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Thread: Diet for rabbits who can't eat hay or grass

  1. #1
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    Default Diet for rabbits who can't eat hay or grass

    Hello everyone,

    This thread concerns my recently adopted rabbit Plumpkin, who has had two dental surgeries so far (including the removal of two teeth) and is likely to need another soon to help things straighten out.

    Whilst my girlie is looking a lot brighter in general, she still doesn't touch hay, and seems to lack the capacity to eat grass. We had to mow her run area today because she can't keep it down and the grass was growing taller than her.

    I know that bunnies are meant to have 80% of their diet hay & grass based. So this is obviously a concern to me. But it may be that because of her disfigured jaw, she'll never be able to eat hay or grass in the normal way. This is her diet at the moment:

    Morning: 1. A Large cereal sized bowl of fresh veggies (cabbage, kale, spinach, cauliflower leaves, a small amount of carrot and broccoli)
    2. A large egg cup's worth of Harringtons pellets
    3. 2 x Fibafirst sticks

    Evening: 1. Fresh forage (usually brambles, dandelions and herb robert) - a reasonable handful which I pick on my evening walk
    2. 1x Fibafirst stick

    Just Before Bed: Another large egg cup of pellets

    I'm struggling to find a huge amount of information on what to feed a bunny who can't necessarily process grass, and would love any sort of advice that anyone may have on here. Plumps is a little less bony, but still very underweight. I worry about her all of the time. I'm praying that when she's bonded with the other two she picks up eating hay and grass from them, but I understand that it might not be a lack of wanting to so much as a physical disability because her jaw is wonky.

    Any advice is very much appreciated, thank you everyone.

  2. #2
    Alpha Buck binkyCodie's Avatar
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    I can't offer any advice.. but I know plain oats have been said to help put on weight and manage. a friends buns have to have oats to help keep their weight up or they fall underweight so suddenly. it was recommended by her vet - maybe it could be helpful for the future.
    Snoopy : 14.02.15 - 12.05.17 [mini rex]👑Luna : 14.02.15 [rex]👑Orion : 21.10.17 [mini rex]

  3. #3
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    I'd say you are managing her diet well. I'd maybe increase her fresh forage (though be wary of too many dandelions as they are high in calcium). Whats her poo like?

  4. #4
    Alpha Buck
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    I don’t know what to suggest, but hopefully someone on here can help, but just saying you’re doing a good job with her. Xx

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by joey&boo View Post
    I'd say you are managing her diet well. I'd maybe increase her fresh forage (though be wary of too many dandelions as they are high in calcium). Whats her poo like?
    Oats is interesting pinkyCodie, will have to look into that!

    joey&boo her poo is a nice golden brown most of the time, although her pellets are sometimes more long/less round than the other two who are in good health. More forage is a good call - I'll have to travel further as I've exhausted it all in the surrounding area

    Thank you CometLucy195 <3

  6. #6
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I'd also increase her forage and I'd try her with some small tree branches with leaves on (Hazel, Willow, Hawthorn, Ash, Maple or Apple). She'll probably eat the leaves first, but she might also be tempted to nibble the bark.
    "The mind tells me this is our new reality, the heart aches for it to be just a bad dream" Frans Timmermans

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    I'd also increase her forage and I'd try her with some small tree branches with leaves on (Hazel, Willow, Hawthorn, Ash, Maple or Apple). She'll probably eat the leaves first, but she might also be tempted to nibble the bark.
    Thank you Omi, I definitely will. Can rabbits have pear tree leaves and branches too by any chance? Because we happen to have a very large pear tree in our garden. If not, I'll have to go out and see if I can find any of the above.

  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beapig View Post
    Thank you Omi, I definitely will. Can rabbits have pear tree leaves and branches too by any chance? Because we happen to have a very large pear tree in our garden. If not, I'll have to go out and see if I can find any of the above.

    They can definitely have pear tree leaves and branches
    Please vaccinate your rabbits for RHD2 as well ..
    Two more house rabbit deaths just confirmed


    Reliable, up to date advice on RHD2: http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...40#post7012340

  9. #9
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beapig View Post
    Hello everyone,

    This thread concerns my recently adopted rabbit Plumpkin, who has had two dental surgeries so far (including the removal of two teeth) and is likely to need another soon to help things straighten out.

    Whilst my girlie is looking a lot brighter in general, she still doesn't touch hay, and seems to lack the capacity to eat grass. We had to mow her run area today because she can't keep it down and the grass was growing taller than her.

    I know that bunnies are meant to have 80% of their diet hay & grass based. So this is obviously a concern to me. But it may be that because of her disfigured jaw, she'll never be able to eat hay or grass in the normal way. This is her diet at the moment:

    Morning: 1. A Large cereal sized bowl of fresh veggies (cabbage, kale, spinach, cauliflower leaves, a small amount of carrot and broccoli)
    2. A large egg cup's worth of Harringtons pellets
    3. 2 x Fibafirst sticks

    Evening: 1. Fresh forage (usually brambles, dandelions and herb robert) - a reasonable handful which I pick on my evening walk
    2. 1x Fibafirst stick

    Just Before Bed: Another large egg cup of pellets

    I'm struggling to find a huge amount of information on what to feed a bunny who can't necessarily process grass, and would love any sort of advice that anyone may have on here. Plumps is a little less bony, but still very underweight. I worry about her all of the time. I'm praying that when she's bonded with the other two she picks up eating hay and grass from them, but I understand that it might not be a lack of wanting to so much as a physical disability because her jaw is wonky.

    Any advice is very much appreciated, thank you everyone.

    I get this completely and I've looked after dozens of dental buns who can't eat grass or hay.

    I think you're doing an excellent job If she were my bunny I would cut down the amount of pellets and increase the fibafirst sticks. Reason being that pellets use an up and down motion for the teeth and hay (within the fibafirst sticks) uses a grinding action. Therefore the fibafirst sticks will provide extra wear for her teeth as well as fibre for digestion.

    My rabbits don't get veggies (unless there's some growing in the garden and spare) but loads of forage. It's quite light and easy to eat (on the whole) and excellent fibre. I would up the forage
    Please vaccinate your rabbits for RHD2 as well ..
    Two more house rabbit deaths just confirmed


    Reliable, up to date advice on RHD2: http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...40#post7012340

  10. #10
    Mama Doe
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    As well as increasing the fibrous forage in her diet, you could try cutting the grass up with scissors to see if she can eat more, but in much shorter pieces so she doesn't need to chew it in the same way. I used to make a pile of 1 cm pieces of grass for one of my rabbits with a jaw abscess so he could just hoover it up.

    Otherwise, there are some pellets made from just grass.

    Grass is useful as it provides most of the fibre in the diet, which is what their guts were designed to run on. It also keeps the teeth ground down. You need to work out the best way of achieving these using things she can actually eat. You may also want to start drying some supplies now so that you have enough to last through the Winter. Tough fibres from other sources, such as bramble or willow leaves will help to keep her remaining teeth worn down, although you may have more regular dentals at the vet as the remaining teeth may not wear evenly.

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