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Bunny rabbit eating organic oat hay.

9 Reasons Oat Hay Is Good For Rabbits

We’ve all fed our rabbit timothy hay. But what about oat hay? This article dives into the nuances of why oat hay is a great substitute hay for your rabbit’s diet.

Bunny eating some organic oat hay.

Is Oat Hay Safe for Rabbits?

Yes, oat hay is very safe for rabbits if eaten in moderation.

There is something to keep in mind when feeding oat hay to your rabbits – oats are a grain, and as such are simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates actually induce a lessening of peristalsis (GI movement) in rabbits. Too many simple carbs can lead to GI problems. For this reason, we recommend that you ensure that oat hay is given in moderation.

Although oat hay is higher in fat (compared to timothy hay), it’s normally fine to feed your rabbit oat hay around the clock. Because hay composes up to 90% of a rabbit’s overall diet, it’s important that the oat hay you feed your rabbit is from a reputable source, such as Blue Mountain’s organic oat hay, one of the only (if not the only) company that sells organically-grown oat hay for pets.

To make sure that the oat hay you’re purchasing is from a reputable source and safe for your rabbit, make sure that your hay is/has…

  • No mold or dust
  • Stored properly
  • High in nutritional value
  • No preservatives
  • No additives
  • No artificial flavorings
  • Reputable company

Furthermore, oat hay is also a good hay variety for any rabbit age. It’s actually a great alternative hay type to timothy hay if your rabbit simply doesn’t like timothy hay.

One of the main things to monitor is your rabbit’s weight. Oat hay (the oat seeds specifically) contains a higher caloric intake, meaning it can be easier for rabbits, who are less active, to gain weight. Regardless of the kind of hay that you feed your rabbit, always monitor their weight, behavior, and health.

A combo of oat hay and timothy hay does help reduce that very risk of your rabbit becoming overweight.

Furthermore, it’s always good to check with your veterinarian about your rabbit’s specific dietary needs.

rabbits eating oat hay

What are the Advantages of Oat Hay for Rabbits

The main advantages of oat hay for rabbits are that it is high in fiber content, helps prevent dental disease, and keeps a healthy bunny GI tract.

High Fiber

Fiber, often referred to as dietary fiber or roughage, is a type of carbohydrate that is found in plant-based foods. It is an essential component of a healthy diet and offers various benefits to our digestive and overall health. Oat hay is a great fiber source for bunnies. 

Provides Good Nutrients

All of our hay pet products are grown in the Blue Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. These high-altitude have cooler nighttime temperatures, which allow plants to grow slower. This helps provide additional nutrients in each rabbit chew of our organic oat hay!

Helps Prevent Dental Disease

A hearty crunch, oat grass for rabbits helps them chew organic food while also keeping a healthy wear on their teeth. The silicates (oxygen and silicon mix) in oat grass hay help your rabbit to safely wear down their teeth. By continuous chewing on organic hay, rabbits also stimulate more saliva. On top of all this, the high fiber concentration in oat hay also ensures that rabbits chew thoroughly, further promoting healthy dental wear.

Vitamins & Minerals

As with most hays, organic oat hay provides bunnies with an organic source for vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that oat hay is also a lower-protein supplement. 

Rabbits Love Organic Oat Hay

Food is only so good as the opinion of your rabbit. Fortunately, bunnies usually love oat hay. It’s a win-win if your rabbit is staying healthy while also eating organic hay!

Healthier Rabbit Droppings

Because of oat hay’s rich supply of fiber, your rabbit’s gut health will remain balanced. As a result, your rabbit’s droppings should be healthy.

How much does oat hay cost?

In short, oat hay prices vary significantly. But we would like to give you a sneak-peak into our pricing.

Blue Mountain Hay

Blue Mountain Hay presents oat hay for rabbits that is 100% organic. That means there are no additives, preservatives, GMOs, antibiotics, or other harmful chemicals in their oat hay. Blue Mountain Hay ensures that your rabbit is fed fresh, quality oat hay straight from the high altitudes of the Pacific Northwest.

