wasting feed and starvation

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PTJeff

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I've now experienced a new behavior that i cant make any sense of.
I've recently lost 2 due to what I can only guess is starvation.
It started a while ago, I started to see alot of the feed on the drop board and I thought it was just an aggressive feeding frenzy.
One day a new doe died and when I inspected her I found how her teeth were overgrown and she couldn't eat. I then inspected everyone for mal-aligned teeth, only one with bad teeth.
I've not changed any of the routines, same feed, same everything and not all rabbits do this feed scattering.
Not sure what to do...suggestions please
 

ladysown

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do you run your hand over your rabbits regularly to assess their condition? That would help you address concerns before it gets critical. Bad teeth can cause starvation. Other digging behaviour is often traced back to mixing treat feed with pellets. or having the dispenser too low.
 
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I've now experienced a new behavior that i cant make any sense of.
I've recently lost 2 due to what I can only guess is starvation.
It started a while ago, I started to see alot of the feed on the drop board and I thought it was just an aggressive feeding frenzy.
One day a new doe died and when I inspected her I found how her teeth were overgrown and she couldn't eat. I then inspected everyone for mal-aligned teeth, only one with bad teeth.
I've not changed any of the routines, same feed, same everything and not all rabbits do this feed scattering.
Not sure what to do...suggestions please
Are the rabbits together, or more than one to a cage or in a colony setting?
What were the ages of the starved rabbits?

First thoughts:
You might compare new and old feed tags to see if there've been any changes at all to their formula. You might also call the feed company to ask about the same thing. Sometimes feed companies change their sources, especially now, with so many supply chain issues, and that wouldn't be reflected on the tag. Shifting from one source of alfalfa to another, for instance, can actually be a big change to a rabbit even though it won't look like it on paper. I have been through this very thing, and it took me nearly 18 months to figure out why my Satins had given me only 3 live kits out of about 20 breedings during the season. (It was a vitamin E deficiency resulting from the company changing sources.)

Older rabbits seem to have a harder time adjusting than young ones, and some individuals are more sensitive than others. We had a year-old mini rex doe that went on a hunger strike when we changed from the 16% to 18% formula in exactly the same feed brand. She literally did not seem to consider it food and threw it all out. She had dropped from 4 pounds to 1-3/4 before we finally guessed what was going on and went and bought her a bag of the 16%. Problem solved (what a spoiled princess, haha!).

If they're throwing the feed out but willing to eat it (when they can reach it) you might try putting a metal cage cup under the feeder to catch the pellets when they're flung/dropped. I do this when I've got litters of bunnies that like to sit in the mom's feeder, and kick feed out when they play king of the feed mountain. I use a big one like this, to catch as much as possible:
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Also, if that's the case, you could try giving them toys (sticks, etc.) to see if they're digging out of boredom.

Do you have any idea what's causing the malocclusion? Like @ladysown said, bad teeth can end in starvation. We've had rabbits with malocclusion as a result of genetics, and we've also had it come about when a rabbit incessantly pulls at the cage wire and yanks its teeth out of alignment. This is sometimes from boredom, or a else desperation to get to the rabbit next door. If you think it's from wire pulling, you could try moving the rabbit and/or putting up solid dividers.

So frustrating - I feel your pain!!!
 

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