Saturday, June 07, 2008

The skinny on rabbit poop (revisited)

Most housebunny owners are somewhat obsessive about bunny-poop. People surfing the internet looking for pictures of rabbit poop bring a lot of traffic by this blog. So I thought I'd repost this one from a coupe years ago.

Unless a rabbit has a physical problem, oftentimes the cause of less-than-perfect-pooties is a lack of fiber in the diet or too much starch. Rabbits need huge amounts of hay and very little of the other stuff that people like to feed bunnies. If there is a problem, you'll notice your bunnies' pooties getting smaller and smaller. It's all about knowing what's *normal* for a particular bunny. The photo at left shows a sample from the bunnies that live here. The pooties on the right are from the Flemmies and are marble-sized. All the way on the left are the pooties of a bunny that isn't a good hay eater and it shows in her poops. A rabbit that eats a lot of very high-fiber hay, like oat hay, will have beautiful, light-colored flakey pooties. (Oh gosh, listen to me! - I am not obsessive!)

Many people who haven't encountered a rabbit, outside of a backyard hutch rabbit, are surprised to learn that they can be litter-trained. In fact, most rabbits will train themselves to use a box, so long as you put the box where they want it. My bunny Dora was difficult in this regard, because she refused to use the litterboxes that were in her cage. She "held it" overnight and darted out of her cage to the corner litterbox first thing in the morning. She did the same thing while I was at work. Why she had this peculiar habit I don't know, but she was proof positive that rabbits are "clean" animals. It's the way that most people keep them that makes many think otherwise.

An important part of training a rabbit to use a litterbox is to set up the box in such a way that a bunny will like to go there. It has to be cleaned regularly. I set mine up with a pelleted-wood product for litter and fill it to the brim with hay. The bunnies will munch hay and poop at the same time. Most bunnies here also seem to find their box to be a convenient place for a nap or a snuggle-session. You can see Boomer and Cricket in one of their boxes with barely an inch to spare!

If you're really interested in learning more about bunny poop, a good article (with photos!) is available here.


bunnygirl said...

It does seem kind of pathetic at times, but if I hadn't been checking Tidbit's poop every day, we wouldn't have caught her illness in time.

Input/output is the key to bunny health!

Mary said...

"less than perfect pooties"...I'm laughing out loud at your bunny poop lingo. Very informative, Laura!

mon@rch said...

I never thought I would learn so much about bird scat! LOL

Susan Gets Native said...

Dude. Must we go there?

: 0 )

d. moll, said...

Tyler has a real lust for life and eats alot, although he is a smallish (shh, don't tell) rabbit his poops are quite prodigious. Sydney is a little bigger, but a fussy eater, though she is on the verge of having a weight issue and her poops are little smaller than his (though quite nice).

LauraHinNJ said...

Bunnygirl: Pathetic, but true. Really, like you said, it's good to have such an easy to assess indicator of their general well-being.


Mary: All you never cared to know!

Monarch: Right.

Susan: What the heck?

d. moll: ;-) And I bet you can recognize the bunny by its poops, too. (Like me!)

Anonymous said...

I tell you what...obssessed with pooties is putting it mildly..LOLOL.

When Bunny gets sick, or there is a threat of stasis, poo observance becomes so obssesive i somtimes am ashamed to admit i follow the bunny around to see if everything is coming out okay.
Luckily exotics vets understand these things..a standard vet will often laugh at my obsessions as i bring "samples" to show them..(sigh)
Being a owned by rabbits is a lonely life.