Alfalfa or Timothy

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
I have two new dwarf mix bunnies. I was told at the pet store where I bought them two days ago that they are about 3 or 4 months old. I have been feeding them Timothy hay and they seem to love it, but I keep reading about Alfalfa for bunnies under 6 months. Should I switch to Alfalfa or stick with the Timothy?
 

Korr_and_Sophie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
4,215
Reaction score
228
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
If you are feeding an alfalfa based pellet, then staying with the timothy hay should be fine. It can be hard to switch a rabbit from alfalfa to timothy hay, and you would be switching in a couple months anyway.
 

whitelop

Morgan
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
3,930
Reaction score
510
Location
York, South Carolina, USA
Since they're already eating the timothy well, I would stick with the timothy. They recommend that you feed alfalfa until they're six months or fully grown. What I did when my bun was a baby, I mixed the alfalfa with the timothy. I would give her mostly timothy with like a medium sized handful of alfalfa on top of it, once a day.
If you want to add alfalfa to the diet of the buns, you should start really slowly. Alfalfa tends to cause soft poops when introduced too quickly. You would want to start with just a pinch and see how it goes, then add a little more until you've reached the desired amount you want to feed. Just make sure to watch the poop.

This is one of those things though, that people argue about. Some people say alfalfa is best, some people say timothy or other grass hays are best. So its really whatever you want to do. BUT I would suggest, not taking them off the timothy because sometimes there is an issue transitioning them from alfalfa to timothy. They always tend to like the alfalfa better.
 

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
I bought them a Timothy pellet that they refuse to eat. Do they really need the pellets or is it just easier than giving them hay all the time?
 

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
Should I get them some Alfalfa pellets for the nutrition until they are 6 months?
 

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
I got Timothy pellets that they won't eat. Is it important for their nutrition that they eat some Alfalfa now? Maybe I should try Alfalfa pellets.
 

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
Bad mommy, I didn't ask what they were eating at the pet store. They had really high prices there so I wasn't going to buy the food they sell. I went to Petsmart and Tractor Supply for their stuff.
 

whitelop

Morgan
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
3,930
Reaction score
510
Location
York, South Carolina, USA
Its okay. I would just start the pellets slowly to make sure they don't have any tummy issues. If they're not eating them, then maybe switch to an alfalfa based pellet. What are you feeding them now?
Whatever you switch to or continue to feed, just start them slow with like a teaspoon at a time to get their gut flora used to the new food. Then you can work up to like 1/2-3/4 a cup which is pretty much unlimited to a small/dwarf breed. If they're eating hay, then I'm sure they'll be fine.
 

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
They are eating quite a bit of Timothy hay and I also gave them a tiny bit fruit (blueberries and apple) and some endive lettuce. I think I will try the Alfalfa pellets. That may be what they were used to at the pet store and why they won't eat the Timothy pellets. I'll stick with the Timothy hay though since I don't want to experience any problems going back to it after Alfalfa.
 

NDrAbBiTs58041

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
323
Reaction score
7
Location
Hankinson, North Dakota, USA
They are eating quite a bit of Timothy hay and I also gave them a tiny bit fruit (blueberries and apple) and some endive lettuce. I think I will try the Alfalfa pellets. That may be what they were used to at the pet store and why they won't eat the Timothy pellets. I'll stick with the Timothy hay though since I don't want to experience any problems going back to it after Alfalfa.
Make sure ur not feeding the fruit all the time
As fruit has sugar that isn't good for ur bun.
 

