Rabbit Poop 101
The poop dish or liter dish
of your rabbit should be checked daily for any tell tale signs that
your is in poor health or having a health issue. Their is alot to know
about rabbit poop and some is gross and some is just well not so
interesting, it's poop after all.
Here is the gross
stuff. Rabbits create two kinds of poop - fecal pellet and cecotrope.
A fecal pellet is mainly undigested hay or food, has no or little
smell, is round or roundish maybe oval, and normally dark brown in
color. Sorta looks like cocoa puff cereal. The are hard to the touch.
These are usually in the poop or liter dish or scattered here and there
through out your house. Remember they can't really control not pooping
a little pellet here or there so please be understanding.
Then we have the cecotrope. The cecotrope is composed of nutrients
from the rabbits digestion that is meant to be eaten a second time to
get the necessary nutrition a rabbit requires. Yes you understood me -
they eat this type of poop. Think about it, ever see your rabbit bent
over forward doing something that looks like cleaning or something? Think they
were cleaning themselves? Then hmmm, oh yes, you thought they were
eating something? Yes they eat the cecotrope right from their anus.
This is called coprophagy, I recently learned. Some rabbits will not eat their cecotropes in the presence of a human
but hide the process from you. The cecotrope is dark brown or dark
reddish brown. Resembles a bunch of grapes pressed together tightly
with a shiny white coating of mucus over it. They have a strong odor to
them and are mushy.
If your rabbits poop looks like
string of pearls, sorta held together by a poop string, that is
undigested hay or hair and is normally no reason for concern.
Since I am not expert at rabbit poop and don't want to be, click here to read The Mystery of Rabbit Poop written by Dana Krempels, PhD.YOU REALLY MUST READ THIS TO KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR RABBITS POOP DISH.
Some common poop issues are:
Runny Stool or Diarrhea - most common in baby rabbits and they need to be seen by a vet. Adult rabbits rarely have diarrhea.
Mushy or Runny poop - caused by unbalanced diet
Please take the time to read The Mystery of Rabbit Poop it covers all this and much more.
To find out about these common health problems that can be detected by your rabbits poop, please read The Mystery of Rabbit Poop.
How weaning too young can cause runny stools in baby rabbits.
Runny stool in adult rabbits may be caused by Obesity or Arthritis
Starch rich diets or fiber poor diets
Other hidden issues such as dental issues, urinary tract disorders, upper respiratory infections and Head Tilt
Please read the pdf The Mystery of Rabbit Poop for more information on these matters written by Dana Kermpels, Ph.D..
You can't talk about poop and not mention how rabbits will mark their territory. When you have multiple rabbits not living as one family this can become a problem - like a Poop War!
I have a male/female bonded pair of rabbits - Dino and Gracie. Then I have a single bunny Baby. These guys are all always pooping to mark parts of the house as theirs. This happens every day, multiple times per day. It is a constant clean up poop zone for us.
Rabbits will urinate, poop or chin (or all of the above) to mark their territory and claim it as theirs. That is okay except when you have to live in the middle of it. All 3 of them will poop and urinate in the same places every day. At times it looks like a poop war battlefield. Even tho I clean up all poop and urine before letting the next bunny out, it does not matter. They are scent marking as a warning to other bunnies. Baby is the funniest at this because I've had her now for almost 4 years and she is not threatened by Gracie and Dino being in the house. Now if they ever got lose I am sure I would have some seriously injured bunnies since Gracie and Baby hate each other. But Baby will leave like 4 little tiny poop pellets and then when Gracie and Dino come out and find it - the war begins. They start pooping everywhere. I mean the poop is just falling out their butt, like a waterfall, while they run and prance around the living room leaving a trail of poop where ever they go. Once Dino came into the house Gracie seems to have gotten worse. My husband says it's because Gracie has a man to protect now so that Baby doesn't take him away. Well Baby could have been bonded to Dino first but didn't want to be with Dino and lucky for Dino, Gracie just loves him. From all that I've heard I think I will always have this poop war to contend with. I never see any really let up in the marking, it's daily and it's multiple times per day. It does seem to be worse than others at different times of the year. If only they could grow out of this naughty behavior but I don't think they ever will.
Random poops here and there will be a fact of life living with a pet rabbit. They don't have the control to hold and release their poop like a human can. And so since they eat so much and so often, they will always be hopping around and loosing a few poops here and there. Just remember bunny parents - it's not their fault and they can't help it so please don't get mad. Thanks for understanding and accepting them for how they are!
I would like to mention that when you bun is on a medication, his or her poop may be different than normal. This is okay while they are taking meds. The poop can change shape, size, color and consistency. This is common. See my Gracie's Cancer page for more details.
We love our Dino very much but he has poopie butt --- or at least this is what we call it. We use to worry that he had something wrong with him. Like intestinal or stomach issues because he would have a clump of poop stuck to his butt. Not fun! We would clean it off or cut it off sometimes from his fur, then back it would be again. We took him to the vet and had his poop tested and it came back fine. The vet explained that he just might not be consistently eating his ceco pellets and they may come out of his butt, collect and then get matted into his fur giving him poopie butt. Now Dino is a big boy for his size, chunky you might say. The vet suspects it might be hard for him to bend over to eat his ceco pellets causing this issue. We cut down on the amount of pellets he is getting and give him more hay. I switched from Timothy Hay to Orchard Hay since my buns like it best. So we check him for poopie butt as often as we can. Sometimes he is fine, and other times it's clean Dino's butt day.
Signs of poopie butt are clumps of fur with poop attached just laying around. So picture a clump or ball of poop (in weird shapes too) with fur stuck to it or sticking out of one side. This means that your bun has poopie butt and has chewed his or her fur off to get the poop clump detached. These can cause discomfort to you bun if they have one so please be on the watch for this. They will be less activate if they have poopie butt as moving around hurts from where the wad is pulling and tugging at their fur.
Here are some tips for cleaning up your bun's butt if poopie.
1. Since Dino is little (about 5 - 6 pounds) we put lukewarm water in the bathroom sink and hold him up so just his butt and hind legs are on the bottom of the bowl. We help hold him up and allow his front paws to rest on the side of the sink so he is upright.
2. We will allow his butt to soak for a few minutes. Normally the poop begins to dissolve pretty quickly once submerged in the water. I will gently loosen what I can from his butt while he is in the sink. Be very careful about this as if you tug at the poop it will pull the fur and hurt the bunny. This might sound scary to have a human hand around your butt, but Dino is very use to this - he realizes we are cleaning him up and he knows what to expect.
3. After you have loosened what you can, then wrap the bun in a towel, leaving his head and front paws out and dry off his bottom, really, really, really good. NOTE: once you let him out of the towel, we will give his rear a shake and any water will go everywhere so be warned.
4. Now keep him in the towel and invert the bun onto it's back as if you were holding him like you would a human baby. Check around his butt for any remaining clumps of fur. If you can, gently tease it out of the fur, by carefully holding the fur attached to the poop and pulling the poop clump away. You can also try to cut it away by cutting the fur with a small pair of scissors. Be really careful when cutting as to not cut the bun or his or her private parts.
I hope you find this information helpful and can help rid your bun of poopie butt!