Rabbits are incredibly clever, funny, and overall complex creatures that make for amazing pets. Despite their complexity, the actual diet of a rabbit, the thing that keeps them happy and healthy, is pretty straightforward. Hay makes up a majority of a rabbit’s diet, and as long as they’re consuming a good amount of quality hay, a good portion of their dietary needs are being met.
However, it’s not very simple to find high-quality hay. It’s important that you find a hay that’s fresh and stays fresh for a while, even after the container is opened. The best rabbit hay will also help support good dental and intestinal health.
Because the hay you choose is so important, we’ve created a comprehensive buyer’s guide in addition to a list and review of the 5 best hays available for rabbits.
Table of Contents
OUR #1 RATED
Small Pet SelectOrchard Grass Hay Pet Food
A hand-picked, soft, sweet orchard grass hay that’s consistently fresh, hand-picked, and delicious for small pets.
OxbowOrchard Grass Hay
This soft-textured hay is high in fiber and low in protein to provide rabbits with excellent nutritional benefits.
Small Pet Select2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay
A 2nd cut hay that’s the perfect combination of composition and nutrition that’s hand-picked and inspected.
OxbowWestern Timothy and Orchard Hay
A healthy blend of two hays to provide a diverse flavor and texture profile that’s exceptionally nutritious.
KayteeTimothy Hay Wafer-Cut
Wafer-cut timothy hay that’s natural, chemical-free, and sun-cured while providing excellent nutrition for the price.
Why Is Hay So Important For Rabbits?
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning that they only eat plant matter. In the wild, they eat a mixture of grasses, clovers, wildflowers, and vegetables. Thousands of years of this has resulted in a very fine-tuned digestive system in rabbits that needs a large amount of appropriate plant matter to function properly.
So, while there are some amazing pellet foods for rabbits that are a great supplement to hay, they are in no way a replacement for hay. In fact, rabbits’ diets should be made up of about 80% hay and grass.
Therefore, it’s essential that you take into account your rabbit’s hay consumption and then fill out the rest of their diet with rabbit pellets or mixed food.
On top of the nutritional content, rabbits need to chew on stuff from morning to night. They don’t actually have a feeding time, which means that they need a constant supply of fresh hay to chow down on. Hay, grass, or a mixture of both make up this “chewing material” for rabbits, and it’s very important that they get enough of it.
This constant chewing on hay is necessary for rabbits to control their teeth growth and to also manage their fine-tuned digestive system. If they don’t get enough hay, their teeth can grow to be too long and they won’t get the nutrients needed to live.
How To Properly Feed Your Rabbit
There are a few things that you’ll want to consider while feeding your rabbits to make sure that their diets are complete. To begin with, the composition of their diet needs to be complete. This is accomplished by providing them with a constantly supply of hay in addition to supplementation through healthy greens and a nutritious pellet food.
What about portion sizes? In short, rabbits don’t need a lot of food. As adults, rabbits live fairly inactive lives, meaning that they require a lot less energy to go about their day. Despite this, rabbits should still be given a constant supply of hay and/or grass to eat throughout the day to eat whenever they want.
Rabbits can be subject to obesity if they’re overfed due to this inactivity, though. This means that you should keep an eye on your bunny and if you ever see them gaining weight, cut back on their portion sizes of supplemental pellets or vegetables.
When introducing your rabbit to new food, it’s important to make the process slow and gradual to avoid distress. The first time that you feed your rabbit a new food, mix it into their old food with the new making up only about 10% of the total food.
Over a period of about a week or two, slowly increase the percentage of the new food in your rabbit’s bowl. Ensure that your rabbit is making the transition well. Dietary changes that are too fast can cause looser bowel movements and distress due to rabbits’ sensitive digestive systems.
On top of the hay, grass, and rabbit pellets, giving your rabbit a few healthy greens is a great little treat for them. A lot of fruits and some vegetables are too high in sugar for rabbits, so make sure you’re researching a food before you feed it to your rabbit. Dark lettuce is a great choice — lettuce that is lower in water content and higher in nutrients. Too much lettuce, like any food, can cause intestinal issues, though.
What Defines The Best Rabbit Hay?
There is a lot of hay available on the market today. However, not all hay is created equal, with some even being downright bad choices for you and your bunny. In order to determine if a certain hay is the best rabbit hay for you, you should take into account these characteristics:
What Is The Best Rabbit Hay?
We’ve taken a look at many different rabbit hays, taking into account things such as the quality of the hay itself, the price per pound, and the physical health and enthusiasm of the rabbits that eat the hay daily. Through this, we’ve found the 5 best hays for your rabbit.Remember, every rabbit is different. So while there is a very good chance that your rabbit would respond well to the hays listed below, they may also react negatively to it.
our #1 rated
OUR TOP PICK
Small Pet Select
Orchard Grass Hay Pet Food
Small Pet Select is a family owned and operated company that creates some amazing pet products, and it shows with this orchard grass hay. The huge benefit of this hay is its freshness, as it’s hand selected and hand packed in small batches. It’s then immediately packed in an eco-friendly yet strong box for freshness and shipped out. The care and personal touch that goes into this hay results in a soft, sweet green hay that’s among the freshest that you can find. This hay is also sold in a lot of different sizes, allowing you to save a lot of money when purchasing hay in bulk.Owners of pets ranging from rabbits to guinea pigs to chinchillas are very happy with this hay. The freshness of the hay and the lack of dust present results in virtually no waste due to dried-out or stale hay. An overwhelming majority of owners receive a packed box full of very soft and green hay that’s cut consistently and cleanly. Overall it checks all the boxes for an excellent rabbit hay.When ordering hay, a product of nature, there is going to be some inconsistencies. While Small Pet Select is fantastic at controlling their quality, a small handful of owners have received hay that’s either dry or dusty. Fortunately, Small Pet Select has phenomenal customer service and professionally deals with these problems.
