How many times does a rabbit poop a day?
Why Do Rabbits Poop So Much?
Rabbits have a unique and sensitive digestive system. This results in a rabbit’s ability to digest and extract nutrients from a high-fiber diet. A diet that is not digestible by most other species. They do this by, essentially, digesting their food twice. The first time through, the food is sorted into digestible components and indigestible fiber by their colon.
The indigestible fiber carries on through the system to become those ‘cocoa puff’ poops that we’re all familiar with. They keep the rabbit’s digestive system moving along and are essential to the overall health of the rabbit (this is why a high fiber diet with a lot of hay is so important). The digestible components are fermented in the rabbit’s caecum and are eventually formed into cecotropes. The rabbit will need to eat these cecotropes and redigest them to gain all the proteins and nutrients that are available in their food.
How much do rabbits poop?
Not all rabbits poop the same amount every day, since rabbits come in so many different sizes. However, you can usually expect to find somewhere around 200-300 poops a day. The amount that they poop is, understandably, proportional to how much food they eat. A larger rabbit that needs to eat more food will also end up pooping more.
How frequently do rabbits poop?
There is a funny myth out there that rabbits can’t control their dropping at all. The idea is that a rabbit will walk around continually leaving dropping in a trail behind them. This myth probably came about because rabbits do leave droppings scattered around. This is one way they claim their territory, but it’s not as frequent as the myth makes it sound. Once a rabbit has been spayed or neutered, this behavior will often disappear completely.
Instead, rabbits will usually poop a number of hours after they have eaten. Studies have shown that larger particles of food, such as chewed up hay, will pass through their digestive tract much faster than smaller particles, such as chewed up pellets. You can expect that if the rabbit eats a large amount of hay in the morning, they will produce a large amount of fecal poops around 5 hours later, while the cecotropes will take much longer to be ready for redigestion.
How to deal with all the poop!
We’ve confirmed that it’s common and healthy for rabbits to poop a lot. That doesn’t mean it’s pleasant to find little poop balls all around the house. While rabbit poop is not very smelly or even gross, it can still find its way to unwanted places. Luckily there are some easy steps you can take to keep the poop problem under control.
Litter train your rabbit
The most effective thing you can do to keep your rabbit’s poop in check is to litter train them. This keeps all their poop in one place. All you have to do is scoop out the litter box every day.
Litter training a rabbit may seem like a daunting task, but most rabbits are very clean and quick to pick up the habit. Like cats, rabbits will usually prefer to keep their bathroom in one place. You just need to help them learn to make the association between the litter box and their bathroom.
Get your rabbit spayed or neutered
Getting a rabbit spayed or neutered will help with a number of health and behavioral problems. An altered rabbit is much less likely to spray urine around the house, and they are less likely to scatter their poops around to claim their territory.
This decrease in territorial behavior will also improve your rabbit’s litter training skills. If you are having trouble training your rabbit to use a litter box, the first step to take is bringing your rabbit to the vet to get them spayed or neutered.
Use an easy to clean enclosure
The other way to keep poop from getting everywhere is by cleaning your rabbits enclosure more often. This can be a pain with some cages. You almost have to disassemble some cages in order to get them properly cleaned. This is one of the reasons I recommend using a rabbit playpen as a primary enclosure. It is very easy to move the gates aside and vacuum up any mess.
Why you should keep track of your rabbit’s poop
It’s important to keep an eye on your rabbit’s dropping on a daily basis. A change in the amount, size, and shape of a rabbit’s poop can tell you a lot about the state of their health. Even if the rabbit is showing no other signs of sickness, a change in their droppings can alert you to any potential illnesses.
- No poop: If a rabbit has not pooped at all in the past 10-12 hours then it should be treated like an emergency situation. This is a sign that their digestive tract has stopped working.
- Small poop: If a rabbit’s poops are consistently smaller than usual, then it’s an early sign that they are experiencing some kind of pain or stress.
- Deformed poop: Deformed poops are usually a bad sign. They indicate that the rabbit is not eating enough for their dropping to form into the regular balls. However if a rabbit is recovering from surgery, this can be a good sign because it means their digestive tract is on the road to recovery.
- Double poop: This happens when a rabbit’s digestive tract slows down a little, causing two or more poops to collide into each other as they are being formed. A couple of these poops are nothing to worry about, but if you see a large number of them in your rabbits litter box, it can be an early indication of sickness.
