Do Rabbits Need Straw or Hay?

Updated on May 22, 2010
Hay
Hay
Straw
Straw

Straw and hay are both dried grass products that look similar, but one is full of nutritional goodness for your rabbit and the other is only good for bedding. Rabbits need hay to eat, in fact, a rabbit could have just hay and water to eat and be better off than a rabbit fed on commercial pellets and water. On the other hand, a rabbit that only had straw to eat would quickly get sick. Let's look at why that is.

Hay is cut from fields containing grasses and legumes. There are many different kinds of hay, Alfalfa hay is loved by rabbits, but too much isn't good for them. Timothy hay, on the other hand is quite good as a staple diet. Mixing the two will make your bunny a very happy animal.

Straw, on the other hand is cut from hollow plants like wheat. Whilst it does have some limited nutritional value, it does not have nearly the nutritional content of hay and feeding your rabbit straw is quite a lot like feeding a kid cardboard. Straw is very useful for bedding, and even a wide range of other things like weaving baskets and making mulch, but it is not at all useful for feeding animals.

You can quite easily tell the difference between hay and straw. Hay should have long stalks of various grasses, it should be dry but with evidence of green about it. Straw on the other hand has larger, obviously hollow stalks and is usually a tell-tale yellow color.

So can straw be used with your bunny at all? Yes. Straw is perfectly fine for bedding, in fact, straw is probably a sensible choice for bedding as it is usually cheaper than hay, and if you use hay as bedding you'll be wasting quite a great deal of it because bunnies won't eat much of their bedding. They'll nibble at it, but they won't decimate it like other small animals will. Put a bag of hay in with guinea pigs for a few days and when you check, it will be gone. Put the same amount of hay in with a bunny and the bulk of it will still remain because rabbits are fussier eaters.

This is why you need to feed rabbits fresh hay on a regular basis. There's no point tossing a whole lot of hay in with a bunny and hoping that it will feed itself for a few days, the bunny may not starve under such conditions, but it also won't be very happy.

So then, use lots of straw for bedding, especially if you live in a cold area and your bunny is outside, and save the hay for feeding. Feed fresh hay every day and make sure that your rabbit always has access to clean water and your rabbit will be a very happy bunny indeed!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Ashley 

      2 years ago

      Using straw as bedding is ok, but it often carries mites that can result in skin disease. So it's fifty fifty.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      You have written a good hub. I recommend that people looking to save on hay buy a big bale of it. They can be purchased at feed & tack stores for $10 or less and will last months longer than a bag or two of the expensive few ounces that you'd get in pet and other stores.

      Feed & tacks offer mixes that rabbits (and horses) love and are nutritious. If you get a bale of hay and have a place to store it (even a large, clean and closed garbage can will do), you will save a lot of money.

    • profile image

      amy jonson 

      7 years ago

      so is it safe to have straw as your bedding for

      your rabbit

    • profile image

      Rabbit Breeders 

      7 years ago

      I always give my bunnies hay however I know many rabbit breeders who don't bother with the task.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)