How frequently do you change out your buns CLEAN hay?

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by K1marie, Jun 17, 2019.

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  1. Jun 17, 2019 #1

    K1marie

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    I have tried a lot of different hay , small pet select ,oxbow , kaytee . The small pet select in particular does seem fresh enough but my buns are still so picky . They are 6 months old ( neutered but not yet bonded ( stay tuned lol)!! Any how I fill their bin and have also put it in tubes to make it fun to eat . They just seem to LEAVE SO MUCH of it . I hate to change it out every day - cuz they go thru it ridiculously fast . As long as it’s clean I leave it in and just add to it for a while before I change it out . I’d like to hear what other people do with buns that don’t eat much of their hay . ( ONLY give them a little at a time and switch it out every day ?..... Give them a lot and let them have it for a few days with the thought they will eat their favorite first , then start picking from what is left ? Or buy the 50lbs at a time and just change it every day and waste a ton ? They seem to like to pull at it and bit it in half but not eat it so much !!
     
  2. Jun 17, 2019 #2

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

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    The hay in the litter boxes I will fill up every time it becomes small. So between everyday to every other day. But I let the old hay lay in the box.

    The hay rack I will let the old hay stay and just fill up with new hay. But it will always be hay spill. Especially from the hay rack because my doe pull everything out and pee on it, so she won’t eat it.

    But I change the whole hay rack once every week. And leave the old hay in the litter box.

    I clean the litter box once every week, depends on which bunny. The small ones once, giant bunny between everyday to every other day.
     
  3. Jun 17, 2019 #3

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    "Expect wasted hay" should be the motto of bunny owners. ;)

    Yes, they waste it! That is why it is a great idea to buy it in bulk. Then one doesn't need to give it a second thought. The bagged hay from pet stores is outrageously expensive by comparison and I don't blame anyone for worrying about waste who gets it that way.

    I put new hay on top of old hay a couple times per day. The only time it all gets dumped is when I dump the litter box. (that was twice per week with 2 bunnies, once per week with 1 bunny)

    I put roughly a bunny body-size amount of hay in each time (you'll get a feel for the right amount for your rabbit as time goes on). The more often fresh hay is added, the more likely they are to eat it.

    At 6 months of age, your rabbits are at the age where their pellets can begin to be reduced to a measured amount. As they eat fewer pellets, they may eat more hay. (what type of hay are they getting now?) If they have been getting alfalfa, it is time to switch to a grass hay.
     
  4. Jun 18, 2019 #4

    K1marie

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    Thank you - Yes - I DO expect to waste a lot - I was just wondering the strategy with the "old" hay....stacking on top of or removing etc - so thanks for the replies. I was also curious how much to add - seeing there's hay there - so your answers were helpful!! I am starting to measure pellets with my one bun (he'd eat whatever I put there) My other guy is kind of skinny and still encouraging him to eat anything ... though definitely want him to get accustomed to a diet mainly of hay.
     
  5. Jun 18, 2019 #5

    Poopy Poo

    Poopy Poo

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    I've four rabbits all are still caged because not fixed yet so they are completely separated from each other and I trained them to use their toilet and we have good results especially with my males, Leo is 7 months and Fred was a rescue so can't be sure but think he's about 1 year old now. They are both very tidy rabbits and like their floor clear just moving everything into corners so the middle is always free. Leo's cage has a bit slippery floor at the moment so I gave him a shallow cardboard tray filled with hay it is normally on his left side so he still has a little space to stretch on the floor between his toilet and this tray because he likes laying on his plastic floor maybe it's too hot on hay. I just pushed both trays close together so they'd fit into my camera.

    Here you can see Leo's cage after 4 days after changing his toilet box. He'd easily survive a week without changing it but it's summer and I usually just remove this little corner pee-spot and move some wood pellets into that corner, and fully change litter once a week. As you can see there's no hay in his toilet after 4 days so literally no hay wasted at all. When he had his hay manger above his toilet it was always very messy he'd pull all the hay down and mix with pellets and pee on it it was very stinky and lots of wasted hay as well.

    Fred has similar setup his toilet absolutely same after 4 days just his favourite pee-spot is opposite closer to the door, and because his cage's floor is structured and not slippery he doesn't need extra coverage for the floor and his hay is just under his bench which is on the opposite side from his toilet. This way they never have hay in their toilet boxes.

    My girls are a bit different, they both like their floor covered with hay and they would drop some berries on it, so I usually give them a feeder stuffed with hay but they would pull it out by the evening and cover their floor with it so I just lift the hay every day or every other day and remove the berries and put hay back, they usually don't pee outside their boxes. When they had hangers over their toilets was the same story and toilet box was full of messy stinky hay after a few hours after cleaning. Now I change their litter every 3 days but Bernie drinks a lot more so her litter is full sooner so every two days especially in summer, but she'd survive 3-4 days if really needed.

    I will try to take pics of my girls cages later when I am home but this Leo's toilet I took photo last night before cleaning, well I just removed this pee-spot and left it for another 3-4 days.

    So, I find that keeping hay separately from toilet boxes really works for my rabbits, I don't waste much now. P1050435.JPG

    P1050434.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  6. Jun 19, 2019 #6

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    Wow - your buns ARE very neat!! I think I will experiment with moving the hay so it can't be pulled into their litter box. I know the breeder said to keep hay right in the litter box - but they can certainly learn to adapt. Thank you.
     
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  7. Jun 19, 2019 #7

    John Wick

    John Wick

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    I have a hay box and when I clean the litter boxes daily, I always grab as much unsoiled hay as I can, put it in the hay box, and mix it with the new/old hay that's in the hay box. I've found replacing with new hay too often makes him more picky and selective.
     
