Image of a oat hay bail, pitch fork and rabbits lined up to eat. The caption reads, "Oat hay for rabbits."

Oat hay is an excellent choice for rabbits, particularly for rabbits that are picky eaters. Its nutritional value is similar Timothy hay providing plenty of fiber and a safe amount of calcium and protein. Oat hay should be fed in unlimited quantities and make up about 80% of your pet rabbits’ diet.

Oat hay for rabbits

Oat hay seems to get lost in the shuffle when discussing hay and rabbit feed options. We always here about Timothy hay and Orchard grass being the best choices. I believe that the best hay is the hay that your rabbit will eat the most of with the exclusion of Alfalfa.

Hay is very important to your rabbit’s overall health, particularly digestive health and dental health. Severe medical issues can arise if your rabbit is eating little to know hay.

Is oat hay safe for rabbits

Yes, oat hay is safe for rabbits to eat. Not only is it safe but it is good for rabbits to eat in unlimited qualities. Oat hay, or any other approved hay is the most important part of your pet rabbits diet. Make sure that any hay that you feed your rabbit is dry and free of any harmful molds.

What is the best type of hay for rabbits?

2nd cut Timothy is noted by many as being “the best type of hay for rabbits.” I do believe this is true to an extent, particularly when speaking to dental health. With that being said there is not much of a difference between most approved types of hay. There are three different cuts of hay

Oat hay is an often-overlooked hay that is just fine for rabbits. In many cases it is a better option than other more popular hays because most rabbits like to eat it. It does you no good to feed a rabbit hay that it picks at or ignores.

I have a post dedicated about “the best hay for rabbits” if you are looking for in more depth information.

What is oat hay

Oat hay is a dried grass like most other types of hay. Often it is grown to maturity for its oats but when cut early it can be used as food for rabbits and other herbivores.

Oat hay nutritional facts

Oat hays nutritional value is similar to Timothy and Bermuda-grass. On average Oat hay has about 31% fiber, 10% crude protein and .4% calcium. The nutritional value is well suited for rabbits making Oat hay an excellent and often overlooked hay.

Here is a chart depicting the nutritional value of oat hay and other common rabbit hays.

Image of a chart that depicts the nutrition facts of rabbit hay types.

Oat hay vs timothy hay

Most people are going to tell you 2nd cut Timothy is the best hay for your rabbit which might be true, particularly for dental health. I will tell you that if your rabbit is willing to eat more Oat hay than Timothy then feed your rabbit oat hay. The most important factor when considering which hay to feed is whether your rabbit likes it or not. Remember that Alfalfa is never an option for adult rabbits.

Other hay options

There are other safe options you can feed your rabbit including:

All these hays have the proper nutritional value for adult rabbits and can be fed in unlimited quantities.

How much hay should rabbits eat?

Hay should make up 80% of a rabbit’s diet and be fed in unlimited quantities. I have an article about “how much hay rabbits eat” if you are needing some in depth information. A good rule of thumb is that rabbits should be eating around a large handful of grass each day. In the image below you can see general guidelines regarding how much hay rabbits eat.

Image of hay growing. Title reads "Rabbit Hay Consumption chart." "2 to 3 Pound Rabbit will consume 13 ounces per week or 3 1/4 pounds per month 4 to 6 Pound Rabbit will consume 26 ounces per week or 6 1/2 pounds per month 7 to 9 Pound Rabbit will consume 2 1/2 pounds per week or 10 pounds per month 10 to 12 Pound Rabbit will consume 5 pounds per week or 20 pounds per month."

Hay management and hygiene

Leaving hay lay on the floor of your rabbit’s cage or feeding area can become contaminated with urine and poop. Using a hay feeder will keep your rabbits hay clean and up off the floor. I have noticed that my pet rabbit, Mr. Bunny enjoys pulling out strands of hay from his feeder, it’s entertainment for him. Anything you can do to encourage your rabbit to eat more oat hay, or any type of hay is always a good thing.

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.