20 Best Hay for Rabbits Brands + Types like Timothy, Orchard, Oats or Meadow

In the wild, rabbits graze on various fibrous vegetation, including grass, weeds, flowers, and other available plants. During winter, they turn to buds, twigs, barks, conifer needs, or any other available greens.

However, at home, since they eat a lot of these fibrous plant materials, it would be a daunting task to get enough and maybe impossible for urban dwellers. Therefore, most bunny owners turn to hay and limited amounts of veggies (greens) and pellets.

Hay is nothing other than cut and dried grasses (such as timothy, orchard, oats, wheat, barley, bromegrass, Bermuda grass and so on) or legume plants (like alfalfa, clovers, and so on) fed to rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters, cattle, horses, among other herbivores. It is easy to find and store.

Selecting best bunny hay

If you are looking for the best and quality hay, there are some important considerations which we also considered while reviewing the best brands.

1. Do you need grassy hay like timothy or alfalfa

When buying it, you need to decide if you need grass hay like timothy, meadow, orchid, rye, wheat, oats, and barley or leguminous ones like alfalfa, clover etcetera. Leguminous ones are high in protein, calories, and calcium, making it suitable for growing, nursing, or skinny bunnies but low in fiber.

On the other hand, grassy hays are ideal for bunnies above a year (for adult maintenance). They have an optimum nutritional balance with lower in protein, calcium, and calories while their fiber is high.

Finally, timothy hay is the best. However, your bunny’s preference is essential in deciding which one to settle on.  Go for what he or she likes. Also, some people suffer allergies from this hay type. In such a case, consider a hypoallergenic brand.

2. Go for the second cutting. It is the best

When buying a brand, consider when it cut or harvested. You can go for the first, second, or third cutting. Usually, the second cut is the standard for bunnies as it has the one with the most balanced nutrients and fiber.  To elaborate a little:

a). First cutting

Usually, this cutting happens before first bloom, is higher in fiber but lower in proteins and fats. Furthermore, it has more stems that are coarser, some seed heads. Usually, it will appear lighter in color with considerable brown and yellow parts.

Buy it if your bunny has issues with GI stasis or overweight. However, avoid it if you have allergies since it has lots of pollen.

b). Second cut

Second cut hay is softer, has more leaves but fewer heads as well as thinner and fewer stems. It has the perfect nutritional balance for adult rabbits and other small pets, and more attractive to bunnies.

When compared to first cutting, the second cutting is higher in fats and proteins but lower crude fiber.

c). Third cut

This hay is soft and very fluffy. It has more leaves than stems, and it is high in protein and fats, while its fiber is below what bunnies need. It can help in weight gain or if your rabbit has pain in their mouth.

However, since they will prefer it most, mix it sparingly with other cuttings, especially first cut or at times the second cut is ok. However, check if it causes soft poop.

3. Appearance and consistency

With the knowledge of first, second, and third cut hay appearance, you need to choose the one you buy carefully. If not labeled, note that softer, dark-greener, leafy, and more appealing looks mean that it is higher in proteins and fats while its fiber is low.

On the other hand, brands with some brown or yellow pieces may indicate higher fiber but lower nutrients, especially protein. However, growing, harvesting, weather conditions, and storage may affect the appearance and quality of hay.

Finally, ensure its texture and color are consistent throughout the bale or package. Also, where look at when harvesting was done as it influences appearance and quality.

4. Check if it’s fresh

Fresh hay is sweet-smelling. Your pets will find it very tasty. Avoid old or prepackaged ones as well as those that are moldy and have a mushy smell. Some may also turn brownish and tend to be dustier.

5. Avoid dusty brands

Inferior quality or poorly handled may end up having a lot of dust. Such may cause respiratory problems. Don’t buy them.

6. All-natural and free of additive

Buy an all-natural brand free of artificial colors, preservatives, and from farms that don’t use fertilizers, pesticides, and other farm chemicals.

Since you will be giving your bunnies treats, pellets and greens, opt for 100% hay without any other additives as your pet may be selective and eat only the treats.

7. Look at packaging

While it may make it cost more, packaging may play a role in ensuring hay remains fresh. Go for those packaged in breathable boxes.

8. Consider brand

A reputed brand often selects only the best hay quality that meets their standards. Some often handpicked and hand-packed it to ensure you get nothing less than the best.

