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Last Post by jerseygirl at 12/18/2010 10:00 PM (17 Replies)
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User is Offline MimzMum
Interior Alaska
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12/11/2010 3:54 PM

Okay, I've still got 45 pounds of this 3rd cut timothy. And last nite I found one of the yellowed strands you see circled in the picture in Fiver's pen that looked like it had just a little white fuzzy stuff on it. When I asked the hubby, he said it looked like the beginning of some mold spores but that it wasn't huge.

The picture only shows the blackened spots due to the brightness of the scan. I'm sorry I can't get it to come out better. There is no foul smell, but this whole bale is browned and poor quality, which I was warned about before I bought it, but it's the only hay the bunnies really eat much of, and Fiver almost exclusively.

I also have a 25 pound bale of bluegrass, which I am unsure if it is tainted, but it looks to be in much better shape than the timothy.

They've already had some of each (it's been in the house since Thanksgiving I think) but I've been supplementing with BB.com oat and store bought orchard.

I am dreading throwing out this entire box. I looked through the top layers and it appears that only a few strands like what you see here have any of this discoloration on them...but I'm scared. I don't want to make my bunnies sick.

Opinions, please?

 photo 3ca1b95d-0cfb-478a-9ea7-bfc6fff29518_zpsa40198b1.jpg

User is Offline Petzy
Northern AB Canada
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12/11/2010 4:38 PM

Don't worry about what they ate. It is mostly a respiratory problem that is associated with mold spores. See if you can separate out the affected parts. If you have a shed outdoors I suggest you move the hay bale there, mold will not continue spreading in your temperatures. But do separate the affected bunches out generously. If you find that the bale is starting to be crazy dusty -- do not use it as the black mildew dust is full of spores.

Seriously moldy hay looks like this

 

Photobucket "what happened? did something happen or can I just go back to my hay?"

User is Offline peepi&warri
Washington
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12/11/2010 4:59 PM

Mimz, the pic Petzy posted is a lot like what my hay looked like, not quite that bad though


User is Offline MimzMum
Interior Alaska
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12/11/2010 5:07 PM
Thanks Petzy and P&W. No it doesn't look THAT bad, but I'm finding it hard to separate the strands with black spots from the rest. And yes, it's really dusty, moreso than past deliveries.
I don't really have anything outdoors I can put it in where I can access it easily, except maybe ...of course! *foreheadslap* the arctic entry, but not sure that's cold enough? (it's sitting at anywhere from 10 above F to -20) It's pretty certainly watertight out there, but will that cold kill anything else in the hay or is this box just a loss?
I wonder if I should tuck the bluegrass out there too, just to be on the safe side. At least THAT hay is still green in color.
I'm in the middle of cleaning the buns right now, but I'll try to snap a pic of the inside of the box of timmy, so you guys can see what I'm dealing with a little better.
Thanks for all your help!
 photo 3ca1b95d-0cfb-478a-9ea7-bfc6fff29518_zpsa40198b1.jpg

User is Offline Petzy
Northern AB Canada
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12/11/2010 5:49 PM
Mold dust is unmistakable: it never stops. Regular hay dust will cloud up and once it's all gone there will be hardly any more per bunch; mold dust clouds up every time you hit the side of the bale again and again. it never stops.
Photobucket "what happened? did something happen or can I just go back to my hay?"

User is Offline Petzy
Northern AB Canada
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12/11/2010 5:58 PM
Yes, that's cold enough to make it stop spreading. It goes sort of dormant, but if the white fuzzy stuff is all over the hay you should discard this hay.
Photobucket "what happened? did something happen or can I just go back to my hay?"

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
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12/12/2010 3:24 AM
Petzy is the expert here, but I can suggest a way to find out if it's all gone bad. If you get a fresh container, like a clean box or a plastic tub ready first, put the bale on its side and take a very big knife and cut the whole bale about 4 inches from the effected top. Push the two parts away from each other. Toss the top portion and reexamine the bottom. I think if it were pervasive throughout the whole bale you would see it looking the same, and can hit it as she suggests to watch for the mold dust. But if it's working its way down from the top, rather than up from the bottom, you might find the lower half is unaffected and still fresh enough. If so, you don't waste the whole bale and can move it outside. Those temperatures are well below freezing, which usually kills things like mold.

