You have your pet rabbit at home and are wondering as to how to feed it. As a pet parent, I am sure you want to feed your pet the best of foods after proper research because that’s how pet parenting works.
A lot of care, a lot of research and a pinch of love is required. To make your choice a bit easier, I researched the best hay for rabbits that you can feed your rabbit and listed them here in this article.
Before I start off, here is the ideal diet for a pet rabbit in a day; 80% hay, 10% dry food (commercial rabbit food) and 10% fresh food like vegetables and fruits.
The below mentioned are the best hay for rabbits for your perusal. I have provided the links from which you can purchase as well to make your job easier. These have got the best reviews by customers all over and hence are the bestselling brands.
Standlee Hay Company Premium Timothy Grass Hand-Selected Forage
- The rating for this item is 4.7 stars (221 customer ratings).
- This contains a lot of fiber that helps indigestion.
- It contains low protein and ensures good urinary health.
- It contains long-stem fiber that allows natural instincts of rabbits to forage and this is vital for dental health as well.
- One feature of this product is the plant is cut, that allows them to sun-cure (dry) to an acceptable moisture level to preserve a good quality product.
- It is an all-natural product and free from chemicals.
Premium 2nd Cut Timothy Grass hay
- The rating for this item is 4.2 stars.
- This is perfect for small animals’ dental health.
- It is high in fiber.
- It contains low protein and calcium to ensure healthy urinary health.
- There is a 1st cut timothy product too, but the 2nd cut Timothy tends to a little softer and larger leaf structure than other cuttings.
- Timothy grass doesn’t grow well in temps above 100 degrees, hence these are harvested and grown at temperatures like 70, 80 or 90 degrees.
- One very striking feature of the package is that it allows the grass to breathe and at the same time does not allow sunlight to seep in. Sunlight can cause yellowing of the hay hence this package protects the freshness of the product.
Also, something we love about this supplier is that they bale the hay fresh in the field and it’s packaged within days of the harvest.
Orchard Grass Best Hay for Rabbits
- The rating for this item is 4.6 stars(349 customer ratings).
- This is hand-selected and hands packed in small batches.
- The packaging of this item is carefully done in a highly corrugated box that allows easy opening and closing of the lid, hence easy storage.
- It is minimally handled so that it remains relatively fresh over a large period of time.
- It is relatively small and soft compared to other products.
- Has a very natural aroma, like that of the meadows.
Premium Orchard Grass for Rabbit
- The rating for this item is 4 stars.
- The weight of the item is 112 oz.
- It contains Premium Fresh Orchard grass.
- Orchardgrass is especially beneficial for your pets’ digestion.
- It is non-GMO. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms in the food and vegetation industry, where food is chemically engineered in order to get a desired artificial output, which is not particularly healthy.
- It is the best hay for rabbits if you or your small pet have allergic symptoms to Timothy grass hay. The advantage of this one is a large pack that can be stored over a long period of time.
Kaytee Timothy Hay for Rabbits
- The rating for this item is 4.5 stars (1,102 customer ratings).
- This item is available in a variety of yummy flavors like carrot, cranberry, mango, marigold, and mint.
- It contains high fiber that helps indigestion.
- It is hand-selected to ensure the ratio of leaf to stem is maintained.
- This contains low protein and calcium for healthy urinary health.
- This can be complemented with any other Kaytee fortified food as well.
- Timothy hay is ideal for animals over 7 months of age.
- A small tip of advice: For maximum freshness, this has to be stored in a cool and dry place. This can be added to your rabbit’s regular food too.
Timothy Hay Best Hay for Rabbits
- The rating for this item is 4.3 stars (572 customer ratings).
- This comes in a variety of flavors and textures like spearmint, marigold, and carrot.
- Hand-selected to ensure a proper leaf-to-stem ratio.
- It contains high fiber that aids in digestion.
- This product is also good for the rabbit’s dental health.
- It contains low protein and calcium for healthy urinary health.
- One good thing about this pack, is also that it comes in a transparent bag, looks attractive as well.
- There have been positive customer feedbacks as well as some customers like the smaller packages in the bag as it’s easier to manage.
Oxbow Oat Hay for Rabbits
- The rating for this item is 4.6 stars.
- As the name suggests it comes in only one flavor, i.e. normal Oats flavor.
- Oats is undeniably a very good source of natural fiber; hence it is very good for digestion, also.
- Oxbow Oat Hay is harvested before the oat develops into a seed.
- This Product Also Makes a good bedding alternative to wheat straw.
- One tip to make the product more delectable to your bunnies is to mix Oat Hay with other Oxbow grass hays to create a nutty-tasting product.
I have also included some vital points in this article that are of great importance to a pet parent.
