posts

Top