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Thread: Tips on helping an underweight bun gain weight

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    Warren Scout Orenoko's Avatar
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    Default Tips on helping an underweight bun gain weight

    So as some of you may know one of my bunnies, Teddy, is living with head tilt, which caused him to lose weight. He is stable and doing well at the moment, but I can't get the weight back on him. His appetite is great, he eats a little slower than your average bun because half his face is paralysed, but he's always snuffling around munching.

    He weighs 1.8kg at the moment. For comparison Lilac weighs 2.1kg and is slightly smaller in size. I think he weighed about 2.2 or 2.3kg when I got him, so it's quite a drastic loss. He was never round like Lilac is but the difference is quite noticeable to me. Some of it is muscle wastage, but he's having physio and is pretty mobile, so hopefully that will continue to improve. He'll never be able to binky or climb things or jump up, but he can certainly run pretty fast when he wants to!

    I've tried feeding a little alfalfa, and also I regularly give him porridge oats. I don't want to overfeed him and also have to bear Lilac in mind as I don't want her getting fat! Does anyone have any tips for helping to put weight back on in a healthy way? They are due at the vet next week for their jabs so I will mention it there as well, but just wanted to ask as everyone here seems so knowledgeable!

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    Mama Doe binkyCodie's Avatar
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    porridge oats I have heard are good...but you have those already
    more pellet would be good, not free fed or anything but because a few spoons extra.
    redigrass maybe? no idea how helpful that is.
    hopefully your vet can offer some advise too
    I hope he continues to improve and make a full recovery, he sounds a very lucky bun to have somebody has caring as you!
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    Warren Scout Orenoko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binkyCodie View Post
    porridge oats I have heard are good...but you have those already
    more pellet would be good, not free fed or anything but because a few spoons extra.
    redigrass maybe? no idea how helpful that is.
    hopefully your vet can offer some advise too
    I hope he continues to improve and make a full recovery, he sounds a very lucky bun to have somebody has caring as you!
    Thanks, I'll keep trying. I don't want him to get fat but I'd like him to have a little more weight on him than he currently has. Not that he cares one bit! ��

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    Will Teddy eat FibaFirst or the Supreme Vetcare Plus Digestive food (which is almost identical to FibaFirst)? As you've mentioned the problem with trying to put weight on one rabbit out of a pair has its problems. When I had this issue with an elderly doe, who was finding it difficult to maintain weight, I used to give her either a half or a whole one of these when she was out of sight of the other rabbits. They are quite high in fibre, so are quite nutritious as well.
    " We will remain friends until the end of days, and one day longer"......Donald Tusk

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    Warren Scout Orenoko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    Will Teddy eat FibaFirst or the Supreme Vetcare Plus Digestive food (which is almost identical to FibaFirst)? As you've mentioned the problem with trying to put weight on one rabbit out of a pair has its problems. When I had this issue with an elderly doe, who was finding it difficult to maintain weight, I used to give her either a half or a whole one of these when she was out of sight of the other rabbits. They are quite high in fibre, so are quite nutritious as well.
    I can certainly try! I'll have a look online and order one of them. I can try to separate them at feeding times so that he can have this without interruption. He gets really stressed when I take him out of his room so I'll have to take Lilac out instead and try to feed her elsewhere, but she'll know some thing's up

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    Warren Scout Orenoko's Avatar
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    Also would you recommend these instead of or in addition to his normal pellets? He has Burgess Excel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orenoko View Post
    Also would you recommend these instead of or in addition to his normal pellets? He has Burgess Excel.
    I wouldn't change the normal amount and type of pellets that they have together. I used to give my doe a stick as an extra. You might find, like I did, that there will be an occasion when Lilac is asleep or busy doing something else and you can do it then. I agree it's not easy though, as when they're together they are able to smell if the other one has food Alternatively, you could use the same method to give him an extra couple of Excel pellets.

    How do you manage to give him the oats without Lilac realising?
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    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orenoko View Post
    So as some of you may know one of my bunnies, Teddy, is living with head tilt, which caused him to lose weight. He is stable and doing well at the moment, but I can't get the weight back on him. His appetite is great, he eats a little slower than your average bun because half his face is paralysed, but he's always snuffling around munching.

    He weighs 1.8kg at the moment. For comparison Lilac weighs 2.1kg and is slightly smaller in size. I think he weighed about 2.2 or 2.3kg when I got him, so it's quite a drastic loss. He was never round like Lilac is but the difference is quite noticeable to me. Some of it is muscle wastage, but he's having physio and is pretty mobile, so hopefully that will continue to improve. He'll never be able to binky or climb things or jump up, but he can certainly run pretty fast when he wants to!

    I've tried feeding a little alfalfa, and also I regularly give him porridge oats. I don't want to overfeed him and also have to bear Lilac in mind as I don't want her getting fat! Does anyone have any tips for helping to put weight back on in a healthy way? They are due at the vet next week for their jabs so I will mention it there as well, but just wanted to ask as everyone here seems so knowledgeable!

    I find the easiest (and quickest) way to put weight on a rabbit is to mix a little porridge oats and some junior pellets. The junior pellets are going to be high in calories than the normal ones. You need something that he's going to be able to eat fairly quickly so that Lilac won't notice, and also his eating is slower anyway as you say.

    Alfalfa hay is fine so long as he doesn't have any problem with sludgey wee, as it's fairly high in calcium.

    He sounds like a real character and very endearing x

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    Warren Scout Orenoko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    I wouldn't change the normal amount and type of pellets that they have together. I used to give my doe a stick as an extra. You might find, like I did, that there will be an occasion when Lilac is asleep or busy doing something else and you can do it then. I agree it's not easy though, as when they're together they are able to smell if the other one has food Alternatively, you could use the same method to give him an extra couple of Excel pellets.

    How do you manage to give him the oats without Lilac realising?
    She'll generally notice unless she's busying herself with something else!

  10. #10
    Warren Scout Orenoko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    I find the easiest (and quickest) way to put weight on a rabbit is to mix a little porridge oats and some junior pellets. The junior pellets are going to be high in calories than the normal ones. You need something that he's going to be able to eat fairly quickly so that Lilac won't notice, and also his eating is slower anyway as you say.

    Alfalfa hay is fine so long as he doesn't have any problem with sludgey wee, as it's fairly high in calcium.

    He sounds like a real character and very endearing x
    I've ordered some fibafirst, I'll see if that helps, if not I'll try some junior pellets. I was a bit wary about the alfalfa because of the sludge so I've only fed it sparingly.

    He is endearing apart from when he gives me the runaround when it's time for his neck massage!

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