With the great texture and smell found in each bite of our oat hay, your rabbits will be satisfied with this source of nutrients. And of course, you can rest assured that they will be enjoying fully organic hay. In fact, we are the only U.S. company selling organic, high-altitude grown oat hay. Besides that, we parter with a local veterinarian to ensure that we can educate our readers on issues such as RHDV2 in rabbits.

Total Price

A field of organic oat hay for rabbits eating habits.

Should I choose organic or traditional oat hay for my rabbit?

Both organic and traditional oat hay are loaded with fiber for your rabbits, but organic oat hay ensures that your rabbit is protected from harmful ingredients. You’ll be able to have a much more “peace of mind” by choosing organic oat hay over traditional oat hay options.

Organic oat hay promises your rabbit:

  • No chemicals
  • No preservatives 
  • No additives 
  • No GMOs
  • No antibiotics
  • No herbicides
  • No toxic chemicals

Now, with organic oat hay your rabbit can enjoy a tempting meal with no negative side-effects!

rabbit who will eat oat hay

How much oat hay should I feed my rabbit?

In short, your rabbit can be fed unlimited amounts of oat hay! The amount of oat hay that you should feed your rabbit is based on the size of your rabbit. 

Measure Your Rabbit’s Size

When it comes to knowing the amount of oat hay to feed your rabbit, it’s not complicated! Base the amount of oat hay you give on the size of your rabbit. For example, if your rabbit fits in your hand, you would give them a handful of oat hay each day. Or, if you have a rabbit that fits in a shoebox, fill up a whole shoebox of oat hay every day. You get the point. 

Always Have Oat Hay In Your Rabbit’s Cage

Make sure that your rabbit has access to oat hay at all times. Like you, we can tend to overthink things. But it’s really as simple as keeping your rabbit’s cage stocked with oat hay; after all, up to 90% of your rabbit’s diet should be some type of grass hay. 

Restock Oat Hay Twice A Day 

Like we mentioned before, make sure to take into account the size of your rabbit when giving oat hay. So split that total amount into two feedings per day. 

Buy Blue Mountain Oat Hay

It’s important to get organic oat hay on a recurring basis. With Blue Mountain Hay, all of your rabbit’s oat hay needs will be satisfied. Your rabbit will be treated to fresh, nutritious hay at all times of the year. 

How often should I feed my rabbit oat hay? 

You should always have hay available for your rabbit. But don’t forget to monitor the follow items:

Weight Management

Maybe you have an overweight rabbit; don’t assume that you should cut back on the amount of oat hay you feed your rabbit. First, cut back on the amount of pellets you feed to your rabbit (excessive pebbles can add weight) and also remember to keep your rabbit’s diet balanced. Exercise is also important because oat hay is high in calories. If you see that your rabbit is still overweight after making these dietary and exercise changes, back off on oat hay and supplement with other hay varieties such as timothy hay.

However, it is important to note that rabbits may be able to actually lose weight since they are natural foragers. This means that they will remain active as they interact with the oat hay in their cage. You may wish to introduce a foraging mat to your furry rabbit where they can spend time hiding oat hay.

Health

While oat hay provides plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for your rabbit, we have to consider all health aspects. If your furry friend has a drippy nose or reddish eyes, it may mean that oat hay is giving them an allergic reaction. But don’t just assume this. Take your rabbit to the veterinarian as soon as possible and mention you’re concerns with oat hay. They will be able to let you know if it’s an allergy or if your rabbit is simply sick.

Overall Behavior

We both know that rabbits can be finicky with their food choices. If you notice that your rabbit has a dislike for oat hay or only eats certain portions of oat hay, it’s time to mix it up! Add a bit of timothy hay to the oat hay you give your rabbit. Alternatively, you can mix up the type of hay every couple of months and see how your rabbit responds. As always, a local veterinarian will be able to ease any concerns you have about the weight, health, and behavior of your rabbit. 

