You are here:

Rabbits/URGENT!! Bunnies Not Eating Hay

Advertisement


Question
I am having a problem with my 2 bunnies eating hay.  They are picky eaters and for some time now have only been eating Timothy Gold hay (a second cut hay from American Pet Diner).  The new crop of this hay recently hit the shelves and due to excessive rain, is not as good as it has been and the bunnies won't have anything to do with it.  I am in the process of trying different hays (Oxbox, etc.) to find something that they will like, but I haven't found one yet that they will gobble up like the Timothy Gold.  I have tried mixing some of the old hay that they like with the new ones and there are a couple that they will eat a little of, with a lot of coaxing from me, but they are not eating nearly enough of it and it is showing in their poop.  Although I do see quite a few normal looking fecals in their litterbox, I am seeing cecotropes left uneaten daily and a couple of days ago I had to clean my bunny girl's bottom of a lot that had gotten stuck there.  Another thing I am noticing about the cecotropes is that the individual round pieces within the clusters are starting to look larger.  I have some more new hay coming this Friday, so I am still hopeful, but if they don't like it, I don't know what I will do.

They are currently getting 3 salads of mixed greens and herbs per day and eating those with no problem.  They don't get pellets, treats or any fruit.  I can tell they are hungry and would eat their hay, if I could just find something they like or a way to entice them to eat one of the hays I have purchased.   I really don't know what to do at this point and would welcome any suggestions you could offer.  I am really getting desperate!  

Thank you for "listening" and I look forward to hearing from you,

Bettye

Answer
Dear Bettye,

It's possible that the bunnies are sensing something wrong with the batches of hay you're offering.  But a more likely explanation is that they are starting to suffer from dental problems that make it painful to eat certain items.  Gradual (or even sudden) change in eating habits is often a BIG red flag for molar spurs.  This is especially common in lop-eared and Dwarf rabbits, who have foreshortened faces that predispose them to dental problems.

Please read:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/dental.html

and find a very experienced rabbit vet with a good "rabbit dentistry" track record here:

http://www.rabbit.org/vet

It's possible that filing sharp spurs will get your bunnies back to their normal eating habits in a day or two.

I hope this helps.

Dana

Rabbits

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.