Do Rabbits Need Hay Rack? (All You Need To Know)

Many owners of rabbits find out that providing hay on the floor to their rabbits can be a little messy and a waste of a lot of grass hay. On the other hand, installing hay racks can improve hygiene and convenience for owners. So, do rabbits need hay racks? Is it safe to use hay racks for rabbits? What are the things to consider? Let’s find out all your answers in this article.

Rabbits require hay racks for their healthy life span. It keeps the hay dry and hygienic and prevents mess and wastage. However, some hay racks can be risky if a rabbit climbs on them and gets stuck between its space bars. So, consider providing a safe cardboard hay rack by making two big holes. 

This article will discuss whether to use a hay rack for rabbits. Also, what are the other best alternatives to hay racks? So, Let’s find it out.

Does my rabbit require a hay rack?

Hay is the staple food for rabbits and should be provided for 24 hours for their healthy life span. It is rich in fiber, has no calories, and has other beneficial nutrients that a rabbit’s diet requires.

Hay racks are the essential and most convenient item in your rabbit’s house. Putting the hay of rabbits in the rack will make them eat it regularly at a specific place without creating any mess. Providing hay to your rabbit on the floor will encourage them to forage and dig. 

However, serving hay on the floor will create a mess and make the hay wet and dirty because rabbits can sit on it, assuming as bedding, or even urinate on it. In addition, rabbits can become choosy while selecting the hay pieces they like the most and avoiding other pieces by leaving and wasting them on the floor.

Also, if you provided the litter box with hay bedding, they may get confused between litter hay and staple food hay. Your rabbit may pee on the grass you have provided to feed them on the floor. 

Providing a hay rack for your rabbit helps to keep the hay fresh and clean. Various types of hay racks are available in the market, different in sizes, shapes, and colors. Some hay racks are built so your rabbit can pull out the hay leaves from the tiny holes and keep the hay dry and clean. 

Some hay racks are built in rabbits’ enclosures with a holder of wire that keeps the hay supply secure where rabbits can get it anytime they want. Another hay rack can be hung outside the rabbit’s cage sides as a box with three sides and no top, so the rabbit can pull out the hay leaves or stems inside through its cage wire. 

The hay racks should be well-designed, so your rabbit will not get into trouble while eating hay. It should be huge enough to store the hay supply for the entire day, and the bars of the hay rack should be safe for them so that your rabbit will not get stuck in its head between them.

Is it safe to use a hay rack for rabbits?

Some well-designed hay racks are safe for rabbits, while others are not. Providing a hay rack to the rabbit helps to prevent the hay mess all around the house. 

Finding hay racks or other options to keep the hay clean and dry is essential because hay is the staple food for your rabbit’s healthy life span.

A well-designed hay rack includes the following:

  1. Easy to access 
  2. Maintains hay off the ground
  3. Visually attractive without compromising functionality
  4. Designed in pellet feeder
  5. Features should be safely constructed, with adequately spaced bars and other openings.
  6. It should not contain sharp edges.
  7. It should include thoughtful details like strengthened holes if made of fabric.
  8. Doors that make adding more hay simple.
  9. Hardware that makes it easy to secure the feeder to the cage.

However, some hay racks pose risks because your rabbit could become trapped inside them, and it can restrict the hay access. Also, providing a limited amount of hay in the rack can cause health issues like GI stasis or overgrown teeth and require frequent refills and mounting.

Hay racks are not gentle for rabbits’ limbs or necks if they are made of sturdy and robust metal. In addition, providing this type of hay rack to your rabbit can cause painful sores around its nose, mouth, and face and even gastrointestinal stasis if the wounds of the rabbit become infected because of rubbing the hay rack’s abrasive frame while eating.

A hay rack is not the best place to store hay because it is exposed to air and moisture, which can quickly lead to mold growth. If inhaled, the spores produced by moldy hay can seriously harm a rabbit’s respiratory system. Even worse, if the rabbit consumes the moldy hay, it could get a potentially fatal illness.

Also, providing hay racks will not promote natural grazing and foraging behaviors, and your rabbit will not eat in its natural feeding position.

Therefore, providing hay on the floor to your rabbit will be effective in some cases because it can minimize potential health risks while promoting their natural feeding behavior and assisting with digestion.

Should I use hay racks for rabbits?

It is optional to have hay racks. You only require a convenient place to put the hay off the floor so that your rabbit’s urine will not spoil it. 

However, if your rabbit is properly litter-trained, that might be fine. Speaking of litter trays, since rabbits enjoy eating and going potty, one of the best ways to feed them hay is to have a big litter tray with a pile of hay at one end. Also, you can provide hay bedding to your rabbit or scatter it on the ground.

There are different types of hay ranks depending on your rabbit’s lifestyle and personality:

Hay racks of wood:

These wooden hay racks come in various sizes and are available in free-standing varieties that can be used in virtually any living situation. It must be hung or mounted, but that should be fine if you have a solid wire cage or wall. 

