Rabbits are herbivores. They like to eat a wide variety of veggies, fruits, leafy greens, and berries. But, almost 80% of the rabbit’s diet contains hay and grass. Here comes the primary question – is it good for the rabbits to eat excessive amounts of hay?
Rabbit enjoys eating hay until its stomach feels full without any side effects. It is better to have enough hay stock in your home so you can feed the rabbit. It is the crucial and the bulk food in your rabbit’s diet. This hay helps in keeping the rabbit’s teeth healthy. It also gives essential nutrients to the rabbit and maintains its digestive system in decent shape.
Rabbits tend to overeat a few foods, but the grass is not on this list! This hay is rich in fiber, and due to its uneven texture, it is an excellent food to conserve the rabbit’s teeth. Here is a list of things you will learn below:
- Many health benefits of hay
- Best varieties of hay
- Hay storage ideas
Health Benefits of Eating Hay
Rabbits are herbivores, and grazing is their natural behavior. Your rabbit will not eat plenty of food at one time, but it likes to chew on the food throughout the day. Keeping enough stock of hay is helpful. When the rabbit is showing instinctual behavior, giving this food will make the situation normal.
First of all, hay meets the diet standards of the rabbits. Even though there are pellets, you have to make hay the majority and crucial part of the rabbit’s diet. Your pet enjoys eating tiny amounts of food throughout the day. This method keeps the rabbit’s digestive system full and helps in stimulating it.
Rabbits can also create hairballs. When the pet stops eating food for some time, these hairballs might get stuck in its digestive system. Hay gives all the crucial nutrients that a rabbit needs, and it has fiber-rich content.
There are plenty of reasons why rabbits need to eat fiber-rich foods. First of all, this hay is excellent for the rabbit’s nutrition and digestion. The digestive systems of the rabbits are sensitive. When your rabbit eats food with high sugar, protein, and carb contents, its digestive bacteria tend to thrive out of control. This situation results in your rabbit getting sick.
Hay has high fiber content and low calories. Due to this, the rabbits can eat plenty of grass without facing health problems. Besides this, hay is also safe for rabbits. The fiber content will file down the rabbit’s teeth into comfortable length!
The rabbit’s teeth can grow without any interval. Rabbits tend to chew a lot to maintain the size and length of their teeth. Hay, fibrous substances, and other chew toys help your pet to ground down the overgrowing teeth.
Besides these health benefits, hay helps in keeping the rabbit away from boredom. It also satisfies their need to chew. When the humans are feeling bored, they will eat snacks, like rabbits eat hay. It is one similar behavior between humans and rabbits!
Consider giving hay to the rabbit all the time because it is safe. If you feed other kinds of foods, you need to watch the rabbit for any signs of discomfort. You can avoid this situation when you offer hay to the rabbits as it is 100% safe!
Give clean and fresh water 24/7 to the rabbit. It is one of the crucial aspects to ensure that the rabbit has a healthy digestive system. Keep the water within the pet’s reach as it helps them to stay hydrated.
Five Best Kinds Of Hay For Rabbits
Though hay looks like simple food, it has many ingredients which are above your expectations! The hay has a mix of healthy dry grasses, so it is the best food to feed your rabbit. It helps in balancing the nutrients and makes the rabbit’s diet delightful.
It is easy to confuse straw for hay, so remember, these two are different kinds of food. Check whether it is the correct hay or not before buying. Straw looks yellow or gold and is open. Though rabbits chew on this food, it has less nutritional value.
As for hay, it has leaf-like shafts and stems which are long. You can find this food either in grey or green colors. To be precise, hay is nothing but a mix of various dry grasses.
In general, timothy hay is famous for being one of the best foods for rabbits. It is also the high-end all-around choice. If your rabbit is not eating this, you can choose from the other hay varieties.
Timothy is a fiber-rich food but has low protein levels. Because of this, you can give this food to your rabbit anytime in the day.
