My rabbit doesn’t eat its hay, what can I do?
Hay is not only essential for the proper functioning of the rabbit’s digestive system, but also for the health of the rabbit’s teeth, mental health, hygiene and well-being.
Domestic rabbits are extremely fond of hay, but that’s not the only reason to give them hay. Its particular digestive system cannot do without the fiber provided by hay. If your rabbit doesn’t eat the hay you give him for its daily diet , you absolutely must find the reason and, above all, the solution.
Rabbits are strict herbivores and should like eating hay
The rabbit’s food must meet two requirements: it must correspond to a strict herbivorous diet. But it must also be adapted to the rabbit’s way of chewing in order to wear out its constantly growing teeth, especially its incisors.
Fiber intake for the rabbit is vital and hay is the best provider , that’s why bunnies should always have and eat hay , that’s why bunnies should always have and eat hay . The rabbit’s digestive system does not tolerate low-fiber foods, which slow down its transit, while hay is quickly evacuated.
In the wild, rabbits spend their time chewing grass with horizontal jaw movements that promote tooth wear.
The hay does this perfectly, while the pellets force the rabbit to make short, vertical movements that do not file its teeth.
It is important to establish good feeding habits from the beginning by encouraging the animal to always eat hay. Like humans, rabbits naturally have a greater appetite for foods that are often too rich.
If your rabbit eats pellets, for example, it will abandon its more suitable hay, to the detriment of its health.
What is quality hay?
You want the best for your pet and that starts with quality hay. The first sign of this is its freshness, because even the best hay, once it is old and too dry, is not attractive to the animal. Avoid hay that is dusty, irritating, or too moist, which can lead to mould and mildew.
There are many varieties of hay, and while some are suitable for all rabbits, others are not recommended. Since it is the most important feed source, every precaution should be taken.
Timothy hay and cocksfoot hay, which are composed of only one type of grass, are the only ones suitable for all rabbits, regardless of age or shape.
Alfalfa hay contains a lot of calcium which the young rabbit needs for growth. Beyond 8 months of age, it must be totally excluded from the diet, as the adult organism manages calcium intake very poorly.
You can choose regrowth or prairie hay for an adult rabbit, but you must watch closely that your rabbit does not develop urinary problems. If this is the case, choose timothy or cocksfoot hay.
Check your rabbit’s dentition
Good dental health is crucial in rabbits that spend many hours chewing.
Try to check your rabbit for a loose tooth, a developing abscess, inappropriate wear, or any other condition that seems to be bothering him.
If you have any doubts, you can ask your veterinarian to perform an examination under gas anesthetic.
If your rabbit does have dental problems, you will need to pre-cut its hay into small pieces to make it easier for it to recover.
Check Your bunny’s access to the hay
First of all, you must ensure that your rabbit has hay available at all times.
If your rabbit gets pellets first , he will not want hay afterwards
The hay must be easily accessible to the rabbit.
The hay rack or hay bag should be placed where the rabbit does not have to make an effort to grab the hay, ideally next to the litter box, since rabbits love to make a popo while eating.
On the other hand, the hay should not be placed in an anxiety-provoking area, for example, where it will be disturbed, or in an uncomfortable draught.
If you ensure that your rabbit has quality hay available at all times and is not tempted by inappropriate feeding, everything should be fine.
Questions to ask yourself in case your rabbit doesn’t eat its hay
- Does my rabbit have dental problems?
- Is my hay of good enough quality? ( Fresh enough? Green enough? Smelling good? Not too dusty?)
- Do I give him too much other food such as treats, pellets etc…?
- Is the location of the hay rack judicious?
Let’s take action to help our fluffy eat hay
Case number one, he only eats pellets ( best organic pellets on Amazon ) so you will give him only 30 minutes morning and evening.
Case number two, he only eats greenery, so you will make sure that you don’t leave it at his disposal all day long. So the rest of the time he will have to eat his hay because he will have nothing else to eat!
Some tips to help your rabbit eat more hay
There are some little tricks if your rabbit doesn’t eat its hay, such as mixing dehydrated grasses or flowers with your hay. Available in your Rabbits Concept Store :
- Flowers and herbs from our countryside
- The flowered garden
- Celery Crunch
- Dandelion salad
If your rabbit doesn’t eat its hay, you can also make it more fun to eat it by buying toys for it to put its hay in. It will associate hay with a moment of play and therefore pleasure. On sale in your Rabbits Concept Store :
- Hay cube
- The rolling rack
- The log filled with Timothy hay
- Organic and natural hay treats (Small pet select )
- The XL ball
- Refillable hay rolls
Let’s wrap it up !
In short, in all cases it is not easy to resist them, but we must tell ourselves that it is for their own good. It is important to know that a rabbit that does not eat hay will inevitably have dental problems. There is surely a solution and if not, don’t hesitate to talk about it to your veterinarian.