Best rabbit hay reviews – grassy hay and leguminous

You know what to look for in the best bunny hay. It is time to look at some of the best brands to buy, which we arrived at after considering all the factors we noted and many others.

Also, in our reviews, we have at least a brand from various hay types like timothy, orchard, oats, alfalfa, meadow, etcetera, to make help you know which one to buy.

1. Best overall: Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food

If you need fresh, beautifully green, and premium quality hay for your rabbits, guinea pigs, or chinchillas, Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend,” Timothy Hay should be your first choice. It comes in the 2, 10, 12, 20, 25 pounds packages.

Key benefits

  • It has the best leaf to stem to flower heads ratio that will ensure a perfect ratio of fiber, protein, and fats.
  • It is fresh and features a sweet aroma, and it is quite tasty that even pickiest bunnies will not be able to resist it.
  • Hand packaged into breathable, corrugated boxes that protect it from sun or damage during shipping. Also, it undergoes quality re-checks to ensure consistent quality. Also, there is minimal handling to preserve its quality.
  • Supports a healthy gut, gut motility, and healthy teeth will preventing GI stasis.

Freshness, value for money, excellent packaging, and superior quality are among the things most happy buyers note about this brand.

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay Pet Food

2. Runner’s Up: Kaytee Timothy Hay Blended Cut

Your rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small pets should take advantage of this superior quality and highly rated Kaytee blended timothy hay.

Key benefits

  • 1st and 2nd cut blending ensures you get higher fiber, lower protein, and lower calcium. High fiber will support their teeth and gut health, while low calcium is suitable for your pet’s urinary health.
  • Hand-selecting ensures you get long fiber strands (ideal for a healthy gut) as well as the right ratio of leaves to stems.
  • Proper storage in protected environments ensures it retains its nutrients and quality.
  • The perfect ecological areas where it is grown provides the best climate and moisture control for the best quality.
Kaytee Timothy Hay

3. Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass, 10Lb Box

Premium hay needs to be well cultivated, cut at the right stage of maturity, carefully selected, and well packaged. These qualities are nothing short of what Standlee Premium Western will offer your guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, chinchillas, hamsters, and other small pets.

Key benefits 

  • It is sun-dried and has all-natural without any additives or chemicals
  • It is carefully hand-selected and packed to ensure consistency while they discard any low-quality pieces
  • Delivery occurs directly from their farms or fields so that you get what it when it is still fresh and sweet-smelling. It can serve you for up to a year if you properly store it.
  • Its long fibers will stimulate natural foraging while promoting overall and dental health.
Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass, 10Lb Box

4: Best Orchard hay: Small Pet Select Orchard Grass Hay Pet Food

If your rabbits, guinea pigs, or chinchillas prefer orchard grass hay, Small Pet Select has the best.

Key benefits

  • It is hand-selected and hand-packed in small batches so that you get the best quality that even picky pets will enjoy eating. Additionally, before shipping, Small Pet Select re-checks to ascertain its quality.
  • Well packaged in breathable sturdy corrugated boxes which you can open and close, perfect for storing it.
  • Minimal handling will ensure freshness, and they will deliver to your door while still very fresh.

5. Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay is made by pet experts using timothy grass harvested from Oxbow’s family of farms ideal for chinchillas, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small pets. It comes in 40 ounces and a 9-pound packing.

Key benefits

  • It is carefully hard-sorted and hand-packed for the best quality and consistency. The packaging is also sturdy and breathable.
  • You will receive fresh and sweet-smelling hay that will encourage picky eats and stimulate their appetite.
  • It is high in fiber to help prevent obesity, promote a healthy gut, and help wear down teeth. Also, it will help prevent bloating, gas, and soft stools, and the long fiber strands will support and stimulate a healthy digestive system.
  • It has the right stem to leaf balance with limited seed-head and low amounts of calcium for a healthy digestive system and urinary health support.
  • Additive and preservative-free
Oxbow Animal Health Oxbow Hay Western Timothy Hay

6. Kaytee Wafer Cut Hay

Kaytee Wafer Cut is another premium quality timothy hay that is high in fiber for a healthy digestive system and low in proteins as well as calcium (low calcium supports urinary health).

