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Forum DIET & CARE wasting hay

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    • poopy
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      I’m not one who likes to waste….

      Medusa loves eating fresh hay when her litter box has been cleaned. However at the end of the day she won’t eat the hay much even if I put more hay on top. I find it hard to believe that the hay would lose its "crispness" after 12 hrs. AND the pee is on the other end of her litter box, not on the hay. Why won’t she eat it? I just hate throwing out all this good hay.


    • dmh426
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      There always seems to be some hay leftover that my bunny won’t touch too. I don’t know, I think they all do it though!


    • Lucy
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      mine will only eat the long pieces of hay. He won’t touch the little pieces…


    • Gravehearted
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      for some reason fresh hay is much more exciting than old hay! i tend to give my kids a handful in the mornings and another handful at night for this reason. I know hay is supposed to be free feed, but they seem to eat a lot more this way than leaving heaps of it sitting around and being wasted.

      since your issue is litterbox related you might try rigging up a hay box for her – my friend uses a simple cut mailing box tied to the side of the cage as a hay feeder. Of course they make hay feeders too…


    • wendyzski
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      that’s what I have – a cardboard box zip-tied to the side of the cage., right above the litterbox for handy munching.  I’m allergic to hay so I need to keep it contained.


    • dmh426
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      WOW. Good thing to know they all do it in some way or another!


    • osprey
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      My guys waste hay like crazy. I compost their litter, droppings and the unused hay, and I get quite a lot of it. I just opened a bag with a flake of Orchard Grass from a bale that they had eaten before. They barely touch it. I am hoping that once they get used to the smell of the new hay that they will start eating more of it.

      Oat hay is another funny thing. They absolutely love it, but they only eat the seed heads and the small stems that connect the seeds. They rarely eat the stalks.


    • poopy
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      Posted By osprey on 12/26/2006 9:46 AM
      My guys waste hay like crazy. I compost their litter, droppings and the unused hay, and I get quite a lot of it. I just opened a bag with a flake of Orchard Grass from a bale that they had eaten before. They barely touch it. I am hoping that once they get used to the smell of the new hay that they will start eating more of it.

      Oat hay is another funny thing. They absolutely love it, but they only eat the seed heads and the small stems that connect the seeds. They rarely eat the stalks.

      SO TRUE about the oat hay. I get annoyed because she leaves all the stalks in her box and they go to waste. Currently she eats oat hay & timothy. I am thinking of switching to just timothy & orchard since she wastes so much of the oat hay.


    • Lucy
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      osprey: about the composting litter.. do you use a compost bin or a worm bin? I really want to start a worm bin inside the apartment, but I don’t know if I can put Fujoe’s wet litter into the bin… I know the poops are good- but I’m wondering if the litter- being saturated in urine- would be too acidic for the worms.

      I know that if you have a yard, that you can just put the leftover hay on your flowerbeds, and it will decompose quite nicely.

      It’s hard going from S.Cali where recycling and reusing and all that stuff is second nature.. to chicago, where you can’t recycle efficently.
      I’m on this forum
      http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/verm/
      if anyone wants some info to start a worm bin to compost your rabbits poops (and I’m hoping the litter too)


    • osprey
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      I compost using a pile in the back yard.  I use compostable litter (started out with Cat Country and now using wood stove pellets while they are in season).  All of the bunny stuff goes into a trash can, and once a week I transfer the can into the pile, and then cover it with shredded leaves.  I turn the pile every couple of weeks, and take out some of the finished stuff to either sift or mulch.

      I have not tried worm composting, so I cannot offer much advice there.  My understanding of the process is that the worms actually consume bacteria that are breaking down the organic matter in their environment.  In a compost pile, urine is diluted as the pile is moistened, and breaks down very quickly because of the heat generated by the compost.  In a worm bin, you might get the urine changing into ammonia, which would be bad for you and the worms.

      Let us know if the gardenweb folks have any advice.  I have found the gardenweb forums to be a fairly good source of information. 


    • osprey
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      Regarding wasting of the oat hay stems, I feed the oat hay right in the litterbox, so the uneaten stems become a sort of bedding on top of the usual pelleted litter. I am also fortunate that there is a horse feed supplier fairly close by that sells a very nice red oat hay for around $15 a bale. Each bale is around 80 pounds of hay. I don’t really have storage space for that much hay, so I usually keep some for myself and donate the rest to our rescue for the other foster families to use. Unfortunately, I have not found a local source for baled timothy, so I have to settle for orchard grass.


    • Theresa Moan
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      We use timothy hay (Kaytee brand is all that is available around here) and they eat at least 90% of it…But they are GLUTTONS…


    • poopy
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      Posted By wendyzski on 12/26/2006 7:37 AM
      that’s what I have – a cardboard box zip-tied to the side of the cage., right above the litterbox for handy munching.  I’m allergic to hay so I need to keep it contained.

      thanks, I made her one to keep the oat hay separate from the timothy. that way she can waste all she wants on the oat hay but keep the timothy separate


    • missrealwoman23
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      i keep hay ina bird crock pot above his litter box so that any that falls, falls into the litter boxand itsnot wasted


    • MooBunnay
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      Hi! I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit more on your cardboard hay dispenser box…I am ridiculously allergic to hay, so I have just been sneezing for the last six months but if this is something that works I would love to try it out!

