Help! My Rabbit Won’t Eat Hay


What To Do When Your Rabbit Won’t Eat Hay


Being as we all know how vitally important it is for our rabbits to eat plenty of hay, what on earth is happening if you’re faced with the dilemma of “my rabbit won’t eat hay?”


Every book, website, vet and responsible rabbit owner knows that to remain in good health – in fact, to remain alive, that rabbits must eat plenty of fiber on a daily basis.  And everyone agrees that hay is the very best source of this crucial fiber.


So what do you do if you get a new rabbit that won’t eat hay, or your rabbit suddenly seems to go off his hay?


Well – the first thing to do is not to panic.  And let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons why your rabbit suddenly won’t eat hay.


He (or she) is ill.  If you consider this to be a possibility, then you need to seek veterinary assistance at once.


He’s had enough hay.  Being as we should provide our bunnies with free-fed hay, then you don’t actually want him to finish it all up.  What you actually want is for him to have plenty, so there’s more for him to go back to when he fancies another little nibble.


He simply doesn’t like it – or, more realistically, doesn’t like the hay he’s being given.


Now – the last point is, in all truth, probably the answer to your question – “help, my rabbit won’t eat hay.”


And why is this?  Well, it boils down to one crazy reason.  And that is, that the hay that’s available to purchase in stores for rabbits is, in general, simply not of good quality.


Okay, this might sound a little harsh, but in virtually all cases it’s the truth.  You see, hay is a fragile product.  It’s just dried grass.  And, like all dried plants, if you treat it roughly, package it poorly and ship it from pillar to post before it reaches its final destination – your rabbit’s cage – then it makes sense that the end product is going to be nothing like Mother Nature originally intended.


Only when you think of it in this manner can you start to understand one of the strongest reasons why a rabbit won’t eat hay – or won’t eat as much hay as he should be.


And the answer is…… to feed him genuinely fresh hay


Fresh hay is something our bunnies adore.  When you manage to get your hands on a truly fresh supply of hay, then the difference in how your rabbits attack it is immediate to see.  They honestly do munch in with a gusto – something that’s a joy to watch, and of course, a joy for your bunnies to eat.


But, we do have to admit, finding a regular and good source of truly fresh hay – and that means hay that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic, such as you get in the pet stores – is certainly a challenge.


And many of us have no choice but to buy pet store hay.  After all, it’s not as if there’s a “rabbit hay shop” in shopping malls….  But one thing you can do is to give the hay you do buy a sniff test.  Go on, get your nose in there and inhale.  Hay should smell slightly sweet, with no hint of dust.  It should be greenish in color, pliable and have long, tough stalks.  If it’s yellow, dusty or with no scent, then it might be time to spend your hard earned pennies elsewhere.


All we can do is the best for our bunnies.  So if your rabbit won’t eat hay, and you’re sure that it’s not a health related issue, then perhaps it’s time to consider changing your hay supplier.


Till next time – love those bunnies…


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William Gordon