Key benefits

  • Hand-selection ensures you get long fiber strands and an ideal leaf to stem ratio required to keep nutrients and fiber at required levels.
  • It is less messy and easier to feed, thanks to the wafer cut that makes it peel off in layers.
  • The timothy grass used grows in ideal ecological locations that favor easy control of moisture and climate, and it is stored in a protected environment to preserve quality and nutrients.
Kaytee Wafer cut Hay

7. Best Meadow Hay: Oxbow BeneTerra Organic Meadow Hay, 15-Ounce Bag

Buying Oxbow BeneTerra is an excellent way to provide variety to your rabbits and other small herbivores while keeping the same fiber content and nutritional balance like timothy.

Key benefits

  • Made using a variety of naturally growing grasses that are 100% organically certified that grow without the use of any sort of chemicals.
  • The blend of various grass types gives it varying textures, flavors, and fragrances that your rabbit will find irresistible.
  • It is sweet, nutritious, and high in fiber, while its calcium and protein levels are low, something that small pets need. High fiber will promote optimal functioning of their digestive tract
Oxbow BeneTerra Organic Meadow Hay, 15-Ounce Bag

8. Best Alfalfa Hay: Viking Farmer Alfalfa Hay for Rabbits & Small Pets

Pregnant, nursing, underweight, and growing youngsters (below seven months) need alfalfa since it is high in calories, calcium, protein, vitamins, and other minerals. If you have a bunny in any of these categories,  this brand by Viking Farmer Alfalfa is all you need.

  • All-natural and 100% pure alfalfa without weeds. Also, it doesn’t have pesticides, GMO products, additives, or preservatives.
  • It is high in fiber that will promote digestive system health and is nutrient-rich for growth and development. Also, it will ensure your rabbit, guinea pigs, and chinchillas have a shiny coat.
  • Carefully grown, harvested, inspected, and packaged for freshest and best quality.

9. Best Orchard Hay: Oxbow Orchard Grass – 40 oz.

Oxbow Orchard Grass for guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, and other small pets is another great choice if you insist on orchard grass hay, or you need to add variety to their routine meal plan or mix with other grassy brands like timothy.

Key benefits

  • It is fresh from their farms, featuring a sweet smell and a soft texture that will transform your pet’s mealtime.
  • Harvesting, hand-sorting, and hand-packaging happen with a lot of care to maintain consistent and premium quality.
  • It is high in fiber to support digestion and ensure a healthy gut as well as nutritionally balanced with low calcium and proteins. Don’t worry about obesity or urinary problems.
Oxbow Orchard Grass - 40 oz.

10. Vitakraft Timothy Hay – Premium Sweet Grass 100% American Grown, 56 Oz.

This Vitakraft’s Timothy hay is a nutritious premium quality brand, which is high in fiber and has various including minerals, vitamins, and proteins in their correct balance. Your bunnies, chinchillas, degus, guinea pigs, degus, and other small pets will enjoy and find it temptingly tasty.

Key benefits

  • 100% grown in America without any artificial colors, preservatives, or pesticides, meaning it is very safe.
  • Hand-selected for the best leaf to stem ratio as well as correct nutritional balance, and it’s well packaged in resealable bags.
  • It is fibrous and has long strand fiber necessary for a healthy gut and proper digestion. Fiber is also essential in promoting dental health.
  • Compressed into mini bales. This tight banding protects it from ultraviolet light keeping it more flavorful, greener, and fresh for a long time. Also, the pet-sized bales make serving quite easy. You will have less mess and wastage.
  • Peak maturity harvesting ensures the best nutritional composition and soft stems for high palatable.
Vitakraft Timothy Hay, Premium Sweet Grass Hay, 100% American Grown

11. Kaytee Timothy Hay plus Assorted Flavors or variety pack, 24 oz. Bag

Unlike others from Kaytee, this brand comes in various flavors. You can go for the one with added carrot, cranberry, mango, mint, or marigold.

Key benefits

  • Made with premium quality grass high in fiber for a healthy digestion system but low in protein and calcium to support urinary health.
  • It is more nutritious, flavorful and will add texture variety, thanks to the added fruits, flowers, or berries.
  • It is hand-selected to ensure you get the ideal leaf to stem ratio. Otherwise, it may have high fiber and nutrients too low or vice versa.
  • All the grass used is naturally grown, harvested, sun-dried, and stored well to preserve nutrients.

