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Need Educated on Hay

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nicolekline97

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I live in the USA and need to be educated on what to look for with hay. What kind of cuttings? Preference for "brands" that seem to have good hay? I have bought several different brands...some looked more like grass, some very long, others had a lot of dust and were tiny pieces. What is ideal? My rabbit is a larger breed. How can you tell if a hay is bad? What does bad hay smell like?
 

HJ :)

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What kind of cuttings? I've never understood the point of cuttings so I can't help you.
Good hay brands? I'd recommend trying to find a farm near you that sells good hay. If you can't find any I recommend Rabbit Hole Hay or Small Pet Select Hay
What does ideal hay look like? Ideal hay is long and green, and smells like faint grass.
How can you tell if hay is bad? It has lots of brown, and doesn't smell great. It is also bad if it is moldy because of humidity.
What does bad hay smell like? It doesn't really smell like anything in my opinion.
 

Preitler

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Oh, bad hay smells of a lot of things, sour, musty, dusty, moldy and so on. But that's more of a problem when storing hay in big amounts, farm style. Pet supply hay should just smell pleasant, if it doesn't, I would discard it. (growing up in a rural area and spending 3 summers on high pastures with my grandparents (no roads, electricity or running water) as a kid like Heidi, sleeping in the hay might have made my perceptions not average, but anyway).

What cutting it is has an influence on what amounts of proteins (most while growing strong), sugars and whatever it has. You can google about that. I, personally, don't care much about that, imho it's pretty much all within a healthy range. I keep mixing selfmade hay with bought one though.

We don't have brands here, or those intensivly farmed single species hays (makes one wonder what it needs to keep other stuff out). Just what grows on the meadows. Ok for me since my opinion is that a very diverse diet is good.

Depending on where you live, you could check on where you can get horse grade hay in bales.
 
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Preitler

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Just to point it out - rabbits are not "Truly Vegans Pets". Animals, and pretty much of the rest of the universe, don't care about human fads.

Do not get a rabbit just because it fits a modern meme of a lifestyle, rabbits do eat dead kits, well, sometimes the definition of that "dead" state is somewhat fluid, and on occasion when they need it other high protein sources, like earthworms. Rabbits are opportunistic carnivores.
 

Blue eyes

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^^ I wasn't implying anything from title of the article... just pointing to the info on the hay. ;)

One rabbit I had took advantage of items fallen from the dinner table... sausage and salmon were among them.
 

Mariam+Theo

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What kind of cuttings: I like 2nd cut which is what most people use for their rabbits. 1st cut is mostly going to be seed heads, which is good when your rabbit has stasis because it is full of fiber. 2nd cut has some seed heads, but mostly has long strands of strong hay, with some softer hay. 3rd cut is soft hay, it is normally short flat pieces of flaky hay which is not ideal for rabbits. It won't wear down their teeth that well because it is so soft.
Preference for "brands" that seem to have good hay: I agree with @HJ :), find a local farm. If you can't find a farm you can get Small Pet Select hay but I still think it is super expensive. I get a bale of compressed Timothy hay from Tractor Supply. I have gotten 2 bad bales in the past, so now I check the hay before I buy it. If it has a bad smell or looks flaky I will get a different bale.
What look is ideal: Long hard strands with some seed heads.
How can you tell if hay is bad: It is very obvious when hay is bad. It will be musty, dusty, and dirty. When you grab it, it will get dirt all over your hands
What does bad hay smell like: It really just depends, but you will be able to tell! Fresh hay smells like freshly mowed grass. When I had a bad bale it smelled like moldy essential oils.
 

nicolekline97

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What kind of cuttings: I like 2nd cut which is what most people use for their rabbits. 1st cut is mostly going to be seed heads, which is good when your rabbit has stasis because it is full of fiber. 2nd cut has some seed heads, but mostly has long strands of strong hay, with some softer hay. 3rd cut is soft hay, it is normally short flat pieces of flaky hay which is not ideal for rabbits. It won't wear down their teeth that well because it is so soft.
Preference for "brands" that seem to have good hay: I agree with @HJ :), find a local farm. If you can't find a farm you can get Small Pet Select hay but I still think it is super expensive. I get a bale of compressed Timothy hay from Tractor Supply. I have gotten 2 bad bales in the past, so now I check the hay before I buy it. If it has a bad smell or looks flaky I will get a different bale.
What look is ideal: Long hard strands with some seed heads.
How can you tell if hay is bad: It is very obvious when hay is bad. It will be musty, dusty, and dirty. When you grab it, it will get dirt all over your hands
What does bad hay smell like: It really just depends, but you will be able to tell! Fresh hay smells like freshly mowed grass. When I had a bad bale it smelled like moldy essential oils.
Thank you for the information. It was really helpful. I went to fleet farm yesterday and they had 1 bag of hay (alfalfa only). It is close to my house but I was really disappointed. Usually I go to tractor supply. The hay that you get is it typically unbagged outside or is it bagged? I had ordered a compressed blend of Timothy and Alfalfa for pick-up last time. That is what she is eating now but it is little pieces. I was and am on a tight budget. Mixing higher quality would be better. I am liberally applying it on top of her litter hopeful to use it by the end of October...we will see. If you could take a photo next time you go I would like to see it. This was what I got it was advertised for horses as a horse was on the package...it is very dusty, small pieces etc.
 

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Thank you for the information. It was really helpful. I went to fleet farm yesterday and they had 1 bag of hay (alfalfa only). It is close to my house but I was really disappointed. Usually I go to tractor supply. The hay that you get is it typically unbagged outside or is it bagged? I had ordered a compressed blend of Timothy and Alfalfa for pick-up last time. That is what she is eating now but it is little pieces. I was and am on a tight budget. Mixing higher quality would be better. I am liberally applying it on top of her litter hopeful to use it by the end of October...we will see. If you could take a photo next time you go I would like to see it. This was what I got it was advertised for horses as a horse was on the package...it is very dusty, small pieces etc.
It's called leaf shatter. It can happen because the hay is overdried in the field prior to baling. Alfalfa can particularly be that way because it has the small leafy bits in it that easily break off the stem when dried. You will have better luck with just a grass hay not breaking up and being dusty, though leaf shatter can sometimes happen with grass hay too. Small pieces is still edible but can be more difficult to feed to rabbits But if it's too dusty it could cause respiratory issues and should be returned and exchanged for a better bale(usually needs to be from a different batch).

If you buy hay that is bagged and can't get a look at the quality before you buy it, I will buy it then open the bag before I leave the parking lot. Even unbagged baled hay I'll do this with. I'll pop open the bale to get a look at the inside of the bale to make sure it all looks ok. If it is really dusty, crumbly, full of weeds, damp on the inside, smells musty or sour, or wet and moldy at all,, I will return it right then.
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Mariam+Theo

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Thank you for the information. It was really helpful. I went to fleet farm yesterday and they had 1 bag of hay (alfalfa only). It is close to my house but I was really disappointed. Usually I go to tractor supply. The hay that you get is it typically unbagged outside or is it bagged? I had ordered a compressed blend of Timothy and Alfalfa for pick-up last time. That is what she is eating now but it is little pieces. I was and am on a tight budget. Mixing higher quality would be better. I am liberally applying it on top of her litter hopeful to use it by the end of October...we will see. If you could take a photo next time you go I would like to see it. This was what I got it was advertised for horses as a horse was on the package...it is very dusty, small pieces etc.
You're welcome! That hay doesn't look good at all! Is the brand Dumor? When I go to tractor supply the hay (the brand is Standlee) is bagged and stored inside. It is normally fresh and high quality, but if it is gross I return it.
 

nicolekline97

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