- Mucus in poop: It is not common to find mucus in rabbit poop. When it is present, mucus may mean that your rabbit is suffering from some sort of parasite in their digestive tract.
- Mushy poop: Diarrhea is not healthy in rabbits and should be treated as an emergency.
Feed your rabbit a healthy diet for healthy poops
Because a rabbit’s digestion is so important to their health, you’ll need to pay close attention to the food they eat. Too much sugary starch with too little fiber could easily cause your rabbit’s gut to slow down. To keep your rabbit’s digestion moving along at a normal pace, you’ll need to give them a healthy and balanced diet:
- Hay: Rabbits should always be supplied with an unlimited supply of hay. Grass-based hay (such as timothy hay) has a high amount of fiber, which is great for keeping a rabbit’s digestion going. You’ll want to make sure your rabbit has access to hay all day long so they can keep munching and pooping the day away.
- Leafy greens: Fresh leafy greens are also high in fiber and are good for your rabbit’s digestion. Give your rabbit 1-2 cups of leafy greens a day. This will give them a more balanced diet and help them get the nutrients they need.
- Pellets: While not essential, pellets can add some vitamins and nutrients to a rabbit’s diet. However, these are not the best for keeping a rabbits digestion moving along and should not make up the bulk of their diet. Keep daily pellets to ¼ to ½ a cup per day.
- Treats: It’s okay to give your rabbit a little bit of sugary treats (such as apple, banana, or carrots), but if you give them too much it can mess with their digestion and cause their gut to slow down. Try to keep daily treats to less than 1 tablespoon.
How do you litter train a rabbit?
Rabbits are very clean animals and will usually pick a corner of their enclosure to use as their bathroom. Start by putting the litter box in this chosen corner and moving some of the rabbit’s poops into the box. When letting the rabbit out of their enclosure, add a couple of extra litter boxes to the exercise area until your rabbit gets the hang of using the boxes.
What does rabbit pee tell you about their health?
Normal rabbit urine can span anywhere from a yellow color to a golden orange. Red, brown, or white pee are worth looking into, but these could also be perfectly normal for a rabbit. The real danger comes if you see small sand-like particles or blood in the pee, since these can be an indication of bladder sludge or urinary tract infections.
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- Becker, Marty DVM. “Get the Hop on Bunny Digestive Problems.” VetStreet. June 26, 2014. http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/get-the-hop-on-bunny-digestive-problems.
- Harrimen, Marrinell and Harvey, Carolynn DVM. “Digestibility in the Rabbit Diet.” House Rabbit Society. https://rabbit.org/journal/3-3/digestibility.html.
- Karr-Lilienthal, Lisa Ph.D. “The Digestive System of the Rabbit.” Companion Animals. August 21, 2019. https://companion-animals.extension.org/the-digestive-system-of-the-rabbit.
- Meredith, Anna DVM. “The Rabbit Digestive System: A Delicate Balance.” Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund. 2010. http://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/article-ROWinter10p7.pdf.
- Taylor, Christine Ph.D. “Guide to Bunny Poops.” Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter, www.bunssb.org/bunnies/guide-bunny-poops.
Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. She helps to socialize the rabbits and educate volunteers on the care and behavior of these small mammals.
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What You Need To Know About Your Rabbits’ Poo
We’d probably all prefer not to think about our rabbits’ poo. But faeces can provide important clues about your rabbit’s health. What does healthy rabbit poo look like? And what should you do if your rabbit’s faeces don’t look right?
We’ll talk about these questions and more. But first, please note that we’re not veterinarians at Home and Roost. This article is not intended to replace veterinary advice.
Why Rabbit Poop?
A rabbit has a complex digestive tract. A rabbit’s digestive tract is also delicate, and can get upset quite easily. And problems like diarrhea and gas, which are minor annoyances for us, can turn deadly for rabbits in a very short time.
Changes in droppings can provide a rabbit owner with an early warning system for a variety of digestive tract problems. So it’s important to know what healthy poo looks like, and how to spot signs of potential trouble.
What Should Rabbit Poop Look Like?
Generally speaking, what goes in the top comes out the bottom. But a rabbit’s digestive tract is a bit more complicated than that.
Rabbits produce two types of faeces: hard fecal pellets and softer cecotropes. Different processes lead to each, and each has its own purpose.
More on that in a bit.
Size and Shape
Rabbit fecal pellets are usually round. They’re usually a bit smaller than a chickpea.
Cecotropes are also round. You may see them sticking together like a cluster of grapes.