One downside is some rabbits may be fussy and eat only the added fruits, herbs, or berries whose excessive amounts is unhealthy.

Kaytee Timothy Hay for Rabbits & Small Animals, Assorted Flavor

12. Oxbow Animal Health Oat Hay for Pets, 15-Ounce

Oat hay is a delightful alternative of timothy and orchard with comparable nutritional and fiber composition. If you need a supply, look no further than Oxbow Animal Health’s brand that is grown by experts for small pets in their family of farms.

Key benefits

  • It has a sweet aroma that will stimulate your pet’s appetite and encourage eating by even the pickiest rabbit, chinchilla, guinea pigs, or other small animals.
  • It has enough fiber to support dental and digestive tract health.
  • Hand-sorting and hand-packing happen with utmost care for the best quality.
  • It doesn’t have any preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors.
Oxbow Animal Health Oat Hay for Pets, 15-Ounce

13. Supreme Science Selective Timothy Hay 2kg

If you live in the UK, Supreme Science Selective Timothy Hay grown in Yorkshire is excellent quality for your pets.

Key benefits

  • Packaged with care to ensure it retains freshness just like it was during harvesting.
  • Very nibblesome and sweet-tasting that even fussy eaters will enjoy every bite.
  • It has all nutrients that small pets need as well as long fiber strands that are very beneficial to their digestive health as well as dental health.
Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass, 10Lb Box

14. Small Pet Select 1St Cutting “High Fiber” Timothy Hay Pet Food

Overweight and rabbits that often suffer from GI stasis may require hay that is slightly high in fiber. In such a case, go for Small Pet Select 1st Cutting. It is higher in fiber, has more stems and flower heads.

Key benefits 

  • It is the best quality 1st cutting timothy brand a considerable amount of leaves.
  • Fresh and sweet-smelling straight from their farms that even choosy pets will find irresistible. You will not receive the previous year’s harvest.
  • Hand-selected, hand-packaged in sturdy corrugated boxes in small batches and re-checked before shipping for premium quality best for mall animals like your bunnies, chinchillas, or guinea pigs.
Small Pet Select 1St Cutting High Fiber Timothy Hay Pet Food

15. Rosewood Pet Meadow Hay Bales – compressed 2.2 lb.

Harvested from the wild meadows in Germany, the Rosewood Pet Meadow Hay is compressed into small feed-size portion ideal rabbits, degus, guinea pigs or chinchillas

Key benefits

  • It is easy to feed, highly palatable, less messy, and there will be little wastages, thanks to the compressed mini-bales. Also, storing it is easier as opposed to loose brands.
  • Has no added sugars, has lesser allergens and reduced dust
  • With over 20 different grasses and meadow plants, it is very nutritious with essential, bioflavonoids, minerals, and vitamins as well as long fiber strands good for a healthy digestive tract.
  • It can serve as a wonderfully fun activity that will keep your pet interested as they roll and nibble the small bales.
Rosewood Pet Meadow Hay Bales - Food For Small Animals

16. Grandpa’s Best Orchard Grass

If you need an affordable yet great quality orchard hay, Grand Pa’s Best have a 10-pound bale ideal for small herbivores like your bunnies. Your pets will enjoy its sweet smell and yummy taste.

Key benefits

  • It has a sweet aroma, is highly palatable, and has a yummy taste that will keep your bunnies wanting to eat more. You will receive the same year’s cut as it is shipped directly near their farms where they package it.
  • It will promote your pet’s dental health, stimulate digestion, and provide plentiful of playtime.
  • Carefully harvested and packaged, i.e., hand-selected and hand-packaged to ensure little or no dust, wastes, and small pieces.
  • Compact size, i.e., measures 6 “x6” x12” for easy storage and transportation and is free of any preservatives or additives.
Grandpa's Best Orchard Grass

17. Small Pet Select 3rd Cutting “Super Soft” Timothy Hay Pet Food

Small Pet Select 3rd Cutting timothy hay is very soft and very leafy. It has lesser seed-heads and stems than 2nd cutting but has less fiber and quite rare to find because it is hard to produce. Key benefits

  • It is soft. Therefore highly palatable. Fussy or picky eaters that don’t like lots of stems will enjoy nibbling it.
  • It is higher in protein and fats owing to the higher volume of leaves. It will be ideal for bunnies that want to add weight or those experiencing pain in their mouth.
  • It will be great for blending with 1st
Small Pet Select 3rd Cutting Super Soft Timothy Hay Pet Food

18. Kaytee Alfalfa Mini Bale Treat

Growing animals can take advantage of Kaytee Alfalfa Mini Bale Treat made using sun-dried alfalfa or lucerne.

