Rabbit Hay Breakdown – The most important and main ingredient of rabbit diet is fresh grass and hay.
Grass has high fibre content which is essential and important for the maintenance ofoptimum intestinal and dental health.
The intake of fibre helps in the proper functioning of the digestive system and allows the food to move through the gut, without fibre,the movement of food through the gut slows down and can cause problems for your rabbit.
Fibre is essential for dental health, the chewing action of the rabbits stops theirteeth to become painfully long, if the teeth get too long then it can disturb the rabbit’s ability to eat and swallow.
There are many types of hay that are suitable for rabbits; hay is the most important ingredient that keeps your rabbit happy and healthy.
Types of Rabbit Hay
There are many types of hay available in the market and the most popular varieties include Timothy, Meadow and Orchard, Oat & Herbal Hay. You should always store your rabbits hay properly to avoid it spoiling.
Every rabbit has different and unique dietary needs. Baby rabbits, young rabbits and adults all have different needs.
These types of hay provide excellent benefits for your rabbit diet. But you need to know which is best for their current needs. Below is a list of the types of hay:
Meadow hay is generichay and it consists many typesof grasses and parts ofother plants as well, some sticks, stones and other random debris.
To maintain rabbit health, they should be fed with high fibre and low fat natural diet.
Hay should form at least 80% of their diet. It should be supplemented with other vegetables like herbs and wild plants.
Timothy hay is a good choice for feeding your rabbits with hay; it consists of dried timothy grass. It’s a mix of stems and leaves from timothy grass and it’s suitable for all rabbits.
Timothy grass is good for bunnies with a sensitive digestive system. It’s a cool season grass and it provides with high fibre content, it’s thick and coarse hay.
It is high in fibre and has low protein, which is a good combination and it’s important for the good health of rabbits. The protein and fibre helps in the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
This type of hay should be available at all times for your bunny, it’s a great choice for your bunny as it’s sun-dried naturally, it’s free of pesticides and comes straight from the farm. This makes it greener, palatable and fresh.
Rabbits love oat hay, the delicious taste makes it a great treat for them. It’s best for bunnies because of itshigh fibre content; it will fulfill their rough age needs.
Oat is yellow in color, is rich in vitamins and minerals, high in fibre and low in protein. It can also be blended with other grass hays. No matter what type of hay you feed your rabbits, they need fresh, fine and soft hay as part of their daily diet.
Herbal hay is a type of hay to which different kinds of herbs are added like chamomile, dandelion and marigold.
Herbal hay is popular among rabbit owners who do not give their rabbits enough time to have foraging time outside.
If you have a garden of your own, it is less expensive for you to grow your own herbs and feed your rabbits with fresh herbs in the season or dry the herbs for the winter season.
If you’re looking forward to encouraging hay eating in your rabbits then you might want to feed them with orchard hay. It’s the perfect hay, softer than Timothy hay, more greener, smells really fresh and tastes delicious.
It’s always good to introduce different types of hay to your rabbit by creating a mix, which not only gives them new flavors but it’s good for your rabbit teeth as different hay types require different chewing actions which stops your rabbits from overgrowing their teeth.
Orchard hay is like a treat for your bunnies, it encourages hay eating in rabbits.
My rabbit isn’t eating Hay!
Many rabbits try to avoid eating hay despite itsimportance. Rabbits that develop such a habit end up facing dental problems and illnesses related to the gut.
If you put in some hard work and encourage your rabbits to eat hay, it will be beneficial for their health. Below are a few tips to encourage your rabbits to eat more hay.
- Feed Tastier Hay: Hay comes in different varieties and flavors;you can try feeding your rabbits with different types to know which one they like best. You must also ensure that the hay is of good quality and stored well. You can try feeding fresh grass as well if they don’t like hay.
- Rabbits Eat Hay when it’s near them: Rabbits might end up eating hay when they feel like, mostly when they’re using their litter tray or resting.
- Reduce the Dry Foods: Like humans, rabbits also need a balanced diet and not just the foods that taste delicious. If your rabbits already have dry food available, it has no reason to eat hay.
- Mix Hay with foods that your Rabbit likes: Try mixing hay with dry food, vegetables, herbs and fresh grass so that the rabbit has to dig through the hay to find the food. While searching they will end up eating some of the hay and start eating it.
- Incorporate Hay with Activities: Some of the rabbits do think of hay as food. If youincorporate some play activities that encourage your rabbits to play, bite and chew the hay, it will help them to taste and nibble on it. For example, you can try taking a box or a tunnel and try blocking it with hay so your rabbit has to remove the hay to get through.