How Much Hay Does a Rabbit Eat? – Rabbits are herbivores and they eat continuously. They have sensitive and complex digestive systemsand they are very efficient at processing the food they eat.
Their dietary needs are very specific. If you feed them with inappropriate foods or introduce them to new foods, their normal digestive flora becomes disturbed which causes bacteria to overgrow and your rabbit might become extremely ill.
Hay is an important part of a rabbit dietand it’s good for their health. High quality grass hay such as Timothy Hay or Orchard Hay should make 70-80% of their diet.
Grass hay is high in fiber and it maintains the rabbit’s digestive tract. While growing up, rabbits can eat any type of hay but alfalfa hay is not recommended as it contains high levels of protein and calcium.
Hay is a rabbit’s main and favorite food, it makes up to 70% of their diet, and grass is really good for them too. It keeps your rabbits healthy and keeps their gut functioning properly.
Hay is made up of fiber strands that help the rabbit’s muscles stay strong, which helps move food through the gut.
As rabbits have a complex digestive system it means that they should have hay regularly as it helps with digestion and prevents problems such as blockages of undigested food which can be fatal, if the rabbit does not have enough intake of hay, their intestinal function may slow down and cause GI stasis which is a life-threatening condition and may stop the system all together.
GI Stasis is deadly which stops your rabbit’s GI tract to stop functioning properly for many reasons like dehydration, stress, infection and intestinal blockages mostly caused because of lack of fibre.
Bunnies have 28 teeth but we only see two incisors on the front. Rabbit’s teeth grow continuously. These animals love plants as they are herbivores.
Chewing hay also helps rabbit’s teeth to grow to a safe level. If you don’t check on your rabbit’s teeth they may grow out of control even grows into the eyes from inside and can cause painful abscesses.
Rabbit’s teeth grow about 12cm each year, eye problems are also related to teeth. It is important to feed your rabbit with hay as the side to side jaw and chewing actions inhibits the extra growth of the teeth.
In the wild, rabbits graze on the grass for their food and we should encourage our rabbits to do the same at home too. They need teeth to chew on stems, roots, bark and roughage.
The rabbit hay satisfies the rabbits urge to chew and encourages them to graze. And all this helps to wear down their teeth, and we want that!
Like other animals, rabbits get cannot rid of calcium through their waste (Poops and Pee). Instead, the calcium is expelled through their kidneys.
If a rabbit has consumed too much calcium from foods, it can cause serious problems like bladder stones, kidney stones and bladder sludge which is the thickening of urine.
Try to feed your rabbits with less calcium foods rather than high calcium foods like Timothy hay, Orchard hay or Oats.
Always monitor the behavior changes of your rabbits like changes in bowel movements, lack of energy and turning their nose up on food and water are all indictors that your rabbit needs to see the vet.
Rabbits can hide whatever they’re feeling, so keep a watch for any abnormal behavior.
The most common problem with rabbits is that rabbits love to eat and nibble on things that are tastier than the food they are given. If given a choice between hay and something more delicious, they won’t have hay.
Here are some tips below to get your rabbits to eat more hay:
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