Do you use compressed hay?

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northernnevadahollandlops

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Hay cubes, that's the term. You're correct, those are what I have gotten. Thank you :)

Compressed hay sounds pretty interesting. I don't think I've seen any around here, but I also haven't looked. If the compressed hay expands to normal size, I'd probably not get them unless I get a normal sized bale (that would be able to fit into my small car) but expands to double size when I unload it into storage. But I'm also cheap so maybe I'd just make multiple trips for normal hay and deal with the mess -- have a beef farm not even five minutes away that sells me 3-string bales for $5 😁
Tractor supply sells Standlee's compressed hay bale. l believe a 20 lb bale. It does not expand to full size, as the hay blades/stalks? are flattened pretty good. I put mine in a big garbage can before I cut the strips and then I don't have to worry about it falling all over the place. It still does, just not quite as much.
 
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RabbitsOfTheCreek

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IMG_20211215_151402239.jpgHere is an example of the grass I was talking about (Taken yesterday)IMG_20211215_143548727.jpgAnd a new cat creeping on me (Also yesterday)
 

MuddyFarms

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Tractor supply sells Standlee's compressed hay bale. l believe a 20 lb bale. It does not expand to full size, as the hay blades/stalks? are flattened pretty good. I put mine in a big garbage can before I cut the strips and then I don't have to worry about it falling all over the place. It still does, just not quite as much.
Just some info that might help us out with all this compressed stuff:
"Standlee Premium Products creates compressed bales of forage from a large 4’x4’x8’ bale that is put through a press, sliced horizontally, pushed onto a scale, weighed, compressed and then banded." "A pound of pellets, equals a pound of cubes, equals a pound of long-stemmed forage; Processing from long-stem forage (bales) into pellets or cubes does not change digestibility"
Standleeforage.com


The bales I have been getting are 50lb. I know Standlee says to go by weight with all their products since the compression makes it more difficult to replace regular hay by what it looks like/volume. The hay is definitely squished together; when I cut them loose I, too, put them into a metal trashcan immediately and it does not get the chance to expand. Standlee says that you can open a bale in a wheelbarrow or something and let it expand overnight, if you want. Not that that matters much when feeding rabbits!

I don't have much space to store hay bales, so having the compressed ones has been very helpful. Having a bale of hay in a feed bag (40lb of hay cubes=40lb bale) is also a space-saver and is more easily stored.
 

MuddyFarms

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Hay cubes, that's the term. You're correct, those are what I have gotten. Thank you :)

Compressed hay sounds pretty interesting. I don't think I've seen any around here, but I also haven't looked. If the compressed hay expands to normal size, I'd probably not get them unless I get a normal sized bale (that would be able to fit into my small car) but expands to double size when I unload it into storage. But I'm also cheap so maybe I'd just make multiple trips for normal hay and deal with the mess -- have a beef farm not even five minutes away that sells me 3-string bales for $5 😁
Yeah, wish I could still get hay like that. Before this super-hot summer I got 40 or 50lb bales of timothy for $7!
 
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Someone asked about the little hay cubes they sell like horse treats. They are held together with bentonite clay. I use them if I'm going to be away for a couple days. Each feeder gets filled and throw a few cubes in in case the bunny digs out her feeder or something, there's a little to eat until I get back. They keep forever, so a bag of them lasts quite awhile.

I do also like the compressed bales for the same reason, but I only buy them as a backup to the feed system.
 

Zee-Man

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Sooooo....

I went to tractor supply last night to get pellets. I happend to check the prices out of various hay they had for sale for rabbits. I was aghast to see Oxbow hay (alfalfa, oat, orchard, timothy) selling for $6 per 15 oz ! That is simply crazy! I can walk my fence line with a shears and grab 15 oz for free! Really, one can just set aside a patch of grass near the hutch and let it grow!
Do any of you know how safe the bentonite clay is for rabbits? I did research on it, but haven't been able to find a whole lot.
Bentonite (aka Loess) clay is chemically inert. It has a pronounced negative charge though. Which makes it really great for clarifying things. The wine industry uses it to settle flocculants so the wine need not be filtered (the less the mechanical handling the better). The clay has many supposed health benefits which you can read about here. They seem to stem from it being a tonic to the gut and an exfoliant for the skin.

Afterthought: That same negative charge helps in gardening. Without the negative charge plants can not take up water through the roots. so it would also help in potting soil, specially for seeding.
 

MuddyFarms

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Thank you, @Zee-Man! Helpful info, for sure.


An update on the Standlee compressed hay bales in Idaho...

The bale of timothy I just bought is less green, more stemmy, and has seed heads; it is not the soft, bright green hay we got earlier. Guessing they must have run out of the good stuff.
 

Zee-Man

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...

The bale of timothy I just bought is less green, more stemmy, and has seed heads; it is not the soft, bright green hay we got earlier. Guessing they must have run out of the good stuff.
You likely got a first cutting the first tie and a second or even third cutting for your recent purchase. First cuttings are always the nicest. Third cuttings are still good, but as you noticed a lesser quality.
 

MuddyFarms

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What is your intended use for Bentonite clay. It's in a lot of cat litter.

