Best Hay for Rabbits – 6 Hays Perfect for your Bunny

Hay is an essential part of every rabbit’s diet. There are a lot of different types and brands of hay available, so choosing the right one for your pet can be difficult.

In this guide, you’ll learn why rabbits need hay, what to look for when purchasing hay, which types are best for your rabbit, the best hay brands, and other rabbit hay tips.

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Rabbit Diet – Why Do Rabbits Need Hay?

About 80 percent of a rabbit’s diet is hay. It’s essential for both their digestive and dental health. We go into more depth about the benifits of hay in a rabbits diet later in the article.

But for now,

Here are our 6 favorite rabbit hays

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

Rabbit digestive health

Hay has roughage, or indigestible fibers, that play a pivotal role in their digestive systems. The roughage helps move food along the rabbit’s digestive tract. Water is removed from these fibers in the colon and it comes out as dry fecal pellets.

Hay also has digestible fiber, which gets fermented by the rabbit’s caecum. This process adds vitamins and fatty acids to the fiber, which the rabbit passes as soft droppings. These soft droppings are called cecotropes, and the rabbit eats them to obtain essential nutrients, B vitamins, and fatty acids.

Without hay, a rabbit’s complex digestive system wouldn’t work at all!

Rabbit dental health

Hay also helps rabbits keep their teeth filed down. Rabbits’ teeth never stop growing, and if they don’t have hay to chew on, their teeth will get excessively long, causing them discomfort or pain. Most rabbit owners also must take their bunny to the vet to get extra-long teeth trimmed. Chewing and grinding hay with indigestible fiber keeps rabbit teeth worn down.

Now for a deeper look into our favorite rabbit hays.

Small Pet Select Orchard Grass Hay Pet Food

Small Pet Select Orchard Grass Hay Pet Food

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Standlee Hay Company makes natural hay without harmful chemicals.

It’s primarly composed of Orchard hay and is high in fiber and low in protein and calcium.

The Standlee grass is sun-cured, keeping it damp enough to be fresh.

This hand-selected Orchard hay would make a great addition to a bunny diet.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • Orchard Hay Is Vitally Important For Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, And Chinchillas
  • The Best Orchard Hay Hand Selected And Hand Packed In Small Batches
  • Orchard Hay Is Packed In A High Strength Corrugated Box Which Opens And Closes For Easy Storage
  • Minimally Handled For Maximum Freshness
  • Feeding directions- fully 80% of your friend's diet should be great hay.  Small animals need a constant supply of fiber to keep them healthy, so never let them run out.  To keep the hay smelling nice (which makes it yummier and more enticing to our little fuzzies), make sure they get a fresh supply at least once a day

Pros

  • Small, family run business
  • Hand selected hay
  • Rabbits seem to love it!
  • Highly recommened by pet parents

Cons

  • Quality can sometimes vary
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Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Carrots

Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Carrots

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This hand-picked Timothy hay with dehydrated carrot bits is perfect for adult rabbits.

It can form the bulk of your rabbit’s diet, with a great mix of leaf and stem, high fiber, and low protein.

Kaytee’s Timothy hay is all-natural and if your rabbit doesn’t like carrots, you can get a mix with mango, cranberry, mint, or marigold.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • Long-strand, natural timothy hay plus spearmint, marigold, and carrot to provide a variety of textures and flavors for added enrichment
  • Grown specifically for small animals
  • High fiber to support digestive health
  • America's #1 Hay Brand
  • All Natural non GMO ingredient

Pros

  • Hand picked hay
  • High fibre, low protien
  • Available with added ‘extras’ like carrot or mango

Cons

  • Reports it can be a little dusty
  • Dried fruit or veg has a higher sugar content than fresh
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Viking Farmer Alfalfa Hay for Rabbits

Viking Farmer Alfalfa Hay for Rabbits

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The Viking Farmer alfalfa hay is free from additives, preservatives, pesticides, or GMO products.

It’s also rich in fiber, protein, and minerals that will help young or underweight rabbits grow.

Viking Farmer packages their alfalfa hay with freshness in mind – in boxes that protect against light but still let the hay breathe.

Viking Farmer is also a family-run business that pays attention to standards and details. Their hay meets standards set by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and North American Invasive Species Management Association.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • ALL NATURAL, FRESH ALFALFA HAY: 100% pure hay for rabbits, guinea pigs, & chinchillas. Harvested without additives, preservatives, pesticides, or GMO products.
  • NUTRIENT RICH HAY YOUR PET WILL LOVE: Rich in fiber, protein, vitamins & minerals designed to promote dental hygiene, a healthy digestive system, and shiny coat
  • CONSISTENT QUALITY & LAB TESTED: Multiple weed-free certifications and comprehensive lab results ensure your pet has the best hay possible.
  • HAY YOU CAN TRUST BY A SMALL FARMER: All hay is grown, fertilized, harvested, and hand packaged by a family owned, 5th generation farm in Utah.
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: Viking Farmer’s attention to detail ensures you buy the finest hay that your pet will love.

