Feeding Timothy hay pellets

KST goat farm

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
25
Points
46
Location
North East Colorado
I am going to be getting Flemish giants and Holland lops pretty soon. I don't currently have any rabbits. Do they have to have actual hay or can I feed them Timothy hay pellets instead? It seem to me that feeding pellets would be less wasteful. What do you all feed your rabbits?
 

promiseacres

Herd Master
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
4,322
Reaction score
7,940
Points
513
Location
NW Indiana
The purpose of hay is to help increase gut motility as pellets are not "natural" and rabbits without a hay or forage source can be prone to GI stasis. Many breeders do not feed hay, just their pellets, usually alfalfa based. We supplement pellets with grass hay, we make our own for horses so they get what we bale. So can you feed an all pellet diet. Yes you can. We chose not to just because we feel that they are healthier with it in their diet.
 

messybun

Loving the herd life
Joined
May 4, 2019
Messages
174
Reaction score
264
Points
128
Also, can I put the pellets/grain in the same feeder as their hay?
There are a lot of opinions, but I say go with pellets. Some of my rabbits liked hay, some didn’t. But all healthy and gorgeous(aside from a blind rabbit and rescues like that but that wasn’t about feed at all) I would mix a 25 lb bag of show and a 50 pound of regular if I had young or preggy bunnies. And nursing rabbits get more show and all the alfalfa they can eat. With Flemish giants and any large framed rabbits, like most lops are, I have found that they need extra oomph in their food lol. I have had great results with free feed, but when I tried to listen to the diet advice and restrict pellets and the rest I had less than healthy rabbits. Also, don’t feed oats, young rabbits can choke on them and my older rabbits had stomach issues with them. My rabbits also got spoiled, and got kale or carrots or something along those lines every night.
 

rachels.haven

Herd Master
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
6,093
Points
363
Location
Massachusetts
:hide I don't have rabbits right now, but the way I used to look at is was that hay is your insurance against lethal digestive issues in rabbits. Also, it's cheaper per pound than pellets or feed. Stuff them with hay and offer the right amount of feed for their life stage and they will be in good shape.
 

messybun

Loving the herd life
Joined
May 4, 2019
Messages
174
Reaction score
264
Points
128
:hide I don't have rabbits right now, but the way I used to look at is was that hay is your insurance against lethal digestive issues in rabbits. Also, it's cheaper per pound than pellets or feed. Stuff them with hay and offer the right amount of feed for their life stage and they will be in good shape.
It’s hilarious to me that you’re using the hide emoji, I was expecting kick back for liking pellets lol.
 

rachels.haven

Herd Master
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
6,093
Points
363
Location
Massachusetts
No, they're very practical. No shame there. I use them on my goats when hay is in short supply to stretch it and the pellets generate less waste than the valuable hay. I'm just not sure they offer the same benefits as hay for rabbits and I know mine are more expensive. Feel free to do what you want. It's your herd. This tends to be a respectful forum. If it works it works.

I also think a lot of rabbit feeds already have ground hay added in their attempt to be a complete feed, but more hay free choice is usually better. I know it can help prevent weaning die-offs and GI stasis if their systems are moving strongly with lots of fibrous hay. I also know they can get along without it if necessary.

Feel free to experiment. Your buns are your turf.
 

Nao57

Loving the herd life
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
270
Reaction score
115
Points
118
I can understand the posters question.

When I was in Cal Ranch the other day they had different names on several alfalfa products. And I'm not sure I understood the differences between them myself.

There was alfalfa pellets. Then there was 'timothy alfalfa' pellets. Then there was something labeled timothy grass pellets. But the weird part was that the rabbit tag wasn't on every single one of them. So it confused me.

And beet tops are OK for rabbits too right? (They label these for horses I think...)

It gets confusing that they don't label them with tags well or a guide.
 

rachels.haven

Herd Master
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
6,093
Points
363
Location
Massachusetts
I'd be leery of beet tops. I remember beet greens as being something you can give them in moderation but to avoid in too much. I can't remember why...oxalic acid maybe? Too many carbs for their kind of system? IDK anymore. I can ask my mom, a 30+ year experienced rabbit breeder who's coming up to my place this weekend. Her main feeding regimen is pellets and lots of grass clipped en mass from the large yard with a hedge trimmer and raked. It keeps their systems going and is a good vitamin boost. She'd do hay if she had a good, safe place to store it. It's easier too.

I don't think timothy pellets, alfalfa pellets, timothy grass pellets would be bad for rabbits as long as they are the right size to eat them. They don't really replace long strand fiber, which isn't essential according to the rabbit food industry, but that long strand fiber DOES reduce your risk of occasional digestive problems that do arise. Hay=insurance.
 

Nao57

Loving the herd life
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
270
Reaction score
115
Points
118
I'd be leery of beet tops. I remember beet greens as being something you can give them in moderation but to avoid in too much. I can't remember why...oxalic acid maybe? Too many carbs for their kind of system? IDK anymore. I can ask my mom, a 30+ year experienced rabbit breeder who's coming up to my place this weekend. Her main feeding regimen is pellets and lots of grass clipped en mass from the large yard with a hedge trimmer and raked. It keeps their systems going and is a good vitamin boost. She'd do hay if she had a good, safe place to store it. It's easier too.

I don't think timothy pellets, alfalfa pellets, timothy grass pellets would be bad for rabbits as long as they are the right size to eat them. They don't really replace long strand fiber, which isn't essential according to the rabbit food industry, but that long strand fiber DOES reduce your risk of occasional digestive problems that do arise. Hay=insurance.
Thank you!
 
Top