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Thread: Flo prefers fabric and foam to hay

  1. #1

    Default Flo prefers fabric and foam to hay

    House rabbit Flo has been digging through the sofa since we got her a year ago. I've patched up the back, now she's working her way through the front.

    I don't care about the sofa except that she made a hole big enough in the back to get inside and it's dusty and full of springs and nails which could hurt her, hence why I patched it.

    I've got her a couple of cat basket/tunnel/igloo things and she's destroyed them which is good as it keeps her distracted from the sofa but lately I've caught her with bits of foam in her mouth. Tonight she was just eating the sofa fabric at head height, not even trying to dig.

    What can I do to stop her? I don't care about the damage but I don't want her eating it.

    I don't want to spray something on it which the smell will upset her as she often sleeps next to it so is there something safe which tastes bad but doesn't smell bad?

    I've posted a walk-through of our flat a while back if anyone wants to check out her environment.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhnAyCUKzj8

    She's still not eating enough hay and a few times her poos have been small and stringy, although she was shedding when they were stringy. We comb her daily and I pull her hair when I'm petting her to get as much off as I can (she likes that!).

    Both my wife and I are concerned she's not eating enough hay... we've got bags of the stuff everywhere, readigrass, timothy, meadow... she'll eat a couple of stalks while contemplating life on her litter tray and that's about it.

    I do give her two full bowls of greens per day and a handful of treats when we put her away to encourage her into her hutch - the handful being a varied mix of dried salad/dandelion mix, rabbit treats, pellets, muesli.

    I know muesli isn't ideal - nor are the treats - but we do give them sparingly and only at bedtime.

    Her main diet is greens; spring greens, kale, spinach, cavonero, parsley, coriander. 1 bag of mixed salad per week (yeah lettuce, but we go for the darker mixes and never iceberg), a few carrot peels 5 times a week and a small, 1 inch piece of fruit a maximum of 3 times per week.

    I've just ordered "Foraging for Rabbits by Twigs Way" from the Rabbit Welfare shop. Now spring is on its way we can start to look at getting her some "proper" food.

    https://shop.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pro...-by-twigs-way/

    The only thing that stopped us last year was the possibility she might get VHD/Mixi from anything we foraged, stupid as it might sound to those who know, we didn't know so we didn't want to risk it. She's since had jabs for both and we'll renew them in a couple of months when they're due. We'll only do VHD2 if we have to go away and put her in a rabbit hotel, otherwise I don't think it's necessary for a rabbit who doesn't go outside.

    Sorry for the wall of text... just trying to cover some of the question you might ask.

    TL;DR: how can I stop her eating foam and get her to eat more hay?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
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    The best way to get a rabbit to eat more hay is to give less of other foods. Instead of 2 bowls of veg per day, just give 1, etc. The living area is so congested, I don't know how you manage to live in it. Is this the only space you have?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonibun View Post
    The best way to get a rabbit to eat more hay is to give less of other foods. Instead of 2 bowls of veg per day, just give 1, etc. The living area is so congested, I don't know how you manage to live in it. Is this the only space you have?
    Are you for real?

    I'm very comfortable in my home, thank you.

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swiss Fox View Post
    House rabbit Flo has been digging through the sofa since we got her a year ago. I've patched up the back, now she's working her way through the front.

    I don't care about the sofa except that she made a hole big enough in the back to get inside and it's dusty and full of springs and nails which could hurt her, hence why I patched it.

    I've got her a couple of cat basket/tunnel/igloo things and she's destroyed them which is good as it keeps her distracted from the sofa but lately I've caught her with bits of foam in her mouth. Tonight she was just eating the sofa fabric at head height, not even trying to dig.

    What can I do to stop her? I don't care about the damage but I don't want her eating it.

    I don't want to spray something on it which the smell will upset her as she often sleeps next to it so is there something safe which tastes bad but doesn't smell bad?

