Rabbit hay! You probably know that it’s an essential part of your bunny’s diet. It’s vital for good digestion, as well as ensuring that their ever-growing teeth get the workout they need to remain in good shape.
But what should you do if you have a rabbit that seems reluctant to eat enough hay to be healthy? It can be worrying for any owner when you think this might be the case with your beloved pet.
Here at Small Pet Select we’re committed to the health of the rabbits and small pets of the nation (and further afield, as there are many happy recipients of our hay around the globe). So here’s our Top 5 Tips on how to encourage your furry friend to get stuck in, and enjoy his hay in the way you’d like to see him doing.
1. Jazz up meal times a little: You know, rabbits are still wild animals at heart. And as such, in their natural habitat they’d have to go searching for the essential roughage they need. You can mimic this in many different ways. One of the best methods is to stuff the hay into paper bags, toilet roll tube or cardboard boxes. This means they have to forage around to find their food, and snuffle beneath and into the box, bag or tube to tug the hay out to eat.
2. Feed less of the dry stuff: Because it can be the case that you’re feeding too many pellets, and he (or she) simply isn’t hungry enough to want lots of hay afterwards. Most buns love pellets, but it doesn’t provide the high levels of fiber that’s found in rabbit hay. Plus a diet of only pellets don’t give the teeth that essential daily workout they so desperately need.
3. Put hay near the bathroom: Yes, really… Because many rabbits like to munch at rest, or when they’re using their litter tray or bathroom area. Of course, you don’t want the hay to get soiled, so put it close by, or if you prefer you can hang a hay rack above this area.
4. Mix it up a little: Timothy hay is the most commonly fed of all hay for rabbits. But in some cases – such as super picky eaters – it’s possible to tempt the fussiest of eaters with a little variety in hay. Orchard hay can be a good alternative in such a case.
5. Add garnish to your rabbit hay: Yep, it’s often quite effective to mix in a little of your rabbit’s favorite food to his hay. This could be fresh vegetables, some non-toxic dried herbs, or even rabbit pellets. The fact that your bunny then has to nose through his hay to find his favorite bits is likely to lead to him eating quite a lot of hay as well.
Of course, if you find your pet isn’t eating as much rabbit hay as you think he should, you should always check out the following factors:
– Is there a medical issue that is causing your rabbit to go off his hay? Are his teeth in good order? Does he have any gut problems? Is there anything else that could be physically wrong with him that means he’s gone off his food? Remember, rabbit’s are superior at hiding any symptoms of illness (because they’re prey animals, and illness means predators are more likely to target them). So by the time he shows any ill health symptoms he’s likely to be feeling pretty poorly. If you have any concerns at all about your rabbit’s health, be sure to consult your veterinarian.
– Ensure that you’re feeding the best quality hay possible. Rabbit’s simply don’t like sub-standard food (and who can blame them…!). Ensure that you only feed the freshest, greenest, sweetest smelling hay around. And though we hate to blow our own trumpet, we have to say that Small Pet Select hay always hits the spot. You can check out our products right here. And don’t forget, it gets delivered direct to your door with all the usual Small Pet Select guarantees. After all, thousands of small pets worldwide can’t be wrong…