Sometimes the drying of cut grass is artificially sped up. This reduces the loss of nutrients giving it a higher nutritional value than hay. Grass dried in this way is usually labelled as 'barn dried hay' or 'dried grass'. The quick drying process tends to leave it greener looking and slightly higher protein (12-14%) than hay - more like fresh grass. That's not a problem, but if your rabbit is particularly senstive to diet changes then introduce it gradually, and overweight rabbits might benefit from mixing standard hay with it. Most rabbits find it very tasty so it's a good choice if your rabbit's a reluctant hay eater.
Other than Alfalfa, all of the other types of hay I've mentioned are suitable for feeding as the hay portion of your rabbits diet. For most rabbits the subtle variations in nutritional values make little difference. The best hay for your rabbit is simply the one he or she prefers to eat a lot of. If your rabbit isn't too fussy then feeding a mix of grass varieties will provide a range of flavours and even out and vitamin/mineral differences. It also means your rabbit will be less upset if one brand becomes difficult to aquire.
There a two main ways to buy hay, either as bales from a farm, stables or feed store, or packaged for the retail market - like the branded bags you see in pet shops. If you have room to store it or many rabbits to feed, buying hay by the bale is generally much cheaper and can be just as good quality as expensive branded hay. A typical square bale of hay is 20-30kg and will cost around 5-15 (depending on the type of hay and where you live), which works out less than 75p per kg. If you buy packaged hay, you are paying for the brand, the packaging, the transportation and the retailers markup however, it may be more convenient to find and good brands have quality control that help ensure consistency.
Despite the importance of hay, many rabbits are reluctant to eat it. This often stems from the availability of tasty but less healthy food, which can develop bad eating habits in young rabbits that can be difficult to change in later life. Not eating hay is a major factor in dental disease and illnesses relating to the gut, so putting in some hard work to encourage your rabbit to eat more has real health benefits. Here are some tips to encourage your rabbit to eat more hay:
I'm Tamsin, and I like rabbits, such as Scamp at the top there. He's a wild rabbit I hand reared. As well as writing a blog and book about rabbits, I run a site that promotes UK rabbit rescues (which incidentally is how I ended up with Scamp).
The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.
I have been buying the Kaytee timothy hay 48oz bag at Walmart for right at $7 but have also been getting Oxbow alfalfa hay 15oz for around $6 at Petsmart. Since having 5 rabbits now I am going through hay like crazy. The Oxbow brand hay looks so much better quality then the Kaytee timothy hay I have been getting. Where does everyone get their hay online for the cheapest price
Timothy hay is a perennial grass which means it comes back every year. It grows best in a specific climate found in high altitudes. This is where you will find harsh winters and summers. This hay likes hot and cold drama.
Timothy hay needs a long spring with lots of rainy days mixed in with days of full sun. And then if the summer gets too hot, the hay may go dormant. So the perfect spring goes to waste. Growing perfect Timothy hay for rabbits is not for the faint of heart!
Once you get that perfect Timothy growing in the fields, farmers can actually cut the hay up to 3 times throughout the growing season. Each cutting yields different results. This is where you get options.
3rd cutting Timothy Hay is perfect for senior rabbits and rabbits who need to gain weight. If you have a very picky rabbit, 3rd cutting might be a good option. Some rabbits prefer soft hay and they turn their nose up at the coarser textures of the earlier cuttings.
Timothy hay is high in fiber and low in protein and calcium. Too much calcium gives a rabbit problems with their kidneys and bladder. And fiber is what keeps their whole system running. The nutrient content of Timothy hay is ideal for rabbits.
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.
Any change in eating habits can be a sign of illness in rabbits. If your rabbit used to eat their hay without complaining and only recently started to turn their nose up, then they may need medical attention. The same is true if your rabbit used to eat their pellets every day, but suddenly refuses to eat them.