Also, if they haven't shown an increase in respiratory problems, and they are prone as we know, since November, it probably didn't effect them yet either.
 photo CarrotCrop100x500BBSiggy_zps0f2147e4.jpg Have your people call my people. We'll do carrots.

User is Offline Petzy
Northern AB Canada
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12/12/2010 5:42 AM
Pam just brought up a good point, your rabbit's respiratory troubles... hay mold is irritating to the respiratory system, people handling it need to wear masks. it is often the main culprit of hay fever in people. The spores will be distributed in this bale throughout, even if the white fuzz is not yet, and therefore I think it is unsafe for your rabbits because you often report sneezing etc.
Photobucket "what happened? did something happen or can I just go back to my hay?"

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
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12/12/2010 12:23 PM
In that case, dump the whole thing and try something completely different because maybe this is a blessing in disguise. If it's the culprit, you may go far in getting rid of Mimzy's chronic ailments.
 photo CarrotCrop100x500BBSiggy_zps0f2147e4.jpg Have your people call my people. We'll do carrots.

User is Offline MimzMum
Interior Alaska
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12/12/2010 2:17 PM
Yeah, I'd been concerned about that. I don't think Mimzy really started sneezing again till I fed the 3rd cut I just got. So I'm thinking the three moose in our yard lately (two fat babies and a male with half a rack...odd grouping) will enjoy the extra treat they find in the back corner of the property. (I've seen these creatures eat some nasty stuff, I think even this dusty box has a leg up on the competition.)

It's unfortunate, but has prompted me to look for more local sources of hay. I wound up taking the Standlee link at the top of the page here and found that Alaska Feed stocks it. It'll be difficult to haul home (provided they still have some) and it's 2nd cut, but it'll hopefully be fresher than what I've got.

I'm wondering about the bluegrass from the same place as the bad timmy...it's a little dusty, but not as bad as the timmy. Perhaps it's okay to use? (provided I can get them to eat it, which so far has been a bust) I just wonder how likely it is, being that they came in separate boxes, that the blue is also contaminated? They have not been stored in the same room. I know some spores are aerobic, so I try to keep anything suspicious isolated. Who knows how the distributor stored this stuff.

Hubby will not be pleased if we have to toss all this, I'm sure he realizes I had to drop some serious coin on the whole load, but hey...what price a bunny's health?

In the meantime, I do have BB hay, but it's going fast. Unfortunatley they won't eat much of the Binky Blue (picky things) which they used to love until they got the 3rd cut.
Another thing that might work is brome hay, which apparently we have loads of up here. I can get this at AK Feed too. Does anyone here have experience with brome? I understand it's supposed to be a lot like 3rd cut timothy.
Also, if I can't get anything but cubes...should I go ahead and at least give them those? And if so, how long could they eat those without having digestive trouble due to lack of coarse fiber?

Ugh...if we can just make do until spring.... >.<
 photo 3ca1b95d-0cfb-478a-9ea7-bfc6fff29518_zpsa40198b1.jpg

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
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12/12/2010 2:27 PM
I would definitely try the brome next. Not sure about the cubes, though I am inclined to push the regular hay until they find some they will eat. Have you tried young and mature oat?

I would not open the second batch of the blue and return it unopened next time you go to town. I think the same place is going to be very risky, so with your bunnies' sensitivity, why throw away another if you can just return it? Try the other feed store and don't look back.
 photo CarrotCrop100x500BBSiggy_zps0f2147e4.jpg Have your people call my people. We'll do carrots.

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14999 posts Send Private Message
12/12/2010 2:31 PM
Oh Mimz, it might be fortunate you've found a local source. That company does a 100% hay pellet too so keep a look out for those. Might be good to have when hay is scarce.