    I've posted a walk-through of our flat a while back if anyone wants to check out her environment.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhnAyCUKzj8

    She's still not eating enough hay and a few times her poos have been small and stringy, although she was shedding when they were stringy. We comb her daily and I pull her hair when I'm petting her to get as much off as I can (she likes that!).

    Both my wife and I are concerned she's not eating enough hay... we've got bags of the stuff everywhere, readigrass, timothy, meadow... she'll eat a couple of stalks while contemplating life on her litter tray and that's about it.

    I do give her two full bowls of greens per day and a handful of treats when we put her away to encourage her into her hutch - the handful being a varied mix of dried salad/dandelion mix, rabbit treats, pellets, muesli.

    I know muesli isn't ideal - nor are the treats - but we do give them sparingly and only at bedtime.

    Her main diet is greens; spring greens, kale, spinach, cavonero, parsley, coriander. 1 bag of mixed salad per week (yeah lettuce, but we go for the darker mixes and never iceberg), a few carrot peels 5 times a week and a small, 1 inch piece of fruit a maximum of 3 times per week.

    I've just ordered "Foraging for Rabbits by Twigs Way" from the Rabbit Welfare shop. Now spring is on its way we can start to look at getting her some "proper" food.

    https://shop.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pro...-by-twigs-way/

    The only thing that stopped us last year was the possibility she might get VHD/Mixi from anything we foraged, stupid as it might sound to those who know, we didn't know so we didn't want to risk it. She's since had jabs for both and we'll renew them in a couple of months when they're due. We'll only do VHD2 if we have to go away and put her in a rabbit hotel, otherwise I don't think it's necessary for a rabbit who doesn't go outside.

    Sorry for the wall of text... just trying to cover some of the question you might ask.

    TL;DR: how can I stop her eating foam and get her to eat more hay?

    Thanks in advance.

    Hi John

    Thank you for posting such a detailed resume - I can see you are going above and beyond to try and make your Flo's life a great one with you!

    I would say that definitely cutting down the veg, and perhaps even chopping some hay into her greens each time you feed them, may help with hay intake. I sometimes mix readigrass in with food/pellets for poor hay eaters, though I note you say she doesn't like it particularly.

    The one thing that springs to mind, which may not be a possibility at all for you at the moment, is if she had a good hay eating friend. That may firstly encourage her to eat hay herself, as there will have been a 'sea change' when she was bonded and hay may well look more exciting. (You've got a lot of lovely hay for her).

    Secondly, a friend would certainly take her mind off being destructive. I can't remember how young she is? This may be her juvenile tendencies, but if you got a slightly older rabbit, say around two years old it's quite possible that she will be interested in her friend more than chewing up the sofa.

    If you want to forage then it's really a good idea to consider Flo having the RHD2 vaccination. I mulled this over and decided it was the best thing to protect my rabbits. RHD2 comes in on hay, supermarket veg and definitely forage, and there have now been reported cases in house rabbits.

    To answer your last question about stopping her eating foam - I personally would remove it.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    Hi John

    Thank you for posting such a detailed resume - I can see you are going above and beyond to try and make your Flo's life a great one with you!

    I would say that definitely cutting down the veg, and perhaps even chopping some hay into her greens each time you feed them, may help with hay intake. I sometimes mix readigrass in with food/pellets for poor hay eaters, though I note you say she doesn't like it particularly.

    The one thing that springs to mind, which may not be a possibility at all for you at the moment, is if she had a good hay eating friend. That may firstly encourage her to eat hay herself, as there will have been a 'sea change' when she was bonded and hay may well look more exciting. (You've got a lot of lovely hay for her).

    Secondly, a friend would certainly take her mind off being destructive. I can't remember how young she is? This may be her juvenile tendencies, but if you got a slightly older rabbit, say around two years old it's quite possible that she will be interested in her friend more than chewing up the sofa.