Pellets are harder than cecotropes. However, they shouldn’t be super-hard. You should be able to squish a pellet between your thumb and forefinger with a small amount of effort.
Cecotropes should be soft, sticky, and squishy.
A rabbit’s poo should be medium green, dark green, dark brown, or almost black.
Cecotropes tend to be brown. They also have a glossy surface.
This might surprise you. A rabbit typically produces between 200 and 300 pellets per day! And while this may be a chore to deal with, if you’re a gardener this “black gold” can be an unexpected gift.
What Does Bunny Poop Mean?
Your rabbit’s “output” can be a valuable clue to what’s going on inside. Here’s how to read your rabbit’s poo.
If your rabbit’s poo is on the darker side, it could mean that he or she is getting too much protein in their food.
Orchard hay is a protein-rich type of hay, which is great for the needs of baby rabbits. It could, however, be too rich for some full-grown adults.
If you’re feeding orchard hay, try switching to Timothy hay for forty-eight hours. The poops should become lighter and the hay content more visible over time.
Hair in Faeces
Rabbits groom themselves and each other. It should come as no surprise that they swallow a bit of hair in the process. And it’s also completely normal for that hair to exit through the bottom.
If you’re seeing a lot of hair, or poops linked by hair, try feeding your rabbit more fresh greens. This will both increase your rabbit’s dietary fibre intake and help to keep them hydrated. And these things will help their gut to keep moving along at a healthy pace.
Poops Stuck Together in Twos
If you’re seeing “doubles,” it could mean that your rabbit’s gut isn’t moving food through as quickly as it should. If you see a lot of doubles, and it continues, it’s time to speak to your vet.
Soft Faeces, Diarrhea
Soft faeces — not diarrhea — is often dietary. Some causes include:
- Sudden dietary changes
- Too many sugary foods, such as fruit
- Too much protein in the diet
- Not enough dietary fibre
- Dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut bacteria)
True diarrhea, however, is both rare and dangerous. It’s also painful, and the resulting dehydration can become very serious very quickly. True diarrhea is also often a symptom of a serious underlying condition, such as:
- A parasitic infection like Coccidiosis
- Certain types of cancer
- Poison exposure
If your rabbit has diarrhea, you need to seek veterinary help immediately.
Small, Round Poop
There are two main causes for noticeably smaller, round poops.
The first cause is stress. If your rabbit has experienced a stressful event, this may be one result. The poops should go back to normal within a few hours.
If your rabbit continually produces small poops, however, it may be a sign of chronic pain. It could also be the sign of an intestinal blockage. If you suspect a blockage, you need to see your vet as soon as possible.
Small, Misshapen Poop
Small, misshapen poops can mean that your rabbit isn’t eating enough. This may happen after a stressful event like a surgery. It could also mean your rabbit has a mouth or dental problem.
If your rabbit isn’t eating normally, it’s a good idea to speak to the vet.
Not Enough Poop
If you notice a sudden drop in “production,” it’s important to contact your vet.
GI Stasis is a painful condition that can turn deadly in a matter of hours. One common cause is an intestinal blockage. Stress and dental pain can also cause stasis. Dysbiosis, that is an imbalance in gut bacteria, can also lead to GI stasis
Mucus in or around the faeces can be a sign of digestive irritation. Digestive irritation is common after a course of antibiotics, for example. You might also see it if your rabbit has eaten something new that didn’t agree with them.
Excessive mucus, however, can be the sign of a cecal impaction, parasites, or another serious problem. If you observe a lot of mucus, or persistent mucous, you need to call the vet.
Are Rabbits Supposed to Poop a Lot?
Short answer? Yes.
Rabbits typically produce between 200 and 300 pellets per day. It’s a sign that their digestive system is working well.
However, if your rabbit suddenly starts pooping more than usual, or if their poops change in size, shape, or consistency, a trip to the vet may be in order.
Although the bacteria in rabbit poop is beneficial for them and for your garden, it’s still important to keep the enclosure clean and in good condition. Spot clean your rabbit’s litter box daily. And check your rabbit’s fur, especially around the bottom, for feces and urine.
Dry off any urine on your rabbit’s fur, and make sure that their bedding is dry as well.
Keeping your rabbit’s fur clean and dry will help to ward off flystrike.
Can You Overfeed a Rabbit?
Like all of us, rabbits love to eat. That means they can eat more than is good for them. And, just like all of us, they love foods that aren’t necessarily the best for them.
