Can Rabbits Have Hay
From Hay Bales for Bedding?

Hay Bales for Bedding? Rabbits love hay. They nibble on it. They burrow in it. They make nests from it. Hay can even be stuffed into empty toilet paper rolls or tied in knots to create toys. Hay is a wonderful thing for rabbits. Yes, it can be used for bedding.

You want to make sure they get good quality hay, however. Alfalfa hay is usually too rich since most rabbit pellets are already made from alfalfa. Since alfalfa is actually a legume rather than a grass, it has many of the nutrients needed for pellets.

Timothy hay is a good choice. It offers strong stems for chewing to keep your rabbit's teeth trimmed down. It helps clean out their system and provides entertainment as well as variety in the diet. Timothy hay can be found at your local feed stores by the bale. If a bale is too big for you, check online. There are many companies that sell small packages of timothy hay. Oxbow is one of the companies known for the high quality of their hay.

Orchard grass is another good hay. When you are buying hay for your rabbit, make sure you ask if it is horse quality. The digestive systems of rabbits and horses are similar in what quality feed they can digest. Orchard hay is usually cheaper than timothy, yet it provides a good form of roughage with lots of interesting flavors for your pet.

When purchasing hay, you may hear the terms "first cut" and "second cut." Second cut is best if you can get it. It is softer than first cut and has fewer seed heads in it. Second cut is usually greener, too. First cut is the first mowing in mid-summer. It usually has a higher ratio of stem to leaf, and feels coarser. Second cut has more leaves in it.

Hay can be used as bedding, but you will need to change the cage more frequently. Hay is not absorbent like shavings or paper-based bedding. If you put a layer of bedding down first, then give your pet a liberal amount of hay to play with, he or she will be very happy. It is fun to watch them carry mouthfuls around and burrow into it.

Hay can be stored for several months as long as it is fresh when you first get it. Open up the package to let it breathe if it is in plastic. It should be stored somewhere dry and well-ventilated. Bales are best stored on a pallet so air circulation can get all around it. If you have a partial bale, store it upright in a large cardboard box or a zippered hay bale bag.

Don't break open the bale unless you need to use a large portion of the bale. Just cutting the strings and working your way through each flake (hay bales are divided into sections) is best. Be careful; when you cut the strings on some bales they expand a great deal. Unless you have a lot of rabbits, one bale at a time is usually more than sufficient.

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