Timothy Hay for Rabbits
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About Timothy Hay for Rabbits
When it comes to your core rabbit food, you really can’t go wrong with timothy hay for rabbits. This is the most popular grass hay for rabbits for a number of reasons, and it has a long history that led up to this popularity. To view a video on timothy hay for rabbits, please see below:
Reasons why timothy hay for rabbits is such a popular option
For most pet owners in the US and other countries around the world, the easiest type of hay for rabbit owners to purchase is timothy hay. There are other types of grass hay, but timothy is not only the most easy to get hold of in most areas, but is one of the most palatable hays that you can feed your pet rabbits. Great quality timothy hay for rabbits provides him (or her) with the essential fiber that’s needed in his diet, as well as the necessary chewing action that’s required for his dental health. And the best quality timothy hay is something that your rabbit will munch into with gusto, because it’s sweet, green and the most natural food that you can feed to your pet. Fiber and dental health are two of the most important reasons that we feed a rabbit hay, so let’s take a look at these in more detail: Fiber A natural diet for a rabbit living in the wild consists not only of grass and other vegetation, but also the ability to graze throughout the day and night. This virtually constant ingestion of fibrous food means that a rabbit’s digestive system has evolved over time to be perfectly adapted to this. If a pet rabbit doesn’t get enough fiber in his diet, or has a diet too high in protein and/or energy, these can increase the risk of various different health problems. These include digestive blockages (gastrointestinal stasis), loose stools and other stomach problems. If a rabbit doesn’t receive enough fiber on a daily basis – and with the bulk of this being provided by hay – then these seemingly minor issues could end up being major problems, and even prove fatal. Thankfully, feeding a good quality grass hay, such as timothy, to your pet means this is easily overcome. Rabbits have evolved to cope with this high fiber diet, and are therefore not equipped to deal with foodstuffs that are too rich in energy and protein. This is one reason that timothy hay tends to be the type recommended by veterinarians for most rabbits (with some notable exceptions such as pregnant, growing or nursing rabbits) over other hays such as alfalfa, which are higher in protein and calories. When deciding exactly what to feed a rabbit, it’s important to keep the natural diet of a bunny firmly in the forefront of your mind. A large proportion of digestive issues occur simply because this is not taken into consideration. And because there are so many different options available for us to purchase when it comes to rabbit food, it can often be easy for an owner to forget what a rabbit would eat if he lived in the wild. Timothy hay for rabbits is simply the best option when deciding what should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet. Dental health The second, and no less important, reason that timothy is a great type of hay you can feed your rabbit is that of dental health. As well as the digestive system of a rabbit evolving to cope with their high fiber diet, so too has their tools for eating it. And by this we mean a rabbit’s teeth. Because of the large amount of chewing involved in a high fiber diet, naturally this means that a bunny’s teeth will become eroded over time. Nature has combated this by providing rabbits with open rooted teeth that constantly grow. This means that the teeth are renewed many times over throughout their life, and that they always have the means to chew and grind up the food they eat. Now, whilst this is a wonderful tool for a rabbit to have, it also means that it’s essential for a rabbit to have enough material to chew on. If he doesn’t, the teeth will still continue to grow, and this can cause all sorts of problems. This condition – known as malocclusion – causes damage to the inside of the mouth and in severe cases can prevent a rabbit from eating altogether. Soft, sweet and palatable timothy hay is the perfect antidote to this, providing your rabbit with exactly what he needs to keep those ever-growing teeth ground down. What if my rabbit won’t eat hay? As you can now see, it’s essential that your rabbit munches on hay every single day of his life. But what if he doesn’t seem to like it, and you’re constantly wondering why “my rabbit won’t eat hay?” Well, when it comes down to feeding timothy hay for rabbits, it’s all about the quality. Because, let’s face it, we can all taste the difference between good and poor quality food – and rabbit hay is no different. Good quality – no, scrub that – TOP quality timothy hay for rabbits really is in a league of its own. Sweet smelling, green in color, soft to the touch and fresh as the day it was cut from the field, this is the hay that a rabbit enjoys the most. And once you’ve seen how eager your bunny is to tuck into such a hay, you’ll never want to feed him anything different again. Producing hay for rabbits is an art, and lots of different aspects come together to determine the quality of the finished product. These include the growing condition, cutting time (including whether the hay is a 1st cutting, 2nd cutting, or 3rd cutting), weather, storage, handling and packaging of the hay. Done right and you get a great quality timothy hay. But done wrong, it can dramatically alter the quality of the hay that you end up feeding your pet. And it can be a challenge to find a great quality timothy hay for rabbits on a regular basis. But once you’ve found it and fed it to your bunny, you’ll certainly notice the difference. As responsible rabbit owners, feeding the best quality timothy hay possible is simply the one most important thing you can do for your pet to ensure that he remains as healthy as he can possibly be.