Most rabbits love pellets. But pellets are high in calories. They were developed to help meat rabbits to bulk up. And if you feed your pet rabbits too many pellets, that will bulk them up, too.
The House Rabbit Society recommends feeding adult rabbits no more than one-quarter to one-half cup of high quality pellets per six pounds of body weight, per day. They should, however, have 24-hour access to as much fresh hay as they will eat.
Hay contains all of the nutrients your rabbit needs. It also helps rabbits’ digestion to stay regular.
Why Do Rabbits Eat Their Poo?
You might have noticed that rabbits have a habit of snacking on their cecotropes.
Don’t worry! It’s not only common, it’s natural and beneficial. It’s nature’s way of making sure that no nutrient goes wasted.
What are cecotropes, again?
It all comes down to rabbits’ complex digestion processes.
First, the body divides food into three categories. The nutrients get absorbed, the waste is expelled, and a third group, which contains hard-to-access nutrients is subjected to a second digestion.
This digestion takes place in the caecum, where fermentation extracts even more nutrients.
Cecotropes are the by-product of cecal digestion. But the process isn’t finished yet!
Once the second round of digestion is finished, the cecotropes pass out the bottom. This generally happens at night, and your rabbit will often eat them at night. So you may never notice the process happening at all.
Eating cecotropes provides your rabbit with much-needed nutrients, particularly protein and B vitamins.
So, while it may seem disgusting to us, eating cecotropes is actually a healthy and necessary part of your rabbit’s diet.
Can You Compost Rabbit Droppings?
And it makes an amazing fertiliser, too.
Horse dung is a traditional fertilizer. For many people today it’s still the go-to choice for natural, organic fertilizer.
But a rabbit’s diet is very similar to that of a horse: hay, grass, and the occasional apple. This means that the stool is also similar in chemical composition.
Specifically, rabbit droppings are high in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. And every gardener knows how important those are.
Composting rabbit poo is easy. Simply add it to your compost pile, along with equal amounts of wood shavings and straw.
And if you don’t want to go to all that trouble, you can also use your bunny’s droppings directly in your garden.
Who knew there was so much to know about poo?
Your rabbit’s droppings are a reflection of their diet and general health. Keeping an eye on their shape, size, colour, and consistency can help you to spot problems that you might have missed otherwise.
Rabbit droppings also make an excellent, organic, all-natural fertilizer.
Did you learn anything you didn’t know? Is there something about rabbit poo that we forgot to mention? Tell us all about it!
3 thoughts on “What You Need To Know About Your Rabbits’ Poo”
Hi Janice, one of my Bunnies is 10 years old and we were having the same problem when she reached about 7 or 8. Our vet was of the view that she is suffering from Arthritis in her hips and possibly her spine and that it had become too painful for her to reach underneath to clean herself. She had turned quite aggressive too but has been much better since being medicated with a regular pain killer. The problem resolved for a long while but we also think her bunny partner was helping to keep her clean. Recently, the problem has returned a little but she is much older now and as it is only a very small amount, I am not worried about it at this stage. I may have to resort trimming her fur if it gets worse as I don’t think she will tolerate being washed and dried regularly at her age. Dog groomers are a good place to go if you don’t wish to trim fur yourself.
This, however, doesn’t appear to be an age related problem for you, but you might want to watch him when his grooming himself to see if he can or is trying to clean himself underneath. Like humans, there is always a chance that he has something going on that is restricting his mobility either in his spine or hips that is not visible, so it might not be the case that he is a lazy bunny who has stayed a teenager and doesn’t like washing!
Otherwise, I would recommend seeking advice from a vet who has a special interest in rabbits or a practice that deals with exotic animals,(yes, bunnies are classed as exotic) as in my experience a lot of ‘run of the mill’ vets don’t really know very much beyond the basics about bunnies. Reply
My bunny is peeling a lot nd drinking a lot of water but its poop looks fine its per is a copper color tho nd its shaking its head a lot nd humming around a lot nd flopping down a lot 2 is that normal Reply
My rabbit will be 1 in July he hasn’t always been a big hay eater but ate what he wanted but for the last week he will not touch it, he is eating everything else. I bought him fibre sticks I give him 2 a day he will nibble some grass I have bought all different kinds of hay dried grass hay bale things he will eat forage pellets and greens I have cut back on pellets. But when he is pooping they are dishaped and links together. I’m lost in what to do Reply
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Jess Faraday is a longtime bunny lover and a mom to a succession of rescue rabbits. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience and hopes that it will make the world a better place for bunnies