Hay is the most crucial element in a rabbit’s diet.
Therefore, your rabbit should always have access to hay, although the feeding of hay can be a bit flexible.
Hay is a primary source of fiber.
It helps keep the GI tract of a rabbit properly working.
Also, an unlimited amount of hay doesn’t result in weight gain.
Chewing hay is a time-consuming activity which would keep your rabbit entertained.
While some rabbits like digging and rearranging their hay as well.
Hence, hay is important for your bunny.
With hay, it is advised to buy a hay feeder as well, though it is not essential.
The main benefit of it is keeping the hay off the floor where it might get soiled by urine.
We have a list of 7 best hay and hay feeders for your rabbit.
Best Hay Feeders for your Rabbit
|Rabbit Hay Feeder Rack||Metal and high-quality plastic||Big|
|Mkono Hay Feeder||Metal and high-quality plastic with steel edges||Big|
|Kaytee Hay Manger||Metal and plastic||Small|
|Lixit Hay Rack||Plastic||Big|
Best Hay for Rabbits
|Product||Type of cut||Weight|
|Hollywood Rabbits Timothy Hay||2nd||3lb|
|FarmerDavePetSupply First Cut Timothy Hay||1st||15lb|
|KMS Hayloft Premium 3rd Timothy Hay for Small Animals||3rd||10lb|
A rabbit’s diet goes a long way in determining its well-being. However, before we move on to reviewing all these products, you might want to check out our rabbit checklist to ensure you have everything your bunny needs.
1. Rabbit Hay Feeder Rack by SunGrow
- Product weight: 9.6 ounces
- Attachable to the cage.
- Keeps food off the floor.
- Cleanable using detergent and washcloth.
- Usable by other animals as well; Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, and Hamsters.
- Made from metal and hard quality plastic material.
- Dispenser measures 7” x 4” x 6” (height x depth x width)
- Includes a spring loaded wire mesh cage
- Mesh cage is 6” x 4” (height x width)
- Holds onto cage very well.
- Pet easily gets the hay out.
- Convenient as it hangs inside the cage.
- Effortless cleaning.
- Very durable.
- Rabbits can chew through the plastic.
- Bigger rabbits might find this rack too small.
- The rack can only be installed on horizontal cage bars.
2. Mkono Hay Feeder less Wasted Hay Rack Manger
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 3.5 x 7.4 inches
- Product Weight: 4 ounces
- A specially designed metal grate
- Made of metal and high-quality plastic
- 5 1/2inch length, 3 1/2inch width, 7 3/8inch high
- Includes back lock with diameter approximate 5/8in
- Easy assembly and installation.
- Ideal for longer stranded hay.
- Discreet packaging.
- Easy to load with hay.
- Large enough for 2-days’ supply.
- The rabbit can get stuck due to the spring metal grate which snaps shut.
3. Kaytee Hay Manger
- Product Dimensions: 4 x 8 x 7.2 inches
- Product Weight: 0.4 ounces
- Zipper closure
- Cleanable using wipes
- Made in the USA or imported
- Easily attaches to any wire cage
- Includes built-in salt spool holder
- For rabbits, guinea pigs or other small animals
- Can be attached at any height.
- Easy to assemble and install.
- Additional salt spoon hanger keeps pets busy for longer.
- Small size and has to be refilled a lot.
- Holes are too big where the small pets can get stuck.
- Pets can jump on top of it to eat hay, which makes it difficult for the hay to stay in.
4. Lixit Hay Rack
- Product Dimensions:10.5 x 3.5 x 4 inches
- Directly attachable to any cage
- Made entirely of plastic
- Large size
- Large size doesn’t need refilling daily.
- The plastic keeps hay in.
- Easily hooked to the cage
- Easy to clean
- Pets can chew through the plastic
Best Hay for rabbits
Those were our top picks for hay feeders for rabbits.
But what’s the use of hay feeders if you don’t have quality hay for your bunnies?
