can rabbits eat alfalfa hay

Can Rabbits eat Alfalfa Hay?

When it comes to feeding your rabbits hay it can be quite confusing as to which one is the best type of hay.

There different types of hay available such as Timothy Hay, Meadow Hay, and Alfalfa Hay which are available for rabbits to eat.

So can rabbits eat alfalfa hay at all and is it any good for them?

Firstly, lets look at what Alfalfa Hay is…

Alfalfa is a legume hay which is also called ‘lucerne’ It is known as a very good source of fiber, calcium and protein and is also known as being more palatable than grass hays like Timothy and Meadow Hay. It is often a recommended source of vitamins and minerals and is also high in energy.

When it is cured properly, it is the best of the legume hays because of the amount of nutrients it contains and has the most feed value of all perennial pasture forages.

It is used for beef cattle, sheep, chickens, turkeys, horses, dairy cows and other farm animals to feed from.

It is often giving to young growing animals, breeding animals and animals that need extra energy supplement such as working horses.

Source Anderson Hay

So yes rabbits can eat alfalfa hay, however they can’t have much of it compared to other types of hay such as meadow hay and Timothy hay.

Why Alfafa hay isn’t good for adult rabbits

The thing with alfalfa hay is that it is high in calcium and protein which rabbits can eat but not in large amounts. Alfalfa hay is a legume hay where as timothy hay and meadow hay are grass hay’s.

This means they can’t eat large amounts of alfalfa hay due to its contents. A small amount will aid a rabbits digestion, but don’t give them too much.

What are the best types of hay for rabbits?

If you are looking for a hay for them to eat all of the time, then meadow hay of timothy hay are much better for them. This is because they are grass hays and are high in fiber which rabbits need.

The more cheaper of the two is meadow hay rather than timothy hay. However, they will enjoy Timothy hay that much more.

Image: WIkipedia

When is it good for rabbits to eat alfalfa hay?

However, alfalfa hay is much better for younger rabbits, newborn rabbits, pregnant or rabbits that are nursing not to mention older more infirm rabbits, rather than adult rabbits.

The reason for this is that the higher calorie content of alfalfa hay gives those types of rabbit at their particular life stage the nutrients that they are lacking at that particular time.

So do take care what you feed your rabbit and if in any doubt seek the advice of your vet.

Alfalfa hay can be of great benefit for them if they need the nutrients that they contain, but for adult rabbits, too much can harm them.

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