Hay for Rabbits/ Greens

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by ESA, Sep 16, 2019.

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  1. Sep 16, 2019 #1

    ESA

    ESA

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    Hi, is horse quality hay (Coastal hay )suitable for daily rabbit hay?

    For greens is 1/2 a cup with 1/8- 1/4 a cup of pellets each feeding suitable or should rabbits be given a cup of greens each feeding?


    Are there any greens that can be given every day without problems and are affordable? Where is the best place to buy greens?
     
  2. Sep 16, 2019 #2

    Blue eyes

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    The amount of pellets will depend on bunny's age and size. Rabbits under 6 months are still growing and need more pellets. After that, this would be the general recommended amount for plain pellets. You may need to tweak the amount per individual rabbit:
    5-7 lb of body wt. 1/4 cup daily

    8-10 lb body wt. 1/2 cup daily

    11-15 lb of body wt. 3/4 cup daily

    With limited pellets, the greens can be increased to 2-4 cups per day. There are a number of greens that are fine for daily feeding. Here is a list of daily options (a bit much to post right here).

    I find that various lettuces (green leaf, red leaf, romaine) are an inexpensive option if you are buying at the store. You may also consider growing an herb garden. I grow basil, mint, and various other herbs. Mint can be grown in a pot indoors or out. (You want it in a pot or it will spread and take over.) Basil grows so readily throughout our hot summers that I can usually get enough basil to feed that generous daily portion. It grows that fast.
     
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  3. Sep 17, 2019 #3

    majorv

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    Any horse quality hay is fine for rabbits. We fed ours coastal hay that we bought at the feed store. Just make sure it smells sweet and has some green. You don’t want stale, brown, musty smelling hay. We always looked at the bales and picked the one we wanted.
     
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  4. Sep 17, 2019 #4

    Niomi

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    Hearts of Romaine are fairly cheap at Sam's Club, so I always have that on hand. Then I shop the specials at the grocery store.
     
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  5. Sep 17, 2019 #5

    Blue eyes

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    The outer leaves of romaine (as opposed to the hearts) are darker green and are more nutritious. They also tend to be liked more by rabbits than the inner leaves that are lighter in color (and lighter in nutrients). It is fine to feed the hearts, but don't miss out on those darker outer leaves too. :)
     
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  6. Sep 17, 2019 #6

    ESA

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    Thank you everyone! At what age can rabbits eat daily greens? Does grass and weeds ( non fertilized ) count as part of their greens? Is there any harm giving tree leaves? I know ( Blue eyes) you said that with less pellets you can do 2-4 cups of greens, but would it health wise be ok to do 1/2-1 cup per feeding (twice a day)?

    I read that young rabbits should be fed alfalfa and alfalfa pellets is this true?
     
  7. Sep 17, 2019 #7

    majorv

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    How old is your rabbit? For young small breed rabbits (under 5-6 months) you can give alfalfa based pellets and then use a grass hay (coastal, Timothy, etc). You don’t need to give alfalfa hay on top of alfalfa pellets. Be careful of giving yard grass as it can cause diarrhea.
     
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  8. Sep 17, 2019 #8

    Blue eyes

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    Grass and weeds count as greens. Leaves from certain types of trees are safe. Others are poisonous.

    Once a rabbit is slowly introduced to a variety of greens (one type at a time), he can work up to eating 2-4 cups per day. That amount can be fed all at once or it can be divided into a couple feedings (or even used as training 'treats').

    As to when to start offering greens, that depends. With young rabbits, the suggestion is to slowly begin introducing greens at 12 weeks of age (please read here for HOW to introduce greens. doing it wrong can cause severe tummy issues) . Some rabbits need a bit more time. If greens cause a reaction (mushy poo) in a 12 week old rabbit and that happens with a couple different greens, then it would be a good idea to hold off a few more weeks and try again. If a rabbit was already being fed greens as a kit with a nursing momma that was also being fed greens, then -- in that case -- baby's tummy has the gut flora needed to digest greens and can be fed greens. Unless one knows this for absolute certainty, caution is advised -- wait until at least 12 weeks of age.

    I would, though, again strongly advise getting an already bonded (and already fixed) pair -- most especially if you are planning on housing outdoors. Outdoor rabbits are not monitored as closely and babies that get along can suddenly turn on each other with the onset of hormones. If you don't happen to be out there with them when this occurs, the results could be disastrous. I'd like to offer another section to read before you decide whether to get young rabbits. It will help you to make a decision fully informed.
     
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  9. Sep 22, 2019 #9

    ESA

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    Thank you for all of your advice, I thought I would give an update. I have decided not to get rabbits as of now. The texas heat is just not safe or suitable for outdoor rabbits and housing indoors is sadly not an option. I would never put an animals health at risk just to have that animal. I will continue to read, learn, and maybe even help others on the forums. :)
     
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