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.
Not only is hay necessary for good digestive health, it also wears down rabbits' teeth, which continuously grow. Regular hay consumption helps prevent rabbits from developing sharp hooks on their teeth known as molar spurs. Molar spurs can be very painful, causing rabbits to stop eating. Once this happens, GI stasis can occur.
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 (for adult bunnies) 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 (for very young bunnies) 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 and his teeth, 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!
The horse, rabbit, gorilla and others have a single stomach and a gigantic cecum (huge blind pouch) which contains billions of bacteria and participates in digestion.
Herbivores don’t have canine teeth, and they don't exactly chew. They rip grass and forages with their flat front teeth, and then their jaws move side to side as the molars grind the plant forages into a pulp. Herbivores browse and graze all day long, every day, in order to take in enough forage to subsist on.
Remember: a rabbit is a lagomorph, not a rodent or a primate. The rabbit digestive tract is physiologically more similar to that of a horse than to that of a rodent or primate, and the intestine and related organs can suffer from an overindulgence in starchy, fatty "party mixes", "gourmet" or "treat" mixes filled with dried fruit, nuts and seeds. These may be safe for a bird or hamster--BUT THEY ARE NOT PROPER FOOD FOR A RABBIT. The sole function of "rabbit gourmet treats" is to lighten your wallet. If the manufacturers of "gourmet rabbit treats" truly cared about your rabbit's health and longevity, they would not market such products.
Check the Guaranteed Analysis of your rabbit feed:
Crude Protien – Between 13-17% for most rabbits. Too much protein can lead to excessive cecal production, and high ammonia in the cecum and urine. Long-haired rabbits, large rabbits, and rabbits kept outside need higher protein.
Crude Fat Minimum – Between 1-5%.
Crude Fiber Minimum– At least 16-18%.
Calcium Minimum – Around 0.5%
Calcium Maximum – Around 1.0%
Phosphorus Minimum – Around 0.4%
Salt – Between 0.5 – 1%
Vitamin A – 4500-5000 IU
Vitamin D – Not more than 2000 IU
Don't feed your rabbit cookies, crackers, nuts, seeds, breakfast cereals
(including oatmeal) or "high fiber" cereals. They may be high fiber
for you, but not for your herbivorous rabbit, who's far better able to
completely digest celluose ("dietary fiber") than you are. Fed to a
rabbit, the high fat and simple carbohydrate content of "naughty foods"
may contribute to fatty liver disease, cecal dysbiosis, obesity, and
otherwise cause health problems.
Available at PetSmart
If your rabbit is demonstrating any of these symptoms of GI stasis, bring him/her to a rabbit-savvy vet immediately:
Small and/or malformed fecal pellets
No fecal pellets
Loss of appetite
Lethargy / hunched posture