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Thread: Stasis-prone rabbit diet

  1. #1

    Default Stasis-prone rabbit diet

    Hello,

    I have a 3 year old dutch house rabbit called Pepper who gets gas/stasis a few times a year. I am currently trying to give her a wild rabbit diet which will prevent gas and also make her live as long as possible.

    She has always been a poor hay eater, but since the spring she eats two small tubs of grass a day with some clover and dandelion leaves, and will barely touch hay: I have tried her with small pet select, Just4Rabbits, haybox, healthy herby, bunny bistro, happy hay co., hay hutch, little hay co., hay and straw, timothyhay.co.uk and pet shop hays. The only ones she will slightly nibble are soft cut timothy from haybox and Canadian timothy from Just4rabbits. I also sprinkle forage on her hay, I rotate them but at the moment she has dandelion leaves and sunflower leaves.

    She also has 1 tbsp pellets/day from haybox club as these have more wild grass/plants ingredients. I am trying to increase her hay intake by soaking the pellets in water and mixing with chopped up hay and a scoop of Oropharma pro-digest probiotics to create a mushy mixture- she eats one small food bowl of this a day. She hasn't had stasis since upping the grass intake (except for when I went away for a few days and had someone else look after her), however her poops are quite small/medium sized and dark and sometimes smell bad- is this a sign of a bad diet low in fibre? I am considering trying a better probiotic such as protexin bio-lapis.

    I am thinking of abandoning the idea that her diet must be strictly wild in favour of maximising her fibre intake. After a bout of stasis, I previously tried her on a diet similar to Jack's Jane 2015 post 'This is What my Rabbits Now Have Instead of Pellet/Museli Feed'- I soaked some dengie hi-fi molasses-free, crushed up fibafirst sticks and protexin probiotic pellets and fed her a small bowl every day, this gave her huge poops. I didn't stick with it very long and slowly transitioned back to a wild diet as the ingredients weren't very good, such as: alfalfa and straw pellets, cereal straw, rapeseed oil (dengie), wheat flour, soybean flower, ground peas, locust bean meal, oats, linseed soya oil, salt (fibafirst), wheat, soya bean hulls, oats, sugar beet pulp (protexin). I am now considering if it is perhaps best to go back to this diet despite the ingredients as the benefits may out-way the bad ingredients.

    Does anyone have any advice/opinions on whether I should stick with a wild rabbit diet or change to a more artificial high-fibre diet? On the one hand I want her to live as long as possible so would like to avoid bad ingredients that could give her ill health in the future, but on the other hand I don't want her to get gas. I was thinking how my dad had a rabbit in the 80s and he would feed it bowls of porridge and bran in the winter and it lived to 12, and maybe specific ingredients like grains don't matter as much as a high-fibre diet?

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
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    The dark colour of her poop is almost certainly due to her having grass and wild plants rather than hay. My rabbits' poops is darker this time of the year than in the winter when a far greater percentage of their diet is hay. I'm not concerned by this. The size would increase if she ate more hay or hay-based products. If she has shown a preference for the soft-cut from haybox, it would be worth trying her with a soft timothy from a different supplier. In my experience rabbits can be incredibly picky when it comes to preferences for hay. Have you tried hay cookies for her to nibble?

    My rabbits get a diet based on wild plants and hay with a very small amount of pellets. I am a big fan of tree leaves and use these almost daily. Any rabbit-safe trees are suitable and this time of the year most trees have succulent new leaves which seem to be tasty. We feed Hawthorn, Hazel, Ash and Willow mainly. The tree sticks are also beneficial and they eat the thinner ones whole. Do you feed Bramble leaves? These are supposed to be very beneficial for a rabbit's digestion and they are popular.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your reply Omi. That is good to know the colour of her poos are normal for this time of year, there is a lot of hype about having large 'golden poos' but if she is avoiding gas and seems healthy then I don't think I am concerned. Thanks for your suggestions, I haven't tried hay cookies or bramble leaves, I will definitely give these a go and see if I can find any tree leaves. She was doing well on the grass aside from the one recent stasis episode which I think was stress from me being away as she is used to always being around me. What do you think about increasing her hay intake through hay-based products such as fibafirst with 30% fibre, but which also have some other questionable ingredients?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisinP View Post
    Thanks for your reply Omi. That is good to know the colour of her poos are normal for this time of year, there is a lot of hype about having large 'golden poos' but if she is avoiding gas and seems healthy then I don't think I am concerned. Thanks for your suggestions, I haven't tried hay cookies or bramble leaves, I will definitely give these a go and see if I can find any tree leaves. She was doing well on the grass aside from the one recent stasis episode which I think was stress from me being away as she is used to always being around me. What do you think about increasing her hay intake through hay-based products such as fibafirst with 30% fibre, but which also have some other questionable ingredients?
    I would definitely continue with the grass. It is equally as good as hay, if not better as it also contains moisture. I feed Fibafirst and each rabbit gets one stick per day. Which ingredients do you consider questionable? I wouldn't use Fibafirst in preference to hay though as it contains many more calories and so a rabbit can easily fill up on them and then not eat hay.

  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    I agree you're not going to get golden poops with a hay & forage based diet. Uniform poop size & good texture are more important than colour. I recognise that huge list of hay brands & types having also had less enthusiastic hay chompers . Whilst I agree natural diet is best & a good goal for buns with digestive issues I don't think its the end of the world if you need to add commercial products in to the mix. If you are able to ID & locate some Ribwort plantain thats about 24% fibre & most buns love it. There is loads about just now

    Thanks for the fibrafirst ingredient list BTW - didn't realise they had so much non hay in them

  6. #6

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    I wasn't sure about the wheat and soya bean flour mostly in the Fibafirst as I had the impression grains and soya weren't natural for bunnies? However they are timothy hay based so are probably fine as a supplement, I might try them again just to boost her fibre intake slightly. I agree that grass is great, she doesn't drink as much water now but is getting nutrient rich moisture from the grass, plus her ears are warm all the time- I'm not sure if this is a good thing but they go so cold when she's in stasis. Thank you joey&boo, I think I might try my best to stick to a natural/wild diet primarily, but may add a few commercial high-fibre add-ons to be on the safe side. I have heard great things about protexin pro-fibre pellets and Fibafirst despite their ingredients. She has had ribwort plantain before and loves it so I will put some on my next order! Thank you both so much for your help

  7. #7
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    Rabbits would have the opportunity to eat grains in the wild, and they are just posh grasses.

  8. #8

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    That is good to know, that makes the fibafirst seem not too bad then. Thanks for the info

  9. #9
    Warren Veteran bunny momma's Avatar
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    My bunnies always have brown poo. I want poos to be medium or larger and of the proper consistency. A fresh poo should be friable. It should crumble when rolled between your fingers. If poo is very firm it may be from inadequate fiber, not drinking enough, and slow gi movement from medical conditions.
    Every bunny is different. Some cannot tolerate same items as others. One thing I suggest is consistency, or slow changes in diet.
    My Heidi gets Fibafirst which she enjoys to replace most of her pellets as she does not eat enough hay.

  10. #10
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    I am wondering if you have tried very coarse Timothy hay as all my Rabbits really like it and would prefer it over Meadow hay if they had the choice. It isn't very hand friendly though! Also, has your Bunny had his/her teeth checked in particular the molars? You could also try a few less Pellets and I have noticed they eat better when they have a friend, although this may not be possible.

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