Bunnies can't figure out heated water bottle

Sunnymommy

Chirping
Jul 8, 2017
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We have 2 outdoor rabbits together in the hutch. Previous owner used water bowls. But they are always getting poop and hay etc in them. So we recently put in a regular ball type water bottle and were so excited when they both figured out how to use it. The metal spout freezes fast though so ordered a heated bunny water bottle on amazon. The spout is slightly different with a little stick thing in the middle to move. It moves easily and the water comes out fast but bunnies can't figure it out. Just keep licking the spout. Afraid they are going to dehydrate if we don't put old one back but will never learn if they have that choice. What to do?
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
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They already have figured it out - what's the problem?:idunno Do you expect them to suck on it or something? Rabbits don't do that, they lap when they drink (which means licking).:idunno They lick at the spout, which bumps the little stem in the middle of the valve, letting just a drop or two out at a time.
 
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Sunnymommy

Chirping
Jul 8, 2017
86
35
63
They are sort of just licking the underside. They aren't bumping the little stick on top and aren't getting any water out. ... The ball one drips really easily, basically just touch it at all and get a lot of water out. The new one they need to move that stick...


They already have figured it out - what's the problem?:idunno Do you expect them to suck on it or something? Rabbits don't do that, they lap when they drink (which means licking).:idunno They lick at the spout, which bumps the little stem in the middle of the valve, letting just a drop or two out at a time.
 

Matieus27

Crowing
Oct 13, 2018
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Sallisaw, OK
They are sort of just licking the underside. They aren't bumping the little stick on top and aren't getting any water out. ... The ball one drips really easily, basically just touch it at all and get a lot of water out. The new one they need to move that stick...
When I changed my rabbits water bottles when they went to drink it like they normally would I showed them how the water came out and then they learned how I have two kinds of waterers one is a hose thing connected to a 5 gallon bucket and then the 1 liter type bottles they prefer the 1 liter bottles but they will use the other set up but less often
 

Skye'sDucks

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May 13, 2018
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The 'too much sunshine' sunshine state
I honestly can't remember what I did to get my rabbits used to their new water bottles (I switched over from bowls when I moved them outside), but is there a space in your cage that you can set up a water crock, or a bowl where they can't get anything in it while they get used to the bottle? That way you don't have to worry about them getting dehydrated.

I agree with just showing them how to use it, or I also like the idea that chickens really said about putting some honey on it. You could probably mash some banana on there too for a possibility.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,763
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Wilmington, NC
I have an automatic watering system, so all of my rabbits have to deal with valves. Transitioning from a bottle to a valve has never been a problem - they might bite at the valve if they don't get water out right away, but they pretty quickly figure out how to get the water out. The climate here is mild enough that I seldom have to deal with the system freezing for more than a few hours; when it does, I use bowls/crocks (and have some rabbits that dump them as fast as I can fill them).:barnie

The ball and tube type of bottle does release water more easily, but it works on a vacuum, so it can't be adapted for the heated waterers that fill from the top (plus, the balls are notorious for sticking in the tube, not allowing any water flow at times).

If I had a rabbit that I thought couldn't figure out my water system, I would put a bottle on the cage for a few minutes while I was there to observe. If the rabbit drank eagerly from the bottle, that would indicate to me that it hadn't "gotten" the valve yet; I would do this several times a day to make sure the rabbit didn't get dehydrated. Sooner or later, the rabbit will simply ignore the bottle because it has been getting its water needs met by drinking from the valve.

Since your rabbits have a long history of using a bowl, i suppose you could give them a bowl a few times a day, and keep an eye on the water level on the heated waterer. Since the valves don't drip (unless wear or some foreign matter gets in the way of forming the proper seal), any drop in the water level should indicate that your rabbits are drinking from the waterer. Getting sufficient water is critical during the winter, since rabbits need water to process their food. If they can't drink, they won't eat, and food is the fuel that keeps their bodies warm.

I don't like the idea of putting anything in the valve to try to attract them, particularly anything sweet. We are talking about an environment loaded with bacteria; giving them food and lots of nooks and crannies to grow in sounds like asking for trouble to me. You can take the valve apart to clean it out, of course, but there are small bits that are easy to lose; and finding replacements isn't always easy.:he
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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We have 2 outdoor rabbits together in the hutch. Previous owner used water bowls. But they are always getting poop and hay etc in them. So we recently put in a regular ball type water bottle and were so excited when they both figured out how to use it. The metal spout freezes fast though so ordered a heated bunny water bottle on amazon. The spout is slightly different with a little stick thing in the middle to move. It moves easily and the water comes out fast but bunnies can't figure it out. Just keep licking the spout. Afraid they are going to dehydrate if we don't put old one back but will never learn if they have that choice. What to do?
I tried those waterers too and none of mine would drink out of them either. They are different than the ball system. I gave up and went back to my attached crocks. :confused:
 

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