The Importance of Hay

Hay should be 80% of your rabbit’s diet.

Rabbits are designed to eat large amounts of high fibrous food. A proper diet consists of 80% grass hay, 10% veggies, 5% healthy pellets, and 0 to 5% healthy treats. Fresh water must be available at all times.

The importance of hay cannot be overstated:
• Hay keeps cecal flora in balance – it promotes a healthy gut
• The repetitive, rapid chewing movement of eating hay helps maintain dental health
• Hay provides a key component of nutritional needs
• Hay helps prevent fur blockage (especially important for Angora and long-haired breeds)
• Hay satisfies natural snacking and chewing urges
• Hay encourages natural behaviors such as foraging and grazing, which may diminish boredom, increase activity, and provide a sense of security

The most common rabbit health problems are gastrointestinal issues and dental disease. Improper nutrition is often the key contributing factor in each of these widespread problems. Feeding 80% hay is preventative health care.

Grass hays are best because they are lower in protein and calcium. Try bluegrass, brome, fescue, marsh, orchard, timothy, oat and ryegrass. Offering a diversity of hay is important nutritionally. A diversity of hay also desensitizes rabbits to small changes in smell and texture, resulting in good, consistent eaters.


Susan Smith, PhD University of WI, Madison
Micah Kohles, DVM, MPA
Anthony Pilny, DVM

©Copyright Amy Ramnaraine. All Rights Reserved. Republished with the permission of the author.

  • Amy Ramnaraine

    Since 2001 my life has been filled with my own beloved, free-roaming house rabbits. They fueled my desire to help other people and their rabbits live happily and healthfully together. I began as a local educator for the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society (2008 — 2015). I then became a licensed educator for the national House Rabbit Society (2016 — 2023). I have expanded my own rabbit knowledge through many conferences and seminars on rabbit care, behavior, and health. As a rabbit advocate I’ve organized transports, campaigned, fostered, and provided hospice care. As an educator I’ve done my best to create easily accessible information to improve the lives of rabbits and the humans who care for them. My beloved bunnies were: Mouse & Duchess, Captain BlackOak & Pixel, Fluffston, Guinevere, Joy & Magnus.

    View all posts
Scroll to Top