1. Hollywood Rabbits Timothy Hay
- All natural
- No pesticides, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
- Hand selected
- High in fiber
- Includes ample protein, vitamins, and minerals
- 2nd cutting texture and fiber
- Soft stem and flower heads
- Item weight: 3 pounds
- Great texture
- Easy to chew
- Healthy and full of nutrients
- Eaten easily hence doesn’t keep the pet busy for too long
2. FarmerDavePetSupply First Cut Timothy Hay
- High in fiber
- Organically grown
- No pesticides or additives
- Sun and wind dried
- Grown in Northeastern climate
- 1st cut hay
- Light green color
- Contains Timothy seed heads
- Item weight: 15lb
- The fresh scent makes it suitable to keep at home
- Cool colors which bring colors to the cage
- Easy to chew and digest
- Some animals do not like Timothy seeds
3. KMS Hayloft Premium 3rd Timothy Hay for Small Animals
- Item weight: 10lb
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 5 x 23 inches
- Packaged for small animals
- Green in color
- Soft and pliable texture
- Grass hay
- Contains brown leaf
- Fine, clean and very aromatic
- Soft enough for the pets to sleep on
- No hard/sharp stalks
- Not always the same exact product due to non-uniformity in production
How to choose a “Hay Rack” for your rabbit
When looking for a great quality hay rack, one needs to ensure that the feeder is robust.
Rabbits, with their sharp teeth and gnawing instinct, can chew through even the most strong and dense of materials.
Therefore, it is essential to have something that is not only durable but is resistant to the sharp teeth of your furry pets.
Also, checking the product size dimension in accordance with your rabbit’s cage is important before making a purchase.
One of the primary considerations when choosing a suitable hay feeder for your pet is the amount of hay it can hold.
The hay a rabbit eats is supposed to be fresh; hence the rack should be able to hold roughly a day’s supply with a little left over.
But on the other hand, a rabbit eats hay about its own size. Therefore, the rack should be big enough to hold that amount as well.
Also, if you have multiple pets, you’d need a rack according to that.
Is it essential to get a “Hay Rack” for your rabbit?
It is not necessary to have a hay rack.
But it is convenient to get a place where you can put hay.
The main reason behind this is to keep the hay off the floor where it can get mixed up with urine and feces.
Though, that might not be a problem if your little pet is litter trained.
Hay can also be used as bedding or scattering it across the floor.
Another benefit of owning a hay rack is to minimize the mess that comes with the hay.
It depends on the design and style of hay rack that you buy and how much your rabbits eat.
Different types of Hay Racks for rabbits
There are many kinds of hay racks available at pet stores worldwide exclusively for rabbits.
But, choosing a suitable hay rack for your rabbit is very important, i.e., some fold out racks are often too small to hold ample food supply for one day.
If they are attached on the mesh, make sure to add something solid for example cardboard or a piece of plywood behind it so that the hay doesn’t fall out the back.
Plastic solid hay racks are designed to be attached to the outside of cages.
The cage bars act as grills through which the hay is pulled.
Hence, it is important to have a suitable cage for it.
Hay racks that are chew-proof can be hung on the inside of the cage using screws and cable ties.
If you have larger animals, you might need to buy a bigger hay rack that can store more hay.
Wall mounted baskets that are designed to grow flowers can also be used as hay racks that are big enough to hold a lot of hay.
Also, bigger hay racks with mesh can be used to hold in hay.
Rabbit Hay Feeder DIY
Many items can be used as hay racks.
A cardboard box can be used to hold in hay by cutting holes into the box.
Then the box can be cable ties to the cage and filled with hay.
Cardboard tubes can also be used, as well as shopping baskets and wire organizer drawers.
Outdoor Rabbit Hay Racks
If your rabbit lives outdoors, it is easiest to feed it hay in a sheltered area like a hutch or shed.
Or if you’re short of indoor space, a covered hay rack will work just as good enough for you.
A covered hay rack, as the name says is simple a hay rack with a cover on the top which keeps the rain out to avoid spoiling the hay.
It is straightforward to make, for example, a pile of hay kept under a table or something similar.
Rabbit Hay Rack Safety
Rabbits are both agile and curious.
You need to keep that in mind when you’re building your own hay rack or buying one.
Hay racks have holes and slots in them through which rabbits can pull hay.
It is important to make sure that the rabbit cannot climb through it and catch a leg in the hole or gets stuck and injured while poking their heads through the holes.
This potential threat can be managed by choosing a suitable style of hay rack to use.
The placement of the hay rack is also important as the rabbit can climb on top of it.
It could be placed at the top of the pet’s cage or a hutch or under a shelf to ensure there’s less space for the rabbit.
Or the hay rack could simply be covered.
The large holes of the hay rack can be lined with mesh or chicken wire to make smaller holes.
