Hay-Based Rabbit Bedding
You may be wondering what kind of rabbit bedding to give your rabbits. Some rabbits don't need bedding at all... those that have wire cages and wire floors seldom need bedding.
For people who have a tray beneath the floor to catch droppings, some prefer to add a bedding of some kind to absorb the urine. Rabbits in solid floor cages of any kind should have bedding such as Carefresh rabbit bedding to absorb urine. You can also put bedding in rabbit litter pans for the same purpose.
Rabbits love to eat hay. It provides needed fiber to keep their digestive tracts working properly. Some people find it works well to keep hay in the litter pans for their rabbits. The rabbits will happily munch on the clean stems while they do their eliminations. There are a variety of beddings on the market for this purpose, but you can use hay if you prefer.
You can also buy hay based rabbit bedding. You can find Oxbow Eco Straw Litter online and at some pet stores. This bedding is in a pelleted form and it is made of wheat straw. They are very absorbent, soaking up to three times their weight in liquid. They are safe for your rabbit to nibble on, unlike some wood based beddings. They compost well after they are soiled.
Another type is Nature's Café Straw Mini Bales. This bedding is also made of wheat straw. It is soft, safe for your pet to nibble and is dust free. This bedding looks more like straw. Of course, you may use real straw if you wish. If you have room to store a bale of straw, pick on up at your local feed store. Straw can be perfect for stuffing your rabbit's outdoor cage when it is extremely cold outside, too. Just let your rabbit burrow in and he will remain snug and warm.
While straw isn't the best thing for your pet to eat, it is less expensive than hay. If you have enough hay, you can use it just as easily for rabbit bedding or for extra warmth in the winter. Your bunny will enjoy nibbling on it while they burrow in it. Timothy hay or horse quality orchard hay is a better choice than alfalfa.
Most rabbit pellets are alfalfa based, so your rabbit does not need more. Timothy or orchard grass offers more fiber and less protein and calcium than alfalfa. Excess calcium can build up in your rabbit's system and cause a chalky sludge to show up in your rabbit's urine.
Orchard grass hay will usually be less expensive than timothy hay. If you buy hay from a neighbor or the feed store, you should check the hay thoroughly before feeding it. Milkweed is one of the weeds that may be found in hay at times and it is toxic to your bunny. Your feed store should be able to vouch for the safety of its hay.
Always store rabbit bedding and hay based products in a safe, dry place to prevent mold and mildew. Hay should also be kept in a well-ventilated area to prevent heat buildup. Excessive light will cause the hay to yellow and lose nutrition.
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