Some wooden hay racks will have an opening at the top, so you must ensure that it is narrow enough to prevent a rabbit from jumping in.

Also, providing a safe wooden rack is essential so your rabbit can’t poke its head through the opening. You should offer non-toxic or untreated wooden hay racks if your rabbit has a chewing habit. However, if your rabbit starts peeing on the untreated wood, you must throw it.

Hay racks of metal:

Metal hay racks can be the best choice if you allow your rabbit to live in a wire fence pen or enclosure. The rabbits can take as much hay as they want from the metal hay rack. 

It can be hung up almost anywhere, directly in front of the litter box. However, metal hay racks must be thin to prevent your rabbit from injuries if they try to hop in them.

Hay racks DIY:

If you think other hay feeders are unsuitable for your rabbit, then you can make your hay rack DIY. In addition, you can use household things to make hay racks.

For example, cutting holes in a small cardboard box, connecting the cable to the cage wire, and filling it with an unlimited amount of hay. In addition, you can also use shopping bags, cardboard tubes, and wire organizer drawers to store the hay.

Plastic grocery bags as hay racks:

You can hang the plastic grocery bags on the cage’s wall or place them on the floor before filling them with hay. In addition, these carrier bags are cheap, can easily be attached to the enclosure or pen bars, holds a good amount of grass hay, and are not possible to chew efficiently.

However, it would be best if you did not make it empty. Otherwise, some small rabbits can climb inside it and get themselves stuck in between. Therefore, make it full of hay by refilling it frequently.

Things to consider while using hay racks for rabbits? 

If you are making or purchasing a hay feeder for your rabbit, there are some essential things to consider while using hay racks:

  1. Ensure that your rabbit does not climb inside the holes or poles of the hay rack and get itself injured by catching its head and legs through the bars.
  2. You must line the interior of your hay rack with mesh or chicken wire with smaller holes if it has large holes.
  3. To prevent a rabbit from climbing on the hay rack, place it at the top of your rabbit’s hutch or cage or under a shelf.

The rabbit’s staple diet should consist of at least 80–90% hay, 5–5% pellets, and 5–5% fruits and vegetables or leafy greens, all of which should be given in proportion to the rabbit’s weight.

And providing hay racks can be crucial to keep the hay clean and dry. So, here are some other things to know while selecting a hack rack:

Size: It would be best to purchase a big hay rack when choosing a hack rack for your rabbit. Your rabbit will require a lot of hay because it is its primary source of nutrition. You won’t need to refill it as frequently if you choose a giant hay rack because they won’t go hungry as often.

Accessibility: Make sure the hay is readily available for the rabbits so they won’t have to work hard or under stress to get it. Some problems with hay racks include the open space holes being too small, which prevents rabbits from getting their hay, or the frame set up too high on the cage, which stops your rabbit from getting to it.

Best alternatives of hay racks for rabbits?

Providing hay to your rabbit on the floor could be messy if you have given access to your rabbit to roam freely, and serving them unlimited hay in a specific place could be challenging.

There are several methods for keeping your rabbit’s cage clean and organized while keeping it safe. Ensure the hay is always readily available for your rabbit, and they should be able to dig burrows into the grass hay while eating.

So, here are some best hay feeders for your rabbit instead of hay racks:

  • Cardboard box: You can use a cardboard box as a hay feeder by cutting a few holes and storing it with unlimited hay. It can be a safe alternative to hay racks that you can buy from any local hardware shop.
  • House of grass: Hay can be placed inside one or more houses if you want to keep things tidy because rabbits enjoy relaxing and sleeping inside hay piles. With this, your rabbits will quickly get access to unlimited hay.
  • Litter tray: Making a secure enclosure that your rabbit can enter and graze in is easy with a litter tray. You can put a layer of fresh hay on top and cover the base with wood shavings to absorb any liquids. From this, your rabbit can get the opportunity to graze and forage like they do in the wild.
  • Cotton bags: You can also make a DIY hay rack with cotton bags. You can cut 1 or 2 holes and hang them on the side of your rabbit’s cage. It’s entirely acceptable for your rabbit to want to hide inside the cotton bag as long as you’ve made the holes large enough for them to do so safely.

Also read: Why Is My Rabbit Only Eating Hay?


  1. The hay rack is the most essential and practical item in your rabbit’s home.
  2. For a healthy life span, rabbits need access to hay 24 hours a day. Hay is their primary source of food.
  3. Some hay racks are dangerous because your rabbit could get stuck in them, and it might be challenging to get to the hay.
  4. In some circumstances, giving your rabbit hay on the floor will be a good idea because it can reduce potential health risks while encouraging their natural feeding behavior and aiding digestion.
  5. You can use it as a hay feeder by making a few holes in the cardboard box and filling it with unlimited hay.

Reference: NCBI, NCBI

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