Timothy Hay Pellets for Rabbits
Over my 20 plus years of owning house rabbits I have learned that not all pellets are created equal. Most manufacturers try to make their pellets look good for marketing purposes rather than worrying about nutrition and your rabbits long term digestive and dental term health.
- 1 Why are Timothy hay pellets better than others?
- 2 The best timothy hay pellets for rabbits
- 3 Junk food pellets – Just say no
- 4 What is Timothy Hay?
- 5 Nutrition guidelines for Timothy hay pellets
- 6 Rabbit pellet ingredients
- 7 Timothy pellet feeding guidelines
- 8 Best baby rabbit pellets
- 9 The best diet for adult rabbits
- 10 About the Author
Why are Timothy hay pellets better than others?
Timothy hay pellets are best for adult rabbits because of the high fiber content and low calcium content in Timothy hay. This does not mean that every pellet out there that is made from Timothy hay is good. There are companies that sell “junk food” pellets that are dangerous for your rabbit but more on that in just a bit.
The best timothy hay pellets for rabbits
Having had pet rabbits for many years I have tried just about every Timothy hay pellet on the market. My deep love for my rabbits wants only the best possible nutrition for them. I can tell you that there are many awful rabbit pellets on the market. These pellets can cause long term health issues and shorten how long your rabbit lives.
If you are here for a quick recommendation then look at these pellets by Oxbow, they are superior to all other manufactures in my opinion. I have had great luck with them, and my pet rabbits love them.
Junk food pellets – Just say no
As stated earlier there are several manufacturers that make “junk food” pellets containing corn, nuts, and seeds. Many reviews on Amazon give glowing reviews about these products stating how their buns love their pellets. Of course, they love them because they are junk food. These types of pellets cause long term health issues, behavioral problems and shorten your rabbit’s life span.
Here is an example of what I mean by “junk food pellets.” Look at what is inside the bag.
If you have been feeding this type of pellet to your rabbit you need to wean them of. Start by mixing timothy hay-based rabbit pellets in with the junk food pellets at a 50/50 ratio to start. Slowly increase the amount of good timothy pellets over a two-week period until your rabbit is off of the junk pellets. In addition to this make sure you are feeding the best hay and in the correct amount.
What is Timothy Hay?
Timothy hay is a grass that is allowed grow up to maturity. It is then cut and allowed to lay in the field until it is dry. Harvesting occurs during dry weather and is formed into bales and stored in an area that is dry with plenty of air circulation. Here is an interesting and informative video about making hay if your interested.
Nutrition guidelines for Timothy hay pellets
There are a couple of key indicators of a quality rabbit pellet. Nutrition is obviously very important so let’s hit that subject first.
When you are looking for the best rabbit pellets it is important to look on the bag of the bag for nutritional analysis. If there is no nutrition information, then you are not looking a quality pellet. Here are the key components to look for:
- Fiber (25%-30%) – If your rabbit does not get enough fiber he or she will die. Look for a pellet that is Timothy hay based.
- Protein (15% or less) – Rabbits do not need a ton of protein as adults. Baby rabbits on the other hand require much more protein than adult. Check out best pellets for baby rabbits.
- Fat (equal to or less than 2%) – Just like humans’ rabbits should not eat a lot of fat.
- Calcium (Max of .8%) – If adult rabbits are allowed to consume to much calcium, they may develop bladder and kidney problems. Please keep in mind that baby rabbits do need more calcium than adults since they are growing rapidly.
Rabbit pellet ingredients
Okay so you know what type of nutrients need to be in your rabbit’s pellets but what sources should they come from. Here are a few examples of approved ingredients to make pellets from that are good for your rabbit.
- Timothy Hay/Meal – This should be in the best rabbit pellets, do not feed your rabbit pellets that do not contain Timothy in some way.
- Soybean Hulls/Meal – These hulls are an excellent source of fiber and some protein.
- Molasses – While high in sugar molasses is used as a binder that helps hold the pellet together. It also has several vitamins and minerals in it like iron, magnesium, and vitamin b6.
Timothy pellet feeding guidelines
Timothy Pellets have been around a long time and the feed rate has changed drastically over the years. Some pet rabbit owners do not feed their rabbits pellets at all, but they are not in the majority. Most veterinarians recommend feeding your rabbit at a rate of 1/8 cup to 1/4 Cup per day for every 5 pounds of body-weight.
If you have an active rabbit that can run free most of the time, then he or she may require more pellets. For most of my house rabbits I tend to stay around the ¼ Cup per 5 pounds mark. You can find more in-depth information about how many pellets you should feed your pet rabbit here.
Best baby rabbit pellets
Baby rabbit pellets should be based from Alfalfa rather than Timothy for the first 4 to 5 months of their life. Alfalfa based pellets are higher, much higher in calcium and protein which is great for a rapidly growing rabbit. Never feed these pellets to adult rabbits.
My opinion is to start mixing in some timothy pellets at three months of age to prepare them and their digestive system for the change to 100% Timothy based pellets. You should also start mixing in some Timothy hay into their Alfalfa hay also.
I have a post about “The best pellets for baby rabbits” if you are needing more information.
The best diet for adult rabbits
Lengthening your rabbit’s lifespan, preventing illness and improving their behavior can be accomplished by providing your rabbit with the best possible diet.
Hay is the most important food that your rabbit needs and should make up about 80% of your bunnies’ diet. Offer hay in unlimited quantities. Your rabbit should consume a large handful of hay each day on average.
There are a multitude of approved hays for adult rabbits including the following.
- Timothy Hay
- Orchard Grass Hay
- Meadow Hay
- Oat Hay
- Bermuda Grass
It can be difficult to keep your rabbits hay free from contamination in his or her cage. It is best to use a hay feeder to keep the hay up and out of the way of urine and poop pellets. Here are some of the best hay feeders I use for our pet rabbit, Mr. Bunny.
Most veterinarians recommend feeding your rabbit at a rate of 1/8 cup to 1/4 Cup per day for every 5 pounds of body weight. Make sure that the pellets you feed are of excellent quality and Timothy based like these Oxbow pellets.
Rabbits need vegetables daily to maintain their health and happiness. Root vegetables like carrots should only be fed as a treat. Leafy, darker greens should account for most of the vegetables that you feed your rabbit. Kale, romaine lettuce and cilantro are excellent veggies that your rabbit will love. You can find more info on what vegetables you should or can feed your pet rabbit.
The best rabbit treats should not be overly unhealthy and NEVER contain nuts or seeds. Stay away from “yogurt” treats or anything that looks delicious or gourmet. I love oxbow products (for the most part) and have these treats to be an excellent balance between health and unhealthy. Mr. Bunny, our pet rabbit goes nuts for these treats!
Interested in making your own homemade rabbit treats check this out.
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.