This includes the tricks to make your rabbit eat hay if it refuses to, the benefits of eating hay for physical and psychological health of your pet rabbit, the other kind of ingredients that needs to be included in the diet, the percentage of various food ingredients that make up the total diet requirements per day and also the diseases that can be prevented by a proper inclusion of hay in the diet.
Some important pet parenting tips
Different Types of Hays for Rabbits
There are different types of hays that are suitable for different age of rabbits and also for their varied taste buds as discussed above.
This ranges from cheap, dusty, yellow and short hay to sweet-smelling green hay. Timothy hay is the most popular that we would be discussed here along with other types of hay such as oat hay.
There is one particular type of hay known as Alfalfa, which contains a lot of calcium and protein which can be given to smaller rabbits. Adults need to be fed hay that contains more fiber and less protein and calcium to protect their digestive and urinary health.
For pet parents who are worried about increasing their rabbits’ weight can also try this method by Introducing food slowly to their pets in an interval of 7 to 10 days. By doing this, they can see an increase in their weight.
Importance of Hay in The Diet
Hay is very vital to the health of small herbivores. Rabbits like to forage. Hence hay provides a natural environment that encourages the pet’s natural instinct.
It provides nutrition in terms of fiber that is required for digestion and also low amounts of protein and calcium.
Hay promotes a healthy gut in your rabbit; the bacteria helps to absorb nutrients and properly digest all the food they consume. The high fiber in hay strengthens the digestive muscles in their system and helps to flush toxins.
One important reason to include it is, Hay reduces the chances of a rabbit experiencing fur blockage (which is common for rabbits with longer hair). An important fact is rabbits’ teeth grow by 12 cm every year, and this rapid growth in teeth also causes eye problems.
If their growth is not kept in check by feeding them food like hay, it can result in many unwanted health problems. So, as pet parents let us prevent that. Hay also promotes their natural chewing behavior, and this is good for dental health as well.
As far as behavioral reasons are concerned, hay relieves rabbits from boredom because of the continuous activity of chewing.
You can prevent the below mentioned health conditions by providing the rabbits with considerable quantities of hay, namely, weight gain, dental issues, digestive upset, reduced eating, heart and liver complications, bladder and kidney stones.
Because 80% is the major percentage of the diet, we need to be careful about the choices that we make for a healthy and happy bunny at home. Your rabbit should be given access to an unlimited amount of hay to graze on throughout the day.
In the wild, since they are able to graze on the natural supply of grass freely, pet rabbits should also be given a lot of hay to chew on. In fact, rabbits should eat hay about their body size daily. I will also give tips at the beginning in case your bunnies refuse to eat hay so that it becomes easier for you to maintain their diet.
Tricks to Use if Your Pet Refuses to Eat Hay
In case your rabbits refuse to eat hay, which forms a vital part of their diet, start paying attention to the below-mentioned points:
Make sure that your rabbit is not eating too many other snacks, and if it is, then reduce the other snacks over a couple of weeks to ensure that your rabbit’s digestive system gets adjusted to eating hay.
Bribing your rabbit with pet games works, just as it does for human kids. Play games before a meal and include hay in the games. Once your rabbit eats, give it plenty of praise. This will trigger it to eat the required quantity of hay.
As odd as it might sound rabbits like to eat hay while they are going to defecate, so putting a pile of hay in the litter box is a good idea.
Try giving various hays to them by buying either small sample packs instead of buying big bags all the time, this way you will know the best variety of hay that your pet rabbit likes and then you can go ahead and buy that big and money-saver pack. Mix tasty grass and herbs with hay.
Mix a few different kinds of hays into one pile and feed that to your pet rabbits.
Rabbits have 17000 taste buds so; it is actually a pet parents’ job to find out what their pets like. I have seen someone spraying pineapple juice sparsely on the hay to make it a little sweet.
The result of that experiment was her rabbit started eating the hay which it refused to eat before.
Having said all of the above, it is imperative that you monitor your pet rabbit and be aware of any habit that it has, food or paying or behavioral.
Other types of foods should be included
Along with hay the following vegetables like asparagus, baby sweet corns, celery leaves, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli, sprouts, and cabbage and fruits like apple, banana (high in potassium), Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, apricot, grapes, kiwi fruit, mango, pear, and oranges) can be given to your pet rabbits. Also, fresh water should be kept in the vicinity at all times.
I am Anoop Nain, proud father of four rescued dogs and two Flemish giant rabbits. I have a degree in Animal Behavior and Welfare. Besides being a full-time dog father, I am an NGO worker and content writer and an educationist, with more than 6 years of experience. It is while working with the NGO I got an opportunity to educate people on animal rights, pet healthcare, animal welfare and various other issues pertaining to animals.