Gotta get this out of the way before we go any further: is your animal still eating greens and or pellets? If your animal has stopped eating entirely, get up right now and go to your rabbit vet. RIGHT NOW. Not after work, or after Grey’s Anatomy. Definitely not tomorrow. NOW. If you need help finding a vet, check out this list.
OK. You are still here, so your animal must still be eating, but isn’t eating enough hay, so isn’t getting enough fiber. This could be causing you nightmares with stasis, dental problems, messy poopy bun, and all kinds of other stuff. You already get why hay is so important, you just can’t seem to get your friend to eat enough of it.
(Dental issues are a real catch-22. If animals don’t eat enough hay, their teeth don’t wear down enough. Then their teeth hurt and they can’t eat hay. Make sure your animal’s teeth get looked at regularly!)
The first thing to check is the quality and freshness of the hay you are feeding. Is it still soft and green and pliable? Does it smell good, like summer? Is it nice and dry (and hasn’t gotten soaked in urine)? Has it been out for a whole day, and might not be as enticing as a fresh batch from your hay supply at home?
If those things aren’t the issue, it could be that your friend is just bored. That’s easy to fix! Toss in a bit of Orchard Grass, or Orchard Medley. Even a tiny bit of alfalfa mixed with the timothy can make things interesting again.
“Eh, I’m not feelin’ it.”
Cutting back on pellets can help too. Pellets are a supplemental food, and should be given sparingly. If your friend chows down on the pellets, and ignores the hay, it is time for some tough love. Don’t let your friend go on a hunger strike, but do cut back gradually on the pellet portions.
No luck? Hmm. Tough cookie, this little one! We can move on herbs and flowers. These can work wonders in getting a little animal back to business. The thing is this: you’ve got to be careful when introducing new stuff. Put out a tiny bit, off to the side. Let your friend investigate. They may ignore it completely, but trust us, they are assessing the situation. Try again the next day. Always put the new stuff off to the side. We don’t want to put it on top of the hay – that could further discourage hay eating at this point, and that is the last thing we want! Once your friend has tried the herbs and flowers, they’ll quickly let you know they want more more more. Go ahead and put the herbs and flowers on just a bit of the hay. Chop, chomp, chomp. Once they’ve accepted this and dug in, feel free to mix the herbs and flowers in to the hay with wild abandon. Need some yummy herbal mixes? We’ve got that covered!
Still no hay love? Back to the rabbit vet you go…it is time for some medical detective work.
Yay for you, being worried about hay consumption! You get how essential hay is for your animal. A huge percentage of visitors to the rabbit vet are there because of lack of fiber. So well done, you, for paying attention to your friend so well, and for not ignoring this situation!
We hope you get it all worked out quickly.