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Forum DIET & CARE Should I stop feeding pellets?

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    • dmh426
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      I was recently told by the guru of my local HRS that after a rabbit turns 2 (which Sophie will be in March), it is a good move to eliminate pellets from their diet completely. We’re not talking the pellets with all the seeds and treats that are like "cocoa pebbles" for rabbits, we’re talking the "Special K" kinda pellets that are boring and 22% crude fiber. 

      Should I stop feeding her pellets? She always has unlimited hay, and gets about 1 cup of veggies a night, along with an 1/8 cup of pellets in the a.m. and 1/8 cup again in the p.m.with her veggies.  Daily,s he also gets no more than 1 teaspoon of a fruit or yogurt treats. I always thought this was the PERFECT bunny diet. Now I am being told that I am wrong.  HELP!


    • osprey
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      I think there are still differing opinions on the inclusion of pellets (Timothy based) in the diet of an adult house rabbit.  Some vets say that adult, non-breeding (please no breeding!) rabbits do not need pellets at all, and can do fine on greens and hay.  Our rescue still advises adopters to include a good quality Timothy pellet in small amounts to insure that the bun gets enough trace elements and vitamins in their diet.  My vet treats a lot of rabbits and he has no problem with pellets in a rabbit that is not obese.  1/4 cup may be too much for one bun unless she is very big, maybe compromise and cut back to 1/8 cup and add some more veggies?  Our two weigh about 5 pounds each, and they share 1/4 cup once a day.


    • dmh426
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      Sophie is a rex.mini-rex mix, so I will cut down to an 1/8th a day and see if she acts like she is starving. Don’t worry about the “no breeding” – my girl was spayed as soon as she could be at 4 months old. i want her around for a long time! Osprey, I seriously wish that you were based out of Syracuse- I would love to help out with your Adoption fairs. I talked to our local HRS about seeing what we could do at our local PetSmart. You’ve inspired me!


    • osprey
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      I am glad that you have found a rescue nearby.  I am sure there are many bunnies there that could use your help!

      We cannot forget Gravehearted.  She is a Haven volunteer too.  She was actually one of the adoption counselors who helped us adopt DJ.


    • Gravehearted
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      I’ll echo much of what Osprey was saying…
      There are people who prefer to eliminate pellets entirely, but if Sophie isn’t overweight nor having health issues, you shouldn’t have to cut them out entirely. Perhaps cut back slowly to a tad generous 1/8 cup split over 2 feedings?

      I give my bunnies (who are all between 5 -6 pounds) 1/4 cup per day of oxbow timothy pellets and none are considered overweight. They also get lots of timothy every day and a nice sized bowl of greens (maybe 1 1/2 cups).


    • Gravehearted
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      Posted By osprey on 01/02/2007 7:11 PM
      I am glad that you have found a rescue nearby.  I am sure there are many bunnies there that could use your help!

      We cannot forget Gravehearted.  She is a Haven volunteer too.  She was actually one of the adoption counselors who helped us adopt DJ.

      Osprey and his family coming in and adoptiong DJ was one of the most memorable adoptions to me 🙂
      We were thrilled to not only find a very happy home for DJ, but wonderful new volunteers! And – when they brought DJ in to pick a girlfriend, he picked Curly Sue –  a firecracker of a bunny that we all had a soft spot for! 🙂 Talk about a happy story!


    • dmh426
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      Sophie needs a boyfriend but she has had numerous suitors and hasn’t shown interest in any of them… i think she likes having me all to herself.


    • Gravehearted
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      some bunnies are like that… it can take them a while to find a bunny they’d consider dating!
      And some bunnies do actually prefer to be solo bunnies…


    • BinkyBunny
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      Well, I double echo what everyone is saying.   It really does depend on the bunny too.   For example Bailey has an extremely sensitive digestive system and cutting way back on pellets and increasing greens has been good for her.    But the other two get the recommended amount of pellets by HRS.

      However,lately, I’m seeing Jack gaining weight, and wonder if he’s eating Rucy’s portion as I feed them together, I may now have to stop feeding their pellets together.    Hey, since I have the rabbitcam now, I can keep an eye on them.


    • dmh426
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      Sophie lost about 7 oz. of her body weight with the UTI and bladder infection that she has just recovered from. My formerly pleasantly plump baby is now slim and trim. For the past few days I’ve been giving her 1/8 cup in the morning and none at night. She’s eating more hay, I will say that. Too early to tell if I am going to be giving her more at night in the future though…


    • osprey
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      Does Sophie get oat hay?  My guys go absolutely nuts over it.  It is slightly higher in calories than grass hay, but nothing to worry about.  She might enjoy a bit of variety.


    • poopy
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      I think my Kaytee Timothy Complete pellets have to much sugar (Medusa loves it btw). I’m going to switch to something sugarless hopefully if I can find it.


    • dmh426
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      She’s never had Oat hay. I will have to check the Oxbow site. She is an Orchard grass and Timothy Hay kinda girl normally. Poopy- if you find a sugarless pellet, let me know. Soph is on Kaytee and she loves it too.


