Friday, October 1, 2010

Rabbit Care Part 1: Feeding Your Rabbit Hay


This post is all about hay!

   Why do rabbits need hay?

Well, hay is the most important part of their diet. It provides the needed roughage and fiber to clean out their digestive system and prevent hair balls. It also wears down their constantly growing teeth.

   How much hay should you feed a rabbit?

There is no limit to how much hay a rabbit should eat. Their supply of hay should be unlimited. Give them as much as they want! A rabbit's diet should be about 75% hay.

   What kind of hay is the best to feed a rabbit?

Timothy hay is probably the best kind of hay for your rabbit, but other varieties are available, such as: orchard grass, oat hay, and alfalfa hay. Alfalfa hay may be a favorite of rabbits, and it is a good choice to feed growing baby rabbits, but for adults it is too high in protein and calcium and too low in fiber. Opt for grass hays like timothy, orchard grass, etc.

  What if your rabbit won't eat much hay?

First you might try switching to a different kind of hay or providing a variety of hay for your bunny.
Next think about the quality of your rabbit's hay. If it is dusty, dry, or musty smelling, then it is not very good quality and doesn't taste good to your rabbit. Look for hay that is fresh and has a lot of long strands. From my experience rabbits prefer to eat long strands of hay so you might try avoiding very shortly cut hay. A good company to try is Oxbow. Their hay for the most part is consistently fresh and very good quality. They even provide botanical hay with herbs and flowers in it to make it more enticing for your rabbit.
If none of these seem to be the problem, then it might be where you put the hay. If the hay is constantly soiled try a hay rack to hold the hay and keep it clean. Some rabbits tend to prefer to dig through the hay and have some fun with it when they eat it so you could try placing some in an edible basket for your rabbit. And just remember keep it fresh and keep it coming!

Next time: Pellet food

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