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Rabbit Hay Basics

Featured photo: Nicole Mason & Fiona

Hoppy 2022 everybun! When I started thinking about what to write for “Rabbit Hay Basics," the first thing that came to mind was if you have a hay-eating family member, expect that hay gets EVERYWHERE. We are really OCD about cleaning at our house, but I still find hay in my bed, and last week, I even found a piece in my coffee. When I told our Graphic Designer, Julia, she wondered how much hay she's eaten in her life 🤔. However, once you get past finding hay in crazy locations, you may be wondering things like, what kind of hay and how much hay should my rabbit eat? Or how and where should I store it, and how long is hay good for? We'll break it all down for you today 😊.

Rabbit Hay: Key to Good Health

See this? This is the rabbit food pyramid. 

At the very bottom, it says, "Unlimited grass hays. This is the staple of your rabbit’s diet.” Further, the House Rabbit Society explains, “Grass hay is rich in Vitamin A and D as well as calcium, protein, and other nutrients. In addition, eating hay promotes healthy teeth and gastrointestinal tract and should be always available to your rabbit. Varying the type of grass hay or mixing hays is a great idea."

What Kind of Hay Does My Rabbit Need?

Small Pet Select is proud to offer farm-fresh hay in seven different varieties. Many of our competitors simply offer “Timothy Hay.” We don’t just lump a bunch of timothy hay in a bag because we know, just like their humans, pets enjoy variety. Additionally, depending on your rabbit's health concerns, your trusted exotic vet may recommend a particular kind of hay. Finally, if you've got allergies or asthma like me, keeping certain types of hay in the house is bad news for your breathing. Small Pet Select offers lower-allergen hay alternatives to keep you and your bun healthy. We’ve got a chart on our website explaining all our hay varieties, but I put one here for you for simplicity.

Hay Type

Uses

Description


  • For rabbits who need to lose weight, have chronic GI issues, or teeth issues


  • Super high fiber, less fat
  • Lots of flowery heads
  • Lots of stem
  • Light green with some yellow/ brown

  • "Gold standard" for healthy adult rabbits
  • Perfect ratio of nutrients for a healthy life


  • Medium amount of fiber and fat
  • Medium amount of flowery heads
  • Flexible stem, medium amount of leaf
  • Light green with some yellow/ brown

  • Perfect for buns suffering from teeth issues or mouth pain
  • Aids weight gain
  • Good for variety or picky buns


  • High in protein and fat
  • Super soft and leafy
  • Flexible stem, medium amount of leaf
  • Darker green with some brown

  • Good for variety
  • Low allergen


  • Similar to 2nd cut Timothy nutrition-wise
  • Different smell and leaves

  • Great alternative for buns who need more fiber, but don't like 1st cutting
  • Good for variety
  • Aids weight gain
  • Low allergen


  • High in fiber, protein and fat
  • Longer stems than other hay
  • Yellowish, with oats attached

  • The GO-TO hay for young buns up to 12 months
  • Your vet may prescribe Alfalfa if your senior bun needs to gain weight
  • Treat hay for adult buns
  • Low allergen


  • High in fiber, protein, and fat
  • Nutrient-rich
  • Long strands
  • Small clover-like leaves, branching stems, and small flower clusters
  • Mix of colors from green to yellow

  • Great treat hay
  • Mix of a variety of hay, plus sweet smelling herbs and flowers


  • Simply yummers

Want to let your bun choose? Try our Sampler Hay Box containing 2nd cutting, 3rd cutting, Oat hay, and Orchard hay

Sampler Hay Box

How to Ensure Your Rabbit Gets Unlimited Hay

There are as many ways to offer hay to your rabbit as there are rabbit breeds. The two most popular methods, however, are:

In the Litter Box

Not to be TMI, but bunnies LOVE to nom and 💩 simultaneously. So, every morning, when I clean my trio's litter boxes and load them up with fresh 2nd cut, I get binkies when they see me coming. 

Again, just a suggestion as there are lots of ways to prep your fluffle’s litter boxes. It's essential to have one litter box per bun, like if you have cats. After dumping the old hay and litter, I spray each litter box with straight vinegar and wipe the litter boxes out with clean paper towels. Then, I line each litter box with a section of newspaper, several handfuls of our soft paper bedding, and several handfuls of hay.

In the Hay Manger

Hay mangers are crucial to ensuring UNLIMITED fresh hay is available. We've got 2 types for you to try.

How Much Rabbit Hay Do I Need to Buy?

When I worked in Customer Service, this was the 2nd most popular question from customers. The easiest way to figure out how much hay you need is to track how much hay you go through every month. Of course, it gets a bit more confusing if you use several varieties, but here’s what I did.

  1. Write on each box when you open it.
  2. At the end of each week, month, etc., draw a line where the hay level is inside the box with a date.

My bunnies average 10 pounds of 2nd cut EACH per month. Sunny Bunny (FL White (5) is just over 7 pounds/3.1 kg, Rocky Roo (Mixed Breed) (5) is 5 lbs./2.3 kg, and Pippi (Dutch) (1) is 6 lbs/2.7 kg. Sunny and Pippi are a bit on the heavy side, so I'm not serving any Oat hay right now. They used to get a small handful daily, and once they lose a little, I'll start that again.

My bunnies

Photo: Jessica Sullivan

How Long Does Rabbit Hay Last/How Do I Store Hay?

Right now, we've got 15 lbs. of Oat in the "Barn" (what my husband calls the garage as I make sure we never run low). Like I said, my crew isn't eating any now. So, is it going to spoil? No.

If you store the hay in a clean, cool, dry (low humidity) location and in the cardboard shipping box, it will keep for up to 12 months.

If your buns invoked our Picky Pet Promise, we’d love it if you donated that hay to your local rescue or pet pantry to help others.

For more rabbit hay storage tips, check out this blog.

Our barn

Photo: Jessica Sullivan

"The barn" and our biggest "bunny," Harper, the deaf Blue Heeler who also eats hay non-stop.


We've covered all the rabbit hay basics, but please let us know if you have more questions or if there's something we forgot. Also, please comment on our socials or email hoomans@smallpetselect.com. Thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: The links and information are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Small Pet Select of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.


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