I needed some hay pictures for an article on the diet section on my website, so I googled around for companies offering samples and sent off to The Hay Experts for their sample pack of six different hays. Having got the photos – which you can view here: Rabbits Diet – Hay and Grass, it was Scamp’s turn to taste test the hay!
The varieties under consideration were:
- Western Timothy Hay – “A quality US timothy hay: a mix of thin stem, seed head and green leaf.”
- Readigrass – “A short chopped and rapid dried grass. Green and rich in aroma and nutrition.”
- Oat, Wheat & Barley Hay – “Oat Wheat & Barley – “A yummy mix of coarse stem, broad leaf and seed head. Totally tasty!”
- Deans Meadow Hay – “A quality long stranded UK mixed meadow hay. Farm fresh and aromatic!”
- Green Oat Hay – “A mix of green leaf , coarse stem and tasty seeds heads. Fresh and aromatic.”
- Orchard Grass – “A sweet and very soft long stranded grass hay which is green in colour.”
Scamp stuck his head in the Western Timothy bag first, but I think that may have just been a case of stick head in closest bag and investigate. He then moved on to the Readigrass, which definitely caught his fancy.
He gave it a good dig, nibble and look quite content to make the bag his new home.
The two oat hays were definitely his second and third favourites. He couldn’t pick between them so had a good munch of each. When offered the Timothy and Oat strand by stand he picked the oat hay each time.
He was less interested in the meadow/orchard hay varieties, but I get the impression he’d still be happy to eat them if the other varieties weren’t on offer at the time.
So that’s Scamp preferences! But as we know, what bunnies consider tastiest isn’t always what’s best for them.
Feeling the hays, the meadow, orchard and timothy had much rougher surfaces, which are good for teeth wear – find out why here. The oat hays seems to have quite smooth stems and I’m not sure whether they’d be quite as good for that sandpaper effect.
Readigrass, has a higher protein level (around 12%) than the other hays (7-10%), so probably not good for feeding exclusively, though if that’s the only hay your rabbit will eat it’s certainly better than none. I’m very tempted to get some to feed alongside standard hay though as Scamp seemed to love the taste and it will be good for winter when fresh grass isn’t available.
I’ve always liked the idea of meadow hay because it contains a mix of grass varieties which, it seems to me, is more natural and would contain a wider mix of vitamins and minerals. Scamp usually has meadow hay and is quite happy to eat it so either he was keen on this particular variety or there was just too many other tasty foods to bother with it.
If I had multiple bunnies I would get bags/bales of several varieties and mix it together, but I don’t want to buy too much hay as it loses its vitamin content if stored too long. A small bag of readigrass or oat hay to go alongside his meadow hay might work for us though.
Would your Rabbit like to try Hay Samples? (UK Only)
Making sure your rabbit eats plenty of hay is probably the single most important thing you can do for their health. So, I’m going to send one of you guys the same hay samples Scamp had (not literally – I’ll order you a set, Scamp would not be impressed if I gave away his). Just tell me a little about your bunny and his or her hay habits below and we’ll draw someone on the 7th to get the parcel. Sorry it’s UK only (though I’d still love to hear about your bunny) because some countries are a bit iffy about imports of plant matter.
Edit: Congratulations Esther you won the hay samples, I hope Doughnut, Cupcake, Eclair, Creampuff, Danish and Truffle enjoy their own taste testing.