How Often Should I Change My Rabbit Hay? (All You Need To Know)

The essential part of a rabbit’s diet is hay. And, if you have adopted a rabbit or thinking of owning one, in that case, you have many questions about how to provide hay for your pet, mainly how frequently it should be changed and updated and how to determine when it’s time to switch it out for new hay. So, let’s find out all your answers in this article.

The rabbit hay should be replaced once every two to three days after being brown and dusty. However, the cage or litter box hay bedding must be changed once or twice a week when it becomes mould or dirty. Consider providing fresh, high-quality hay like Timothy hay to rabbits for a healthy lifespan.

This article will discuss when to change rabbit hay, the best hay for your rabbits to consume, and many more. So, let’s get into it.

How often should I replace rabbit hay?

You should replace your rabbit’s hay once or twice weekly to keep it fresh and clean if it has hay bedding in its litter box.

Since rabbits would probably eat this hay for food, the hay must be replaced once every two to three days.

However, if you have more than one rabbit, you should change or replace it twice or thrice a week, as most rabbits can consume an average hay rack in a week.

It’s also essential to replace all the hay on the rack if it appears dirty or moist and your rabbit flat-out refuses to eat it.

Sometimes you can only go a day or two before you need to change it; other times, you may go a week without changing.

The frequency you replace the hay will change weekly depending on how many rabbits you have and your setup for them.

Replacing hay is essential because some rabbits become picky eaters and may start avoiding hay if it is dirty, wet, or smells bad.

However, some rabbits become so picky they only eat high-quality branded hay every time.

Hay is the staple food that provides high fiber and other beneficial nutrition required for proper digestion.

So, providing a fresh hay supply is essential for your rabbit’s healthy life span.

Also read: Do Rabbits Need Hay For Bedding?

How to know when to change rabbit hay?

If the hay is brown, dusty, or choppy, that usually indicates that it isn’t very fresh and that you have obtained the scraps, which your rabbit probably won’t like to eat.

Also, it is essential to store the hay in a box or container away from moisture and sunlight to keep them clean and fresh as long as possible.

However, if you use hay as your rabbit’s cage or litter bedding, you must change it when it becomes mouldy, wet, and smells terrible.

Also read: What Do You Put In The Bottom Of a Rabbit Cage?

Can rabbits rely only on hay?

Rabbits can rely only on fresh and high-quality hay and water as it is their staple food, containing at least 85% of their diet.

However, including fresh veggies, fruits and pellets work as supplements in their diet and can provide some nutritional benefits.

In addition, the vitamins and minerals your rabbit may need in their diet are provided by vegetables and pellets, which function like supplements. 

As a result, a rabbit’s diet should include a range of dark leafy green vegetables, such as watercress, romaine lettuce, bok choy, carrot tops, broccoli greens, etc.

But, giving veggies too frequently, especially those with a lot of starch and carbohydrates like carrots and potatoes, can also result in health issues, including loose stools, diarrhoea, GI stasis, etc.

Hay is the main diet for rabbits that contains a lot of fiber.

Giving them an endless supply of hay satisfies your rabbit’s dietary requirements.

Only fresh, high-quality hay, such as Timothy Hay, which contains a good source of fibre, may support a rabbit’s healthy life span.

However, alfalfa hay is the only type that needs to be decreased or eliminated from an adult rabbit’s diet.

Alfalfa hay is popular with rabbits, but providing too much might be unhealthy. 

Instead, your rabbit will be delighted if you combine alfalfa hay and timothy hay.

Also read: Why Is My Rabbit Only Eating Hay?

How often do rabbits require hay in their diet?

You should provide your rabbit with one bundle of fresh, high-quality hay daily.

In addition, most of a rabbit’s daily diet should consist of hay. 

Their diet should consist primarily of hay, with a modest amount of fresh vegetables and a few pellets. 

A rabbit’s staple diet should contain 85% hay, 10% veggies or leafy greens, and 5% pellets.

A rabbit’s primary food source should be high-quality, unlimited hay like Timothy, brome, orchard hay. 

A healthy supply of hay offers them essential nutrients and many other benefits, like keeping their teeth trimmed and healthy.

Ensure that a rabbit always has access to fresh, high-quality hay supply.

In addition, you should daily feed and provide fresh water to rabbits, and hay should always be available. 

They should have access to hay and other veggies because they are nibblers.

Grass hay contains a lot of fiber, essential for a rabbit’s digestive system to remain in good shape. 

While grass hay is suitable for young, growing rabbits, alfalfa hay is not suggested for adult rabbits due to its excessive protein and calcium content.

Also read: Why Is My Rabbit So Messy?

Best hay for rabbits?

The majority of a rabbit’s diet contains fresh, high-quality hay. 

The single most crucial factor in ensuring that all rabbits have optimal digestive and dental health is the high fiber content of grass.

In addition, the vital fiber in hay and grass is also necessary for rabbits’ dental health. 

Rabbits’ teeth constantly enlarge. Thus they require the chewing motion of food to wear them down and prevent them from growing painfully long.

A rabbit’s digestive tract won’t work correctly without this essential fiber. 

Slowing food digestion can result in various diseases and, more often than not, early life-threatening issues.

