Distinguished by stalks, usually brittle and flat
green to brown leaves. Very high in calcium, can
cause "sludge" in bunny's urine. High
calories. Watch for gummy droppings, weight gain,
sludge, and cecal pellets not being eaten. These
are usually problems of the older (2+ yr. bunny).
Hay can vary from dark lime green to yellow/green/brown
depending on the season. There is almost always
some alfalfa in HRS boxed hay. Alfalfa is easy to
come by in San Diego County. Most horse people feed
alfalfa, but a strict alfalfa diet for bunnies can
lead to some of the problems listed above. HRS recommends
a mixture of hay varieties.
Timothy is probably the second most popular hay
with bunnies and their caretakers. It looks like
a dried blade of grass, fairly wide and its color
is a soft green to grey/brown green. Timothy hay
also has "solid cattails" which distinguishes
it from Orchard grass which has "broken cattails."
Much of the Timothy is imported from Northern counties;
it is not as widely available as Alfalfa, but is
an excellent hay for bunnies. It contains a good
level of calcium and calories. Typically included
in all HRS boxed hay.
Large hollow cylindrical stalks and flat blades
that are golden yellow to light green with oats
on the end. The coloration and the presence of
oats distinguishes this hay from others. Oat hay
can vary widely in appearance and oat count, depending
on the harvest season. New harvests are generally
oat laden, whereas later harvest such as Dec-Feb
can be very light, with minimal oats. Many people
confuse Oat hay with Straw. The similarity is
in the coloration. Straw is not a food source,
but is typically used for bedding, mostly in the
horse and farming communities. Oat hay is an excellent
source of fiber. Bunnies tend to enjoy mostly
the oats, but will sporadically munch on the hay
If bun's diet is high in oat hay,
the pellets she produces will be larger, lighter
in color, and will look like sawdust if crushed.
Many bunnies would benefit from eating more oat
hay, an excellent preventative for GI Stasis. HRS
boxed hay may contain oat hay or other fiber rich
types to provide variety.
Yes, it's that stuff you've been trying to get
out of your flower bed since the beginning of time.
Bermuda is a thin blade to flexible stalk, light
green to gray/green in color. It is another of the
higher fiber hays and may be seen in HRS boxed hay
as one of the "alternative hays." Bermuda
is less well known and not as easy to come by. Many
bunnies prefer Bermuda and it is a good all around
food source with a moderate amount of calories.
Bermuda is typically fine enough that it doesn't
get spread all over the cage which often happens
with Oat hay. Typically no flowers or cattails are
seen on Bermuda grass.
Another less known feed, orchard grass, is very
similar in appearance to Timothy but the "cattails"
have small segments missing from them every 1/32
of an inch. Also the cattails tend to be pale brown,
whereas Timothy cattails are green to light yellow.
Orchard is even less prevalent in San Diego County
than perhaps all other hay/grass varieties. We try
to include it whenever possible as it is a good
alternative and provides change.