How To Make Your Own Hay For Your Rabbit? ( + Hayrack options)

Making hay for your rabbit can be a nice experiment that could cut your costs a bit and enable you to offer a really nice treat to your bunny.

The process of making hay is not so complicated, requires some time, sunny days and some effort. On the other hand the fact that you are feeding your bunny with something that you produced and prepared for him is really great.

In order to make hay, you need:

  1. Sunny days, at least 5-7 days in a row
  2. The lawn
  3. Big hedgerow scissors
  4. A place to lay out the grass ( outside or some greenhouse or shed)
  5. Some bags to store the hay
  6. Your time and some effort

If you want to know more we will go trough the process so please keep reading

Check The Forecast First

Before you start the haymaking process, check the weather forecast.Don’t bother yourself to start unless they say that another few days will be sunny and dry.

There is one saying: ”Make the hay while the sun shines”

The Lawn as Source

If you have your own lawn, that’s great. You can use it to make your own hay. Of course, it shouldn’t be treated with any chemicals or weed killers.

Check the lawn for the ragwort plant ( also called Stinking Willie). This plant is native to Europe but also found in many places in the United States such as coastal Washington, Oregon, north of California and New England. It is poisonous for livestock hence for the rabbit, especially when it is dried. So if you find this plant, remove it carefully.

When we are discussing plants, maybe you can intentionally plant some plants on your lawn so you can make a great hay mixture for your rabbit.

For example flowers such as Borage ( also called Starflower ), Chamomile, Calendula or Rosemary are very rich in vitamin A. Chickweed plant is a great natural source of copper. Goat’s rue plant helps with lactation.

The grass on the lawn should be at least 12 inches high or even more. I read somewhere that the good height is about your knee height. So if you mow your lawn on a weekly basis, you can skip a week or so and let the grass grow a little bit.

If you don’t have your own lawn, maybe you can ask your neighbor. It is essential to watch out for ragwort plant and to ask your neighbor if the lawn has been chemically treated.

Use Big Hedgerow Scissors

To cut the grass use the big hedgerow scissors. It will be more quickly than with classical kitchen scissors but don’t use your mowing machine

Mowing machines are cutting the grass by crunching it so the grass starts with the fermentation process. This grass wouldn’t be good for your bunny, it could upset his stomach. So old, good scissors are a better option.

If you are trained for scythe you can use it but ONLY if you are trained well.

Try to cut the grass 3 inches from the soil.

A Place to Lay Out The Grass

After you cut the grass, the difficult part is coming. You need to dry out the grass.

You can lay the grass out on some sheet, exposing it to direct sunlight. The sheet will help you if rain starts to remove the grass as quickly as possible and to layout again when it stops. I hope you will not experience this as you won’t start with the haymaking process unless the guys for a weather forecast said that the next few days would be sunny but still rain can come out of nowhere.

The other option is to use a green house if you have any. You can place the grass on some shelves. Avoid closing the doors and windows( if your greenhouse has them) to prevent humidity.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, a shed with windows will do the work as well. But as for the greenhouse, open the doors and the windows, as humidity is great enemy of making hay process.

It is advisable to turn the hay every evening so the bottom comes at the top. This will help the grass to dry more evenly.

When the grass starts to rattle, congratulation! You got the hay!

This process takes approximately from couple of days to two weeks.

Bags To Store The Hay

After the grass has dried and turned into hay, you have to store it properly.

It is advisable to use some bags that ”breath” such as gunny sack or pillowcase to avoid humidity catch your hay. Avoid placing your hay on the ground, better to put on wooden pallets or shelves.

In case you open a bale and it smells like tobacco, you notice that hay looks damped and dark brown, throw it away! It means that it spoiled by bacteria and not for use any longer as could be harmful to your bunny.

Where To Put Hay – Hayrack Options?

Ok, you have your own hay and you need a place where to put it, in order to make it available for your bunny 24/7.

The most common solution is the Hay rack. It is a rack that holds hay, simple as that. It is usually placed above litter box, as rabbits like to eat while going to the bathroom.

Some people like to put the hay inside of the litter box but personally, I don’t think it is a good idea, as that way a lot of hay is wasted as your bunny would certainly pee and poop over it.

Before you pick perfect hay, think about safety first. You should be sure that your rabbit cannot get his head stuck in the holes of the rack and also that cannot jump in the rack. If he can, then certainly will pee there as well and wastes the hay.

The most affordable rack you can have is a cardboard box rack. Take a cardboard box you don’t use, cut the holes and you have your hay rack. The downside of this solution is that most probably won’t last long. Rabbits like to chew on cardboard things so most likely the rack will be eaten together with hay.

For more a longer-lasting solution you can take a plastic box or mini container and cut the holes.

Another cheap option is to take the NIC grid and make the rack out of it. If you go to the office store you may find those paper organizers that could perfectly suit as hay racks. Next, you can buy an under shelf basket or rack, this one also could be used as a hay rack.

You can place hay in plastic bag holder which has a lot of holes.

If you have skills, know-how and material you can make great wooden hay racks. They will be big enough so you can place hay and don’t have to refill hay a few times a day.

The worst option is to buy a hay rack/feeder in a local pet shop. These are rather expensive but the bigger flaw is the size. Hay racks sold in pet shops are tiny. So even for the smallest rabbit, you would need to refill the rack two or even more times in one day. This option is a complete waste of money. Skip it.

To make things more interesting you can place hay in your rabbit’s toys, such as a paper towel or toilet paper tubes, paper bags, etc. Rabbits are very curious creatures that like to play.

Final Thought

If you like to experiment and you would like to offer your rabbit really nice and quality food, make your own hay.

It doesn’t mean that you will cover your rabbit’s needs for hay for the whole year but in some period you will be proud he is eating something that you made for him. It’s a really great feeling.

If you think that the haymaking process is too complicated and time consuming for you, you can buy hay but you can plant and then dry some nice herbs and flowers to ”spice up” the hay you bought. It will be a healthy mixture your rabbit will love.

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