Bentonite clay is used as the binding agent in the hay cubes I buy from Standlee. I was trying to find out if the clay is okay for long-term use in feeding rabbits the hay cubes. I have been using them for probably at least 9 months now; getting fantastic growth rates, healthy rabbits, happy rabbits, no digestive issues seen, just good results so far. Definitely my preferred option for feeding hay, and even the one that wasn't so keen on them has decided he likes them. He just doesn't devour them as quickly as the others. :)
 

JOhn B

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Bentonite clay is used as the binding agent in the hay cubes I buy from Standlee. I was trying to find out if the clay is okay for long-term use in feeding rabbits the hay cubes. I have been using them for probably at least 9 months now; getting fantastic growth rates, healthy rabbits, happy rabbits, no digestive issues seen, just good results so far. Definitely my preferred option for feeding hay, and even the one that wasn't so keen on them has decided he likes them. He just doesn't devour them as quickly as the others. :)
ok, not sure the impact on a rabbit's fragile digestive system, but in humans it is used to detox/cleanse system. Never tried it but Dr. Burge has some videos about it.
 

MuddyFarms

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ok, not sure the impact on a rabbit's fragile digestive system, but in humans it is used to detox/cleanse system. Never tried it but Dr. Burge has some videos about it.
Yeah, that's why I wasn't sure how it would affect the rabbits. The rabbits eat them like crazy- even the tiny kits. Everything is going well, so I haven't done much additional research on this for rabbits. Horses seem to have sensitive digestive systems (or so I have heard), and the hay cubes are made for horses and other livestock, so I decided to give it a try.
 

HTAcres

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Yeah, that's why I wasn't sure how it would affect the rabbits. The rabbits eat them like crazy- even the tiny kits. Everything is going well, so I haven't done much additional research on this for rabbits. Horses seem to have sensitive digestive systems (or so I have heard), and the hay cubes are made for horses and other livestock, so I decided to give it a try.
If you have been using them for 9 months and your rabbits are doing great, I think that is pretty good evidence that it is okay. Do you feed them anything else? What portion of the diet do you estimate are these cubes? I've thought about using hay cubes but the first foray was not encouraging (I had the cubes for my cow and when I offered some to the rabbits, they ignored them lol). I might try again. I feed pellets, hay and forage and I prefer having a variety of feedstuffs. I am slowly moving toward more forage - heading out to buy a couple more willow trees today in fact.
 

MuddyFarms

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If you have been using them for 9 months and your rabbits are doing great, I think that is pretty good evidence that it is okay. Do you feed them anything else? What portion of the diet do you estimate are these cubes? I've thought about using hay cubes but the first foray was not encouraging (I had the cubes for my cow and when I offered some to the rabbits, they ignored them lol). I might try again. I feed pellets, hay and forage and I prefer having a variety of feedstuffs. I am slowly moving toward more forage - heading out to buy a couple more willow trees today in fact.

I am thinking so, too. I feed high-protein pellets (that the rabbits love), some loose hay (not much), willow branches (they can never get enough of those and go crazy even just smelling them!), some apple and pear branches during pruning season, hay cubes (always in the cages and they are eaten very well), BOSS (as a treat for everyone occasionally and to nursing does as an important fat source), rolled/cracked oats (to kits and nursing does mostly).

I am not sure how much of the diet is comprised of hay cubes... they always have them in their cages. Some does will consume an entire cube in one-two days and others don't eat them nearly so fast. They are great for boredom in rabbits. The young rabbits tend to scratch at their feed less when they have these to chew up and play with. I should work on watching how fast we go through bags of hay cubes vs pellets to see what the ratio is... So much of it depends also on how much willow we can get for them each day, since that can vary. These are an alfalfa/timothy mix.
 

HTAcres

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I am thinking so, too. I feed high-protein pellets (that the rabbits love), some loose hay (not much), willow branches (they can never get enough of those and go crazy even just smelling them!), some apple and pear branches during pruning season, hay cubes (always in the cages and they are eaten very well), BOSS (as a treat for everyone occasionally and to nursing does as an important fat source), rolled/cracked oats (to kits and nursing does mostly).

I am not sure how much of the diet is comprised of hay cubes... they always have them in their cages. Some does will consume an entire cube in one-two days and others don't eat them nearly so fast. They are great for boredom in rabbits. The young rabbits tend to scratch at their feed less when they have these to chew up and play with. I should work on watching how fast we go through bags of hay cubes vs pellets to see what the ratio is... So much of it depends also on how much willow we can get for them each day, since that can vary. These are an alfalfa/timothy mix.
I asked you as if I would know that, lol, I would not for just the reasons you give. And my rabbits are crazy for willow as well. I have a 6 year old tree, a 3 year old tree, a 2 year old tree and I just planted another one from the nursery but also rooting cuttings. Beyond the Pellet indicates the composition of willow makes it an ideal rabbit forage. And even in my dry as dust west Texas land, I can grow them with micro-irrigation. I want to get some of the willow shrub but I waited too long and it is sold out everywhere I have looked. I tried some Australian willow that started well but even with a cage, the dang mice got to it. At least they can't hurt the weeping willow. We are in drought here and I think the mice are going after stuff they don't normally.
 

MuddyFarms

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I asked you as if I would know that, lol, I would not for just the reasons you give. And my rabbits are crazy for willow as well. I have a 6 year old tree, a 3 year old tree, a 2 year old tree and I just planted another one from the nursery but also rooting cuttings. Beyond the Pellet indicates the composition of willow makes it an ideal rabbit forage. And even in my dry as dust west Texas land, I can grow them with micro-irrigation. I want to get some of the willow shrub but I waited too long and it is sold out everywhere I have looked. I tried some Australian willow that started well but even with a cage, the dang mice got to it. At least they can't hurt the weeping willow. We are in drought here and I think the mice are going after stuff they don't normally.

I appreciate your sharing about what you do for natural feeding here on the forum. I find it so helpful to hear about what others are doing. We are all trying out different things, so there is a lot to learn and share.
 
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