You've probably read in lots of places that it is very important that rabbits get lots of hay, but did you know that not all types of hay are the same? The type of hay you feed your rabbit will have a big impact on healthy it is, as some hays are more nutritious than others, and certain types of hay contain ingredients that can make your rabbit fat and sick if they eat too much of it.
Let's learn about different types of hay so that your bunny can be the healthiest bunny it can be!
There are two main types of hay, Grass Hay, and Legume Hay, Grass hay is the best type of hay for your bunny because it contains lots of nutrients, but not a lot of energy. Bunnies can get fat very easily, and a fat bunny is a sick bunny, so owners have to make sure that the bunny is not getting too much 'bad food' in their diet. The funny thing is that 'bad food' for a bunny is actually quite healthy for humans, so it is easy to think that you are giving your bunny good food when in fact you are giving it the bunny equivalent of a McDonald's meal.
Bad bunny foods include things like seeds, dried fruits, oats, cereals, bread, and grains. There are so many good things to feed a bunny that you shouldn't ever need to feed it these things, and you should be careful if you feed bunny pellets to buy pellets that do not contain these ingredients. But on with the hay!
Grass hay includes hays like Timothy Hay, Meadow Hay, and Bermuda Grass. Timothy hay is usually quite easily bought in the USA, but make sure you find a good supplier who sells you fresh, clean hay.
Legume Hays include alfalfa hay, clover hay, beans, peas, and peanuts. Your rabbit will find these hays super yummy, but they are not very good for it because they contain so much energy. The average house rabbit will not be able to burn off all the energy they get from these hays, and they will get very fat indeed.
If you can, make sure that your bunny has access to all the grass hay it wants to eat. Eating grass hay isn't just good for the bunny's physical health, it also helps the rabbit's mental health by giving it something to do. Chewing is very soothing for rabbits, and most rabbits love nothing more than to sit and chew away at their hay. This chewing also helps grind down their teeth, which keep growing and growing, and can get painfully long if not ground down by lots of chewing.
Mr Wick on May 27, 2012:
I use Orchard grass hay and when its fresh the bunnies can never get enough. Hay makes up 90% of their diet. Ironically I had another rabbit who ate only 16% pellets and very little hay. He died at age 13.
Mr. Timothy Hay on May 03, 2012:
Rabbits need to consume hay on a regular basis in order to get essential nutrients in a way that their bodies can digest and handle well. Timothy Hay and alfalfa hay are the two most nutritious types of hay for rabbits because it’s a good source of calcium and protein. This site may be helpful for more tips on bunny food and health. http://www.rabbitholehay.com/rabbit-facts/
Harvey's Pop! on March 26, 2012:
One thing to be very aware of, which we found out about the hard way...is bowel stasis. This is where a bunny doesn't poop in a good amount, because something isn't moving the way it should inside it's bowels.
To prevent this, hay, and parsley greens, or even carrot top greens..any varity of fresh greens...are good..but stick with the hay.
I am allergic to Timothy hay, so, we feed our rabbit grass hay, and oat hay...with a small amount of timothy pellots daily. he gets a good amount of greens to choose from also.
kepp your rabbit healthy! Also, Rabbits like to play, so give them baby rattles to toss around, and get hem out of the cage 1x a day! for at least 1 hour!!!!
Jenny on March 21, 2012:
I have got a female rabbit and she doesn't like timothy hay and i got her on meadow hay and she loves it
marie on February 14, 2012:
I just used up our first big bag of Timothy hay...Got baby white albino bunny as Xmas gift from son. Husband wants to know if any healthy hay less allergy like?
For now we keep bunny in xercise pen inside house and go to side yard with supervision every ther day for xercise
KAMELIA on February 03, 2012:
Claire on January 03, 2012:
Oaten hay is as good for rabbits as Timothy hay and is grown here in Australia.... check local produce stores to see if they stock it. Alternatively, as Mel said, Meadow Hay is a good option and available in lots of pet stores (Usually overpriced however).
Mel on January 03, 2012:
For the Aussies asking about Timothy Hay, it is very expensive to get here. The best alternative is Meadow Hay, it is a variety and is very good for them...both the breeders we got out bunnies from use it. For a cost effective way of getting it, do not go to the pet shops and find your nearest stock feed place (generally where people would go to get feed for their horses), and you can get a bail for as much as you would pay for 2 small bags!
Crazy rabbit lover on October 22, 2011:
where can i buy timothy hay and how much does it cost???
Im in Australia by the way
Elizabeth on August 22, 2011:
So, rabbits do need hay?
kaylahug on May 03, 2011:
rabbits are so cute!
mary on September 16, 2010:
timothy hay is the best! try to find a green one without any dust[or else it is stale]
... on June 09, 2010:
what about incimaca hay
Tania on May 23, 2009:
buy some online?
Tersy on May 17, 2009:
I would be fine if timothy hay was grown in australia. But it is not and it is INCREDIBLY expensive to buy here and it only comes in small bags.
Harold on April 05, 2009:
Is it possible to feed Millet HAY to a rabbit. We have tried it so far and she likes it but is it OK in the long-term? There are no millet seeds left in the hay. The millet hay looks like flat fettucine !
Tania on March 03, 2009:
what about prairie hay? is it good for them? thanks
Nayda on February 13, 2009:
I got a bunny yesterday, only a month and a half old, but I started to read up on all of this because it's my first bunny and I want a healthy life for it.
J D Murrah from Refugee from Shoreacres, Texas on July 16, 2008:
I never knew that hay could be so interesting. Our bunny loves timothy hay and goes through it like crazy. Thanks for all the updates on bunny issues.