What hay should I feed my rabbit?
Hay is the most important food of a bunny’s diet. The fiber in the hay helps keep the stomach and intestines functioning properly. Common occurrences of stomach and/or intestine problems with rabbits are hairballs, gas, or other intestinal blockage from items that cannot be digested. Unlike a cat, a rabbit cannot get rid of hairballs or other undigested items in the stomach and gut. Hay and lots of water help keep these things from building up and blocking your bunny’s gut.
Alfalfa hay is too rich in calcium to feed to domestic rabbits. Alfalfa is a flowering plant in the pea family that contains stems, leaves, and flowers and is loved by rabbits. However, it is too rich in protein and calcium to be fed regularly to adult rabbits. Excess calcium and too much protein can cause urinary and bladder problems in your furry friend. However, young rabbits (like young children) do need extra protein and calcium for proper bone growth and health, so young rabbits (up to 6 months) can have extra Alfalfa. Feed Alfalfa sparingly and rarely to adult rabbits.
Clover Hay is also a plant in the pea family, often found mixed with pasture grass hay. Like Alfalfa, it also is too rich in calcium for domestic rabbits.
Try to find grass hay free of alfalfa, clover and weeds. Good grass hay for rabbits are hay such as Timothy (this is the best but hard to get in some states) or Orchard Grass Hay. Orchard Grass Hay is long, generally wide strand soft-textured hay in varying shades of green. Timothy Grass Hay is a perennial field grass hay originally promoted for cultivation by Timothy Hanson in about 1720. It can grow from 50 to 150 cm tall with leaves 45 cm long and 1 cm wide. It smells sweet, is high in fiber, and is a staple food for rabbits.
Grass hay should be provided to your bunny in unlimited quantities. Make sure the hay you purchase is clean, green, and free of mold. Mold is toxic to rabbits, so if you see any indication of mold on anything you are feeding your bunny, throw it away!