The Golden Feed for Bunnies: What Is Oaten Hay?

Rabbit blog post

Rustling in the hayloft, you'll often find bales of oaten hay stacked up, a favorite among many rabbit enthusiasts. What's the buzz around this specific type of hay? Well, hold onto your carrots, because we're about to dive deep into the world of oaten hay and its magical properties!

Key Takeaways - What is Oaten Hay?

Oaten hay is a nutritious and palatable type of hay that's harvested from oat crops before the grain matures. It's a favorite for many rabbit owners because of its digestibility and the benefits it offers to bunnies.

1. Origin and Characteristics of Oaten Hay

Oaten hay originates from the oat plant. Unlike the grain harvested for human consumption:

  • Stage of Harvest: It's harvested earlier, capturing the plant's nutritional peak.

  • Appearance: Features a greenish-gold hue with a sweet aroma that bunnies find irresistible.

2. Nutritional Composition of Oaten Hay

Nutrient Amount in Oaten Hay
Calories 50 kcal/100g
Protein 8.5%
Carbohydrates 40%
Fiber 32%
Fat 2.5%
Calcium 0.35%

3. Why Oaten Hay is Loved by Bunnies and Owners Alike

  1. High Fiber Content: Essential for gut health and preventing obesity in rabbits.

  2. Balanced Protein: Offers essential amino acids without being too rich.

  3. Taste: Its natural sweetness makes it more palatable to fussy eaters.

4. How Does Oaten Hay Compare with Other Hays?

With various hay types available, how does oaten hay stack up?

  • Versus Timothy Hay: Oaten hay has a slightly higher protein and fat content, but both are excellent choices for adult bunnies.

  • Versus Alfalfa Hay: Alfalfa is richer and more suitable for younger, growing rabbits.

5. Incorporating Oaten Hay in a Bunny’s Diet

To provide a balanced diet for your rabbit:

  1. Primary Diet Component: Oaten hay can be the mainstay, making up about 80% of their diet.

  2. Fresh Veggies: Introduce veggies like cabbage and zucchini in moderation.

  3. Occasional Fruits: Delight them with treats such as strawberries, blueberries, or watermelon.

  4. Other Treats: Offer plums and the tangy oranges once in a while.

6. Storing and Purchasing Tips

To get the most out of oaten hay:

  1. Storage: Keep in a cool, dry place. Avoid damp areas to prevent mold growth.

  2. Purchase: Opt for greenish, fresh-smelling hay. Brownish hay may be too mature or stale.


Oaten hay, with its perfect blend of nutrition and palatability, truly shines as a dietary staple for our furry friends. As bunny enthusiasts, it's our duty to understand and offer the best. While treats like strawberries or zucchini are delightful additions, it's oaten hay that should take center stage in their dietary concert. After all, a well-fed bunny is a happy bunny!

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