When rabbits reach about 3 weeks old, you can start mixing in Alfalfa Hay with pellets to get your rabbit adjusted to the new type of food. Alfalfa Hay is high in minerals like calcium as well as other things like protein. It has a thicker stem and lots of elliptical leaves compared to the long thin leaves found on grass hays. It is known to be a warm weather crop and it offers nutrition to young rabbits including the following:
- High calcium
- High fiber
- Good for younger, growing rabbits
- High protein
Because most rabbits prefer to eat alfalfa hay, it is important to know that by the time rabbits reach about seven months of age, you should start weaning your rabbit off of alfalfa hay and start feeding him or her timothy hay. Alfalfa hay provides great nutrients, but it also can make your rabbit very obese if you continue feeding it this type of rabbits hay throughout its life.
Rabbit pellets consist of hay as well as different nutrients to keep your rabbit well-balanced and in good health including vitamins, minerals. Rabbit pellets can greatly differ from one another but all brands should have the contents of the pellets on the back of the package. DO NOT feed pellets that include corn to your rabbit, this can cause serious health risks. It is important to note that the ingredients that make up the majority of the pellets by weight will be listed in order on the package from the ingredient that contributes most to the pellets to the ingredient that contributes the least.
Indiana House Rabbit Society suggests that you “Look for one (pellet) that is plain-no colored pieces, crunchy puffs, seeds or nuts in it.” They also suggest that you look for a pellet that is higher in fiber and lower in protein. We recommend Organic Alfalfa Pellets, which are perfect for rabbits younger than 7 months, guinea pigs younger than 6 months, and chinchillas younger than a year.
Knowing what type of food to feed your rabbit is essential to rabbit care. While your rabbit may love to eat Alfalfa Hay, eating it throughout his or her whole life can cause harm to your rabbit’s health. By buying the right type of hay depending on the age of your rabbit, you can help him or her to live a long, healthy, happy life. Check out the helpful life stage feeding guidelines below.
Birth – 3 weeks: Mother’s Milk
3 – 4 weeks: Mother’s Milk, nibbles of Alfalfa Hay and Pellets
4 – 7 weeks: Mother’s Milk, access to Alfalfa Hay and Pellets
7 weeks – 7 months: Unlimited Pellets and Alfalfa Hay (plus see 12 weeks below)
12 weeks: Introduce vegetables (one at a time, quantities under ½ oz.)
7 months and older - Timothy Hay with occasional pellets and/or vegetables
If you really can't decide what type of hay is right for your rabbit, guinea pig or chinchilla, you can always try a sample of the hays you want your small pet to try to see what your small pet will like.
Want to learn more about the benefits of hay for your small pet? Download our free resource below...