Straight hay horse pellets?

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ArtistChibi

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So my husband and I got a 40lb bag of Standlee alfalfa Timothy hay horse pellets from Tractor Supply. The ONLY ingredients to these pellets are Timothy hay and Alfalfa hay. That's it. No fruits, not nuts, no corn. Just straight hay.

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Other bags of pellets have other ingredients that I cannot say are safe or not for rabbits. But I do make sure to avoid the pellets with corn in it like the plague because of reading on here about corn being bad for rabbits. Sure, these pellets are huge, but only a small amount, not even 1/8 cup, broken up into smaller pieces, and this bag has lasted us as long as that giant bale of hay we got from Standlee. What do you all think? Are there other brands that have only hay as the ingredients? I noticed even Oxbow and Small Pet Select pellets have other ingredients in it.
 

JBun

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So standlee hay pellets are just chopped compressed hay. They're often used to feed horses with dental issues that can't eat loose hay, used on horse packing trips to feed the horses, or other specific circumstances where loose hay can't be fed. Standlee is the only national US brand that I know of, but some feed stores will sell their own local brand(though may be lesser quality, that I've found).

Rabbit pellets like oxbow, sps, sherwood, etc, those are rabbit feed pellets with chopped hay and added vitamins, fat, protein, etc, all mixed together and then compressed down to pellet form. They have the added ingredients to provide balanced nutrition for rabbits, essentially like a vitamin supplement. Otherwise, on a hay only diet, the owner needs to figure out the right balance of nutrition themselves, by feeding a variety of foods and not just hay.

Feeding the standlee hay pellets is just like feeding hay in compressed pellet form. But plain hay pellets shouldn't replace loose hay in a rabbits diet, in most circumstances. Though I have used it before as a hay substitute for a new rabbit that wouldn't touch loose hay because he had never been fed loose hay before, and also couldn't have rabbit feed pellets because of his megacolon and sensitivity to the added carbs/sugars in them. Loose hay is always the best for tooth wear to try and prevent dental overgrowth. But for rabbits with issues like I had, it helped increase the fiber content in his diet, kept him fed, and eventually got him to the point where he would eat loose hay.

So those hay pellets shouldn't replace loose hay, but could be used as a minimal treat food since they have alfalfa. One thing you need to watch out for is because it has alfalfa, it will have more calcium in it than plain timothy pellets, and this could cause more calcium being excreted in the urine. So if you notice a lot of calcium sediment in the urine or thickened urine, I would suggest to stop feeding it. Thickened urine is a sign of bladder sludge, which can cause significant health issues if not managed correctly.

If you're going to do a diet with no rabbit feed pellets in it, I would urge doing a lot of research so you're adding in a variety of foods to help provide the proper nutrients for your rabbits. It's possible to do, I used to have my rabbits on a pellet free diet, but it is usually more complicated and more work than many rabbit owners want to deal with.
 

ArtistChibi

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Oh no. I'm not using it to replace their hay. Lol. I got a giant bale of hay specifically for them. The pellets aren't even given as often because of the hay. They only get a small amount with breakfast maybe once or twice a month because of the alfalfa and it's straight 2nd cut Timothy hay after that. With two litter boxes full of hay and a converted plastic storage tote for hay management, you're darn tootin' I'm giving them actual hay.

I can't get Oxbow and Small Pet as often for their pellets because of some financial issues and location. And since they don't eat pellets as often as I'm listening to Xiao Wu munch the loose hay in her litterbox as I type this, the 40lb bag of straight pelleted hay is pretty decent. I was simply curious. But I can understand these bags being used for horses with dental issues or something close to it.

Plus we did have an issue with Xiao Wu having heavy calcium and thicker urine for a while. That was because of a different bag of pellets we had that, as it turned out, had corn in it, among other more questionable things. After we stopped giving her that, her urine improved. I'll see about looking into finding other types of pellets. Since I don't give it to them as often anymore and make their diet primarily loose hay, and use this bag as like a back up instead. ☺
 

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@ArtistChibi, I may pick up a bag of these on my next trip to Tractor Supply. Their current "treats" are the Kaytee compressed hay, which they love to gnaw on, and these seem to be the same (or better). And waaaay cheaper.
 

Mariam+Theo

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This is sort of off-topic, but I have a question. I've been wanting to get a bag of these for a while now just haven't yet because I don't want to feed Theo too much alfalfa hay. How big are the pellets? Theo prefers the hay cubes because of the size, but Standlee doesn't have an only Timothy hay option so I would have to get the Alfalfa/Timothy cubes. Depending on how big the pellets are I might get the timothy pellets. What would you suggest @ArtistChibi?
 

JBun

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This is sort of off-topic, but I have a question. I've been wanting to get a bag of these for a while now just haven't yet because I don't want to feed Theo too much alfalfa hay. How big are the pellets? Theo prefers the hay cubes because of the size, but Standlee doesn't have an only Timothy hay option so I would have to get the Alfalfa/Timothy cubes. Depending on how big the pellets are I might get the timothy pellets. What would you suggest @ArtistChibi?
About 1/4 inch wide, and the length varies. If Theo eats hay fine, is there a reason you want to feed these? They aren't big like hay cubes, that can be used as a chew toy. If you're only using it as a chew toy and he doesn't consume much of it each day, and doesn't have bladder sludge or kidney issues, I can't see an alfalfa/timothy cube causing any problems. Though if he does consume much, then it probably wouldn't be a good idea, especially if he is overweight at all.
 

ArtistChibi

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About 1/4 inch wide, and the length varies. If Theo eats hay fine, is there a reason you want to feed these? They aren't big like hay cubes, that can be used as a chew toy. If you're only using it as a chew toy and he doesn't consume much of it each day, and doesn't have bladder sludge or kidney issues, I can't see an alfalfa/timothy cube causing any problems. Though if he does consume much, then it probably wouldn't be a good idea, especially if he is overweight at all.
Oh but it would make good for enrichment treats. Like one of those ball toys they have to push to get the treat.
I dunno. My brain just started coming up with ideas. O.O Or maybe to make treats since it's already crushed. Just mix with apple or banana for home made bunny cookies!
 

Mariam+Theo

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About 1/4 inch wide, and the length varies. If Theo eats hay fine, is there a reason you want to feed these? They aren't big like hay cubes, that can be used as a chew toy. If you're only using it as a chew toy and he doesn't consume much of it each day, and doesn't have bladder sludge or kidney issues, I can't see an alfalfa/timothy cube causing any problems. Though if he does consume much, then it probably wouldn't be a good idea, especially if he is overweight at all.
Thanks for your help! He would mostly just be using them as chew toys. He is overweight and has had some bladder sludge in the past from his diet so I'm gonna stay away from the alfalfa cubes. I might still get the timothy pellets though and give him some in moderation in his treat ball as ArtistChibi suggested.
Anyway, sorry for stealing your thread @ArtistChibi! I'm done now! 😅
 

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