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Timothy Hay Allergy? What To Feed Your Rabbit!

timothy hay allergy

I’m here today to save your relationship with rabbits. A Timothy hay allergy doesn’t need to stop you from getting a rabbit or stop you from loving on your rabbit for years to come. 

There are other options! Rabbits can be just as happy (and healthy) with Orchard hay. And you might be happy with it too! It bothers fewer people due to the fact that it usually doesn’t have many flowerheads (where the pollen is). 

And there are actually rabbits who have a Timothy hay allergy as well. So humans and bun-buns alike, we are here for you with a solution.

timothy hay allergy

Why Orchard Hay Works So Well For People With a Timothy Hay Allergy

Orchard hay can be harvested earlier than Timothy hay with a fairly large yield. This means the farmer can get a lot of hay before many flower heads grow. 

Since flower heads are where all the pollen is, this means less pollen in your hay box! Most people who have a problem with Timothy hay have a problem with the pollen.

orchard hay

Orchard Hay is Almost The Same Nutritionally As Timothy Hay

The reason Timothy hay is usually the go-to for rabbits is that it’s a popular crop to grow! Making it easier to find and more affordable than orchard hay.

Orchard hay has about the same amount of fiber as Timothy hay and both types of hay are low in calcium. Two things our rabbits need for their diet! 

Orchard hay is slightly higher in protein but still very similar to Timothy hay. And both are low enough in fat to be the go-to hay for an adult rabbit with or without a Timothy hay allergy. 

Rabbits need hay available to them 24/7 as a free-choice food. So when it comes to rabbit care, hay is the priority!

Lisa W. Review of Orchard Hay

Great quality, rabbits love it. 

The quality of the hay was great. Rabbits love it. We get orchard hay because my spouse is allergic to Timothy hay. Great price for orchard hay which is important for multiple rabbits!

timothy hay allergy

How Do I Know If I Have a Timothy Hay Allergy?

Timothy hay can worsen asthma symptoms in some people. This will look like coughing or wheezing. Symptoms of a Timothy hay allergy are usually in the throat, nose, and eyes. But some severe allergies can show up as hives when the pollen gets on your skin. 

How Do I Know If My Rabbit Has a Timothy Hay Allergy?

Rabbits are very rarely allergic to Timothy hay. So if they’re showing these signs it's definitely possible they are allergic to something else in their environment. 

A rabbit allergy can look like red eyes, sneezing, clear discharge from its nose, and touching its face and nose a lot with its paws. 

Other Options When You Have a Timothy Hay Allergy

Orchard hay is the best choice for those with a Timothy hay allergy. It’s also a good choice for rabbits who are picky! Orchard hay is usually softer and more fragrant than Timothy hay so we understand why it turns some heads!

You need your rabbit to chew on hay all day to get the fiber they need for their stomach and the roughage they need for their teeth!

Two other types of hay that you will come across are Oat hay and Alfalfa hay. Both of these types of hay are too high in protein for most healthy adult rabbits. However, they can be given in smaller amounts and used in treats! 

Oat Hay

Oat hay is actually only slightly higher in protein than Timothy hay. About 16% more protein. So if Orchard hay doesn’t work for you and your bun then you could give Oat hay a try when there's a Timothy hay allergy.

oat hay

Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa hay has twice as much protein as 1st cutting Timothy hay (A little less difference when comparing 2nd cutting). The difference here is much more significant. But Alfalfa hay is the go-to hay for young rabbits. The little guys need protein! 

Some animals who are underweight may also benefit from hay higher in protein (and calories). But check with your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your rabbit's weight and want to make a diet change. 

You can read all about the different cuttings of Timothy hay and their nutrient profiles in our Timothy Hay Guide.

Ready To Try Something New?

Use the discount code HAY5 at checkout to get 5$ OFF Alfalfa, Orchard, or Oat hay. 

*Minimum purchase of $20.00 for discount to be applied.  One use per customer.*

How To Introduce Different Types Of Hay To Your Rabbit

When you’re first transitioning your rabbit from one type of hay to another type of hay, you may want to mix the two types together. It can be hard for a rabbit's favorite hay to suddenly be replaced. 

This is what people do when they're switching young rabbits from Alfalfa to Timothy as they grow older. Or if you need to switch things around when there's a Timothy hay allergy.

Making Sure Your Rabbit Gets Everything They Need Without Timothy Hay

If you're worried about cutting out Timothy hay from your rabbit’s diet, remember that you are likely giving them high-quality pellet food that does contain Timothy hay. 

Orchard hay can certainly replace Timothy hay in your rabbit’s diet and they will still be getting everything they would from Timothy hay. However, you can consider pellet food to be a multivitamin.

It can help fill in any nutritional gaps between your rabbit's hay and fresh veggie intake! 

A Timothy Hay Allergy Should Never Stop A Rabbit Lover

It may take a little trial and error as you find something that works for you and your bun. Even those with a slight Timothy hay allergy can benefit from buying hay with very little dust.

Buying high-quality hay means you have less dust and more hay staying right where it’s supposed to be. 

Small Pet Select does an excellent job keeping dust to a minimum with their careful packaging process and only using the highest quality hay. 

If you’ve been struggling with itchy eyes and a runny nose then go find your rabbit and tell them you’re going to try something new!

And trust me, most rabbits are very excited to eat Orchard hay so if that's your first stop on the problem-solving train, your rabbit is in for a treat! 


We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.


Before adding any new product, please consult your exotic veterinarian. If your pet is acting unwell and you have concerns for their well being, please contact your vet immediately.

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