Monitoring Your Rabbits Weight

I should think most owners worry “Is my rabbit too fat?” or “Is my rabbit to thin?” at some point. Rabbits’ weight can be quite difficult to judge as their fluffy coats hide their shape well. I thought Gypsy was looking a little thin, which is unusual as her lionhead fluff generally makes her look a little round.

The answer to weight worries is to pop your rabbit on the scales. If your rabbit hasn’t been weighed recently then I’d recommend you do so now and note it down somewhere. Weighing a rabbit is fairly easy. You can use normal kitchen or bathroom scales (bathroom scales usually go up higher – handy if you’ve got a giant, but kitchen scales are generally more accurate). If your rabbit won’t sit still then pop them in a bowl or in their carrier (subtract the weight of the carrier afterwards).

It’s important to compare your rabbits weight to their normal healthy weight not a breed estimate. Rabbits of the same breed can vary greatly in weight. For example, the UK breed standard weight for a Lionhead is between 1.37kg and 1.7kg (3lb – 3lb 12oz).  A lionhead with a healthy weight at the top end of that range could lose 20% of their body weight and still weigh in within the ‘standard’ range, but that much weight loss would make them significantly underweight.

Of course not all rabbits fit the standard to start with, even pedigree rabbits can be too big or too small and pet rabbits vary even more as they are often cross breeds. Gypsy had a vet check up a month ago and weighed in a just under 2kg, too high according to the breed standard but a healthy weight for her according to the vet.  Once you know your rabbits normal weight you can then reweigh them regularly as part of your normal health monitoring. As we all know, rabbits are good at hiding illness and weight loss can sometimes be the first clue to a problem. Likewise, rabbits are also prone to weight gain and monitoring your rabbits weight can help you adjust their diet before any gain becomes excessive.

Gypsy weighed in at 1.66kg so will be visiting the vet to find out what has caused the sudden loss.

Update: Unfortunately, it’s not good news from the vet. Gypsy has, what the vet believes is a cancerous mass in her stomach. At eight years old we’re not going to try anything dramatic and invasive so she has Metacam and we’ll monitor whilst feeding her lots of scrummy things and see how she goes.

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4 Responses to “Monitoring Your Rabbits Weight”

  1. Annette says:

    I always keep a good eye on my two’s weight. I never weigh them but with patting I get to know their shape and that gives me a good idea about their condition, and ofcourse if they are off colour. I’ve never had a problem with over feeding even though they have pellets to the brim 24hrs a day, fresh veggies on tap and unlimited fresh hay. Even eating non stop can be boring 🙂
    email me, maybe I can help Gypsy? I have some experience in that area, sending her my love xxx

  2. D. Moll says:

    Do you put Scamp in that kitchen bowl? Sorry to hear about Gypsy……I sort of eyeball and palpate my bunnies for weight issues. Sydney has been accused of being too fat, I think she looks pretty good now. We really go for minimal pellets, plenty of greens twice a day and always hay. No bun is thin…. When I first got a house rabbit the bun was a baby and I just free fed her because I was used to cats,,,,,err she grew up to be 15 pounds. That was her overweight weight, but her good weight was about 12……

  3. Oh Gypsy! Sorry to hear about her cancer. Crossing all fingers and paws here for her. I’ve been learning a lot about rabbit weight myself this week, having just got used to having a tiny Netherlands dwarf (Buttons) who is just over 1kg, and with Big Bella arriving at 2.7kgs… it’s interesting to watch the differences in their food intake. Bella seems really greedy next to Buttons, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on both of them to make sure Buttons is getting his share, and Bella isn’t getting fat!

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Gypsy!! We send her our best thoughts for recovery and comfort.

    Great post about weight. I’ve only had rabbits for about two and a half years, and of course, after tons of reading, I learned that it’s unhealthy for a rabbit to be overweight. so I limited their food intake, but what’s a healthy weight for MY rabbit? It’s hard to tell, because part of what makes rabbits so cute is that they’re sort of naturally rotund and curvy. It can also be kind of hard to factor in your rabbit’s coat type. My rabbits kind of look the same in terms of fur length, but Sogna’s fur is actually a lot longer so she looks fatter. So, I basically get the update from my vet at our annual visits and go from there.

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