What Is the Best Hay for Rabbits?
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Hay is essential in a rabbit's diet. In fact, it takes up to 80% of their diet. This is why it's so important that we choose the best hay for our rabbit. This can be tricky as there are many different types and brands.
However, thanks to this AnimalWised article we will make it easier for you. We'll talk about the different types and brands of hay, as well as the best hay for your rabbit. Continue reading to learn more!
Types of hay for rabbits
There are different types of rabbit hay with their own specific characteristics. We will highlight meadow, alfalfa and timothy to help you choose the best hay for your rabbit. They each have their own specificities and recommendations. They are as follows:
- Grass or meadow: contains 31% fiber and 14% protein, with low calories and calcium. It is recommended for adult rabbits.
- Alfalfa: with up to 25% of indigestible fiber, up to 18% of protein, calcium, energy and potassium. It is only recommended for growing rabbits and pregnant or lactating rabbits. By having high calcium levels, in adult rabbits it could cause uroliths, so they can only consume it occasionally.
- Timothy: contains around 30% fiber, 8% protein and some calcium. Ideal for rabbits with urine stones and for the prevention of dental and digestive problems. Its minimum level of protein and calcium does not make it suitable for growing rabbits, pregnant or lactating females. If you have a pregnant bunny, we recommend you consult our article about rabbit pregnancy.
Regardless of the type of hay chosen, it is recommended to change it daily and always leave it freely available for your rabbit's consumption. Hay should be kept away from heat sources to prevent it from degrading. Furthermore, hay is marketed in two formats: pressed or fresh. Fresh conserves more nutrients and can be made up of a single herb or a mixture of several.
What is the best hay for rabbits?
Many people wonder, what is the best hay for my rabbit? The best hay for your adult rabbit would be timothy or meadow. This is because they contain more fiber and less calcium than legume hay. Too much protein or calcium can cause urinary or kidney health problems.
However, the best hay for a pregnant rabbit is alfalfa. This is due to the fact that the higher calcium and protein will supplement the mother's diet. Once she has given birth she should go back to her normal diet with timothy or meadow hay.
For hay to be good for a rabbit, it has to have certain characteristics that make it nutritious and appetizing. This is very important as hay is the basis of a rabbit's diet. When choosing hay, we have to look at the following aspects:
- Composition: the amount of protein should be 10-12%, while calcium will be between 0.5-1%, phosphorus between 0.4-0.8%, potassium 0.6% and fiber about 13-24%.
- Quality: the greenish color and the pleasant and intense smell are synonyms of quality. On the contrary, a yellow coloration and a dry straw appearance that breaks easily indicate a poorer quality.
- Freshness: appetizing hay must be fresh, flexible, maintaining a certain degree of humidity, and green.
- Length: the herbs should not be too short, as they would end up falling from the feeder to the ground and the rabbit would not eat them.
- Powder: there must be very little in the container, which will guarantee freshness. A lot of dust is a sign of little fresh hay.
If you have detected that your rabbit has recently stopped eating hay, we recommend reading our article on why your rabbit has stopped eating hay.
Best brands of hay for rabbits
The best hay for rabbits is one that, following the characteristics we have indicated, our rabbit likes best and keeps them healthy. Therefore, it is not strange that we have to try several until we discover which one is their favorite. This is just one of a handful of things we need to do when raising a rabbit.
As for the best hay brands for rabbits, here are some of our favorites:
This company has been offering various types of hay for decades, such as: fescue (which are typical grass grasses), oats or alfalfa. They are in charge of the entire production process, from sowing to distribution. Hay dries in the sun and does not dehydrate. This way, the protein is not destroyed. You can find this brand on amazon!
2. Nibble and Gnaw
This company offers high quality hay that has been selected and analyzed to ensure high quality. This brans is Canadian and stands out for having long stem hay that is cut and dried in the sun. They guarantee freshness for two years, provided it is properly stored. It is packed by hand and is powder-free. As an extra, the bag is biodegradable and the cardboard box is recycled. You can also find this brand on amazon or on their website.
This German company has a bio certificate that guarantees it has not been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers. This hay is composed of different wild herbs from mountain meadows. It is then processed and packed by hand. You can find this product in a variety of rabbit shop websites.
This hay is fresh, natural and untreated hay from the mountains of Austria. They're obtained after an early cut. They stand out for their intense aroma and high quality. They always make sure it's mold-free. You can find this product on lovepets!
This company offers bio certified hay from the German mountains. This hay has no pesticides or fertilizers. It is second cut, made up of fine strands and flowers, and then dried in the sun dried in the sun. Another interesting factor is that it's sold in a box with a hazelnut branch. You can find this brand on their personal website!
This company offers varied hay that is first cut organically in the mountains of Austria. From organic pastures to tender aromatic herbs and flowers to the care in the cultivation and drying process, this company offers high quality hay for our loving rabbits. You can find this company in a number of websites, such as lovepets.
7. Tiny Friends Farm
Lastly, we mention this sun-dried prairie hay that keeps all of its properties intact. It does not contain dust, since it goes through a process by which it is extracted. You can find this brand on amazon!
If you want to read similar articles to What Is the Best Hay for Rabbits?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.
- Chapel, José Miguel, Benedito, José Luis, Rodríguez, Ruth, Pereira, Víctor y Castillo, Cristina. Nutritional bases of the companion rabbit . Ateuves Magazine nº 70. pp. 12-17.
- Gallego, Manuel. Rabbit feeding . Ateuves Magazine nº 8. pp. 32-38.