View Full Version : Important Warning-Rabbit Pellets

04-02-2002, 11:23 AM
Separately Bunnicula and I encountered a serious problem with alfalfa based rabbit pellets this past week. You might want to read her thread Rabbits USA in Pet General.

I think all of us bunny lovers are aware that alfalfa based rabbit pellets are high in calcium and not recommended. Vets are discovering more and more about a condition called "sludge" and there have been several articles lately on this matter.

Sludge is excess calcium that the rabbit secretes with their urine. It is white and has a thick, pasty texture. This is a danger sign that the bun is getting too much calcium in their food, usually from pellets but can also be gotten from hays
containing alfalfa and the cubes and treats the Pet Stores sell for bunnies. (pet food manufacturers do not always have an animals best interest at heart, only their profits...so do not believe everything they tell you). In addition the excess calcium can cause bladder stones!!!! :eek:
Bladder stone are extremely painful and a bunny may require surgery for removal. If you have a hunched over, bloated bunny, get it to the vet immediately. This condition can potentially kill a beloved pet. We had this situation last week at the rabbit sanctuary.

Bunnies are tricky in that they pretend they are well when they are not. If you give your bunny any alfalfa-based products, please stop. Watch him/her carefully for the warning signs of sludge.
My bunny-secialist vet prefers that the bunnies do not get any pellets or alfalfa based products at all. They recommend unlimited timmy hay, fresh veggies. If you feel you must give out pellets, the formula is 2TBLS of timmy based pellets per 5 lbs of rabbit. Yes, tablespoons! My buns did not have pellets for several years until recently. Then one bun lost a lot a weight and went on pellets for 3 months and gained his weight back. I took him off when I started hearing about sludge. He looked around for the pellets for the first few days but has since forgotten he ever ate them. All my guys are healthy, active and have beautiful soft fur without the pellets.

Alfalfa based products are recommended for new moms, babies, and old bunnies having trouble keeping on weight. But it should not be a routine food. Avoid all pellets which are advertised as being "Show Formula" as these too are very high in calcium. And pellets should never be the sole source of their food. Pellets can also weigh down the gut, which needs to move continuously, and cause gut stasis. If not treated immediately this too will kill a bunny within a few days.

All in all, pellets are not worth the risk to your bunnies health. I hope this info. helps you make informed decisions regarding bunny nutrition and health.

Heather Wallace
04-03-2002, 03:40 AM
Thanks again Daisy lover for the warning:)

04-04-2002, 04:06 PM
If you are intersted in giving your bunny a hay other than timmy (or heaven forbid alfalfa) you might want to check out www.bunnybytes.com, hay and feed section.
There's great info on several diff. hays, when rabbits should have them (sick, overweight, etc) and how to get a fincky eater to make the change to a new hay. Really excellent info.