Safe for My 3 Month Old Bunnies to Eat Timothy Hay?

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by Kat Lust, Jun 19, 2019.

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  1. Jun 19, 2019 #1

    Kat Lust

    Kat Lust

    Kat Lust

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    Hello everyone,
    Recently, I have been a bit concerned about the diet my rabbits have. I have heard that for young rabbits up until 7 months old or so, are supposed to eat Alfalfa Hay, as it is the best for their growth and health. I have two 3 month old bunnies, and I have had them for a bit over a month, and I have been feeding them Timothy Hay from the start, for this whole month. They seem to really like it, they scarf it down and do through it like crazy. But because of what I heard, it has made me nervous. Is it going to stunt their growth and make them unhealthy or anything if I keep feeding them Timothy Hay? I have already ordered Alfalfa pellets for them. I know you aren't supposed to give them unlimited pellets because 80 to 90 percent of their diet should be hay, but I was hoping the Alfalfa pellets would help a bit with their health. But I could really use some advice, it would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Jun 19, 2019 #2

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

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    Stay with timothy, the alfalfa pellets its enough. Often it will be hard making a bunny go from alfalfa to timothy because they don’t taste as good.

    I always give my bunnies timothy and alfalfa pellets as kits. Better they are used with the hay they are supposed to eat
     
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  3. Jun 22, 2019 #3

    Butterscotch

    Butterscotch

    Butterscotch

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    I bought my 12 week old buck from a breeder who told me to never feed alfalfa. This was confusing to me because this contradicted every book or article I read, video watched, even the House Rabbit Handbook says to feed young bunnies alfalfa. So I choose to feed timothy hay freely in addition to Oxbow Young Rabbit food, which is alfalfa based. I also place a large pinch of oat hay and alfalfa hay on top of their litter box hay every morning and evening to get my bunnies to go back into their cages willingly. I have a vet appointment in about 2 weeks for my buck and this is on my list of questions to ask. If you'd like, I can post back after the appointment and let you know what he says. This vet is supposedly very highly recommended and very rabbit savvy.
     
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  4. Jun 22, 2019 #4

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Until a rabbit is 6 months of age, they are still growing. Alfalfa is considerably richer than any grass hay because it is a legume (not grass) - makes it extra nutritious for growing buns.

    Pellets, especially those made for juvenile rabbits, are alfalfa-based. Young rabbits can typically be free-fed pellets because they are growing. The exception would be if they happened to eat so many pellets that it interfered with their hay consumption. It isn't necessary to limit pellets for a young rabbit if they are eating plenty of hay.

    The hay can be just timothy or a mix of both. It doesn't matter if it is not alfalfa because they get the alfalfa in their pellets. If your buns are fine with timothy, that's fantastic. Just keep it up and don't bother switching.

    {Some people who feed alfalfa hay have difficulty getting their rabbit to switch to a grass hay when it becomes an adult. The alfalfa is too tasty.}
     
  5. Jun 22, 2019 #5

    JBun

    JBun

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    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    That's one of my pet peeves with HRS and other pet rabbit sites, that they recommend alfalfa hay for young rabbits. It's unnecessary if they are getting unlimited or close to unlimited, alfalfa based pellets, and feeding alfalfa hay just creates problems when they become adults and you try and transition them off of it and onto a grass hay like timothy. They usually don't like it and may start a bunny rebellion :p

    Kat lust, you don't mention what pellets you are currently feeding, but in case you aren't aware, anytime you change or introduce pellets into a rabbits diet, it should be done gradually over at least a couple weeks. Start with a small amount and gradually increase each day keeping an eye out for signs of digestive upset(mushy poop, lack of appetite, bloat, jelly poop, etc). When my rabbits were babies, I fed close to unlimited alfalfa based pellets. I fed enough to last 8-9 hours, then they would snack on timothy hay for the next 3-4 hours, then I fed pellets again. That worked to make sure they were getting enough protein and nutrition from their pellets, but also they ate enough hay to provide them with the needed fiber for good gut function.
     

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