How to know when change Hay?

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by JetFalcon, Jul 19, 2019.

Help Support Rabbits Online by donating:

  1. Jul 19, 2019 #1

    JetFalcon

    JetFalcon

    JetFalcon

    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2019
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Orange County CA
    I'm just wondering when it comes to hay, how do you know when to change it? I don't like wasting it, and prefer to keep it to a minimum. But how do you know if the hay is still edible but the bunny is not hungry, or if the bunny wants to eat hay, but simply refuses to eat the left over hay?

    Also, hay is messy and gets everywhere, so I don't like putting a ton out at once, also due to the fact maybe it will get spoiled faster thus wasting it.

    Its kind of hard to figure out when a bunny is hungry compared to like a dog. But I did forget to fill up their pellet bowl and it was empty, so I filled it up right away and the bunnies started eating it right away.

    I also have not figured out how much vegetables they can eat a day, because sometimes they eat it, sometimes they don't. And I don't want to leave too much vegetables that it gets rotten and they eat it, and get sick. So how much vegetables can two bunnies eat in a day?
     
  2. Jul 19, 2019 #2

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,793
    Likes Received:
    1,952
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    You want your rabbits eating their body size in hay every day. So that guide might help in sorting out when to refresh. I make it a habit of adding hay to the litter box twice per day. I put in about 3/4 of their body size (per rabbit) at each filling. That way I know they are getting enough fresh hay.

    I don't dump/change the hay until the litter box is ready to be emptied. That's once a week for one rabbit or twice a week if two rabbits are sharing a box.

    Expect wasted hay. They can be picky about which strands they want and there seems to be no (human) rhyme or reason to it. This is why I buy the hay in bulk. A full bale (over 100lbs) can last 2 rabbits 8+ months. At a mere $16 for the bale, I don't worry about it. ($2/month! -- or $1/month for 1 rabbit!)

    Pellets are almost always favored and gobbled up right away. If your rabbits are over 6-7 months of age (sorry, I don't remember your rabbits' ages) then they should only get limited pellets. Mine gets his 1/8 cup in the evening and they are gone in a few minutes. That's all the pellets he gets all day.

    Greens (think more in terms of greens than "veggies") will typically be eaten up right away as well. If they are not, then either there are greens that are unfamiliar (or unliked) OR they are filling up on pellets and therefore not hungry enough for the greens. With limited pellets, most rabbits will happily eat 2-4 cups of daily greens. Most will eat them in one sitting. (Some people offer the greens once per day. Others spread out their portion into two feedings per day.)
     
    Imbrium likes this.
  3. Jul 19, 2019 #3

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    5,880
    Likes Received:
    899
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, USA
    In addition to everything Blue eyes said, check out these links: https://rabbit.org/faq-diet/ and https://rabbit.org/suggested-vegetables-and-fruits-for-a-rabbit-diet/

    Assuming pellets are appropriately limited, everything else usually falls into place. If you're following the HRS guidlines for quantity of veggies and they're eating SOME of the veggies (meaning they like that vegetable) then you can try splitting veggies into two feedings per day.

    Hay depends on both the set-up you're using and your individual rabbits. If it's going in the litter box where it has the potential to get soiled, then I would top it off in smaller amounts maybe twice a day (which I do for Nala because I don't have a manger for her AND she's very picky about "leftover" hay). With a hay manger (if you go this route, DIY is the way! Store-bought mangers are ridiculously tiny for the amount of hay rabbits need to consume), many rabbits will eat until it's empty, allowing you to stuff it until overflowing and come back in a couple days but some do expect "fresh" hay added 1-2x daily (in which case, don't fill it nearly as full so that there's room to stuff in a handful or two later).

    Really, how often you should refresh the hay is best determined by watching the rate at which it disappears - rabbits eat around the clock... put hay in, wait a certain number of hours and make a mental note of how much has disappeared. Without adding more hay, check back again after the same number of hours and see if it's disappearing more slowly. Over the course of a few days, you should be able to get an idea of when the hay that's already out becomes "old" to your bunnies.

    I suspect that, once you pull it off the bale/out of the box, fluff it out a little and put it in their habitat, the scent of the hay starts to dissipate. Rabbits are very scent-oriented so presumably if they decide that perfectly clean hay is no longer food, it's because it doesn't have that "fresh off the bale" smell that the new handful you give them does.

    Bottom line, though... as long as they're not running out of hay, topping off with smaller amounts more frequently is probably always the better route - even if they'll eat hay that's been out for a day or two, they'll probably eat LESS of it and more is always better with hay consumption.

    I use this set-up, made from an under-the-shelf basket:
    [​IMG]
    I used a dremel to cut big holes (that they could stick their whole head through without fear of getting stuck) and to sand down the edges after cutting so that there were no pointy bits to threaten cute bunny faces/eyes:
    [​IMG]
    On one of my mangers, I used leftover coroplast (purple, from my first condo, hehe) and on the other I used foam board (found by poster board in stores) to form the back. I punched little holes around the exterior so I could zip-tie it to the manger:
    [​IMG]
    Because of how it's meant to hook onto a shelf normally, it's perfect to hang on a NIC cage, x-pen, dog crate or pretty much anything else with bars.
     
    Blue eyes likes this.

Share This Page