HomeworkCrazy

HomeworkCrazy
Joined
Jun 27, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
York, NE
As far as I know most pellets are Timothy Hay-based. Mine eat Timothy-based just fine but maybe alfalfa-based is what yours ate previously. You could try mixing alfalfa and Timothy pellets together as I have done that before and gradually switched it to all Timothy.
I usually feed all my buns a alfalfa and Timothy hay mix of about 3/4 alfalfa and 1/4 Timothy and it keeps them very healthy and they like to eat lots (especially my Lop).
As far as pellet amount I offer 1 cup per day and my buns aren't overweight. Then again they don't eat all of it every day so they're probably really eating 3/4 cup daily. I offer babies unlimited pellet as they are growing.
Vegetables and fruits wise there are a few rules of thumb that I go by that keep mine happy and healthy. Leafy greens (romaine lettuce (stay away from iceberg), kale, radish tops, carrot tops) I give in quantities if half a packed cup (I've heard you can give up to a full packed cup) daily. Regular veggies (carrots, celery) I give 1 tablespoon of daily. And fruit (bananas, apples, coconut, pineapple) 1 teaspoon every day. Herbs (parsley, mint, rosemary) you can give in unlimited amounts and it shouldn't bother them.
 

Blue eyes

Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
8,203
Reaction score
5,190
Location
Arizona, USA
Actually most pellets are alfalfa-based which is why it is difficult at times to find a healthy pellet. Most cheap brands and those brands with all the junk mixed in are alfalfa-based.

Any time a switch is made, it needs to be done slowly and gradually (as whitelop mentioned). Rabbits often refuse new pellets since they are unfamiliar. Plus sudden switches can upset their delicate tummies. Usually one would mix the old pellet with the new (like a 3 to 1 ratio) for several day. Then switch to 1 to 1 ratio and then 1 to 3. This way bunny gets gradually used to the new pellet. But since yours aren't eating any right now, just start slowly as recommended by Whitelop.

Once yours are 7 months, you can see about limiting the pellet quantity based on body weight. Too many pellets can cause them to limit how much hay they eat. We want them eating lots of hay.

Feeding greens is also something that needs to be done gradually. One type of green should be introduced to check for any reaction. Eventually a wide variety will be able to be offered. At that time you can check more details on individual greens. Some can be fed more than others (kale and parsley, for instance, are both high in calcium and so shouldn't be offered daily). Mine love kale and parsley both but I don't feed it every week. They do get lots of romaine and basil.
 

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
Thanks for the info everyone. I didn't realize the pellets were fortified with vitamins so I decided to try giving them again. I put just a few in their bowl last night and they were gone this morning. In hindsight, I should have asked what kind they were eating at the pet store and bought those to start with. I will gradually give them more pellets, but keep giving them a lot of hay. They may have been too stressed out from moving to their new home to go for the pellets at first. They eat a lot of hay and go crazy for the fresh veggies. I think they weren't getting as much hay at the pet store and they are super happy to have it now.
 

Bville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
172
Location
NULL
Alfalfa or timothy is there calories in the hay?
The bag of hay I have doesn't give a calorie count. It does tell how much protein, fat, and fiber is in the hay. I'm sure it has some calories, I just don't know how much or how many calories a rabbit needs.
 

RabbitGirl101

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
484
Reaction score
83
Location
Michigan, USA
Rabbits do NOT need alfalfa or alfalfa based pellets under 6 months of age. However many people DO feed their rabbits under 6 months of age alfalfa and alfalfa based pellets because it helps them grow faster. As a breeder, I personally do not like making a transition on a young junior so I keep them on timothy hay I do not have any problems and my juniors grow fast and strong like any other bun. This is really a personal opinion. If you think that your buns would like the alfalfa and it wouldnt be that sudden of a change ( I say this because for me it takes about 2 weeks to transition on and 2 weeks to transition on so your rabbits would only have alfalfa for a month) I personally would stick to alfalfa because that is what they have been on. Just my opinion.

Also with pellets you should be free feeding your rabbit them. No vegetables should be given to the rabbit until they are 6 months of age. (sounds crazy but it is for the better health of your rabbit). Pellets, hay, and water should really be the only your feeding your rabbit under 6 months of age.
 
Last edited:

RabbitGirl101

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
484
Reaction score
83
Location
Michigan, USA
Oh my goodness I messed up scrap anything I say about alfalfa based pellets, rabbits usually have those type of pellets at any age, everything else is the same, i just messed up with the type of pellets.
 

Latest posts

Top