Do you use compressed hay?

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Tommy

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I know a few breeders who feed orchard grass. I don't know how it compares cost wise. What kind of hay is the $10/bale?
I feed orchard grass because it’s around 16% protein and $7.50 a large square bale. My rabbits seem to like it and I can cut back on the pellets I feed. If prices continue to go up as fast as they are I am thinking that the hay would be primary and the pellets would be a supplement. I tried to feed alfalfa and timothy hay but my rabbits would not eat much of it.
 

kusanar314

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I don't understand the term 'long stem forage'. Horses chew their hay. Doesn't it become short stem forage before they swallow it?
You would be surprised at how long some of those pieces still are when they come out the other end.

Now, part of it is also due to chewing. A horse will spend more time chewing long stem forage than they will a cube or pellet and their saliva has a lot of acid buffering abilities so that the more they chew the more they salivate, and therefore the fewer ulcers they get.

This page has some pros and cons for both baled hay and pellets / cubes. HERE
 

Therese

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I don't understand the term 'long stem forage'. Horses chew their hay. Doesn't it become short stem forage before they swallow it?

I have about a dozen adult rabbits, and none of them will touch hay cubes. Hay pellets are too large for them--they also wouldn't eat them either. So I feed hay and they pick through and eat what they want. (the leftovers are mulch for my garden so I'm OK with that).

But I'm not understanding why a digestion system would notice the difference between hay cubes and hay from a bale.
Goats are similar with regard to hay/pellets. If you feed only pellets to them, they can get digestive issues and you have to feed them baking soda to try to mitigate that. Eating natural hay causes them to chew longer which influences the digestive juice production. Apparently, there are issues with boredom as well when you feed only pellets!
 

robeyw

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I have about a dozen adult rabbits, and none of them will touch hay cubes. Hay pellets are too large for them--they also wouldn't eat them either. So I feed hay and they pick through and eat what they want. (the leftovers are mulch for my garden so I'm OK with that).
Actually, the Standlee hay cubes are not recommended for rabbits. I assume it has to do with the clay filler. Every rabbit I have ever fed liked Kaytee timothy blend cubes because they like the feel of chewing them. The fiber length seems long enough to replace hay but they don't eat that much, it just meets the need to chew and a lot of fines end up on the floor. The few rabbits that I offered the Viking Farmer timothy pellets liked them but rejected the same diameter Standlee pellets.
 

MuddyFarms

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Actually, the Standlee hay cubes are not recommended for rabbits. I assume it has to do with the clay filler. Every rabbit I have ever fed liked Kaytee timothy blend cubes because they like the feel of chewing them. The fiber length seems long enough to replace hay but they don't eat that much, it just meets the need to chew and a lot of fines end up on the floor. The few rabbits that I offered the Viking Farmer timothy pellets liked them but rejected the same diameter Standlee pellets.

@Zee-Man @KelleyBee (not sure who else was involved in this conversation initially, but want to update since I have some new info-

I just finished calling the Standlee Forage Company about their hay cubes. I was told (and anyone reading this can confirm for themselves by calling them, if you like) that they weren't sure why their hay cubes are not labeled for rabbits, since there is nothing in them that makes them unsuitable for rabbits (including the bentonite clay). She said I should be good to go with feeding them (I then told her that I had already been feeding them for about a year with good results). So I believe we have a green light on these cubes.

@robeyw I have not had good success feeding the 1/4 inch Standlee Timothy hay pellets to my rabbits, either. They waste a lot, since they take a nibble or two and then drop them, with a lot more waste than dropping one or two feed pellets. I got a few to like them, specifically a couple young bucks that were bored, but I won't be trying that again. Interesting that yours liked a different brand more...
 

HTAcres

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@Zee-Man @KelleyBee (not sure who else was involved in this conversation initially, but want to update since I have some new info-

I just finished calling the Standlee Forage Company about their hay cubes. I was told (and anyone reading this can confirm for themselves by calling them, if you like) that they weren't sure why their hay cubes are not labeled for rabbits, since there is nothing in them that makes them unsuitable for rabbits (including the bentonite clay). She said I should be good to go with feeding them (I then told her that I had already been feeding them for about a year with good results). So I believe we have a green light on these cubes.

@robeyw I have not had good success feeding the 1/4 inch Standlee Timothy hay pellets to my rabbits, either. They waste a lot, since they take a nibble or two and then drop them, with a lot more waste than dropping one or two feed pellets. I got a few to like them, specifically a couple young bucks that were bored, but I won't be trying that again. Interesting that yours liked a different brand more...
Could very well have been a legal thing - like taking the route of not labeling it "safe" to reduce the chances of ligation. I was wondering because I couldn't see how they could be unsafe. My rabbits wouldn't eat hay cubes though I didn't try for that long. I imagine they would eventually eat them if I hadn't given up on it. Mine didn't like pinecones either when some rabbits do (though cones are hard to find in my area so it may have been the particular ones I found).
 

MuddyFarms

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Could very well have been a legal thing - like taking the route of not labeling it "safe" to reduce the chances of ligation. I was wondering because I couldn't see how they could be unsafe. My rabbits wouldn't eat hay cubes though I didn't try for that long. I imagine they would eventually eat them if I hadn't given up on it. Mine didn't like pinecones either when some rabbits do (though cones are hard to find in my area so it may have been the particular ones I found).

Good point about the legal aspect. They may also not have done the feed trials required to label it for rabbits. I know that is the case with a certain rabbit pellet; the feed is labelled for adults and kits over 5 week old, but the only reason for that is the lack of additional feed trials being done to validate its safe use in younger rabbits. Feed trials are expensive.
 

Frosted Rabbits

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A small 2 string bale of local hay is $10.

Standlee Grab & Go Timothy Grass Compressed Bale is $21.50.​


I'm trying to decide if it's worth paying twice as much for western hay and the convenience.

Hay is just dried vegetation. One could actually use dried corn stalks as hay. The nutritional value of any hay is dependent on the soil it was grown in as well as the type of vegetation.

Standlee has some pretty good products. My rabbits have enjoyed Lucerne Farms lucerne, especially the variety that has been supplemented for senior horses.

Having hay available in a way that takes up little room is welcome when space is limited. you will have to deal with some of the same issues that locally produced hay may have. I had an issue once with a compressed bale that I opened up in the dark and fed. After 3 rabbits died, I finally found shredded hay string inside the bale. Lesson: do not feed from a new bale in the dark.

The Rabbit Geek had a detailed explanation on how to split a bale and store it in plastic bags. a 30-gallon trash bag holds about 1/3 of a small square bale.
 

Frosted Rabbits

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Could very well have been a legal thing - like taking the route of not labeling it "safe" to reduce the chances of ligation. I was wondering because I couldn't see how they could be unsafe. My rabbits wouldn't eat hay cubes though I didn't try for that long. I imagine they would eventually eat them if I hadn't given up on it. Mine didn't like pinecones either when some rabbits do (though cones are hard to find in my area so it may have been the particular ones I found).
Good point about the legal aspect. They may also not have done the feed trials required to label it for rabbits. I know that is the case with a certain rabbit pellet; the feed is labelled for adults and kits over 5 week old, but the only reason for that is the lack of additional feed trials being done to validate its safe use in younger rabbits. Feed trials are expensive.
 

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