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Thread: Rabbits not eating their cecotropes

  1. #1

    Default Rabbits not eating their cecotropes

    Hi,

    I hope this is in the right place on the forum - think it's diet related...

    I have four young bunnies - two girls and boys - 13 weeks old. The boys are neutered but the girls not spayed yet; just waiting until their old enough. They live in a big shed - 14 by 8 foot (one half for girls and one for boys) and have a further run outside which is 6 foot by 6 foot. They have things to jump on and they get a fair amount of exercise. They are never put into a hutch or cage so they have a lot of space to run around. They seem very happy and are super friendly .

    They have hay trays which I fill up throughout the day and they are eating that. They LOVE their pellets and so I think I may have been giving them too much as I was advised to give them unlimited pellets when they first arrived. The Vet said that was bad advice and a handful a day is enough. So now they get one handful between two bunnies in the morning and the same in the evening. They do also get some herbs and leaves mixed in with their hay (dandelion salad etc).

    Trouble is that they're not eating their cecotropes. I go in during the day and there are a lot of cecotropes (girls more than boys). What do you think I am doing wrong and is it dangerous for them not to eat them? They were separated from their mum at just under 8 weeks. Stupid question maybe, but do you think they might not know that they're supposed to eat them?

    Any advice is welcome...

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Hello there and welcome. Sorry your post was missed. I think that your rabbits will gradually grow out of this phase and start to eat their cecotropes as per normal. I have noticed the same in young rabbits at times. There is conflicting advice as to how much we should feed baby rabbits, I have always been fairly generous but maybe now you have cut back on them, it might encourage them to start eating their cecotropes. It isn't dangerous as far as I am aware. It sounds like you are hoping for a quad and they have a lovely lot of space.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the advice tonibun. It is a bit better now that I've cut back on pellets but I'll not worry too much and see how it goes. They seem happy and healthy!
    Yes, I am planning on a quartet! Hopefully I can manage the bonding process!

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Are they siblings?

  5. #5

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    Yes, I got them altogether at the same time. The two girls get on great and the two boys get on great. I am not sure how it will work when they're together. I'm waiting until the girls are spayed to bond them but they can see each other through the divider in the shed. Sometimes they have come together when I've left the gate open etc and it's been fine but I am quick to separate. I am thinking about doing some pre-bonding now but maybe it is a little early?

  6. #6
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I would always try to keep rabbits together as long as there is no danger of the girls getting pregnant. They mature so quickly and the girls could get hormonal and one would be the dominant one, whereas if they were with the boys there would be a hierarchy which would remain the same. It is so difficult to say which is the best way. Females are very territorial so if the boys got into their area they could attack them, but they are still a bit young for that. In another month things might be a lot different. If they were all together this would not happen. I suppose most people would say to keep them separate until after the girls have been spayed and recovered. This will be about 8 - 10 weeks. The boys must only have been neutered recently so could still be fertile, so something else to bear in mind.

  7. #7

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    It's tricky. Today, they were in the kitchen together as we had builders in the garden so I thought I'd take them all in, watch them closely and see how they got on. It was amazing, they all hopped in the hay basket and ate together, slept together etc. This was for about 6 hours! Totally peaceful. So when I put them back in their shed, I thought I would let them play together for a bit - but one of the boys (Teddy) started chasing one of the girls (Flopsy) when she went over to their side. It didn't look playful. They stopped when I clapped my hands and I put Flopsy back over to her side. I am not sure if it was because Teddy was being territorial or maybe she was? I am thinking that I'll keep going with some pre-bonding sessions and try and have them spend more time together before going for it after spaying. Like you say, could be a long while yet! Do you think I should wait until the boys' hormones have calmed down and are hopefully not fertile and then try bonding them before the girls are spayed?

  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper
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    The boy that was doing the chasing is possibly the dominant one so he needs to show the girl who is boss. The boys nearly always chase the girls when you are bonding boy/girl. This can last for up to 3 days. He wants her to know her place in the hierarchy. I am afraid I am not going to tell you what I think you should/could do as all rabbits are slightly different but I would guess once the boys have been neutered for 2 weeks there shouldn't be any chance of the girls getting pregnant, mainly because they are so young, but it isn't unheard of. I would probably take the risk in order to keep them together. I have kept brother/sister together getting the male neutered at 4 months. You have had your boys done earlier. Also, you might have 4 lovely rabbits who do all the right things and they are never a problem.

  9. #9

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    Hi Tonibun, I decided to take your advice and let the buns be together with me watching for awhile. All was great so they have now been together all day for over a week. They get on great - no fighting, lots of grooming, sharing food, sleeping and playing together. At night iíve separated them by a cage fence so theyíre still all in the same room - they donít like being separated.
    I see lots of advice that says you canít bond unspayed rabbits but I really think these four are - they get on so well.
    The girls are due to be spayed on Friday. Should I keep them separate from the boys after this while they heal and if so will that break the bond they already have? Just wondering what you have done in the past? Thanks for all your advice!

  10. #10
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I am so glad they are all getting on well. The girls will need to be kept quiet for a few days after their spay, I would put them in an indoor cage or similar perhaps in the same shed. If they are healing nicely then you will have to judge the best time to let them free, but their healing is paramount, then all being well they should settle down again with the boys. Do you think one of the girls is the dominant one, if so, this hierarchy might get upset but should sort itself out over time. Just keep in touch if you are worried about anything. I hope the girls' spay goes very well on Friday and you then have many years of happy bunnies.

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