So, here are some best hay for your rabbits according to their sizes and ages:

Timothy hay

Timothy hay is the most popular and beneficial hay available for rabbits.

It is the superior option because it comes directly from the farm, is naturally sun-dried, and is typically pesticide-free.

The cool-season grass timothy is beneficial for bunnies with sensitive digestive systems.

It is thick and coarse hay with very high fiber content, which is essential for a rabbit’s diet. 

Also, it contains a low amount of calcium content which means it is more appropriate for adult rabbits.

The combination of Timothy Hay’s high fiber content and low protein content is essential for the well-being of rabbits and other small animals.

Switching to Timothy hay for rabbits between six months and a year is recommended. 

In addition, you should combine the two types of hay throughout the transition because rabbits prefer alfalfa hay.

The protein and fiber content of timothy hay for rabbits keeps their gastrointestinal tract in good working order.

We recommend using Oxbow Timothy Hay for your rabbit from amazon, which contains high-quality fiber and other beneficial nutrients for their dental and digestive health.

Second cutting:

Second cutting means the second crop of timothy hay cut in a year.

Timothy comes in many cuts, but the second cut of this hay is the most standard.

It contains excellent fiber and is low in protein, which is essential for a rabbit’s healthy diet.

It has a variety of hard and soft leaves as well as several seed heads.

Compared to most other hays, Timothy hay is also far more pollinated, making it not the greatest choice for someone with hay allergies.

Third cutting:

The third cut of Timothy’s hay is the softest. 

It can work for you if your rabbit is a picky eater that rejects the first and second stiffer stems cut of Timothy hay.

It is likewise quite leafy but has less fiber than the second cut. 

Therefore mixing it with other hays is advised but optional.

Alfalfa hay

Alfalfa hay is intended for young rabbits under eight months of age or for very old, weak rabbits lacking in particular nutrients.

Small or baby rabbits require a high amount of protein and calcium for their healthy growth, which can be provided by alfalfa hay.

Alfalfa hay is a legume hay that includes high quantities of protein and calcium, as opposed to timothy hay, which is grass hay.

Alfalfa hay typically has brief, choppy steam, which is not recommended for adult rabbits because it can cause weight gain.

However, if your rabbit is underweight, you can give them alfalfa hay as an occasional treat.

We recommend using Oxbow Alfalfa Hay for your young rabbits from amazon, which contains high fiber, is an optimal protein source, and is steeled with vitamins and minerals for rabbits’ optimum health.

Oat hay

Oat hay comprises wheat or barley, which is rich in fiber and other nutrients.

It also contains a low amount of proteins and might be tasty for your rabbit, but it has high fat, which causes weight gain for them.

Oat hay can be beneficial if used moderately or in combination with other hays.

It resembles the first cut’s hardness and is much stiffer than second and third-cut hay.

Although this hay generally won’t appeal to picky eaters, it does have mature seed heads and is excellent for trimming your rabbit’s teeth.

Orchard hay

Orchard grass is low in protein, rich in fiber, has a sweet taste and smell, and has a soft texture, which helps keep the rabbit’s digestive system working properly.

Another cool-season grass is orchard grass, which grows in clumps and is more drought susceptible than Timothy hay.

You can combine it with other hays because it has less fiber than standard Timothy hay.

Instead, you can also provide orchard with high-fiber pellets as supplements.

Those with hay allergies are advised to use orchard hay.

The leaves of orchard hay are typically lengthy, soft, dust-free, pleasant to pick up, and have no seed heads.

We recommend using high-quality Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay for your rabbit from amazon, which is rich in fiber, low in calcium and protein, and has a sweet taste and smell that stimulate the senses of any rabbit.

Also read: Do Rabbits Need Pellets?

Where should I put hay in my rabbit’s cage?

It’s best to have a container of hay rack for your rabbit’s hay in its cage.

Providing hay racks keeps the hay lifted slightly off the ground and away from the regular stream of your rabbit’s urine and poop, which could make it dirty and mould.

We recommend using Rabbit Hay Feeder Bag for your rabbit from amazon, as it maintains the hay in a specific, secure location where it is slightly elevated off the cage’s bottom.

Rabbits that frequently mess up its cage will result if you put your hay in a conventional ceramic or plastic food dish with the rest of their essential, staple foods, like a cup of pellets.

In addition, you’ll need to replace the hay considerably more frequently and clean the meal bowl more regularly.

To convince your rabbits that they can always find their hay rack, keep it in the same spot rather than changing it around, as it will maintain the freshness and cleanliness of the hay.

Also, keep it away from the water bowl or bottle and areas where your rabbit usually prefers to poop and pee, as this could make the hay moist and wet.

Also read: Do Rabbits Need Hay Rack?


  1. It’s also essential to replace all the hay on the rack if it appears dirty or moist and your rabbit flat-out refuses to eat it.
  2. The rabbit hay should be replaced once every two to three days after being brown and dusty.
  3. You should replace your rabbit’s hay once or twice weekly to keep it fresh and clean if it has hay bedding in its litter box.
  4. It is essential to store the hay in a box or container away from moisture and sunlight to keep them clean and fresh as long as possible.
  5. A rabbit’s primary food source should be high-quality, unlimited hay like Timothy or orchard hay. 

Reference: NCBI, NCBI, rabbit

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