Hay: Feeding Small Herbivores

Key Points

  • Hay is the basis for a healthy diet in small herbivores, and should make up a significant proportion of the diet.
  • Hay serves as a source of long-stem fiber.
  • Indigestible or insoluble fiber stimulates gut motility and maintains healthy gut flora.
  • Alfalfa hay is generally recommended for growing small mammals.
  • Most adults benefit from a diet based on grass hays.

Insufficient dietary fiber can turn a happy, healthy rabbit into a HUGE, potentially catastrophic, clinical problem. Read about the basis for a healthy diet in Hay: Feeding Small Herbivores, reviewed by forage extension specialist, S. Ray Smith . . .


To continue you need to be a LafeberVet.com member. (Français), (Español)

Pour continuer, vous devez être un membre LafeberVet.com

Para continuar, debe ser miembro de LafeberVet.com

Already a LafeberVet Member?

Please Login

References

Anderson T, Hoffman P. Nutrient composition of straw used in dairy cattle diets. Wisconsin Team Forage; Focus on Forage. 2006. Accessible at on March 31, 2011. http://www.uwex.edu/ces/crops/uwforage/StrawFOF.htm

Cheeke PR. Rabbit Feeding and Nutrition. Orlando, FL. Academic Press, 1987.

Harcourt-Brown F. Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2002.

Irlbeck NA. How to feed the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) gastrointestinal tract. J Anim Sci 72 (E. Suppl): 343-346, 2001.

Oftedal OT, Baer DJ, Allen ME. The feeding and nutrition of herbivores. In: Wild Mammals in Captivity: Principles and Techniques. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press; 1996. Pp. 129-137.

Quesenberry KE, Carpenter JW. Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. WB Saunders. St. Louis, Missouri, 2005.

Sanson GD, Kerr SA, Gross KA. Do silica phytoliths really wear mammalian teeth? J Archaeological Sci 34(4):526-531, 2007.

Taylor RW. How to judge jay quality visually. University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. 1998. Available at http://www.ag.udel.edu/extension/agnr/pdf/af-13.pdf. Accessed on March 31, 2011.

Ullrey DE. Hay quality evaluation. Nutrition Advisory Group Handbook Fact Sheet 001 July 1997. Pp. 1-10.

Vough LR. Evaluating hay quality. Fact Sheet 644. University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. Available at http://www.ccerensselaer.org/Libraries/Ag/hay_quaility.sflb.ashx. Accessed on March 31, 2011.

To cite this page:

Pollock C. Hay: Feeding small herbivores. March 29, 2011. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/hay-feeding-small-herbivores/