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My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

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My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby OldEnglishSilvers88 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:43 pm


So, like pretty much anyone else on here, I raise rabbits and I buy the 50lb bag of feed for $15.99 (this is MannaPro in the red bag) so yeah this food isn't the cheapest and I have 10 rabbits to feed (3 kits is part of the 10).


My buns are raised in wire and wood hutches, I use metal dog bowls as water bowls which work okay for now, the food bowls are ceramic and plastic pet bowls. Yeah not the greatest options so I'm switching but I need advice! I have one Giant Chinchilla doe who just loves to piss me off by dumping her food out. I have a Silver Fox buck that thinks it's fun to watch me get mad while he plays in not only his food bowl but his WATER bowl too. My Mini Lop doe with the 3 kits knocks over her food bowl when she jumps in and out of the nest box to nurse her kits (they're almost 2 weeks old).


I've been considering buying j feeders. Anyone with experience? How do you install them? If you don't use j feeders, what do you use?



My rabbits are wasting 2-4 lbs a DAY. Please help! :evil:
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SixGun » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:28 am


I love j feeders. All you have to do is cut a hole large enough for the bottom part to fit through. But.... I have a doe that LOVES to scratch out her food. Ugh. I just switched her to a cup feeder. I think she's mostly digging to get to some sunflower seeds that are on the bottom of her feeder.
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby shazza » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:35 am


yep, i've never had an issue with jfeeders. some of mine will dig in the feeders when they're almost out of feed (i only give them a day's ration at a time - i dont have kits so nobody is free fed right now, so they'll eat all of it in about 5 minutes or so,) but they don't seem to be wasting much if any pellets. just cut a hole the right size and stick it in. i prefer the ones with lids, keeps water and rats out.

as for water i have a gravity auto water system and waste is almost nonexistent. i know some people have success with the crocks you can attach to the side of the cage to keep them from digging in it, but i learned a long time ago that bowls and small animals rarely mix. i like the auto waterer because it's easy, i only have to fill it up every three days, and i don't have to mess with bottles or worry about them leaking. having to refill bottles for 10+ holes a day was driving me nuts. the only downside is you don't really if everyone's been drinking, but generally if a rabbit isn't drinking they're also showing other signs of illness, so i'm not really that worried about it.
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby heritage » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:42 am


Are the bowls/dishes loose on the wire? You can secure them down so they can't flip them (string a piece of wire over the top, twist it underneath) - although I had one litter of grow outs consistently pull their rubber water bowls out - they are the only ones to have done it though. I don't even cut holes for J feeders - I have hutches as well and just bend the hooks so that they hold tight on the inside instead. Takes some fiddling, but it works well enough.
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Marinea » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:24 am


I do the same as Heritage. I hate cutting holes, so I twist wire when I need to secure something.
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#6  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:59 am


I use "J" feeders on my cages now.... When the kits start eating, I get waste for about a week, until the little brats figure out it is for eating and not for playing in.... but next to no feed waste any other time.

I did use tuna cans for a bit, before "J" feeders... drilled holes up at the top edge and zip tied them to a front corner of the cage... Just make sure they are up off the floor of the cage or your rabbit will start peeing in their food. (guaranteed they will make a mess of it)....

The tuna cans were portion control as well as metal so they wouldn't be chewed on.

I'm a fan of water bottles..... but, this is my first winter in a unheated barn... If I had crocks for water, I would lock those down too... the cap ends of PCV pipe, holes at the top edge and zip tie those to the other corner.... (I've been thinking about this for a bit)

I have had rabbits insist of flipping, chewing, rolling or play with anything not tied down....
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#7  Unread postby SixGun » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:23 am


My rabbits play with anything not tied down as well. They have wiffle balls and blocks to play with and they are always putting them in their feeder and any other place they can stash them.
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#8  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:27 am


SixGun wrote:My rabbits play with anything not tied down as well. They have wiffle balls and blocks to play with and they are always putting them in their feeder and any other place they can stash them.


I think I will have to start investing in some "toys" for my bunnies too... They seem to get themselves into trouble otherwise.
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#9  Unread postby OldEnglishSilvers88 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:17 pm


Thank you everyone!


