Oaten hay is best for rabbits aged seven months or older, it provides a great source of fiber to maintain a healthy gut and avoid dental problems. Oat hay should be light green in color and the seed heads soft enough to squeeze open with your fingers.
Some fresh cut oaten hay
80% of every rabbit's diet should be oaten hay and fresh grass. A high fibre diet, with some veggies for variety, is the single most important thing in maintaining good dental and intestinal health. Without fibre, the digestive system cannot move food through the gut and your rabbit's teeth could grow painfully long. Rabbits typically devour our oaten hay!
Lucerne hay for rabbits?
Lucerne hay, called Alfafla in the USA, is high in fiber, protein and calcium and is good for baby rabbits up to about six months. Once they mature, Lucerne should be avoided as the higher protein will make your bun overweight and the calcium content could cause intestinal problems.
Grass hay for rabbits?
Grass hay can be fed to your rabbit however it can be more difficult to understand just exactly what the grass is and can vary from harvest to harvest and store to store. Be careful feeding grass hay as it may contain high protein, high calcium clover or native grasses. Similarly feeding lawn clippings can also be dangerous if introduced suddenly. Always introduce new grasses gradually to ensure your bunny's tummy can handle it. Typically feeding oaten hay from a reputable source will provide a more nutritionally consistent base for your rabbit. Lawn clippings can be a treat on top!
How much oaten hay can my rabbit eat?
Oaten Hay should form the basis of your rabbits diet. Rabbits can have unlimited access to Oaten hay (see the feed chart from the RSPCA below).
What about Timothy Hay?
Timothy hay is more popular in the USA as it grows easier than oaten hay and is consequently more available and cheaper. Conversely, in Australia, Oaten hay is more readily available. Whether you feed Timothy or Oaten typically comes down to the preference of your bunny, as there is no meaningful difference in nutritional impact.
How much should I feed my Rabbit?
While it is easy to say that 80% of the diet should be hay, 15% vegetables and greens, and 5% pellets, what does this actually look like? This chart from the RSPCA gives a helpful guide to how much your rabbit can eat.
|Rabbit weight (kgs)||Hay||Pellets (cups)||Greens (cups)||Vegetables (tablespoon)|