Pros

  • Small, family run farm
  • No additives, chemicals, or pesticides
  • Good price

Cons

  • Due to high protien content, not so suitable for older rabbits
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Grandpa’s Best Orchard Grass Bale

Grandpa's Best Orchard Grass Bale

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Grandpa’s Best orchard grass hay ships as a tightly packed bale wrapped in plastic. Despite the tight packaging, the hay stays fresh, green, and ready to eat.

It’s primarly composed of Orchard hay and is high in fiber and low in protein and calcium.

This hay has good fiber content and the bale shape makes it easy to break off just the right amount of hay for your bunny.

Grandpa’s Best also comes in many sizes, so you can try a little at a time or stock up if your bunny likes it well enough.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • Convenient compact size roughly 6"x6"x12"
  • This Hay Provides For Your pet’S Many Needs, From Dental Care, To Play Time, And Is Additive And Preservative Free
  • Easy To Feed For A Convenient Mealtime

Pros

  • High in fibre and low in protien and calcium
  • Hand selected for the best quality
  • Little dust

Cons

  • Some reviews mention that the compressed bales can effect the quality
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Small Pet Select Oat Hay Pet Food

Small Pet Select Oat Hay Pet Food

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Small Pet Select uses thoughtful packaging to keep their oat hay fresh while it’s en route.

The stems are cut long and there are oat seed heads to add variety.

This oat hay is also hand-picked so each box contains only high-quality hay for your bunny.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • Great Addition To Small Pet Select Timothy Hay
  • Hand-Selected And Packaged In Small Batches For Highest Quality
  • Delivered Fresh & Minimally Handled

Pros

  • Good choice to add varity to diet
  • Long cuttings
  • Low levels of dust

Cons

  • Some bunnys dont take to Oat hay
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Oxbow Animal Health Meadow Hay

Oxbow Animal Health Meadow Hay

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Ensure your bunny gets all-natural meadow hay by choosing Oxbow’s organic version.

This meadow hay comes from naturally occurring grasses, so there’s always variation between batches.

The soft, fragrant grass will keep your bunny interested and has plenty of fiber to help the digestive system.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • PROUDLY GROWN IN THE USA: Harvested fresh from Oxbow’s family of farms by our expert hay growers.
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Hand-sorted and hand-packed with care. All Oxbow hay growers are trained in the production of premium hay
  • 100% ALL-NATURAL HAY: All-natural – no additives or binders
  • MEETS SPECIFIC NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS: High in fiber for a healthy digestive system and dental health. Fiber is essential to the health of your rabbit, guinea pig, chinchilla, or other small pet.
  • VETERINARIAN RECOMMENDED: Used and recommended by leading veterinarians worldwide

Pros

  • Organic
  • High in fibre

Cons

  • Natural product, so batches vary
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How Much Hay Do Rabbits Eat?

The amount of hay you feed your rabbit should be based on how large your bunny is. Most experts recommend feeding a rabbit a ball of hay about the same size as their body. Leave some hay for your rabbit and check how much is left 12 hours later.

And check again in 24 hours – your rabbit should have eaten most of the hay you left out during this time. If your rabbit hasn’t eaten much, look for strategies for dealing with picky eaters (later in this article). You should top off your rabbit’s hay every day.

You don’t need to replace uneaten hay; only get rid of hay if it’s soiled or wet. Hay feeders are an excellent way to keep your bunny’s hay fresh.

What to Look for in Rabbit Hay

Nutritional value

The most important factor for choosing rabbit hay is nutritional value. The amount of fiber, protein, and fat varies by type of seed, quality of soil, age of plant when cut, and storage once dried. Generally, look for hay with 12 percent protein, 2 percent fat, and 14-20 percent fiber. If your rabbit needs to grow or gain weight, you should increase these percentages slightly.

Dust

Any type of hay you buy should be completely dust-free. Dust irritates rabbits and can damage their health. Only buy hay that comes in clean, dust-free packaging. Research a brand’s harvesting and packing process before you decide.

Freshness

The fresher the hay, the more your rabbits will enjoy it! Choose hay that’s hand-selected, stored, and packaged in a breathable box. The longer you can keep the hay green and leafy, the more you rabbits will want to eat it.