Also, if swinging lids are used, make sure the rabbits do not get stuck in under the lids if they swing them open as that could seriously injure the rabbits.
Benefits of Hay for Rabbits
Whenever you’re about to buy a new rabbit, if you ask around, you will hear many recommendations of the benefits of feeding hay to your new pet.
Rabbits should be given all the hay they can eat.
Their diet should not be restricted due to the many benefits of eating hay.
The main component of every rabbit’s diet is fresh grass and hay.
Due to the long fibers that help the gut muscles of rabbits to stay good, strong and healthy, hay is good for your rabbits.
The high fiber content is beneficial for dental hygiene and intestinal health of rabbits.
Their digestive system is unable to move food through the gut without the fiber.
Besides meeting some of the rabbit’s basic nutritional requirements, hay also keeps your pet busy and occupied while reducing boredom.
As chewing is a fun activity for rabbits, providing them hay will allow them to chew on that they can digest.
Hay is so important for your rabbit that you shouldn’t leave them without hay as you wouldn’t leave them without water.
When compared with wild rabbits, the role of gastric stasis comes to light.
Wild rabbits do not get hairballs or most GI problems like domestic rabbits do.
The main difference is in their diet. There is plenty of fresh grass, fruits and vegetables in the wild that the rabbits can eat.
While domestic rabbits are offered few vegetables and fruits with insufficient hay and therefore they fall victim to various illnesses like gastric stasis and hairballs.
So for your rabbit to live a healthy and long life, feed them hay.
With hay, you should also ensure that your rabbit gets the necessary amount of water. Check out my detailed article on how much water does a rabbit need.
Different Types of Hay
Hay is just like fresh grass that has been cut left to dry out.
Therefore it has the same health and digestive benefits as fresh grass.
There are many different types of hay available.
Timothy is the most famous feeding hay for rabbits.
It resembles flat, dried blades of grass and its color ranges from light green to grey or brown green.
Timothy can be easy identified by the “solid cattail” tips.
The orchard grass has a similar appearance to timothy hay but its “cattail” tips are broken or open rather than solid while its tips are pale brown.
The legume hay is very different from grass hay.
It is a stalky plant with crumbly, flat, brittle leaves.
It is also the easiest to get your hands on.
Alfalfa and clover hay are the tastier types of hay available but they contain a large amount of calcium and protein that your rabbit does not need a great deal.
Alfalfa has a very rich scent.
Also, oat, wheat and Bahia hay are eaten as well.
Difference between Hay cuttings
When choosing hay, a choice is given between first and second cut hay.
The number of cuts refers to the number of times the hay has been harvested.
First cut is better for the digestive system while the second cut is tastier.
It is often described as the first cut being the main course while the second is the dessert.
When it comes to rabbits, they prefer the second cut.
Thought the first cut fills their appetite better due to more body.
The first cutting is more mature, with fewer leaves and more stalks which makes it coarser than the second.
More cuttings result in fewer stalks and more leaves and hence, softer hay.
The longer that hay is allowed to grow, the more fiber it contains with lesser protein.
Different rabbits have different preferences.
Some prefer more stalky hay that is courses while others prefer soft hay.
The legume hays are grown with grass hays and second or third cutting contain more legume hay than the first.
Hay Safety for rabbits
Hay which doesn’t smell sweet might mean that it has mold.
It is important to note never to feed your pet moldy hay.
Mold can make your rabbit very ill as it contains white dust or black or white spots on the bale.
Dropping the bale with a lot of white dust flying up indicates the presence of mold.
Also, thistles and other weeds need to be removed from the hay before serving.
Some weeds such as milkweed which is a thick fibrous stemmed plant with broad elongated leaves are toxic to pets and can make your rabbits seriously sick or much worse.
Should hay be kept in a rabbit’s litter box? Rabbits prefer to eat hay while their doing their business.
But placing hay with litter might result in it getting spoiled with urine and feces.
Therefore, attaching hay racks to litter boxes can solve this problem and keep litter and hay separated.
What kind of hay is best for rabbits? Hay should have a high fiber content.
Timothy, Oaten, Wheaten, Pasture, Paddock, Meadow or Ryegrass hays are good for your pet. While alfalfa and clover hays should not be given as they are very high in protein and calcium.
- How often do rabbits rearrange the hay in their cage?
- DIY No Waste Hay Feeder for rabbits
- Is hay better for the rabbits or the grass?