You should store your hay in a dry & dark location to prevent mold, you should leave your hay in a container/plastic bin which prevents moisture from getting to your rabbits food.
Hay can get messy if not stored properly, it can get hard to decide where and how to store hay as we may need to top it up several times a day.
It’s best to store hay in the dark away from the UV rays of the sun to avoid damaging it. You can also store it in dry places with good ventilation, or open containers.
Rabbits have over 17k taste buds and they can be very picky eaters, hay makes up about 80% of a rabbits diet but what do you do when the rabbit is not eating hay, that’s probably because hay does not taste appetizing to your bunny due to spoilage.
Without proper storage, hay can become unappealing and make your rabbit sick so you should store it properly to keep your bunnies food fresh.
Below we provide you with a few tips on how to store rabbit hay. Keep reading to find out how!
Buying the correct hay
There are multiple types of hay out there, each with their own nutritional value. When finding the best hay for your rabbit, we highly recommend trying multiple types of hay whilst avoiding muesli or rabbit mix hay varients.
When it comes to storing hay, you must first make sure that you’re purchasing the best quality product from the start, don’t buy hay that seems wet and moldy and does not smell good.
Make sure that you provide your bunny with good quality hay that is fresh for your rabbits health.
Your Rabbit will require Grass Hays, these include Timothy Hay, Orchard Grass, Brome & Oat Hay. It’s okay to mix these as well as only give one type of hay.
Buy small amounts of Hay
Many pet owners buy hay in bulk thinking that it saves their time and money but the truth is that hay can get stale before you’ve even had the chance to feed all of the hay to your bunny.
The longer you keep the hay, the more nutrients it loses. It’s best to buy small amounts of hay so that you can feed fresh hay to your rabbit.
Store Hay in a dry place
Mold and bacteria that can harm your rabbit will grow on hay that has no preservatives when their moisture levels are above 14 – 15%. Unfortunately, this only further accelerates mold growth as it produces heat as well.
Storing hay in a dry place will prevent it from locking in moisture and growing mold on your rabbit food.
It will also save your hay from getting wasted. You should store the rabbit hay in a plastic bin or place like a closet that will protect it from moisture and wetness.
We like to use two types of tubs for storing hay, one tub contains toilet pellets and the other hay.
Store Hay in the dark
Storing your rabbit hay in the dark can prevent the hay from losing nutrients and becoming bleached by the sun. If the hay is exposed to the sun, it will lose its value and all the nutrients that are important for your rabbit. The sun rays can cause discoloration to your hay making it less appealing for your bunny.
Keep Hay in a ventilated place
Keeping the hay sealed tightly in a lot of humidity can cause damage because of no ventilation. Hay contains natural moisture and preventing air from getting to it results in the development of mold and inedible food.
How to store Hay for winters?
Like normal days, you cannot store hay outdoors. You can store hay under a cover, as the dew and snow can cause the hay to rot. The sunshine can keep the hay dry so you should dry the rabbit hay first and then store it in a closed place with a roof/covering.
Do’s and Dont’s of Storing Rabbit Hay
- Choose a place for hay storage that protects it from turning stale by storing it under cover in a building that is well ventilated, does not leak and has a well-drained system.
- Hay is highly flammable so you don’t want to risk burning your barn as it’s also a source of fire. If you cannot store hay in a separate place then keep only small amounts of hay in the barn. You should keep the hay away from all types of machinery, any type of heat source, trucks and fire accelerants such as kerosene oil, gasoline and oil.
- Store hay where it’s easily accessible to you making sure it doesn’t go to waste. Don’t store hay at high places specially when storing large round bales. Always stack new hay behind the old hay so you can feed the older hay first.
- When you place hay on the ground or concrete, it can lock in moisture which results in ruining the hay. You can use wooden pallets, tires and telephone poles to insulate hay from the wet soil and concrete and provide some ventilation.
- If you store hay outdoors in an open area, or in a shed with a roof then you should cover the hay with a tarp to protect it from the weather and sunlight. Sunlight happens to bleach the hay causing it to lose important nutrients such as Vitamin A and Protein.
- If you store hay outdoors without any shed then you must cover the hay with sturdy tarps with strong tie-downs and creating a sloped top to protect it from snow and ice. The tarp should not have any rips or holes in it.
- There should be enough circulation when storing your rabbit hayin the winter. You have to ensure that you put enough space between the bales to get rid of excess moisture.
- It is recommended to make sure that the hay stacks have enough space between them as knowing how to store hay outdoors will help you from making any mistakes. Rabbit hay should be stored north to south, end to end that will ensure that there is 3-4 feet of distance between the hay stacks with good air circulation which will prolong its life and prevent it from getting stale.
Keep in mind that some amount of every large bail turns stale when stored outside whether it’s twined or not, it depends upon how much rain or snow falls during the storage period and then the kind of soil the hay is stored upon and the amount of space that is between the rabbit hay.
I hope our tips on how to store rabbit hay helps you protect your rabbit’s food for a longer period!