The Importance of Hay
80% of a rabbit’s diet is hay!
A rabbit’s diet is very important. Many people tend to feed too many pellets to their rabbit, do not offer enough hay, or give them store bought treats that can be very harmful. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unhealthy items out there that are made for rabbits and marketed towards their humans, making the treats and pellets look like candy. The bad thing is that these items are often full of sugar, which can cause health problems in rabbits and can even be deadly.
Hay plays an extremely important part in a rabbit’s diet and should be provided at all times.
It is very important that you have a good reliable source for getting hay for your rabbits.
Hay should be fed unlimited (meaning as much as they want) on a daily basis. We pile litter boxes full, every morning and evening so our buns will get as much as they need. Make sure your rabbit is eating lots of hay! If you are overfeeding pellets, your rabbit will not eat as much hay, so make sure you limit pellets to once a day (1/4 cup per rabbit).
Why hay? Rabbits need fiber to keep their GI tract healthy. Hay plays a very important role in keeping the intestinal tract moving. Rabbits (unlike cats) can not vomit, so everything must pass through their GI tract.
If you notice your rabbit has small poops, large poops, miss happen poops, soft poops that have a bad smell, go to your vet right away. Often these are signs of not enough hay or a poor diet. Your veterinarian should be seen right way as these signs could also be the result of an underlying illness or parasite.
Types of Hay:
- Timothy Hay: This is great hay to be fed unlimited on a daily basis. Lots of nice stems with great color and smell.
- 3-Way Hay: This is a blend of oat, wheat, and barley. Buns love it!
- Oat Hay: Great hay! Bunnies love the seed heads.
- Orchard Hay: This is a softer, finer hay that rabbits enjoy. Given as a treat.
- Alfalfa Hay: This hay is for young rabbits only (1 month-6 months) because it contains a lot of calcium for strong bones and teeth. Do not feed your adult rabbits alfalfa hay.
How to Store Hay:
Store in a cool, dark, and dry location. Make sure the hay can ‘breath’ so no mold can form from condensation. No air tight containers. If in a plastic bag, just leave the top open a bit. If you go through your hay pretty quickly, (which most of us do) you can store it in a hay bin with a loose lid. Or, you may want to store it in a large cardboard box. If your hay is in a plastic bag, do not seal the bag; leave the top open. If you have cats, make sure they do not have access to the stored hay, as they often like to use it as a litter box.
Often people combine Timothy, 3-way, and Orchard hay together. Most rabbits love the variety.
Where to buy hay?
Feed stores are the best because the quality is fresh and cheap.
Petsmart, Petco. Walmart, Target and some grocery stores do carry Timothy hay.
- Yorba Linda Feed
3782 Rose Dr, Yorba Linda, CA 92886
(714) 524-3222 (bales or bags)
- Foothill Feed
18541 East Chapman Avenue, Orange, CA 92869
(714) 532-1409 (bales only)
- Midway Feed
14941 Jackson Street, Midway City, CA 92655
(714) 893-2613 (bales or bags)
- Hitch ‘n Post
4925 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869
Did you know that 1 in 3 rabbits has “poopy butt?”
What to do? Have them eat more hay! Cut back on their pellets to encourage this. Remember one rabbit only needs a 1/2 cup of pellets per day. Two rabbits will do fine on a 1/2 cup of pellets per day. Unlimited hay all day will keep your bunny happy and healthy!