Questions about timothy hay for rabbits
As with any food product there are plenty of questions when it comes to timothy hay. We have listed some of the more common questions below and will continue to add to this list.
Why you should never feed moldy timothy hay to a rabbit
Mold shows up on hay in different ways – but generally as white or black spots. Dust in hay can also be a sign of mold as well. There are many reasons that hay might become moldy. This can include excessive moisture and/or heat, as this provides ideal conditions for mold to form and spread. Whilst most rabbits won’t be very keen on eating moldy hay, it’s not just the taste that means you shouldn’t feed it to a rabbit. One mold attacks hay, the hay has already been subjected to inhospitable conditions. These could be during the cutting, drying, baling or storage process – but all have the same end result. This means that the quality of the hay will be very poor, and contain little or no nutritional value. Therefore feeding it to your pet is pretty pointless. But in addition to this, moldy hay contains microscopic spores. These can be inhaled by your rabbit and be extremely detrimental to his health. Add in the fact that moldy hay is often dusty hay, and this dust can also be breathed in, causing damage to his lungs and/or affecting the delicate mucus membranes of his eyes and nose. If you should see mold spots and/or dust in any hay you have for your rabbits, the best thing to do is to get rid of it. Or, better still, contact the supplier who you purchased it from and insist that they replace it with good quality hay that’s suitable to feed to rabbits.
How much Timothy Hay to Feed a Rabbit?
This is, in general, a very easy question to answer. And that’s simply because, in most cases, it’s as much hay as he or she can eat. Timothy hay (or another grass hay if you can’t get hold of timothy) is the staple of a rabbit’s diet. It all harps back to the way that rabbit’s have evolved over time and adapted to their natural environment in the wild. Here they would have a highly fibrous diet – munching on grass, hay and plant matter on an almost constant basis. This meant that the digestive system had a virtually never-ending source so fiber passing through the system. So when we keep rabbits in captivity, we need to mimic this diet as much as is possible. And the best way to do this is to feed your rabbit ad lib quantities of good quality timothy hay. In other words, he should always have a nice big pile of hay to feed on. Failure to do this can be very detrimental to the health of a rabbit. A lack of fiber can cause the gut movement to slow down or even stop altogether. This is a dangerous condition known as “intestinal stasis” – a condition that requires immediate veterinary attention as it can prove fatal. But it’s easy to do everything you can to avoid this, simply by ensuring that your rabbit always has a good supply of top quality hay to eat at all times.
Can Rabbits eat too much Hay at One Time?
In general, rabbits are not greedy and don’t tend to overeat (that’s a human trait, not an animal one!) Okay, there’s always the exception that proves the rule, however most rabbits will eat the amount of hay they need to remain in good health. Sure, there might be some cases of an obese rabbit that might need to have his feed restricted. But this should only be done with veterinary guidance. This reason for this is that a rabbit NEEDS a constant source of fibrous matter (provided by hay) passing through his gut to ensure good digestive health. Withholding hay from a rabbit can lead to many health problems, both with the digestive system (danger of intestinal stasis), and with his teeth (a condition known as malocclusion), whereby he doesn’t chew on enough fibrous matter to wear down his ever growing teeth. So, the rule of thumb is to always ensure your bunny has a nice big pile of good quality hay to munch on, and to replenish it at regular intervals.
Can Rabbits Live on Timothy Hay Only?
