As a bunny owner and foster parent, I have cared for a lot of different bunnies.
One of the main indicators of illness in rabbits is weight loss; this can be due to dental disease, spurs, EC or stress. Whatever the cause, once the cause has been resolved with a trip to the vet, it’s our job as their care giver to help them regain the weight they have lost.
One of the most common ways to help a rabbit gain weight is to give them unlimited pellets, and watch them fatten up that way. Although this does give the desired result, it can be at the detriment of other factors; by increasing nuggets your rabbit will most likely eat less hay which can lead to teeth problems and upset tummies, as nuggets are not a complete food – hay is always necessary.
My most successful way to help a rabbit regain their weight is with the support of your vet, and a balanced healthy diet.
My most trusty resources are scales; baby scales for the rabbit (£39.99 on Amazon) and some trusty kitchen scales.
Firstly, I weigh the bunny. Then, I check the guidelines on the back of the food bag. Now, most owners know the guideline of one egg cup of nuggets a day per kg in body weight and hay the same size as the rabbit’s body, but we are going to change that slightly, as we don’t have a healthy bunny.
So, I find out the recommended food amount from the manufacturer (I highly recommend Burgess Excel or Burgess Excel Junior for this) for the weight they should be. If you don’t know what weight your rabbit should be ask your vet for further advice!
Now, split the recommended food in to two portions; one in the morning and one in the evening.
Alongside this, I include one bowl of healthy veg; spring greens, spinach, kale, peppers – basically a really good mix. I don’t include lettuce due to the high water content; we just want lots of healthy greens!
So, in additional to a full supply of hay, I give them a portion of nuggets in the morning, some veg through out the day and the remainder of their nuggets at night. I highly recommend weighing the food to be exact – as it really does matter! (That’s where the kitchen scales come in).
The reason to approach weight gain like this is to give them what their body needs. If we bombard them with nuggets and all sorts of treats then we aren’t going to get a steady, reliable healthy gain which will see them well into the future. By building them up, we are filling their body with the nutrients that they need, and this will reduce further complications such as tooth problems and a mucky bum.
There is no trick, just time, effort and love 🙂