    If you want to forage then it's really a good idea to consider Flo having the RHD2 vaccination. I mulled this over and decided it was the best thing to protect my rabbits. RHD2 comes in on hay, supermarket veg and definitely forage, and there have now been reported cases in house rabbits.

    To answer your last question about stopping her eating foam - I personally would remove it.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I wasn't aware VHD2 could be transmitted so easily, I assumed it was more for show rabbits who regularly come into contact with others. I'll get her vacced for both this year just to be sure.

    I do remove all foam as it comes, but she's constantly chewing the sofa... I don't want to remove the entire sofa or I'd feel like she's won the game!

    I was just hoping there was a spray I could apply to discourage her from eating it.

    EDIT: We have considered a friend for her, but we live in a flat. She has free run of the living area 18 hours a day, her own hutch, her own litter tray. While a mate may prove beneficial there's always the risk they won't bond and I'm reluctant to pay another 150 for a rabbit (plus a further 60 per year for vaccinations). I'm not being tight, just realistic. She has her territory and I'm really not sure introducing another rabbit - which would probably be a baby buck - would be top of the pops.

    We was offered her mum... who was a show girl... but that seemed a bit weird too.

    She's certainly not lonely, more likely over pampered so I'll heed your advice on lowering her fresh green consumption.

    EDIT2: I'll also take on board your suggestion to mix her greens with hay. I'll start that tomorrow. Thank you!
    Last edited by Swiss Fox; 02-03-2017 at 12:22 PM.

  6. #6
    Wise Old Thumper *lily*'s Avatar
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    Hello!

    A lot of rescue centres will allow you to take your rabbit to meet potential partners and bond them for you

  7. #7
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swiss Fox View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I wasn't aware VHD2 could be transmitted so easily, I assumed it was more for show rabbits who regularly come into contact with others. I'll get her vacced for both this year just to be sure.

    I do remove all foam as it comes, but she's constantly chewing the sofa... I don't want to remove the entire sofa or I'd feel like she's won the game!

    I was just hoping there was a spray I could apply to discourage her from eating it.

    EDIT: We have considered a friend for her, but we live in a flat. She has free run of the living area 18 hours a day, her own hutch, her own litter tray. While a mate may prove beneficial there's always the risk they won't bond and I'm reluctant to pay another 150 for a rabbit (plus a further 60 per year for vaccinations). I'm not being tight, just realistic. She has her territory and I'm really not sure introducing another rabbit - which would probably be a baby buck - would be top of the pops.

    We was offered her mum... who was a show girl... but that seemed a bit weird too.

    She's certainly not lonely, more likely over pampered so I'll heed your advice on lowering her fresh green consumption.

    EDIT2: I'll also take on board your suggestion to mix her greens with hay. I'll start that tomorrow. Thank you!
    You're welcome

    In my early days of house rabbits I have certainly has the stuffing pulled out of my sofas, so much so that said sofas had to be sent to the tip! It's a real struggle with chewers. To cover things you don't want her to chew, I would recommend you buy some seagrass mats whilst you try and wean her onto more hay. Something along these lines:

    http://exorugs.com/seagrass-door-mat...ngs-warehouse/

    I used to get them from Ikea or Homebase for 1 each. I'm not sure where's the best place now, but fastened over things you don't want her to chew is a strategy. They are messy once nibbled but I would hope it wouldn't be forever. You seem to be putting up with a lot of 'inconvenience' already with Flo! (though I know you're doing that willingly - she's well loved )

    Regarding the RHD2 vaccine, I shopped around for mine. My regular vet was charging almost 40 and for multiple rabbits and that was difficult, but I found a much better place. Also, check that the vet will use Filavac and not Eravac. Some vets now have Eravac in stock and it's use is for meat rabbits, even though it's licensed for use in the UK. Duration of immunity is not tested to 12 months as with Filavac.

