Rabbits/Rabbit pellets

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Question
Hello,

I have four rabbits of my own all about 2 years old, I also have a fosters of the same age and and an older foster slightly disabled bunny who has neurological issues and can't hold his pee when he gets too nervous.
My question about pellets is, is it absolutely necessary I give all my rabbits including my fosters pellets? Or am I ok to take them away from their diet for good? Is there a specific group of rabbits that'll benefit from them vs a group that wouldn't benefit from pellets?

Answer
Dear Liz,

Some rabbit vets recommend removing pellets from the diet of rabbits who have obesity problems.  Others suggest switching to timothy-based pellets instead of alfalfa-based, as they are lower in calories.  Some rabbit nutrition experts say that completely removing pellets is NOT a good idea, as a good-quality pellet will provide micronutrients that are difficult to provide without pellets.  In short, the jury is still out.

Is there a specific reason you would like to remove pellets from their diet?  The older, disabled bunny is not a good candidate for this, as he will likely have trouble keeping his weight up without them (unless he's already overweight).

In short, if you plan on removing pellets, you should be ready to substitute an incredibly wide variety of alternative fresh foods to be sure the bunnies are getting the vitamins and minerals they need.  To me, it's a little risky.  I would rather reduce their pellets to a very small amount and concentrate on fresh food and hay than remove pellets completely.

I hope this helps.

Dana

Rabbits

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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)

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