Well, in theory a rabbit probably could survive on timothy hay alone, but this might not be the best all round diet that you could give to your pet. In the wild, a rabbit would seek out juicy plants, green matter and vegetables, as well as eating fibrous grasses. Because of this, it’s advisable to supplement the timothy hay in your rabbit’s diet with pellets and/or vegetables. Rabbit pellets are made from hay, as well as containing the various vitamins and minerals necessary for your pet’s good health. However, there are some schools of thought that say you only need feed good quality hay, along with fresh vegetables on a daily basis. Now, Small Pet Select aren’t advocating one of these feeding regimes over the other, as hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of rabbit owners successfully feed their pets using both of these methods. Whichever you choose, ensure that your rabbit is free fed good quality hay, and that this is supplement with pellet and/or fresh vegetables on a daily basis.
How long can a rabbit go without eating timothy hay?
A rabbit shouldn’t really go any longer than a few hours without ingesting fiber in the form of hay. Because of the way their digestive system has evolved over the centuries, it’s vital that a rabbit has a constant source of hay to munch on. If you should ever be concerned that your rabbit has gone more than a few hours without eating hay, you should seek immediate veterinary advice. In some cases, even a break of six hours or so without eating could lead to a very poorly rabbit – and even prove fatal. The reason for this is that the rabbit’s gut is designed to have a quantity of fiber within it on a virtually constant basis. Fiber draws water into the intestines, making the matter within soft and pliable. Then the natural pulsating movement of the gut (known as peristalsis) pushes this soft mass along. The various nutrients from the food are absorbed into the body along the way, and the waste matter is passed out as droppings. A break in this constant movement of food through the gut can result in a dangerous condition known as intestinal stasis. This is when the gut movement becomes perilously slow or ceases to move at all. If this happens, it can prove fatal to the animal. But by providing your rabbit wit a constant source of top quality hay, along with 24/7 access to clean fresh water, you’re doing exactly the right thing to prevent such an occurrence arising.
How long will Timothy Hay stay fresh for my Rabbit?
Hay is a natural product – it’s just dried grass, after all. And this means that overtime the quality of timothy hay will naturally deteriorate. However, if kept in the correct conditions, good quality hay can stay in a fragrant and fresh condition for a considerable amount of time. However, this is dependent on a) the quality of the hay in the first place and, b) the conditions in which it’s kept. Hay has three main enemies: 1 – Moisture 2 – Light 3 – Over handling. Moisture: Hay is dried grass. If it’s not kept in a dry environment then it will quickly deteriorate to the state when it’s inedible for your rabbit. And by moisture, this can mean directly being exposed to rain or another water source, or indirectly – by being kept in a humid environment. Light: Especially direct sunlight – or even harsh artificial light can spoil hay. Light causes hay to become brittle, course and fragile, as well as diminishing the nutritional content of the hay. Over handling:Because hay is a natural product, created by the gentle hand of Mother Nature, it doesn’t do well when handled by man. Hay that is over packaged, over handled and/or treated in a rough manner will suffer. And every time hay is handled by producers and manufacturers, it suffers. When hay is handled too much and in a rough manner, the stalks and heads will break down. This means that instead of fibrous, long strands of hay for your rabbit to munch on, you end up with small pieces of hay that amount to little more than chaff – something that most rabbits will not be particularly keen on. So the best hay for your rabbit will have been handled as little as possible by the time it reaches you. Small Pet Select package our hay in strong cardboard boxes. This not only protects the hay during transit (and gives you a handy storage unit as well), but keeps it safe from direct sun or harsh light, as well as keeping it free from any excess moisture. We also ensure that our hay is never over handled – and this is another reason that our hay comes in a cardboard body, rather than being enclosed in plastic packaging. Being encased in plastic is simply more, unnecessary handling, and one that we don’t consider appropriate for ensuring the hay remains in the best condition.
Where Can I Find Softer Timothy Hay For My Rabbit?
