Best hay feeder for rabbits
Having the best hay feeder for your rabbit is critical to his or her health. Leaving hay lay on the bottom of your rabbits cage is unsanitary since it can become contaminated with your rabbits poop and urine. As you may or may not know hay is the most critical part of your rabbits diet and a hay feeder can help your rabbit eat more hay.
- 1 List Of The Best Bay Feeders For Rabbits
- 2 Is a Hay Feeder or Hay Rack Essential?
- 3 Hay feeder safety
- 4 When not to use a hay feeder
- 5 Best Hay For Rabbits
- 6 Best Diet For Rabbits
- 7 A few other considerations
- 8 About the Author
List Of The Best Bay Feeders For Rabbits
The order of the hay feeders list below is mostly meaningless. I do not like it when a website throws up the “top 10” of whatever and they are basically all the same thing. The hay feeders I have listed can be used differently depending on how you have your rabbit(s) set up. Every rabbit has a different personality and certain products may work better for certain rabbits. Remember, no-bunny knows your bun like you do.
Option #1 – Cage Type Hay Feeder
This hay feeder is very popular and is one of two types that I use for my pet rabbits. This is the best type of hay feeder for inside of your rabbits cage or even outside of the cage since the mounting system is great for attaching to the cage wires/bars. The design is simple and easy to use.
Here is what I love, don’t love about this feeder and why I choose it and continue to use it for my rabbits.
- Design – This hay feeder is the best when comparing the design and ease of use. You can easily and quickly attach this feeder to your rabbits cage anywhere because of the simple thumb screw on the back. You can attach it or take it off in thirty seconds which is great if you want to clean it. The spring loaded cage that holds the hay in place is stainless steel which is great for longevity as well as hygiene.
- Entertainment – This type of feeder does make eating hay more “fun” than other feeders but there are others that do better in this department.
- Hygiene – This hay feeder does the best job at keeping rabbits hay feeder clean. Since this feeder is mounted to the cage it keeps it up off of the floor where contamination can occur.
- Size – The size of this feeder should fit in any size rabbit cage. It measures about 7 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches wide.
Here are a couple images.
Option #2 – Small Pet Select Hay Manager
Simple, safe and defective. This hay rack/manager can be utilized in two ways by either hanging it from your rabbits cage to make a “V” shape or as a Tee-Pee shape on the floor of your rabbits cage, litter box or play area. I use a number of Small Pet Select’s products and have found them to be excellent. I feed my current house rabbit, Mr. Bunny, their hay and add it to my list of the best hay for rabbits. It is always fresh.
What I like and Don’t like about this hay feeder.
- Wood – This feeder is made from kiln dried birch which is a safe wood for your rabbit unlike (green/non dried) pine and cedar. If your rabbit is an aggressive chewer this may be a better option than a feeder made from plastic.
- Safety – No nails, tacks, glue or metal parts to harm your bunny. The two boards are held together with rabbit safe rope.
- Dual Purpose – This hay feeder can be hung from a cage, wall or set up independently on a floor.
- Entertaining – If your rabbit is the type that needs some entertainment then this is the hay feeder you want. My house bun, Mr. Bunny, loves pulling and working to get the hay out through the holes in the boards.
- Size – There are two sizes. The small size is great for a single rabbit and the large is perfect if you have multiple rabbits or a large rabbit.
Here is an image.
Option #3 – Stand Up Wooden Hay Feeder with Pellet Dish Base
A creative design that combines a base that can hold pellets as well as a tower of hay. I have not used this product yet, but it appears to be made from safe materials and looks like a feeder that would provide plenty of entertainment to any rabbit. Before you buy this, I would make sure that your cage is high enough since this product is close to 14 and 1/2 inches tall.
I will end up purchasing this feeder at some point and will provide an update. My only real concern is if my rabbit, or your rabbit would be able to knock it over since it is tall. I read all of the reviews on amazon with the keyword “rabbit” in them and found no complaints about that so I assume the base is wide enough to provide stability.
A big plus for it’s size it that it holds plenty of hay for the day! Here is an image.
Option #4 – Round Stand Up Hay Feeder
This is somewhat similar to the other hay rack listed above but it is much shorter at less than 10 inches in height and does not have the base for pellets. The only thing I do not like about this is that the solid wood portions are not solid wood. They are made from plywood that contains some type of glue. I would not be afraid to use this though unless your rabbit is an aggressive chewer.