      Thank you!


    • poopy
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      Posted By MooBunnay on 12/29/2006 9:01 AM

      Hi! I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit more on your cardboard hay dispenser box…I am ridiculously allergic to hay, so I have just been sneezing for the last six months but if this is something that works I would love to try it out!

      Thank you!

      it’s just a tissue box with the top and sides cut out. it probably would not help w/ allergies. i would rec. maybe a covered cat litter box or one of those huge igloo litter boxes, but you’d have to clean it out every day so it doesn’t get musty in there


    • BinkyBunny
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      My bunnies are the same with hay, and so are most of the bunnies at the shelter I volunteer for.  They like a new handful even if they already have hay.  I’m not sure why, but here are my guesses.

      1.  Maybe when the hay is sitting in the box or bag, the smell is still enclosed and fresh.  So when you put it down, the smell of hay is strong.   Where if it’s been sitting out, the aroma begins to fade a bit

      2.  The action of hands handing down or over something can just trigger the "oh boy, oh boy, food, food!" response, and they can’t help but nibble on the stuff.


    • poopy
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      Wow, look at this article I found on Oxbow’s website:
      I bolded some main parts. Original link http://www.oxbowhay.com/link.sp

      A Picky Bunny Is a Smart One!

      ralphiepicCLPPED.jpgRabbits and other selective browsers are smarter than you think. There is good reason why they delightfully eat the soft, supple Oxbow timothy leaves from the hay and wait for the stems to go out with the rubbish. Likewise, why do we buy a whole head of broccoli, and place only the top quarter in the casserole? Because not all plant parts are created equal.

      People and pets know which foods, and which parts of foods, are the most quickly satisfying – those which are the most calorie dense. For a human, it would take a bowl full of popcorn, and a lot of time chewing, to receive the same initial caloric reward with a few spoonfuls of ice cream. Similarly, it takes a lot of hay and time chewing to receive the same rewards from a scoop of pellets. Food is merely nature’s way of packaging energy for us.

      Benefits of Hay

      Mammals, including us, are pre-wired to prepare for times of feast and famine, and to seek foods which are the least amount of work for the greatest amount of potential energy. All plant parts are not created equal and your rabbit, too, seeks to eat the most energy-dense foods. If you were to put a bowl full of seeds next to a handful of hay, any smart rabbit would scurry for the high-fat meal.

      Rabbit owners must make healthy decisions for their pets. Hay is given for its high-fiber low-protein content. Rabbits that are fed limited amounts of pellets and proper amounts of hay experience a multitude of benefits.

      • Hay keeps the stomach constantly full and moving
      • Hay supplies of energy all day long
      • Grinding hay maintains rabbit teeth
      • Helps maintain the intestinal balance
      • Hay prevents many digestive problems such as gas, bloating and soft stools
      • Helps prevent obesity

      Feeding Your Rabbit

      Grass hay, such as timothy or orchard, should be given in unlimited quantities each day. But what do you do with the stems left over from yesterday? Leave them in the cage and add more grass hay as needed. Do not throw away the most beneficial part of the meal!

      Leaves
      Stems Seed Heads

      All plant parts are not created equal. The fiber content in the leaves is approximately 24% as opposed to 34% in the stems. The protein (energy) content of the leaves is likewise much higher than that of the stems.

      Going back to mom’s broccoli casserole, which would you prefer? The high-fiber stems take a lot more work for their energy. The reason for feeding hay, however, is so that your rabbit will continually graze throughout the day. For the same reason, it is critical to keep treats to a minimum. Rabbits need a very calorie-restricted diet to ensure they will continue to eat not only the hay leaves, but also the stems! A small slice of fruit may have as many calories as a large bowl of hay. It is very understandable, then, why we have a nation of picky (and plump) bunnies. Rabbits become well aware of meal menus, cleaning routines, and treat times. The order in which food is eaten is no mystery. Veggies, fruit, and nuts will be eaten before pellets, which will be eaten before hay. Hay leaves will generally be eaten before stems and seed heads. As the protein and energy content decreases in a feed, smart foragers seek easier meals.

      Different types of feeds should be limited in the diet:

      • Vegetables should be limited; they are high in sugar and calories
      • Leafy greens should be limited to the size of your bunny’s head, twice a day
      • Pellets should be limited to ¼ cup per 5 lbs of body weight
      • Treats should be kept to a minimum

      Grass hay consumption is one of the most important keys to caring for a healthy rabbit. Leave the hay until the stems are consumed. Rather than replacing hay each day, just add more as needed!


    • BinkyBunny
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      That is great information!  I have filed that in my bunny brain bank so I can be sure to repeat that info when the subject of hay comes up again. 

      THANKS!


    • dmh426
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      Love the info from the Oxbow site. I think Binky Bunny has got the idea with the buns seenig new hay “oh boy oh boy oh boy, new food!” (even if it is the same thing they eat EVERYDAY!!!!)

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Forum DIET & CARE wasting hay