Rabbits eating alfalfa for organic oat hay article.

What other hays can I combine with oat hay for my rabbits? 

Oat hay can be easily combined with organic oat hay, timothy hay, orchard grass hay, and many more! Look at the different diet plans available for rabbits.

High Fiber Diet 

Is your bunny lacking fiber? Consider these options:

  • Timothy Hay
  • Organic Meadow Hay
  • Green Oat hay

High Energy Diet 

How about if your rabbit is lethargic and in need of energy? Chose some of the following:

  • Organic alfalfa hay
  • Organic grass hay
  • Organic oat hay
Rabbits eating alfalfa for the oat hay article.

What are some oat hay alternatives?

Timothy hay is a wonderful substitute hay product. Additionally, alfalfa hay can be used under certain situations. Read our ultimate guide to hay for rabbits for an in-depth overview of other hay types.

Timothy Hay

Because of its efficient balance in calcium, protein and fiber, timothy hay provides your rabbit a well-rounded diet. As your rabbit’s teeth continue to grow and grow and grow…well, timothy hay works as a natural tooth trimmer for your rabbit. Also, the fiber in timothy hay enables your rabbit’s digestive system to work properly. (See the benefits of timothy hay for guinea pigs, through our article.)

Alfalfa Hay

In general, save your alfalfa hay for your baby bunnies (one to seven months old). With its density in fiber, protein and calcium, alfalfa hay will make baby bunnies flourish before your eyes. On the other hand, alfalfa hay contains too much calcium for adult rabbits. An excessive diet of alfalfa hay may lead to kidney or bladder issues. 

Organic Products 

The following organic products are all meant to preserve the health of your rabbit. They are designed so that your rabbit will not encounter additives, preservatives, or other harmful toxins. 

  • Organic Meadow Hay 

The benefits of organic meadow hay include mental, digestive, and dental health. A diet of meadow hay is low in protein and rich in fiber. Want to know another perk? You’ll be protecting your environment by using organic meadow hay. 

  • Organic Alfalfa Hay

Rich in calcium, fiber and protein, organic alfalfa hay is an excellent choice for your cute baby rabbits. However, because of the high calcium and protein levels in alfalfa hay, limit the amount you feed to adult rabbits. 

oat hay ready

Can rabbits eat oat hay instead of timothy hay? 

Yes, oat hay can be used instead of timothy hay; actually, your rabbit will find it to be a tasty treat! 

Watch Your Rabbit’s Weight

Green oat hay can be given to your rabbit in unlimited amounts! But because of the extra calories in oat hay, there is a possibility that your rabbit may gain extra weight. If you do notice your rabbit is gaining unwanted weight, it’s a good idea to switch over to other hay sources for a while or supplement oat hay with other hay options, like timothy hay.

Good For Underweight Rabbits 

There’s always a solution to a setback. For your rabbit that is underweight, oat hay is the perfect dietary solution! Oat hay’s density of calories, fiber and nutrients will soon have your underweight rabbit adding weight to their furry body. Your rabbit will be thanking you! And you’ll be smiling every time you refill your rabbit friend’s cage with oat hay. But of course, we also recommend consulting a veterinarian with these weight concerns.

Up to 90% Hay Diet

Your rabbit should mostly eat…well, hay. If you do cut back on oat hay or decide that you need to balance out your rabbit’s diet with other hay sources like timothy hay, just remember to keep the total proportion of hay the same as always. The rule of thumb remains – up to 90 percent of your rabbit’s food pallet is always hay. 

Rabbits Love Oat Hay

Rest assured, rabbits love oat hay! It’s crunchy, nutritious, and delicious. Your furry buddies will keep coming back to graze on oat hay throughout their days. 

Monitor Consumption and Rabbit Health

Regularly monitor the health of your rabbit. If you notice any unwanted weight gain, then remember to switch it up with other sources of hay. While most rabbits really enjoy oat hay, you may have a picky eater. If a rabbit does not eat, seek veterinary care. Do not wait for consistent refusal, especially if this is a change for the rabbit.