This hay feed can not be mounted to your rabbits cage so it is best suited for a play area or to sit freely in a large cage. The feeder holds a large amount of hay that will at least last for a day for even a large bunny wabbit. Have you ever noticed what rabbits say before they eat? Lettuce pray…
Option #5 – Wooden Hay Feeder for Inside Cage
If you are looking for a wooden hay feeder for inside your rabbits cage this is probably your best bet. It is very sturdy, made from safe kiln dried wood. The bars are spaced far enough apart that your rabbit will be able to pull the hay out. The bottom potion can be used for pellets which is nice since a lot of rabbits like to either throw their pellet bowl or pee in it.
Option #6 – Outside Hay Feeder Rack
This feeder is a good option if you have your rabbits outdoor since the top is covered and will stop most rain from getting into the hay. With that being said if it is pouring and the wind is blowing hard the hay is going to get wet. I see this hay rack as a feeder that you use when you take your rabbits outside to play in a penned in area, not as a permanent outdoor outdoor feeder.
The wood is smooth, safe and kiln dried to remove any toxins. It is a bit on the small size and may require you to refill it twice a day if you have a average sized rabbit. The feeder can easily be attached to any type of metal cage bars.
Is a Hay Feeder or Hay Rack Essential?
No, a hay feeder is not essential, but it is very important for several reasons including your rabbits health, mental stimulation and behavior. Having a hay feeder will allow your rabbit to have clean, fresh hay available to them all day in addition to providing mental stimulation.
It is important to keep in mind that hay is the most important part of a rabbits diet and should make up about 70% of all food that your rabbit consumes each day.
Health and hygiene
Rabbits are delicate creatures, particularly when talking about their respiratory and digestive tract. Having a hay feeder or rack allows you to keep your rabbits hay off the ground or bottom of the cage. If your rabbit’s hay is laying on the ground it can become contaminated with urine and poop. As you can imagine this is not the best thing for your rabbit’s health.
Another advantage of having a hay feeder is that it will cause your rabbit to eat more hay which a great thing for his or her health. The reason that your rabbit will eat more hay is because the feeder or rack will keep the hay clean and fresh making it more appealing to eat. In addition to that your rabbit will eat more hay because they will find it fun and mentally stimulating having to pull out the strands of hay from the feeder.
A bored rabbit is a unhappy rabbit. Having a hay feeder allows them to pull, cut, chomp and dig out their food which provides fun and stimulation for your rabbit. Boredom can cause your rabbit to act out and promote unwanted behavior like carpet digging.
Hay feeders promote good and natural behavior. Rabbits, although domesticated for hundreds of years are still retain many of their natural instincts and behaviors. This includes the way they feed. Rabbits want to work for their food, they enjoy it and it is the way nature intended. This is another reason why a hay feeder or rack is so important.
Imagine being forced to eat a delicious, beautiful cookie with a fork. It would be unnatural for you and diminish the experience of eating that awesome cookie. Maybe since Covid-19 you are eating cookies with a fork though so maybe a need a new example.
You can find more information on rabbit behavior here.
Hay feeder safety
I don’t have much to say on safety but here are a few points.
- Chewing – If your rabbit chews a lot buy a wood feeder rather than plastic since it is not safe for rabbits to eat plastic.
- Wheel Feeders – There are a few hay feeders out there that are designed like an exercise wheel. These are not safe for rabbits to use.
- Dampness – If hay or your hay feeder become damp or wet throw the hay out and dry the feeder. Hay can mold quickly if wet or damp.
When not to use a hay feeder
If your rabbit has had surgery then you may want to leave his or her hay at ground level until they are healed. This prevents your rabbit from stretching and moving needlessly. Remember to always follow your vets advice though!
Best Hay For Rabbits
The best hay for your rabbit generally speaking is the hay the hay they will eat the most of. The big exception to this is Alfalfa hay, this should never be fed to adult rabbits do the excessive calories, fat and calcium in it. You can see the huge differences between Alfalfa and Timothy hay.
