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Rabbits/Refuses to eat hay



I have a two year old Holland Lop, who was never exposed to hay when she was a baby.  When I got her, I noticed that she didn't chew on toys or sticks either.  I have talked to my vet who said that he had the same problem with his bunny, who never ended up eating hay at all. I feed her a quarter cup of timothy hay pellets, and I have already filed her teeth down once.  I have given her a lot of different hay options, and I've tried to make it more appealing by spraying it with the juice from an apple, but still she refuses to eat it... I have asked a bunch of people what to do, but nothing had worked, and I have tried for a very long time.  She is in perfect health, but for some reason she doesn't touch it.

Thank you so much.

Hi Sarah

It's so frustrating when breeders don't introduce hay as soon as they're born!

I would say, don't give up! Keep providing hay and encourage her to play with it - hiding it in toilet roll cardboard toys and putting all her pellets underneath it all. You can also see if you can buy, or dry your own, wild forage such as dandelion, blackberry or raspberry leaves, sunflower petals or willow or birch bark. Hiding forage in the hay encourages them to associate hay as food. Make sure the hay is presented in a pile too, let her burrow into it and sleep on it.

If you can find some dried grass like this stuff (this is a UK brand I think) a sprinkling of that on hay can help too:

Just keep trying with a bunny-sized pile every day and change it every day. I recommend a compost heap in your yard if you have one for any old stuff so it's not completely waste.

Just keep trying, keep trying different brands, keep making it fun!

Good luck!


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I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.


I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

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