Eww! Do Rabbits Really Eat Their Own Poop?

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Picture this…you are heading out to visit your new bunny and you catch your furry friend doing something so seemingly disgusting that you want to scold him away from doing such an awful thing. He’s eating his poop!

Eww! Do rabbits really eat their own poop - Natural Rabbit Care

Don’t worry–this is a normal thing for your rabbit. What he is eating is not poop, however, it is a special food that rabbits make for themselves, called cecotropes.

First, the difference.

There are two types of droppings that your rabbit will create on a daily basis, fecal pellets and cecotropes, or cecal pellets. Fecal pellets are their normal droppings, what we would call poop, and they are spherical and dry. Cecal pellets, however, are much different in shape and consistency. They resemble a small, black cluster of grapes, are quite shiny, and unlike fecal pellets, a bit gooey if broken apart.

Eww! Do Rabbits Really Eat Their Own Poop? - Natural Rabbit Care

What are cecotropes?

Cecotropes are a nutrient-dense, vital part of your rabbit’s nutrition. They contain all of the nutrients and vitamins that were not absorbed by your rabbit’s body in the first pass-through, which makes them an important component to your rabbit’s diet. They are highly necessary to your rabbit’s nutrition because they have essential nutrients (like fatty acids and vitamins) that a rabbit’s body cannot produce on its own. They pass through the system and out the anus, which is what makes it appear that our furry friends are eating their own droppings.

Eww! Do Rabbits Really Eat Their Own Poop? - Natural Rabbit Care

Ensuring your rabbit eats his cecotropes

Now that you know what you are looking at when you discover those funny little “poops” in your rabbit’s hutch tray, you might wonder if your rabbit is eating them at all. Finding multiple clusters of cecotropes in the tray is normal, as their bodies seem to manufacture much more than they need. It is in your rabbits genes to eat them, and they will do it on their own without our intervention.

Having said that, there are a couple of ways that we can make the process much easier for our bunnies.

  1. Feed them properly. Make sure that you are only giving your rabbit the recommended amounts of feed for her size and weight. Feeding too much or continuously will result in an overweight rabbit that cannot groom herself, let alone reach her cecal pellets to consume them.
  2. Add hay to his hutch. Adding a thin layer of hay will give your bunny a better chance to consume his cecal pellets by creating a situation where the pellets cannot easily fall through the wire flooring.

So as you can see, there is nothing to be alarmed about when your rabbit appears to be dining on his own droppings. It is the natural way of things and is actually a reason to feel encouraged–your rabbit is doing everything right!

Source and for further reading:
The Scoop on Poop – San Diego HRS

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Kristi Stone

Writer at The Mind to Homestead
Kristi is a homeschooling mom of three and a native Californian and lives in Riverside County, Southern California where she and her husband garden and care for their 7 fruit trees, 2 chickens, 3 rabbits, 2 dogs, and 3 cats – all on .18 of an acre. Eventually Kristi’s family would love to move to a larger parcel of land, but for now, they are contented to learn all about homesteading right where they are at, as Kristi ekes out every bit of knowledge she can and blogs about much of it at her website, The Mind to Homestead.

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  1. Thank you for the info on my rabbits. I am still learning. I have 2 male mini loops. One has a spot that stays wet under his eye, not right under it, just a little ways down. I was told he could have gotten stuck with hay but don’t know for sure. Is there something I can put under the eye? No soars or scratches just stays wet. I was told they had to be separated at a certain age which I did. They can still see each other & play but not get to each others they have their own house wit a eating/living area & a bedroom/bathroom area & they have their own yard fenced & covered. I love spending time with them. Should they have a certain size yard? I have them, a cat, 2 dogs 4hens & 2 roosters & working on my fence for my horses on 75 acres. The rabbits fenced area will be in the area with the horses, will that be okay? Thank you for any help!

    • Kristi Stone says:

      Hi Pam~ Is the wet spot an injury that you can see? If so, I’d give it a spray with Vetericyn to clean it out and see if that clears it up within a week or so. Is the eye itself runny? If so, that could be a completely different thing. Either way, the Vetericyn should help, and it doesn’t hurt if you spray into the eyes. I’ve used it for my bunny’s double eye infection and it cleared up the issue within hours, really. Great stuff.

      It sounds like you have a wonderful setup for your rabbits, Pam–very roomy. I was told that their living space should be large enough for them to stand on their hind legs and not touch the roof. I honestly don’t know if that’s true, but I would imagine anything smaller would be very crampy for even smaller rabbits.

      Rabbits often get along well with other animals (besides each other!). Will they be wandering around freely around the horses? I would think that could be dangerous if they were to get under the horses’ hooves, but I’m guessing that I might be misunderstanding your description here.

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