For most rabbits, the hay is the least appetizing part of their diet. They would much rather munch on pellets, leafy greens, or sweet treats. If they have enough of these other foods available they will gladly forgo the hay.
For some reason rabbits like to munch and poop at the same time. Placing the hay trough near the litter box can be a way to encourage your rabbit to eat it while they are using the bathroom. If your rabbit is struggling with their litter box habits, this little trick might actually help to improve those too.
Rabbits should also receive fresh veggies every single day. There are a variety of healthy and safe veggies that you can feed your rabbits. Bunnies love veggies and they help provide all the vitamins and nutrients rabbits need to be healthy.
Finally, many owners choose to feed their rabbits a small amount of healthy pellets each day. There is some debate about whether pellets are really necessary for rabbits, but I personally choose to feed a small amount. . You can learn more about healthy rabbit pellets in this article! And of course, rabbits should have fresh water at all times
Rabbits need to be eating pretty much constantly. Their digestive systems are designed to be constantly moving with high fiber plant material. Wild rabbits will be constantly eating grass, so our pet rabbits need to be constantly eating hay. If a rabbit does not have enough fiber-rich food moving through its system, its digestive system will slow down and can eventually stop. This leads to GI stasis, which can be life-threatening!
Timothy has is the most popular type of hay fed to rabbits and other small pets. It provides the proper nutritional content and nutrients that rabbits need and has high fiber content. There are different cuts of timothy hay that affect the nutrition, but in general timothy hay is a good choice.
The main thing to remember when feeding hay to rabbits is that you want them to have access to as much fresh and clean hay to eat at all times. Whatever way you can do that, that works for your rabbits is just fine!
Hay is grown outdoors in the wild. We make every effort to insure its quality when shipped. However it is possible to find foreign materials and such as weeds, blossoms and other grasses present in hay shipped. For the safety of your rabbits, always inspect your hay before feeding, and make sure it is safe to consume.
There are many misconceptions about what rabbits should eat, including the myths that rabbits need lots of carrots and lettuce, as well as regular portions of commercial food. In fact, while carrots are fine as an occasional treat, rabbits don't actually eat fruit or vegetables in the wild.
Hay isn't just bedding. Fresh, dust-free hay should be your rabbit's main source of food and you should make sure they have access to it at all times. Eating lots of hay or grass helps wear down rabbits' constantly growing teeth and keeps their tummies healthy. It also allows foraging and grazing, which are important natural behaviours.
You can feed darker, more leafy and fibrous varieties (e.g. romaine lettuce) to your rabbit, as these are higher in fibre and actual nutrients. Introduce them gradually, as large amounts of lettuce can cause tummy upsets for rabbits not used to it.
Aside from having unlimited access to hay and water, your bunny should be fed twice a day, preferably at times a rabbit would naturally like to graze and forage: morning and late afternoon or evening. Once you have established regular feeding times, try to stick to the schedule as rabbits like predictability and it reduces their stress levels.
Our Meadow Hay is an excellent for foraging and a good source of fibre. It provides not only a source of dental wear, by encouraging natural chewing behaviour, but also environmental enrichment, mimicking a natural habitat. It is very palatable for rabbits, guinea pigs, degus, chinchillas and all small herbivores, keeping them amused and foraging all day. It is also dust-extracted to help prevent respiratory and other problems.
Yes, rabbits can sleep on straw bedding. Rabbits can actually sleep on hay or straw, but as we mentioned above, straw is warmer bedding for rabbits than hay, keeping your bunny more comfortable in the winter months.
Keeping a fresh, clean layer of straw bedding down for your rabbits will also cut out the damp and dirty environment that insects (e.g. flies) love. Bugs are also attracted to damp spaces, leaving room for potential insect or bug-related diseases.
This depends, based on several variables: a good rule of thumb is to change the straw bedding for your rabbits at least once every 2-3 days. However, that can be a longer or shorter timeframe, based on the factors listed below. 59ce067264