Needing to Force Feed Your Bunny? Try This First …

Acorn flopped out

I'm Acorn and not feeling so good ...

We have known Acorn and his mom all of his ten years. He has been a very healthy bunny, but is now sick and needing a number of medications and some extra feedings of Oxbow Critical Care. His mom called today for some advice on how to do the syringe feedings to get more of the food into Acorn.

After talking with Acorn’s mom and emailing her a link, I realized this would be something good to let more people know about.  The first thing you may want to try if you need to force feed your rabbit is to see if you can take the force out of the equation. It is always better if the bunny feeds themself. I came across these recipes,, on the House Rabbit Society website.

They feature pellets ground in a coffee grinder which works if you don’t have access to Oxbow’s Critical Care.  If you have the Critical Care for a sick rabbit, use that in place of the ground pellets.  The Critical Care is specially formulated to have lots of good stuff to assist rabbits nutritionally who are ill.

I suggested trying the Banana Pellet Balls first to see if Acorn would voluntarily consume his Critical Care which would make things less stressful for everyone.  Either the Pellet Balls or the pumpkin mix in a bowl can be offered first to a bunny to see if they will eat without having to be force-fed by syringe.  Shadow will sometimes eat a Critical Care mixture on his own but our Princess Tigger never volunteers for anything, ever. 

Hoping this helps! 

Nursing a Rabbit Through Stasis

Unhappy Tigger

Not quite my usual perky feisty self

Any time a rabbit absolutely refuses to eat or drink, get serious about it right away. Rabbits are constant foraging eaters and need that to keep their intestines moving. Anything that stops movement through the intestines can quickly lead to the death of the rabbit. This is one of those times to get thee to a vet ASAP since the causes of GI stasis can vary. You might be dealing with a tumor, infection, hairball, tooth problems or something else entirely. 

Expect if you are dealing with stasis that there will be a time of nursing your rabbit. This can include medications, force feedings, forcing fluids, getting subcutaneous fluids at the vet or possibly being shown how to give them at home. You will have to monitor how much your rabbit eats on its own and how much bunny is urinating and pooping. This can mean adjusting the rabbit’s living space or possibly separating a pair temporarily so that you can know who is doing what.

At first while your rabbit is really ill, they may not be themselves at all.  It may be a real struggle to get the bunny to cooperate with being medicated, force-fed, having their tummy rubbed, being cleaned up, so basically being regularly picked up and messed with.  You know how you feel about people poking and prodding if you don’t feel well.  The bunny may be listless, uncaring, grumpy, irritable, scratching, biting, wildly fighting or any combination back and forth.  Keep your calm and your patience.  As your rabbit recovers, their usual personality will return.  They just may seem like they really hate you while you are trying to save them.  Again, think about whether you have ever chewed out the doctors or nurses when you were ill.

Tigger is currently on a number of medications and holding her own.  She is eating and drinking on her own now and alternating between very tiny or very messy poops.  She is very grumpy and irritable today which is pretty normal for HRH Princess Tigger.  She has another vet visit early next week.  We will see if she needs further diagnostic tests or treatment.  Last August, she needed to have some sharp tooth points filed down.  That required anethesia for a good exam and to do the filing.  Anesthesia is risky at her age.  So, in conjunction with the vet then and now, we decided on other treatments first.   

Here is a great article to bookmark:  Nursing Your Rabbit Through Gastrointestinal Stasis (Information And Tips To Be Used In Conjunction With Ongoing Care From Your Rabbit Vet).