Your nose is a good indicator of when mold is present. The hay pics you posted could have been rain damaged strands. I learnt this year it can look like this. I was too wary to feed it but it smelt like normal sweet hay and was apparently safe to feed. Only concern is after rain damage, if the hay is then not dried again before baled then there is a risk of mold.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline MimzMum
Interior Alaska
7904 posts Send Private Message
12/12/2010 3:13 PM
Pam: Unfortunately the blue is open, and it would have to go back to Washington to be returned, so it's kind of moot. Ah well...live and learn.
If the brome is anything like the hayseed I have out back, we'll probably have a winner.
The buns will eat BB.com oat, mature is their fave...but it just takes so long to get here, even with Priority...they'll be out before I can order another shipment. So I have to hope that the oat here, if they have it in stock, it acceptable to the 'royal family'... >.<

Jerz: I don't smell anything funky about either of these hays...and yes, it's pretty rain damaged (the timothy) but it's the black spots and that one piece I found with the white on it...plus the dust. All I have to do is pull on the hay strands and the dust is flying everywhere. I seriously don't understand why the buns prefer to eat it anyway, despite having other hays right next to it, but they're not getting any more. I just can't take the chance.

On a side note, I don't think this particular hay was the original cause of Mimzy's nasal troubles, since we've only been ordering it for the last year or so and he's been a sneezy bunny since his first year indoors with me, but I can guess it's aggravating an already dicey situation there, so I often wonder if hay in general is the cause, and if cubes would be a better alternative for him as long as they get eaten.
Plus he's shedding still, and each time he grooms he sneezes...so just about anything will irritate that precious nose of his. But I hope to hear less kertsychoos since removing and cleaning up after the last of that hay.
 photo 3ca1b95d-0cfb-478a-9ea7-bfc6fff29518_zpsa40198b1.jpg

User is Offline Petzy
Northern AB Canada
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12/13/2010 12:18 PM
Mimzy, don't take any chances. If the hay had even just one white fuzz -- it means there are spores. Yes, the rabbits may eat it but these spores can cause damage if inhaled. Even to yourself. One year I lost half my entire year's worth of hay to mold.
Photobucket "what happened? did something happen or can I just go back to my hay?"

User is Offline MimzMum
Interior Alaska
7904 posts Send Private Message
12/13/2010 1:20 PM
I've already told the hub we're tossing it. He didn't react too badly and said we can go look for better feed in town.
Darn, Petzy, you've got me wondering now if any of MY symptoms are from breathing in that stuff? 0_o

BTW...a few days now with no 3rd cut and Mimzy isn't sneezing as much again. Hmmm. He's plowing through the oat though. >.<
 photo 3ca1b95d-0cfb-478a-9ea7-bfc6fff29518_zpsa40198b1.jpg

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14999 posts Send Private Message
12/13/2010 5:38 PM
Do they all eat oat enthusiastically? If so, maybe this could be the staple and occasional other hays added. Hay cakes might be good for Mimzy too. They cut down the dust and some have good strand length so there's still chewing invloved.

Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline MimzMum
Interior Alaska
7904 posts Send Private Message
12/18/2010 9:54 PM
I used to give Mimzy cubes quite often, till he started having to get his teeth filed so often, I was afraid the cubes weren't helping that situation. I know MY nose would be happier if I could give them all cubes, but I'm not going to risk their gut health for it.
Yeah, they really like the oat. It's just so fibrous that Fiver can't move it through his system well. And I notice they eat all the little pieces, but they usually discard the larger chaff. I don't suppose there's any way to encourage them to eat that part? Cut it into smaller pieces by hand maybe?
 photo 3ca1b95d-0cfb-478a-9ea7-bfc6fff29518_zpsa40198b1.jpg

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14999 posts Send Private Message
12/18/2010 10:00 PM
Sounds like a lot of trouble to me. lol. I'm betting they'll still snub it! I'm always amused to see Rumball toss out a few strands then chow into the others. It all looked the same to me.

Some of the cakes are actually good lengths of hay. They would still be good fibre.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.
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