@ heritage,

Yes. They are just sitting on the hutch floor.


For people that put the j feeders on the inside, do you have any issues doing it? Can they crap in it or pee in it? Does it keep the pellets more dry?
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby SoDak Thriver » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:58 am


Branches from safe trees to chew the bark off of make good toys, too, although I do hang some Critters Chewzits for particularly rambunctious bunnies. I found branches and toys do help cut down on waste from playing with food.

Also, make sure there isn't a treat on the bottom that they're trying to scratch out. My does will empty their J feeder to get one flake of oatmeal buried beneath pellets. :evil:

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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Homer » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:02 am


SoDak Thriver wrote:Also, make sure there isn't a treat on the bottom that they're trying to scratch out. My does will empty their J feeder to get one flake of oatmeal buried beneath pellets. :evil:

:yeahthat: Been there, done that. :? How can they smell out one flake of oatmeal? :? ...but they do.

When I get a "digger" I put small rocks in their feeder. Just enough they can eat around them but it really helps with the wasted feed. They seem to have trouble digging them out past the lip of the feeder. :)
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#12  Unread postby TheChad » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:32 pm


I ran in to this issue a while back. If you are adding treats such as boss or oats to the feed bowl, that will often cause them to do that. They are digging to find more. I also found that adding a hay feeder helped. It gave them something to do. I also stopped free feeding and went to the daily portion. They will soon figure it out or get really hungry.

I suggest making one change at a time and seeing what it is. For me it was a combination, but it is good to know what they are doing and why to address their needs. Hope that helps!

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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#13  Unread postby olafthebunny » Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:47 am


Me and my sisters rabbits do that all the time. Not my rabbit as much since he lives inside now and has a flat bottom cage. The others have wire bottom cages so all the waste and such falls through. Sometimes the bunnies dump over their bowls, and.....there goes the food.
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Re: My Rabbits Keep Wasting Their Pellets: Help!

Post Number:#14  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:00 am


If you do switch to J feeders, mount them up high! I have some from BASS equipment which are designed so that there is not a trough that protrudes into the cage, which are my favorite design. I have those feeders installed at 4" above the floor, and think that 6" would be better. I still occasionally get "diggers," which are usually pregnant does, so I will put a golf ball into the trough which makes digging more challenging.

The only downside to them is that the back and bottom is made of screen which the rabbits (or other critters) can tear through- but that can be replaced with sturdy metal mesh available for vents on buildings... a project that I will be working on since our horse got out and ripped about a dozen feeders off of my cages. :evil:

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If you go with the style that has a trough that protrudes into the cage, definitely mount it at least 6" from the floor. KW Cages has a great design called the Sift-o-Matic which has a perforated metal bottom for the fines to fall through. Even our horse would have a hard time destroying those!

Marinea wrote:I do the same as Heritage. I hate cutting holes, so I twist wire when I need to secure something.


I hate cutting holes, too, but believe me it is worth it. Feeding goes MUCH faster when you don't have to open the cages to do it- it takes me a lot longer to feed right now since the horse destroyed those feeders. :angry:

SoDak Thriver wrote:Branches from safe trees to chew the bark off of make good toys, too, although I do hang some Critters Chewzits for particularly rambunctious bunnies. I found branches and toys do help cut down on waste from playing with food.


Glad your bunz are enjoying their Chewzits, SoDak!

I have a few toy designs meant for the floor of the cage- the Slam Dunk (now available as the "Deluxe Slam Dunk" since the whiffle balls are now larger and of nicer quality plastic), the Flingzit, and the Jumbo Flingzit.

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I prefer to keep permeable products off of the floor to limit the chance of rabbits ingesting their own urine and feces. E. cuniculi- the protozoan that causes wry neck- lives in the kidneys and is passed in the urine. When it travels to the brain we see clinical signs of it, so limiting the parasite load is important. Coccidia is passed in the feces, and although adult rabbits tolerate a moderate parasite load quite well, young kits are another story.

Most the Chewzits are designed to be hung from the walls or ceiling of the cage. This photo shows most of our designs, although a couple of new styles have been added:

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