Key benefits

  • Has adequate proteins, calcium, and calories that your growing youngsters require for muscle and bone formation as they grow.
  • Has sufficient fiber to support a healthy gut
  • It has no preservatives or artificial colors.
Kaytee Alfalfa Mini Bale Pet Treat

19. Small Pet Select Oat Hay Pet Food

Buying Small Pet Select Oat Hay is an excellent way of adding variety and encouraging your pets to eat. Why stick on one type when you have a chance to rotate and keep your pets interested?

Key benefits

  • Excellent addition to timothy and orchard hay, giving you a chance to rotate each or mix them. Rotation or mixing will encourage more eating due to the varying taste and texture.
  • Good for people allergic to other kinds of hay especially timothy
  • Hand-chosen and harvested at the perfect maturing stage for the best quality.
Small Pet Select Oat Hay Pet Food

20. Oxbow Botanical hay for rabbits

Buying this brand by Oxbow is one way of transforming ordinary mealtimes because it has a blend of herbs. You can serve it alone, or mix with other grassy hays.

Key benefits

  • The blend of herbs will stimulate appetite even for the fussiest eaters
  • It is a great way to bring variety as well as extra nutrients to your pets.
  • It has no additives and is grown by small pet experts for small pets who understand what these animals need.
  • Hand-selected and sorted to ensure consistency and premium quality.
Oxbow Botanical hay for rabbits

Other good bunny hay brands

  1. Wilko Small Animal Meadow Hay 1.5kg
  2. Nibble and Gnaw Second Cut Timothy Hay
  3. Pillow Wad Meadow Hay, Large, 2.25 Kg
  4. Kaytee Orchard Grass
  5. Rabbit Hole First Cut Timothy Hay
  6. Alfalfa King Double Compressed Timothy Hay Pet Food, 12 By 9 By 5-Inch
  7. Oxbow Alfalfa
  8. Premium 2nd Cut Timothy Grass hay (Fresh from The Farm) 3lb

Why hay so important to rabbits

It is the most essential and abundant part of a rabbit’s diet. These pets need an unlimited amount of grassy hay, and it should account for not less than 80% of their daily food intake. It is high in fiber and has the best nutritional balance suited for bunnies and other small pets.

Fiber helps in keeping their digestive tract healthy and allows easy food movement or gut motility. Without fiber, there is a risk of slowing or complete cessation of gut motility that will lead to mass accumulation in the intestine, a phenomenon known as gastrointestinal (GI) stasis.

Furthermore, hay mastication movements are instrumental in wearing your pet’s ever-growing teeth. It will help them avoid molar spurs, which are quite painful. These dental spurs make your rabbit stop eating. If she doesn’t eat, expect GI stasis too.

While it is crucial, hay alone cannot provide all the nutrients that these pets need. Furthermore, excessive indigestible fiber may result in an impacted cecum. Therefore, give these pets a limited amount of easy to digest foods, i.e., they should have 10-15% veggies (greens) and 5-10% pellets to get all the nutrients they need especially vitamins.

Don’t forget the unlimited amount of clean, freshwater while keeping fruits and rabbit treats amounts low and occasional.

Feeding hay to rabbits

Rabbits should have an unlimited amount of fresh hay every day. Discard any uneaten or soiled. To serve them, all you need is an excellent hay rack or ball feeder. You can find some combo with a compartment for pellets too.

Some of the good brands include Kaytee Food Dispensers, Living World Hay Feeding Station for Pets, and Ware Manufacturing Hay Ball, Assorted Colors.

Common rabbit hay types

You know the best brands to buy, it is time to narrow down to the various types and give one or two fo their best brands, most of which we have reviewed. Doing so will ensure you know which one to buy. Crude fiber, crude protein, and calcium composition.

