Bunny Care Guide: The Importance Of Feeding Hay To Rabbits
Everywhere you go, you'll see recommendations concerning the feeding of hay to rabbits. "Give your bunny all the hay it can eat!" They say, "Do not restrict your rabbit's hay consumption!" They tell us, "Bury Your Rabbits under piles and piles of hay!" Well, they don't say that, but bunnies would have a really great time digging their way out of that one, I am sure. (WARNING: To the sorts of people who put pets in the microwave to dry them off, I am NOT recommending that you bury your rabbit under a large amount of hay. Doing so may kill your bunny. It is a bad idea. Do not do it. Now go tape the oven mitts to your hands and go back to singing your little happy song.)
For those of you that are still left, here is the truth about hay.
Hay is good for your rabbit because those long fibers that hay is made from help the muscles of the bunny's gut stay good and strong. Hay keeps things moving inside the bunny's system, and can help prevent blockages that may kill your rabbit. Bunnies will chew on almost anything, they seem to have little concept of what they can digest and what they cannot digest. Keeping them well stocked with hay may also help to keep the fur and other weird foreign bodies moving through your rabbit's complex digestive system. A lack of hay can slow down your rabbit's intestinal functions and cause a multitude of problems. Hay is an essential part of your rabbit's diet, and you should no more leave your bunny without hay than you would leave it without water.
Rabbits need lots of fiber, and hay provides it to them. A good quality hay should not be too expensive, and is really essential for your rabbit's health and well being.
Is all hay equal?
NO! All hay is not equal. Like cereals, there are those that are good for you, and those that are tasty. Ideally, you should be feeding your bunny on the bran equivalent hay, timothy hay. Timothy hay is the most popular rabbit feeding hay, and probably the easiest for you to obtain, but oat hay, wheat hay and bahia hay are all also okay. Alfafa and Clover hays are tastier to your rabbit, but contain a great deal of calcium and protein, neither of which your bunny needs in large amounts.
You may be offered a choice between first and second cut hay. Once again, first cut is better for your bunny, but second cut is tastier. It's up to you to make the tough call.
That's it for this time bunny lovers. Be sure to make sure that your bunny gets plenty of hay, and he or she is sure to be a happier and healthier bunny for it!