Updated: Oct 10
Hay, Hay, Hay
What is all the hype about Hay?
Why does everyone say you should feed your rabbit lots of hay?
Do you feed your rabbit bowls of nuggets and colourful treats with little hay?
Well read on……………………..
The 2016 PDSA Animal Wellbeing report highlighted only 30% of rabbit owners are providing constant access to hay for eating.
It would appear 70% of rabbit owners do not understand the importance of good quality hay. Hay has a number of important benefits for your rabbits continued good health and as we know must be the main part of their diet.
So this post is my explanation as to why there is so much hype about Rabbits and their Hay consumption.
Hay is dried grass, straw is the waste product of barley and wheat it has little nutritional value. So having straw available does not mean you are providing ad lib hay, this can be a common mistake.
Firstly I want you to think back to the last time you saw a wild rabbit…….I bet the rabbit was not fat and had a beautiful coat.
Did you see those wild buns eating from a bowl and dragging bananas out the bushes….. probably not.
Rabbits like horses have guts that are designed to have food (high fiber) going through their gut most of the time. This is why these wild bun look like grass processing plants. The grass goes in, goes round the conveyor belt and pops out a perfect parcel, they frolic about the field dropping processed grass/hay packages as they hop.
Does your rabbit poo lots?
I like to see that a rabbit has produced a substantial amount of poo in a 24 hour period. Those bunnies that eat good quantities of hay will do around 250 poos a day.
If the answer is no then you are not feeding him correctly.
For example if I present my children with a bowl of sweets or a balanced meal what will they go for? Same with your rabbit, feeding a fat rabbit more colourful treats excessive amounts of nuggets is like feeding an overweight child doughnuts, is not going to help.
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s I ate Sherbert dips and E numbers were in most foods, we are now better educated and
are more conscious of what we eat. The educated rabbit owner is the same, more and more I am pleased to see my customers are understanding the importance of a good diet for their rabbits. I understand getting your rabbit to eat hay can be hard work, keep an eye on our social media and blog for idea on how to get your rabbit to eat more Hay.
What can happen when you do not feed enough Hay to your Rabbit?
Well do you remember the last time you ate something that upset your digestive system?
It hurt didn’t it? Gut pain can be crippling. But I hear “oh but he loves it” yes I too like the taste of wine but I know my limits. Your rabbit doesn’t know his limits and will eat anything tasty put in front of him.
Rabbits teeth will wear down quicker when they eat a good amount hay.
How to feed Hay to your rabbit.
Do you like the smell of freshly baked bread? Imagine if it smelt like blocked drains. The hay you choose for your rabbit must be excellent quality, a nice smell and no dust is your first priority.
They are many different types of grasses and flowers in hay and they all taste different. By giving your rabbit a nice big pile of hay they have a lot to choose from.
Eating is a big part of a rabbits entertainment, like horses they do it most of the day. So it is your job to create a meal that will take all day to eat. A lovely big tray of good quality hay with herbs, greens, some safe wild flowers and a small portion of nuggets sprinkled in makes a great meal for the day. Stuff hay and nuggets into a loo roll, I find this is a firm favourite with most rabbits.
A nice topping -
I like to sprinkle some dried forarge like dandilion delight on top of the hay and mix it in well. That usual encourages them to snuffle about looking for good bits.
Rabbits like to eat and poo and that can be all in the same place. Living areas and feeding posts must be cleaned regularly. Have a think a bit of chocolate that fell down the side of the sofa friday night is not as nice as a fresh dairy milk on Saturday night, is it !
So there we are that is the Hype around rabbits and Hay – do you get it now?
Keep following for more hay feeding tips.
Here at Small Furry Hotel we are always happy to provide advice to our customers to help keep your favourite furry friend healthy.
Here is a great video to illustrate how your bunnies poos should look :Perfect Poo Story