    • poopy
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      Ya I was kind of alarmed to find out that Cane Sugar was one of the top ingredients but at the time I needed pellets right away so I bought this in the meantime and was going to look for some different ones later.


    • Gravehearted
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      I can highly recommend oxbow’s pellets – my kids love them and they’re really a healthy choice.

      If you’re curious about the analsysis of some different kinds of pellets:

      http://www.rabbit.org/journal/3-4/pellet-info.html

      Also – this article discusses different brands and their nutritional info
      http://www.carrotcafe.com/f/brands.html


    • dmh426
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      Thanks Gravehearted. Always looking for new things to keep Sophi entertained and a little less chubby!


    • erina
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      This is SUCH a valuable conversation!  My bunny Nibbler has been to the vet for a re-occurring gut motility issue.  He has signs of sluggish gut (I freak and rush him to the vet the second he turns down some parsley), we start him on Cisapride (spelling?) then he gets better and we started him back on the 1/3 cup Oxbow timothy hay pellets in the AM, free-choice timothy hay all day and a cup of greens at night and three weeks later, he’s back to sluggish gut.  The vet has just suggested that we no longer feed him pellets (he’s two) and stick to hay and modest greens.  So if I had to weigh-in on the "To pellet or not to pellet" issue, I would say it depends on if your bun is prone to stasis and the advice of your vet.  Cheers!


    • BinkyBunny
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      Welcome Erin!!  I ditto what you say.  I also have a bunny with a very sensitive digestive system. She doesn’t get  a sluggish gut, actually quite the opposite, more of an over-active system, which makes her more  susceptible to soft poos.   She can’t have ANY treats – well she gets mint and rosemary as treats.  (I also have to be careful what falls on the floor, as she is a huge crumb bum!  I mean little tiny crumbs that you have to squint your eyes to see, she’ll find – so I usually run a quick vacuum over places that collect crumbs before she’s allowed out)

      She gets limited pellets too (vet’s advise).  Also, when I feed her,  I spread her food all over the place in her pen, so she has to go looking for it.   She’s a huge gobbler and this keeps her from shoving everything down at once and overloading her system.  This technique has really helped the most with her.

      Hmmm. and thinking about it, maybe, spreading food out all over the place would help with a sluggish gut too – just thinking here, but I know exercise can help keep the gut moving along, and so maybe this method would help with your bunny’s problem too. 

      Out of curiosity, is your bunny a nervous bunny?

      Again Welcome to BinkyBunny!


    • erina
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      Hi!  Thanks for responding.  Hmmm…I don’t think that I’d call him a nervous bunny–he’s curious and loves to explore but he’s definitely not a lap bun.  He likes to run under a chair before letting you pet him–must  feel safer that way, I guess.  Took me awhile to catch on to that…I’d try to pet and he’d hop away to under a trusted chair and then look at me. 
      My bunny is a TOTAL scarfer–he’d try to grab the bowl from me and put his front paws on the bowl when I went to give him his pellets in the morning. 
      We give our bunny free-reign of the kitchen when we aren’t home and then let him into the living room when we are around.  The only factors to be eliminated were the pellets and greens–the vet felt that the pellets were probably the culprit. She recommended a month of hay-only with an occasional green treat (like a sprig of parsley or some lettuce) before resuming a cup of greens a day. 
      We had the vet do a blood test the this time (this is his second sluggish gut) and the vet said that the results led her to believe that Nibbler had a chronic disease/infection, possibly in the intestine that was wearing him down and causing the bouts.  I’m a total neurotic nelly when it comes to the bun so I’m hopping on the no-pellet idea for Nibbler. 


    • osprey
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      Hi Erin!

      I am so bummed to hear that Nibbler is still having tummy troubles. It sounds like you are getting good advice from your vet, let’s hope that the restricted diet allows him to get over whatever bug he has and that he is back to his old self soon. If he gets bored with the grass hay, perhaps giving him some oat hay once in a while would help?

      For those who do not know her, Erin is another Rabbit Haven volunteer. She does an awesome job with our MySpace profile and our PetFinders site. She also volunteers at a local shelter. Welcome aboard, Erin!


    • dmh426
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      Hi Erin, Sorry to hear about Nibbler, because belive me, I am one of those crazy neurotic bunny mom’s too. When Sophie had the UTI and baldder infection I worked from home for a week and didn’t go into the office once! Let us know how NIbbler does without the pellets. I’ve been limiting Sophie’s (I actually cut it in half from a 1/4 cup a day to an 1/8 a day) and she’s been doing well. Still digsin with her front feet in the bowl as soon as I get the food in there.


    • Gravehearted
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      Erin – i really hope the hay only diet for a while will help get Nibbler’s tummy back on track. you might want to ask your vet about adding a daily probiotic to Nibbler’s diet. it can help the balance of flora and fauna in the bunny tummy. hope he’ll be ok..

      dmh – I’m glad she’s still doing ok on the reduced pellet amount.

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Forum DIET & CARE Should I stop feeding pellets?