Timothy is usually noted as being the best hay for rabbits which I agree with but if your rabbit does not like it there are many options that are almost just as good. Acceptable hays include but are not limited too the following;
There are minor differences between all these hays but all are acceptable and healthy for your rabbit to eat. I often us a mix of Timothy hay and Orchard Grass hay for my house rabbit, Mr. Bunny. You can see the differences here; Orchard Hay vs Timothy hay.
How much hay do rabbits eat?
The average pet rabbit should be eating about a large handful of hay per day. This is about 13 ounces per week or 3 ¼ pounds per month for a 2 to 3 pound rabbit. If you have a larger breed you may find that they consume up to 5 pounds of hay per month.
You can find a chart here and more info about how much hay rabbits eat.
What cut of hay is best?
There are three cuts of hay, referred to as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cutting. In general, the second cut is considered to be the best for rabbits. You can find more information in this post I wrote, what cut of hay is best for rabbits.
Best Diet For Rabbits
This is a huge subject and I have another detailed post about “the best diet for rabbits” so I am only going to touch on this subject. There are six different aspects or food groups to a rabbits diet. They include the following;
- Hay – The most import!
- Pellets – Serving size and type of pellets are key to good health!
- Vegetables – Not all vegetation is good for your rabbits, dark leafy greens are best.
- Fruit – Should only be fed in very small quantities as a treat.
- Treats – There are many really bad, unhealthy and dangerous treats for sale online and pet stores.
- Water– The key to life but rabbits get a lot of their water from vegetables.
Hay should make up 80% of your rabbits diet and be offered in unlimited qualities, day and night. Hay is vital to proper digestion and nutrition for your pet rabbit.
Timothy hay is often the most recommended type of hay for rabbits but that should be taken with a grain of salt. Actually, don’t give your rabbit a grain salt with timothy hay. Okay, I agree that Timothy is the best hay for rabbit IF they eat enough of it. I believe the best hay for your rabbit is the hay they will eat the most of. This does not include Alfalfa since it is dangerous for adult rabbits.
More Information about your pet rabbit and hay.
I want to give you a word of caution about rabbit pellets. Many manufactures sell what I call “junk food” pellets, some even contain seeds and nuts that are toxic to rabbits. There are only a few brands of pellets I trust. Please see my post on “The Best Rabbit Pellets” for my recommendation.
Some pet bunny owners do not feed pellets at all and substitute extra vegetables, these people are not in the majority though. If you do feed pellets to your adult rabbit make sure that they are timothy hay based pellets.
Most pet rabbit owners and veterinarians suggest feeding pellets at a rate of 1/8 to 1/4 cup of pellets per 5 pounds of body weight. This is perfect for most adult rabbits and what I have done over the years with my buns. If your rabbit is not caged much, runs freely and gets the recommended amount of exercise you may want to feed on the high end of a 1/4 cup per five pounds of body-weight.
More Information about rabbit pellets.
Leafy green vegetables are great for your rabbit, root vegetables like carrots should be fed in moderation. You should feed your pet rabbit about one cup of vegetables per 2 pounds of body weight. You can feed all vegetation once daily or several times a day, I suggest one feeding in the evening or early morning though since this is when rabbits are most active. Contrary to popular belief rabbits are not nocturnal, they are crepuscular.
Rabbits love fruit, particularly bananas and should be fed in very small, limited qualities. One or two teaspoons per four pounds of body weight is an ideal target. Fruit should make up very little of your rabbits diet, 5% at the most. I only give my buns fruit twice a week or so. You can find information about fruit and rabbits here.
Again, just like pellets there an enormous amount of really bad and even toxic rabbit treats for sale online and in pet stores. The “yogurt drops” and “nut and seed bars” are very hard on rabbits digestive tract and should never be fed to your pet rabbit.
Rabbits should have access to CLEAN water day and night. I do recommend a water bottle vs a water bowl because they keep the water so much cleaner. If you rabbit is drinking a lot of water and has excessive thirst this may indicate a medical problem.
A few other considerations
Choosing a quality hay feeder for your rabbit gives him or her better health and stimulation. Consider putting a hay feeder on the inside of the cage and one in your rabbits play area. Hay is critical to increasing how long your pet rabbit will live and should be available 24/7. If your rabbit chews a lot pick a wooden feeder rather than plastic. Put some thought into your rabbits needs and personality so you choose the best product for your rabbit.
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.