Types of Hays & Grasses

 

Bunnies love fresh hay! Be sure to provide an ample supply they can nibble whenever they like. Hay fiber is the best defense against intestinal blockages. The House Rabbit Hay Program offers fresh hay at a reasonable price. For just $10 you get a good-sized box (8-10 lbs) filled with a healthy mix of hays. The mix includes Timothy, Orchard Grass, Oat, and a very small amount of Alfalfa.

You can purchase our hay at these locations:  Hay Sale Outlets

Plan ahead. Don't let your hay supply run out before purchasing more.

 

orchard grass hay 

Alfalfa

Distinguished by stalks, usually brittle and flat green to brown leaves. Very high in calcium, can cause "sludge" in bunny's urine. High calories. Watch for gummy droppings, weight gain, sludge, and cecal pellets not being eaten. These are usually problems of the older (2+ yr. bunny). Hay can vary from dark lime green to yellow/green/brown depending on the season. There is almost always some alfalfa in HRS boxed hay. Alfalfa is easy to come by in San Diego County. Most horse people feed alfalfa, but a strict alfalfa diet for bunnies can lead to some of the problems listed above. HRS recommends a mixture of hay varieties and "not" a diet high in alfalfa hay.


timothy hay 

Timothy Hay

Timothy is probably the second most popular hay with bunnies and their caretakers. It looks like a dried blade of grass, fairly wide and its color is a soft green to grey/brown green. Timothy hay also has "solid cattails" which distinguishes it from Orchard grass which has "broken cattails." Much of the Timothy is imported from Northern counties; it is not as widely available as Alfalfa, but is an excellent hay for bunnies. It contains a good level of calcium and calories. Typically included in all HRS boxed hay.


 

Oat Hay

Large hollow cylindrical stalks and flat blades that are golden yellow to light green with oats on the end. The coloration and the presence of oats distinguishes this hay from others. Oat hay can vary widely in appearance and oat count, depending on the harvest season. New harvests are generally oat laden, whereas later harvest such as Dec-Feb can be very light, with minimal oats. Many people confuse Oat hay with Straw. The similarity is in the coloration. Straw is not a food source, but is typically used for bedding, mostly in the horse and farming communities. Oat hay is an excellent source of fiber. Bunnies tend to enjoy mostly the oats, but will sporadically munch on the hay stalks.

If bun's diet is high in oat hay, the pellets she produces will be larger, lighter in color, and will look like sawdust if crushed. Many bunnies would benefit from eating more oat hay, an excellent preventative for GI Stasis. HRS boxed hay may contain oat hay or other fiber rich types to provide variety.

 

Bermuda Grass

Yes, it's that stuff you've been trying to get out of your flower bed since the beginning of time. Bermuda is a thin blade to flexible stalk, light green to gray/green in color. It is another of the higher fiber hays and may be seen in HRS boxed hay as one of the "alternative hays." Bermuda is less well known and not as easy to come by. Many bunnies prefer Bermuda and it is a good all around food source with a moderate amount of calories. Bermuda is typically fine enough that it doesn't get spread all over the cage which often happens with Oat hay. Typically no flowers or cattails are seen on Bermuda grass.

Editor's Note: In our experience, bunnies aren't crazy about Bermuda grass and will pass it over in favor of other types of grasses and hay. Bermuda grass contains the same nutritional content as Timothy or Orchard grass, so these can be fed interchangeably.Rabbits can graze lawns, but make sure they have note been treated with chemicals or fertilizer. Also, do not be tempted to feed your rabbit the cuttings from your grass lawn. You can give them a handful of fresh grass or cuttings as a treat, but anything they don't eat within an hour should be thrown away as it will begin to ferment and can cause gastrointestinal upset. 

orchard_grass.jpg

Orchard Grass

Another less known feed, orchard grass, is very similar in appearance to Timothy but the "cattails" have small segments missing from them every 1/32 of an inch. Also the cattails tend to be pale brown, whereas Timothy cattails are green to light yellow. Orchard is even less prevalent in San Diego County than perhaps all other hay/grass varieties. We try to include it whenever possible as it is a good alternative and provides change.