  8. Jun 19, 2019 #8

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    good point...don't want to spoil them TOO much :)
     
  9. Jun 19, 2019 #9

    Orrin

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    When our buns lose interest in the hay presented in the rack, I dump it into the litter box and they'll start gobbling it up. I re-fill their hay rack and let them have their choice: litter box or hay rack.

    We have a garden, so whatever the rabbits don't eat will be used for mulch. Nothing goes to waste. :)
     
  10. Jun 20, 2019 #10

    Liung

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    Have you tried Standlee/Jojo’s?

    I work at a pet store in Canada, and a local hay company, Farmacy, came by to ask if we were interested in stocking their hay. This is how I learned: most hay has been speed dried with acid. There doesn’t seem to be any debate on whether using acid is unhealthy, because the acid is based on the same acid found in a horse’s gut. But the fact remains that it changes the taste, and some animals don’t like that. I don’t know about small pet select but I do know that Oxbow and Kaytee are both acid dried, because Farmacy had them tested and found very high acid levels. However Farmacy admitted they hadn’t tested Standlee, and my buns immediately stopped wasting so much hay after I switched from Oxbow to Standlee. So I suspect Standlee is also not acid dried.

    Both Oxbow and Standlee sell bulk hay. I can get 50 lbs of Standlee hay for $100 CAD. It’s nothing on buying directly from a farmer but it is WAYYYY cheaper than bagged hay. You can ask any pet store that stocks those brands to order in the larger boxes for you. Warning: the 50lb box only barely fit into my car. There are also 10lb and 25lb boxes.

    I also switched, later, from Timothy to Orchard Grass, and they like that way better. I have my litter box set up with the hay rack next to it, and my buns generally have a fairly thick layer of hay on top of their litter that gets wasted, but they eat the vast majority of their hay boxes. Then the remainder gets spread over their cleaned out litter box to start the hay layer.

    (A bit of hay over the litter does wonders to keep it from getting flung out of the litter box, and reduce smell.)
     
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  11. Jun 20, 2019 #11

    Poopy Poo

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    I didn't know that thanks for the info. I honestly don't think that large bales you buy from farmers can be acid dried and I buy pre-packed hay larger bales about 4 kg I buy online from a pet store a few bales at once and it says on package Meadow hay sun dried 100% natural I think they should state if anything was used for drying, but also I've never bought hay from farmers and wondering this prepacked hay never has any insects in it would that be possible in nature at all? They must be using something?
     
  12. Jun 20, 2019 #12

    Liung

    Liung

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    So drying is something that takes place mostly on the field, before baling. Basically, if hay is not completely dry when it is baled, it gets moldy. “Not dry” could be from water content in the plant itself, or from rain. So farmers are walking a delicate balance: bale the hay too soon, and it hasn’t dried out and will get moldy. Wait too long, and it might rain and now your hay is DEFINITELY not dry, and also ruined and useless.

    Mold is absolutely bad for animals to eat, and losing an entire harvest to rain is a huge hit, so most big hay farmers use acid to speed up drying times. However, the acid itself is a little expensive, and it also bleaches the hay and makes it look and smell less attractive, so it’s not as profitable as sun-dried hay. It’s a risk-benefit analysis they have to make.

    If it says 100% sun dried I would expect that means no acid, but you’re right about the insects. I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve been hay baling myself on a small family farm so yeah, I know that the amount of bugs in a farmer’s hay bales is truly disgusting. How it goes from bug infested on the field and in the barn to bug-free in the package, I’m not sure.

    What I would do if I were trying to get rid of bugs in hay would be to put the bales in some kind of storage container or sealable room and then suck out all the air and replace it with CO2. The bugs would all suffocate and die in short order, without affecting the edibility of the hay. But there would still be the bodies of all those bugs in the hay, and I’ve never seen any in my hay.

    I currently work at a research facility where the animals absolutely cannot be exposed to pathogens, and so we actually autoclave our hay! But that’s definitely not an option for the general public.

    Ah, side note: NOT a research facility like makeup testing or horrible stuff like that. We do biomedical research, a lot of it specifically veterinary. The last rabbits we had were for part of a study developing laparoscopic spaying techniques, which have been highly successful in cats and dogs but not tried much in rabbits before. When the does had recovered from their spay, they were all adopted out to loving homes. Send a thought of thanks to those rabbits when you can have your future rabbits spayed using minimally invasive procedures with tiny incisions.
     
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  13. Jun 20, 2019 #13

    Whiterabbitrage

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    Autoclaving hay!
     
  14. Jun 21, 2019 #14

    Liung

    Liung

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    We autoclave literally everything! Some of the mice who live here are part of immunodeficient inbred strains, for example, and it would be absolutely disastrous if the turkeys got any sort of bug—they’re the pathogen-free control group for tracking the spread of illness and disease in the country, so far as I understand it.

    So yeah, we autoclave our hay! And our food. And our water, sometimes. The rats go absolutely bonkers for their super special treat, which we buy in massive bulk boxes: autoclaved Cheerios! You need a rat to run on a treadmill for a while? Bribe them with Cheerios, rats will jump through literal hoops for a Cheerio.

    How to guarantee there’s nothing unsavory in what you give your animals: have an autoclave taller than you are and throw EVERYTHING in.

    79A40391-C900-4643-8194-5C5177FA878E.jpeg

    For those who have never actually seen an autoclave before: every single one I’ve seen prior to this one has been the size of a microwave, if that.

    Now, how autoclaving food things doesn’t ruin it, I’m not sure. Autoclaves sterilize things by using super hot super pressured steam, and so shouldn’t those Cheerios get soggy and disintegrate when blasted with steam??? I don’t know, that’s not my job.
     
  15. Jun 21, 2019 #15

    K1marie

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    Oh - thanks for the info. Very helpful to know !!
     

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