our #2 rated
Orchard Grass Hay
Oxbow is a very well-known brand in the pet food space, consistently creating high-quality foods for all kinds of pets. That same consistency is shown here in their orchard grass hay. This hay is soft-textured and is very high in fiber and low in protein, making it nice and nutritious for adult rabbits. In addition to good nutrition, this hay has a nice sweet smell and taste that most rabbits absolutely love. The hay itself is grown under Oxbow’s strict guidelines, and is hand-picked, hand-sorted, and less dusty than other hays. Overall, the quality of this hay is in line with what one would expect from Oxbow.Most rabbit owners love this orchard grass hay. The quality is, for the most part, very nice and consistent. The fresh green strands are very appealing to rabbits and is frequently eaten quickly. Many owners also note that their rabbits are noticeably happier and more energetic while eating this hay, which attests to its quality.This hay also has a bit of an issue with quality. While most owners have no problem with the quality, some bad batches can slip through the cracks and arrive dry or stale. Fortunately, the customer service is phenomenal and deals with the problem quickly, but it is a slight headache nonetheless.
our #3 rated
Small Pet Select
2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay
Small Pet Select also takes the third spot on our list thanks to their great quality! We try and give a good diverse selection of brands, but their products are consistently some of the best. This product differs from the #1 rated because it’s timothy hay instead of orchard grass hay, which brings many of the same benefits. The main point of this hay is that its texture is between the first and third cutting, and this is frequently seen as the optimal cutting. This results in a hay that has a proper ratio of stem, seed head, and leaf with adequate nutrients.Rabbit owners that feed this hay are just as pleased as the owners that go with the other Small Pet Select hay. Owners describe this hay as being mostly green, soft, and not having too many seed heads. It’s also very fresh and stays fresh until the very last bit of it is used up. There’s also very little waste due to the good quality, which is always a plus.The reason why this hay is rated below the other one is because the quality is a bit more spotty here. A vast majority of customers are more than satisfied with this hay and have no problems with it, but a few customers do have problems. The issues lie in the quality, with some shipments containing brown/non-fresh hay or hay that contains a lot of straw. Fortunately, as stated, Small Pet Select has great customer service that deals with these problems appropriately.
our #4 rated
Western Timothy and Orchard Hay
Oxbow is another brand that’s in our list twice, which isn’t very surprising. This hay is actually a mixture of two grass types – timothy and orchard grass. The main features of this hay are the same as the first Oxbow hay in our list. The hay is hand-sorted and hand-blended to ensure quality and comes from Oxbow’s established farms. It’s got a high fiber content with low protein to make it nutritious and healthy for adult rabbits, and also tastes great. The mixture of timothy and orchard hay provides for a great diversity of flavors and textures that rabbits love. Mixed hays also provide diverse nutrients to help round out a rabbit’s diet.Rabbit owners are unsurprisingly pleased with this Oxbow hay as well. It’s rare that a rabbit won’t eat every straw of this hay when it’s given to them. The quality is usually very good with long, healthy pieces of straw that smell great. It also remains fresh for a long period of time.This hay sees the same exact problem that the other hays have – quality issues. These problems probably come around because two different hays go into this mixture, meaning that there are two sources coming together into on product. This results in some inconsistencies with quality as some orders are dry or cut poorly. Once again, though, customer service is responsive and solves the problems quickly.
our #5 rated
Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut
Kaytee is consistently one of the better brands when you’re looking for value, and this hay is definitely a great value. This is timothy hay, which is not much different from the other timothy hay products available. It’s natural, chemical-free, and sun-cured for a healthy, simple approach. The one difference with this food is that it’s wafer-cut, meaning that it’s cut into wafer shapes with shorter strands. This, in theory, makes the strands easier to peel off and less messy. On top of this, though, it’s a pretty standard hay with great nutritional content.Most rabbit owners are very pleased with this hay. It’s generally great quality for the price, low on dust, and tasty for rabbits. As for as the wafer cut goes, the hay is reportedly easier to remove from the bag, so it isn’t a pointless feature. Additionally, it’s a nice thick cut that doesn’t fill the bag with tiny unusable pieces.I probably don’t even need to say it at this point… This hay also has some quality inconsistencies. Most owners have no problem, but some report getting orders with large amounts of dead hay that their rabbits simply won’t eat. Customer service helps fix this problem most of the time, though.
All of the hays that we have reviewed are more than suitable for rabbits and would make for a nutritious and safe staple of their diet. When you supply your rabbit with these hays, along with a quality rabbit food and fresh vegetables, there’s a very good chance that they’ll be happy, healthy, and energetic.After analyzing all of the rabbit hay available on the market, we’ve determined that the best rabbit hay is Small Pet Select Orchard Grass Hay Pet Food.Small Pet Select is a family owned business that puts a lot of care into the products that they make, and it really shows in this hay. The consistency of the freshness and cuts paired with the excellent customer service make this hay a great choice for the staple food of your rabbit’s diet.