Is oat hay or timothy hay better for rabbits?

Overall, timothy hay is probably better than oat hay for rabbits. But in the end, hay is hay. 

Timothy Hay Is Probably Best

Overall, timothy hay remains the best source of fiber and balance of nutrients for your rabbit. You won’t have to worry about obesity when you feed your rabbits timothy hay and the extra fiber will provide excellent digestive health. 

Hay Is Hay

Yet, we return to this fact: hay remains hay. Whether you decide to stick to oat hay or timothy hay or give your rabbit a mix of both, just be mindful of your rabbit’s health. 

Oat Hay Is Heartier and Crunchier 

When your rabbit nibbles at a stalk of hay, they encounter variety! They can eat the seed heads at the end of the stalk and appreciate the crunchy stalk and leaves themselves. Overall, this blend provides a heartier and crunchier hay to your rabbits!

Bunny rabbit eating organic oat hay.

Oat Hay: Pros and Cons

Pro #1: Nutritional 

With each small bite of oat hay, your rabbit is gaining vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. 

Pro #2: Digestible

The high quantity of fiber in oat hay, establishes a good digestive system for your rabbits. As a result, their poop cycles will remain healthy and normal. 

Pro #3: Promotes Dental Health

We understand the constant need to make sure your rabbit’s teeth are healthy in every way. Thankfully, oat hay does provide a solution! Because of the extra fiber, rabbits have to chew longer which wears down their teeth in a healthy manner. Additionally, rabbit’s teeth are also shortened through the silicates within oat hay.

Con #1: High In Fat 

Even with all the nutritional benefits of oat hay, there is a downside: extra fat. With oat hay, keep an eye on your rabbit’s weight and change up your hay choices as needed. 

Con #2: Not Much Calcium

Because oat hay does not provide much calcium, it is not a good hay choice for bunnies (one to seven months old) who are in need of plentiful calcium as they mature and grow. 

small fluffy rabbits in the pen are eating food from a cup for the organic oat hay article

Timothy Hay: Pros and Cons 

Pro #1: Popular

Of all the hay options available for rabbits, timothy hay is the most popular choice. 

Pro #2: Balanced 

Each little nibble of timothy hay offers your rabbit a balanced nutrition density which offers low protein and high fiber.

Pro #3: Healthy

Timothy hay aids in the prevention of GI stasis. Additionally, timothy hay promotes excellent dental health. 

Pro #4: Low-Sugar 

When a rabbit is consuming too much sugar through certain types of hay, this translates into excess fat. Because timothy hay has a low sugar content, your rabbit’s sugar intake levels will remain more balanced. 

Con #1: Low Calcium

Because of timothy hay’s low calcium, it is not a good choice for bunnies or mama rabbits who are nursing, unless alfalfa hay is added to a diet of timothy hay.

Con #2: Potential Allergies

Just like oat hay, there is a possibility that your rabbit will develop allergies through consuming this product. While there is a slight possibility, this is not a super common problem. As always, monitor your rabbit for any signs of allergies. If you notice any sign of sickness, immediately place your rabbit under the care of a veterinarian familiar with rabbits.

What We Offer 

Located in the high altitudes of the Pacific Northwest, Blue Mountain Hay is a family run business. We offer fresh, quality oat hay that is completely organic, giving rabbits the nutrition they desperately need without exposing them to herbicides, antibiotics, or other harmful chemicals. That’s right! Our oat hay is 100% free of all preservatives and additives. Each stalk of our oat hay is bursting with vitamins, minerals and fiber! Buy today and observe your furry friend nibble with joy. Check out this article, if your curious about the effects of oat hay for chinchillas.

bio for Dr. Vickstrom 5713
As a veterinarian of over thirty years, Dr. Vickstrom brings her authoritative knowledge of exotic animal health to each blog post Review. To read her full bio, click here