Type of hayCrude FiberCrude ProteinCalcium
Orchard Grass34%10-12%0.32%
Dried Grass25-28%12-14%0.55%
Rye grass33%10%0.45%
Bahia grass32%8%0.48%
Barley Hay28%9%0.30%
Birdsfoot Trefoil31%16%1.73%
Bermudagrass Coastal30%10%0.47%
Clover Ladino22%21%1.35%
Clover Red30%15%1.50%
Clover Sweet30%16%1.27%
Elephant (Napier) grass24%9%0.35%
Pea Vine32%10%1.20%
Rye Grass33%10%0.45%
Wheatgrass Crested33%10%0.33%

Note that the actual content of protein, fiber, and calcium will be influenced by when it is harvested, season, and where it is grown.

1. Timothy hay

Timothy hay is the best and most accepted hay for bunnies since it has an ideal nutritional balance. It is high in fiber, low in protein, calories, and calcium. It comes from Phleum pretense, timothy grass, common cat’s tail, or meadow cat’ s-tail, which is the most abundant cool-season perennial forage native to Europe, North Africa, and temperate Asia.

It closely resembles dried grass except for its wider leaf-blades. Its color ranges from soft-green to brown or grey with solid cattails, unlike orchard that has broken cattails.

A considerable number of people who are allergic timothy hay.  However, don’t confuse this grass with mountain timothy, timothy canary grass, purple-stem cat’s tail, or meadow foxtail.

There are numerous amazing brands among them being Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food Standlee, Kaytee, and Oxbow.

2. Orchardgrass hay for rabbits

Orchard is one of the best alternatives to timothy hay. It comes from orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata, cock’ s-foot, or cat grass) native to North Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia. However, North America has been growing this grass for over two centuries. It can withstand cooler and drier conditions and gives more cuts per annum (higher yields).

In terms of its appearance, it looks much less like timothy except for its light yellow cattails and flat-leaf blades whose color is green to bluish-green.

A quick look at orchard grass vs. timothy hay for rabbits indicates that orchard has the same calcium to phosphorus as well as comparable fiber (34%) and protein (10%). Therefore, it is suitable for your bunnies.

However, it is slightly lower in calcium and somewhat higher in calories. The higher calories are from its highly digestible fiber.

Besides hay, rabbits can eat orchard grass if you prefer fresh grass. However, when introducing fresh orchard grass for rabbits, do it slowly and avoid mowed one. Also, you can graze it to your cattle, and it’s good for preventing soil erosion, silage, and nesting poultry.

If you need orchard, opt for Small Pet Select Orchard Grass Pet Food or Oxbow Orchard Grass.

3. Meadow hay for rabbits

As its name suggests, it comes from grassland or pastures left un-grazed. Usually, it has mainly several kinds of grass with some non-woody plant bits and may have some debris and stones.

On average, its fiber (about 33%) and calcium (about 0.6%) are comparable to timothy hay, but it has low protein (about 7%) since it is usually the first cutting.

While it is cheaper than timothy hay and provides a variety to your rabbits, it presents the possibility of your bunny choosing bits that are unhealthy or calorie-dense bits while ignoring those high in fiber.

Although unlikely, there is a risk of your pets eating a poisonous plant like ragwort, which wild bunnies would avoid if they were grazing unless it is hand-selected and sorted.

A quick pick of best brands is Oxbow BeneTerra Organic Meadow Hay, 15-Ounce Bag and Rosewood Pet Meadow Hay Bales – Food for Small Animals

4. Lucerne or alfalfa hay for bunnies

Lucerne is a legume hay type that is energy-dense and has higher amounts of protein and calcium when compared to timothy hay. It is for baby bunnies (up to seven months), nursing, pregnant, or those that need to add weight.

Avoid giving it to adult bunnies over a year unless you give them as an occasional treat because it will fatten them and may increase the chances of calcium bladder sludge.

We have something exclusively on alfalfa hay for rabbits that has reviews of some of the best brands where the best two brands are Viking Farmer Alfalfa Hay for Rabbits & Small Pets and Kaytee Alfalfa Mini Bale Treat.

5. Wheat, rye, barley, and oat hay for rabbits

These are grown cereals harvested before their seeds mature or at the milk stage when the seeds are mainly fiber-rich husks. Their nutritional composition closely resembles timothy hay and a good alternative with some kinds such as oats hailed for their appealing aroma.

However, the coloration of oat, barley, or wheat hay may differ as it tends to be golden yellow depending on when harvesting occurs.

Top picks here are Oxbow Animal Health Oat Hay for Pets, 15-Ounce, and Small Pet Select Oat Pet Food.

