Rabbit needs to lose weight

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robeyw

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11 month old dutch doe ate fresh grass and small amount of manufactured food free choice over summer gaining little excess fat. Now that fresh grass is no longer available, she always acts hungry when I restrict all but hay to keep her from gaining weight. She has 3 kinds of hay which she will eat when I am not around but when she sees me she begs for food. I give her the manufactured food in small amounts thru the day and some greens including kale (in small amounts), silage (limited supply), small amounts of carrot root and apple fruit but she is usually begging or hunting for food. Any idea how to make her feel more satisfied?
 

golden rabbitry

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pellets can do the trick, but only feed how much she can clean up in a day, but the carrot and apple are very high in sugar so they might make her more hungry in the long run
 

robeyw

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golden rabbitry":2bo8iprk said:
pellets can do the trick, but only feed how much she can clean up in a day, but the carrot and apple are very high in sugar so they might make her more hungry in the long run
If I gave her all she wants she would gain weight fast because she loves therm when there is no fresh grass. I was giving her carrot about 5 cc BID and 5 cc apple in the morning but I stopped because it seemed to be fueling her expectations. She is begging less now so that may be the answer.
 
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Some rabbits can gain weight on hay alone,
so weight loss is very individual..
I would first start by limiting the daily pellet ration.
Feed 1/2 cup at first, then adjust the amount up or down as needed.
If limiting the pellets is not enough, you can always cut back on the hay,
or feed a lower calorie grass hay.
Timothy or coastal bermuda, are the lowest calorie, of the redily available choices.
["Orchard grass" hay has the most sugar]
 

robeyw

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She is already at 1/4 cup pellets/day and eats (free choice) about equal quantities of hays of timothy, "orchard grass" and my local open field mixed grasses but she acts so hungry. She is even more unhappy when the only hay is timothy and there is no fresh grass.
 

Preitler

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Hm, I give my rabbits tree branches to gnaw the bark off, willow, apple, ash, hazel, fir, forsithia and so on, it keeps them occupied for quite some time and it does look more like a workout than getting much calories out of it. Lots of fiber, but the total amount of what they ingest is quite low compared how they inhale pellets and veggies.

I think it would be worth a try, to give her something to do with her teeth, and have to work a little for her food. It's healthy stuff too.

More exercise might be an option, like a digging box if she's inclined to use it.
 

robeyw

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I have tried apple and pear branches this spring. She eats the leaves and fine twigs quickly and chews on the larger branches a little but when I restrict food, she is very restless, eats more paper and chews on non food items more. I give her 225 g fresh grass, 1/8 cup “rabbit pellets” 5 g carrot root, some dandelion tops dayly and keep hay available. With only timothy hay, she was very restless and chewy. Adding Oxbow Orchard hay (her winter mainstay) she is gaining weight.

Some people find it uncomfortable to maintain a ideal weight even with a good diet and I suspect that it is the same for rabbits, so maybe the first question should have been HOW DO I TELL IF A RABBIT IS SO OVERWEIGHT THAT IT IS HARMFUL TO HER AND NEEDS TO LOOSE WEIGHT. I used the fat on the ribs measure but I don’t notice any behavioral problems.
 

Preitler

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To tell their conditon I mostly feel their spine, shoulder blades and hips. Some just ahve the tendency to get chunky, none that I breed though so as long as it isn't excessive or any problems poping up and they stay active (4-8h of garden time) I don't do much about it. Both those foodhog does are spayed and live with another rabbit each - 9yo Fury and my handicapped boy - that I need to feed extra rations to keep them from getting too skinny.
 
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You need to feed pellets and hay daily, grass, carrots, dandelion greens, kale and things like that should be given as a treat and not given daily, if she acts hungry is probably because she is, we always use self feeders and keep them full they will eat what they want and stop, get a scale to weigh your rabbits and follow breed standard to fall in weight brackets
 

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