Many timothy hays are the collection of the healthy leaves and stems of different grasses. Remember, it is dry food and not wet one! All the ingredients are organic, and there are no other harmful pesticides and chemical preservatives.
This orchard hay is a good option for cold seasons, and it comes with a smoother texture than the timothy. Both these varieties have similar amounts of fiber-rich and low protein content. But the difference is that the orchard hay has a high quantity of calcium.
This orchard hay emits a unique, sweet, and delightful smell. Besides this, the smooth texture of the orchard hay makes it an incredible option for picky rabbits.
The oat hay is close to the composition of timothy hay. But it has a little bit less fiber and a little bit extra protein content than timothy. It is also another delicious variety of grass and is healthy and safe for the rabbits.
You can also find a few dry seed heads in the oat hay!
Rabbits who refuse to eat timothy hay might like to ingest the oat hay. It is better to feed both these varieties for your rabbit because they are healthy and safe choices.
This meadow is not a unique kind of hay, and it is a mix of many different varieties of hay, grass, and other grains. You can assume this as a green salad type of food for your rabbit!
Due to the mixture of meadowgrass, the rabbit will find this hay more interesting. You can buy this type of hay in almost every area.
In the meadow hay, there is a wide range of foods. All of them have different levels of health and nutritional benefits. Meadow grass is the same as a multipurpose bag. It is also a phenomenal supplementary food to your rabbit’s hay diet!
At last, here comes the alfalfa hay. It is a decent hay starter for baby rabbits below six months. This hay offers additional calories and more nutrients to match the energy levels of young ones. It will make your rabbit adjust itself for eating grass!
According to the specialists at VCA Animal Hospitals, adult rabbits should not eat alfalfa hay. Due to the protein-rich and high calcium levels in alfalfa, it is not safe for adult rabbits. When your rabbit reaches seven months, replace the alfalfa hay with a different variety, like timothy.
Storage And Feeding Arrangements
From the above information, it is evident that keeping a hay stock is useful. Here is a common question of the rabbit owners – what is the best way to feed hay to the rabbit without spreading it everywhere?
To be precise, no one has the exact solution for the above situation. Even if you do nothing, the hay tends to fall on the base of the cell! Rabbits enjoy pulling out this hay. They will chew and then keeps some tiny pieces on the floor.
In some cases, this is not a bad thing! The additional hay on the ground can be the bedding for your pet. It also acts as soft padding to the floor and protects the sensitive feet of your rabbit.
If the rabbit has dry straw bedding or padding, it is better to add an extra layer of hay. This method will prevent the rabbit from eating the straw because it is not safe for its health.
There are some methods to feed hay to your furry pet. You can buy the feeders in the pet shops or online, and if possible, you can make it in your home!
Hay feeders are available in wood, cloth, plastic, metal, or a mixture of these four materials.
The Mkono Hay Feeder is an excellent tool for your rabbit’s pen. It is a flat plastic box and has a wireframe at the front. The design is ideal for the rabbits to eat hay without spilling it everywhere.
Click here to know more about this feeder, such as its rate, sizes, and delivery availability.
Here comes another decent choice, which is Geegoods Rabbit Hay Feeder Bag. It looks like a simple hanging cloth bag. This feeder is resistant to bites, and there are many openings for the rabbit to eat hay. You can choose this for both outdoor and indoor cages. There is an opening at the top, which you can use to refill hay.
Tap here to get the information of its price, product availability, and dimensions.
If you want to use a DIY model, there are plenty of methods to create a feeder for the rabbit at your house. Here is a simple video that shows one of the easiest ways to make a feeder. If you have a plastic storage container, a set of metal buckles, and a drill machine to make holes, you can build it.
This model is inexpensive, easy, and quick to create. You can use this for a long time as it is durable. Due to the visible plastic material, the rabbit will show interest in the inside hay.
After making or buying a feeder, you have to ensure that it is always full of tasty, fresh, and healthy hay! With constant access to this hay, the rabbit will be active, happy, and healthy.