Which Hay Should Rabbits Eat?

There are five different types of hay rabbits can eat.

Timothy hay

Timothy hay is a go-to for feeding rabbits. It’s a foraging grass that’s perfect for adult rabbits who want to maintain their current weight. The nutritional value of Timothy hay depends on when the crop was cut. First cut Timothy hay has lower protein and fat but is high in fiber. Second cut hay is moderate in protein, fat, and fiber and third cut is higher in protein. High protein hay should usually only be given to rabbits under seven months old.

Meadow hay

Meadow grass or meadow hay has more leaf than Timothy hay, and also contain herbs like plantain, dandelion, and clover. The variation in material means meadow hay’s nutritional content varies quite a bit more than Timothy hay as well. Meadow grass is perfect for adding something different to your rabbit’s diet alongside Timothy hay. Meadow hay is typically cheaper than Timothy hay.

Organic meadow hay

If you’re going to go with meadow grass, look for organic hay that’s grown with no additives and no binders. The less artificial stuff in your rabbit’s hay, the better!

Alfalfa hay

Alfalfa is a legume, not a grass – which means it has the highest protein and calcium content than any other type of bunny hay. With these nutritional values, alfalfa hay is usually only for baby rabbits or adult bunnies who struggle to gain weight. For adult rabbits without weight gain issues, alfalfa hay in small amounts is a great addition to their diet.

Orchard grass hay

Orchard grass is soft, green, and leafy, with higher protein and lower fiber. Orchard grass hay is one of the tastiest types, though, so it’s a good option for picky eaters. When it’s green-gold, orchard hay has a lot of vitamins A and C. More golden orchard hay has higher levels of vitamin D. It’s the perfect hay for weaning your bunny off pellets.

Oat hay

Green oat hay is a good hypoallergenic choice for rabbit owners prone to hay fever. Oat hay also works well for keeping a rabbit’s weight down. You should always buy oat grass hay when it’s green – if it’s yellow or brown it’s lost too much of its nutritional content for your bunny to eat. You can use yellow or brown oat hey for bedding, though. Oat hay is high in fiber and low in fat, and works well as a complement to Timothy hay.

What is 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay?

An important characteristic to know about rabbit hay is the cut. The cut is at what point in the growing season the hay was harvested. Cutting the hay refers to all types of hay, not just Timothy grass. The first cut is cropping the hay after it’s grown from seed. The second cut is harvesting on the hay’s premature regrowth, and the third is after that.

The first cut varies the most in quality, but first cut hay can be digestible and nutritious. The second cut is a better mix of stems and leaves than the first, and the third cut tends to be the lowest in fiber. Rabbits can digest first, second, or third cut hay. Whichever cut it is, look for a good mix of stems and leaves.

Can I Substitute Fresh Grass Instead of Hay?

Bunnies love eating fresh grass, and it’s perfectly acceptable to replace hay with fresh grass. Keep in mind, however, that fresh grass is about 80-70 percent water. Your rabbit will have to each much more fresh grass than they would hay in order to get the same nutrients.

How to Deal with Picky Eaters

Although most rabbits love hay and won’t turn their nose up to it, some rabbits might not take to it as well. There are a few feeding techniques you can try to get your bunny to eat their hay.

  • Hayrack: Your bunny might prefer eating from a hayrack at head/mouth level than eating the hay off the floor of their cage. Placing hay in a hayrack also makes cleanup easier.
  • Tastier hays: Some hays are more palatable for bunnies than others. Try orchard grass hay or third cut Timothy hay to entice your bunny to eat.
  • Mix in standard hay: If your rabbit enjoys the tastier hays, then slowly start adding in the more nutritious hays, such as second cut Timothy hay or meadow hay.
  • Add variety: You can also make their hay more appetizing by sprinkling in some garden or field herbs.
  • Make it a game: Turn feeding time into playtime by stuffing the hay into empty toilet paper rolls. Your rabbit might take to eating if she’s having fun!
  • Go easy on the treats: Sure, rabbits like treats, muesli feeds, and pellets better than hay. But don’t rely on these foods just to get your rabbit to eat.
  • Get the freshest hay you can: Remember, rabbits prefer fresh and green hay. Try to get (or store) fresh hay that still smells great when you serve it to your rabbit.

There’s a difference between a finicky eater and a sick rabbit. If your rabbit is suddenly eating much less, take her to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Sudden loss of appetite could be a sign of serious illness for your rabbit.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know more about rabbit hay, you can choose the best type for your bunny. Feeding your rabbit properly can sometimes be difficult – don’t get discouraged. After doing some research and experimenting with hays, you’ll find the perfect diet for your pet!

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