Hay adds essential protein, nutrients, fibre to a rabbit’s diet and supports healthy digestion.
Most rabbits like to snack while in their litter box, so adding hay is a must when setting up.
NOTE – Hay is not able to be grown all year round, therefore the storing of hay is important and thus the whether and season play a crucial role in the condition and quality of the hay.
In order for good growth, the days need to have warm temperatures, but the nights need to have temperatures ranging above 4 degrees celsius.
Types of Hay
Is the most popular long term choice for rabbits. The 1st and 2nd cutting timothy grass hay works well for animals with a sensitive digestive system, skin problems, issues with diarrhea and weight problems.
Known as “cocksfoot” in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. It has a fibrous root system, grows in clumps or tufts and is more heat and drought tolerant than timothy. Orchardgrass tends to have a slightly higher protein content than Timothy.
Has a high mineral content and contains at least 10 different vitamins. Depending on when it is cut can have up to 20% protein. Alfalfa is great for a treat but too much can cause weight gain.
Mix hay- is a blend of alfalfa and some type of grass, commonly orchardgrass. The mix percentages vary depending on the farmer and as a result does not always achieve consistency in mix.
A lot of pet owners select based on the look, thinking leafy, soft and dark green is good, however this type of hay tends to be the 3rd cutting, which is high in nutrients, protein, possibly high in fat, high in calories, and definitely low in fibre.
This not beneficial long term for your rabbit and like feeding your rabbit McDonalds every day and should be viewed as a treat or included in Mixed Hay.
As a general rule of thumb Timothy hay is the best long term food for your rabbit.
Most importantly, continually observe your rabbit’s appearance and adjust the size of portions and type of hay as is needed.