Timothy hay is, to state the obvious, produced from grass. And there are many factors that influence how hard or soft the end product of hay might be. The biggest influence is at what time of the year the hay is cut. There are three chances for a farmer to cut grass and produce timothy hay. These are known as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cuttings. In general, the hardest, stalkiest cut is the 1st one. It is also a little higher in fiber than the other two types, simply because of the growing potential of the grass during the early spring. The 2nd cut produces a much softer timothy hay product – this is done in early summer and whilst it is softer to touch, still contains the perfect amount of fiber for your rabbit. The 3rd cut takes place at the beginning of the fall – and this hay is the softest of all, being rather like grass clippings. However, for many reasons, most farmers don’t tend to take a 3rd cut of timothy hay. This is because of inclement weather conditions, as well as the fact that the yield of hay you get from a 3rd cutting is far, far reduced compared to the 1st and 2nd cut – so it’s not really financially viable. The timothy hay for rabbits that we sell at Small Pet Select is 2nd cut timothy hay. This means that while it is a fabulous fiber provider, it’s also beautifully soft to the touch, meaning that your rabbits not only love munching it, but there’s no worries that hard stalks might poke your pet in the eye while he’s nuzzling into it.
What is the Best Brand of Timothy Hay Rabbits?
Okay, so naturally there are many different brand of hay for rabbits for you to chose from. And of course, everyone has their favorites and loyalties to a particular type of timothy hay that they’re used to. Now, if we might be permitted to blow our own trumpet here for just a moment, we’d like to tell you all about the Small Pet Select brand of timothy hay for rabbits. We, just like you, are animal owners and lovers. In fact, that’s the whole reason we started selling our brand of timothy hay in the first place. Everyone to do with Small Pet Select has a huge knowledge about hay (oh, okay – we admit that we’re all a little obsessed about it, in all honesty!). And we know how vital it is that the hay fed to animals is of the highest quality. The thing is, we got somewhat frustrated trying to find a regular, top quality supply of timothy hay for rabbits to feed our own pets. You know how it is, we’re sure. You buy hay that your rabbit loves and tucks into with much gusto, and then suddenly you get a bad batch. Or the next lot your rabbit doesn’t like, or perhaps your supplier is unable to ensure a regular and reliable source of the best quality hay. So that’s why we decided that if you want a job doing properly, then you had to do it yourself. And the idea of selling Small Pet Select best brand timothy hay for rabbits was born. Hailing from the well-known best timothy hay growing area of the world, this made us ideally placed to not only become suppliers of hay for small pets, but that the hay we would supply would be just the best available on a global scale. And the feedback we’ve been getting on our Small Pet Select timothy hay for rabbits shows that the bunnies out there agree. We do our utmost to ensure that our hay arrives to your bunny in as fresh, sweet and wonderful condition as is possible. We take the best quality hay, store, treat and package it in a way that makes us pretty unique, and deliver it direct to your door. And that’s why, in our humble opinion, we honestly consider that Small Pet Select provide the best brand timothy hay for rabbits.
Where Can I Buy Timothy Hay For Rabbits In Bulk?
There are a few places where it’s possible to buy timothy hay for rabbits in bulk. This doesn’t include your local pet store, who tend to sell small, packaged portions of hay – making this an expensive way to purchase it. Online is one option, or if you’re lucky enough to live near a farm then this could be another to be able to buy timothy hay for rabbits in bulk. Here at Small Pet Select, we sell top quality timothy hay for rabbits in different sized boxes – and deliver them directly to your door. We sell in different sized boxes, allowing you to purchase your hay in the bulk that works out best for you and your rabbits – not to mention the amount of room you have to store the hay. You can choose from a 4.5lb box, 8lbs, 22lbs or 50lb boxes – meaning that however many bunnies (or other small pets) you have, you can choose the size that suits you.
Can Timothy Hay Be Used As Bedding For Rabbits?
Yes it can. In fact, you might not have much choice in the matter – because rabbits being rabbits, they’ll happily take their hay, burrow into it as well as curling up and having a snooze. However, most people prefer to use a different type of bedding, preferring to provide the timothy hay as just a foodstuff. And this makes sense simply from the fact that other beddings are generally going to be more absorbent while also being less costly. However, if you do use timothy hay as bedding, you’ll need to ensure that you remove any soiled hay from his hutch or house on a regular and often basis. Rabbits are very clean creatures, and are likely to go to the bathroom in a particular area. However, they won’t want to eat any hay that’s been close to this place – so it makes sense to clean this out as often as you can.