6. Fresh and dried grass for rabbits

If you have a backyard area with grass that is free of fertilizers, pesticides, or chemicals, you can let your bunnies graze there or cut some grass for them using scissors. Avoid lawn mowed grass since the lawn mow crushing makes the grass to ferment quickly and may cause stomach upset.  Also, introduce fresh grass to them slowly.

Alternatively, you can opt for dried grass. Speed-dried grass is higher in proteins and nutrients as this process allows for more nutrient preservation.

7. Others grass hays for rabbits

Bermudagrass (common in lawns, has a nutritional composition similar to timothy hay), Bromegrasses, Canarygrass, elephant (Napier) grass, Fescue, Kenaf, Meadow, Prairie, Sainfoin, rice, Sudan grass and Triticale hay.

8. Other legume hays

If you want alternatives to alfalfa, Birdsfoot trefoil, clover, Kudzu, Lespedeza, pea vine, soybean, and vetch hay will work well. Ensure you check their nutritional composition to assess their suitability.

9. Variety hay or mixtures

If you prefer variety packs, ensure you go for grassy type mixtures. Some of the good ones to buy include the following:

Best place to buy hay for rabbits – where to find it on sale

There are various places to buy it. Some of the best places to buy it include the following:

1. Local farm near you

Buying it from the farm near you will be cheaper as it will save shipping, packaging, or brand costs (unless you buy from a known brand near you).

To get farms, check on local classifieds, farm/garden section on craigslist, social media, or use search engines to get farms near you.

2. Local feed, stable or pet stores

The second place where you will find it is from the local feed, stables, and pet stores where you will find both local and branded ones. Ensure it is of good quality and not old or repackaged.

3. Online stores

There are dozens of brands on online e-commerce stores like Amazon, Chewy, Petco, Tesco, PetSmart, Walmart, ASDA, Pets at Home, among others that stock various brands.

Others include American Pet Diner, Alfalfa King, FarmerDave, KMS Haylofts, Small Pet Select, Sweet Meadow, BunnyBytes, among many others.

In Canada, try Freshay and Napoleon BunnyParter while in the UK, Nature’s Own, Just 4 Rabbits, Ransley Hay, and DustFreeHay, among others.

Saving on hay

As noted, bunnies eat a lot, to make a saving buy in hay bulk, and store it well. Additionally, besides buying from a nearby farm, buy from your own country, i.e., those packaged in your country will be cheaper. If you live in Australia, UK, USA, or Canada, get local brands in these respective countries instead of importing them.

However, while we have recommended buying in bulk, don’t forget to go for amounts that your rabbit will finish while it is still fresh.

Storing hay

Direct sunlight degrades its nutritional value and bleaches it. Similarly, airtight containers will promote molding since it has some moisture. Therefore, store it in a cool, dry, shaded, or dark place that allows free air circulation. A damp location will promote molding.

If properly stored, it can last up to two years. However, expect a decline of vitamin A and E, especially after a year.

Rabbit not eating hay, what to do

The availability of tastier foods like greens, pellets, excessive treats, or bad eating habits may make some rabbits not to eat hay. If that happens, here is how to make them eat it.

  • Reduce pellets and greens (veggies and weeds) to 5-10% and 10-15%, respectively, allowing them to have a teaspoon of fruits or other commercial treats occasionally. These percentages are the right ration for adult bunnies.
  • If your pets don’t like a particular brand like timothy, try other grassy hays like orchard, meadow, oats, etcetera, to see if they have a preference. If they don’t eat any, resort to fresh grass.
  • Check to ensure it is fresh and sweet-smelling. Moldy, old or mushy hay may be the reason for your bunny not eating them since they can identify the various tastes.
  • Place it where they spend more time, including near their nesting and litter tray, so that they can eat it whenever they feel like doing so. Some may eat while they poop.
  • Make it part of their play and toys. Stuffing it in some toys, blocking their tunnel or box with hay may make them eat it as they try to pull it out. This approach is a great way to make them taste it.
  • Mix it with other foods, including dry or fresh herbs, fresh grass, veggies, etc. Some may nibble and realize it is sweet as they look for their favorite food in the mixture.
  • Choose an easy to access and fun hay rack or balls. Balls, for instance, may encourage nibbling as they roll them.
See also


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