    Yes regarding a friend, I didn't think she was particularly lonely - it was as a chewing distraction that it came to mind More time grooming her friend than destroying the human's house! It doesn't always work though, so only if you were thinking on those lines anyway.

    Lots of luck x

  8. #8

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    Oh no, now you've got me thinking about a rescue!

    There are two single, neutered bucks within 5 miles of us, both the same age as Flo.

    My only concern is that Flo may get territorial about her hutch when we get them home. We don't have space for a second hutch although replacing hers with either a larger hutch or two cages joined together might work, but I don't know if it'd upset Flo to lose her existing hutch.... not that she's a fan of bedtime!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    You're welcome

    In my early days of house rabbits I have certainly has the stuffing pulled out of my sofas, so much so that said sofas had to be sent to the tip! It's a real struggle with chewers. To cover things you don't want her to chew, I would recommend you buy some seagrass mats whilst you try and wean her onto more hay. Something along these lines:

    http://exorugs.com/seagrass-door-mat...ngs-warehouse/

    I used to get them from Ikea or Homebase for 1 each. I'm not sure where's the best place now, but fastened over things you don't want her to chew is a strategy. They are messy once nibbled but I would hope it wouldn't be forever. You seem to be putting up with a lot of 'inconvenience' already with Flo! (though I know you're doing that willingly - she's well loved )

    Regarding the RHD2 vaccine, I shopped around for mine. My regular vet was charging almost 40 and for multiple rabbits and that was difficult, but I found a much better place. Also, check that the vet will use Filavac and not Eravac. Some vets now have Eravac in stock and it's use is for meat rabbits, even though it's licensed for use in the UK. Duration of immunity is not tested to 12 months as with Filavac.

    Yes regarding a friend, I didn't think she was particularly lonely - it was as a chewing distraction that it came to mind More time grooming her friend than destroying the human's house! It doesn't always work though, so only if you were thinking on those lines anyway.

    Lots of luck x
    I was the one who said no to a second rabbit as I hadn't considered adoption. I just assumed we'd need to get a baby buck and have him neutered, vacced and just hope they'd bond.

    Since *lily* gave me the epiphany that we could get Flo to pick her own free, neutered buck, that changes everything!

    I've had a look online for seasgrass doormats. They would be ideal. Unsightly, yes, but so is the shredded sofa! I haven't been able to find any close to 1 though... maybe a stack of the rosewood chewing mats would do the job, they're around 3 each on Amazon, but she can get through one of those in a single session.... although if she had a dozen to choose from it might keep her busy enough between pay cheques!

    I'll certainly get her vacced for RHD2 this year, and will heed your advice on Filavac.

    Thank you again for all your invaluable feedback.

  10. #10
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swiss Fox View Post
    I was the one who said no to a second rabbit as I hadn't considered adoption. I just assumed we'd need to get a baby buck and have him neutered, vacced and just hope they'd bond.

    Since *lily* gave me the epiphany that we could get Flo to pick her own free, neutered buck, that changes everything!

    I've had a look online for seasgrass doormats. They would be ideal. Unsightly, yes, but so is the shredded sofa! I haven't been able to find any close to 1 though... maybe a stack of the rosewood chewing mats would do the job, they're around 3 each on Amazon, but she can get through one of those in a single session.... although if she had a dozen to choose from it might keep her busy enough between pay cheques!

    I'll certainly get her vacced for RHD2 this year, and will heed your advice on Filavac.

    Thank you again for all your invaluable feedback.

    You're very welcome!

    I didn't suggest a rescue as you seemed set against a second rabbit and I didn't want to push it

    However, the benefit of a Rescue rabbit is that you can always take them back if they don't get on together. You could also ask the rescue to help bond them, which might be an idea as Flo is quite a strong rabbit with a lot of territory. You can then thoroughly 'neutralise' her living quarters - perhaps steam clean, wash the hutch, disinfect litter trays etc .. before the rabbits come home as a pair. Then hey presto - a couple of rabbits to get under your feet

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