Alfalfa Or Timothy Hay For Rabbits: Which Is Best?



It can be challenging to select the ideal feed for your hay-loving herbivores, but it does not have to be. You’ve probably come across a wide range of different types of hay whilst filling up on necessities for your small loved one, irrespective of your level of expertise in caring for rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, or other herbivores in the family. What is Timothy hay? In this post, we’ll examine alfalfa & Timothy hay, two widely used yet fundamentally distinct kinds of hay.

It’s critical to keep in mind that both alfalfa & Timothy hay have a place in your pet’s diet when comparing the two types of hay against one another. The amount of alfalfa or Timothy in your pet’s diet would mostly depend on their age and state of health (or another grass hay).

Rabbits with Timothy Hay

Due to its reputation as the “gold standard” of nourishment, Timothy hay is typically fed to rabbits by rabbit owners. There are three various cuttings available, and each one offers advantages. Any healthy bunny’s diet should include timothy hay as a mainstay.

The first, second, and third cuttings of timothy hay are as follows:

●       1st cutting

With buns susceptible to GI problems or wanting to drop a little weight, first cutting Timothy hay is the ideal choice because it is high in fiber. First-cutting Timothy hay is delicious but not as soft as second-cutting Timothy hay because it is rich in stems and light in leaf. Any bun which is hungry would devour it.

●       2nd cutting

Because it contains significant levels of fiber, proteins, and fat, timothy hay is indeed a completely balanced food for any rabbit. The high-quality hay, which should compensate for 80% of your bunny’s diet, illustrates what regular hay looks like. In addition to numerous other wonderful advantages, it maintains the GI tract, provides something more to forage for, and aids in tooth cleaning. We could perhaps try some 2nd cutting Timothy’s hay personally, no joke, given how good it tastes. Okay, maybe I’m joking a little.

●       3rd cutting

Timothy hay has a lot of leaves and is quite soft & green. This slice is ideal for rabbits searching for a tasty treat, newborn bunnies, or buns trying to acquire very little weight because it has more protein and fat than fiber. Third, cutting Timothy’s hay could be offered on its own or combined with other types of hay to keep your rabbits from getting bored. You could be amazed by how quickly they consume this food.

The quality of the Timothy hay you provide your bunny may greatly impact its health. However, there are a variety of alternative hay options for rabbits.

Rabbit Hay Made From Alfalfa

Sometimes alfalfa hay is preferable for rabbits, whether it’s because of health problems or a fussy bun. But there are a few aspects to take into account. Alfalfa hay for rabbits is substantially stronger in calcium and protein than Timothy hay, resulting in it being frequently given to young buns to aid in their development into big, stout animals. All those little ones get all the nutrients they require to develop into healthy, content rabbits thanks to the alfalfa hay’s excellent nutritional content.

However, even when an adult bun consumes too much alfalfa hay, the greater calcium levels could be harmful. Bunnies metabolize calcium and eliminate excess amounts in their pee; however, if they consume more calcium than they require, this might result in urinary stones. Timothy hay for rabbits alone has 0.4% calcium compared to 1.2% in alfalfa hay.

Alfalfa is still good hay, despite what this might imply. It is extremely rich and packed with all those tasty ingredients, making it the ideal treat hay to occasionally add to your rabbit’s regular diet. Your alfalfa rabbit pellets would consume a variety of hays while foraging in the wild; thus, we humans need to change our diets to maintain variety. One great way to achieve it is to feed rabbits alfalfa hay.

The Distinctive Qualities of Timothy and Alfalfa Hay

One of the queries raised is- Is there a difference between a bunny and a rabbit?. The fact that alfalfa hay is a legumes & Timothy hay is a grass is among the causes why alfalfa hay is significantly richer & higher in calcium than Timothy hay. You could be asking, “Aren’t all hay identical at this point?” Nope. It isn’t. Apparently, there are quite a lot of distinctions between the two, and it is because of these distinctions that alfalfa hay for rabbits is such a contentious subject.

Like alfalfa hay, legume hay is extremely wealthy since it is:

● Superior in protein

● Increased calcium

● Additional fat

● Higher calorie intake

● Extra dense

Legume hay could also be compared to the legume we consume as humans, such as lentils and beans. Although legumes are a valuable source of protein and fiber, we would not want to consume them for each meal because they are high in calories.

Grass hay is much more frequently fed to rabbits than alfalfa hay due to the following advantages:

● Fewer proteins

● Less energy-dense

● Increased nutrient balance

Timothy, orchard, and oat hay are a few types of grass hay. Additionally, you may feed rabbits extra grass hay without being concerned about them consuming a lot of calories or putting on excessive weight.

Only young & baby rabbits under the age of five months must be fed alfalfa rabbit pellets. Calcium and added protein are included in alfalfa pellets to aid in the growth of young rabbits. Due to the possibility of developing fat, bladder sludge, and renal dysfunction, adult rabbits cannot consume alfalfa pellets.

Timothy and Alfalfa in Foods for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

The main recommendations for alfalfa & grass hay still hold in terms of feeding your pet. For illustration, you ought to pick a mature rabbit or guinea pig diet containing Timothy at the peak of the list of ingredients and other elements derived from grass hay. Grass hay-based alfalfa rabbit pellets with the right amounts of protein and fat can satisfy maintenance requirements while avoiding obesity.


Q1) How do you determine whether Timothy Hay is decent?

Ans: Although regrettable, it is a reality. Even though it is visibly dry, you should always ensure that it is fresh, timothy hay for rabbits.

Symptoms of poor hay:

● A noxious odor.

● Brittle and brown.

Q2) Could rabbits consume too much hay?

Ans: Rabbits’ teeth continuously enlarge. The hay they graze on keeps their teeth small. A vet will need to file down the rabbit’s teeth if it is not consuming sufficient hay.

Q3) How frequently should rabbit hay be changed?

Ans: If a rabbit utilizes a litter box, the alfalfa hay for the rabbit’s bedding in its home must be replaced once per week. Changing this hay would be necessary every two to three days. Since the hay will probably be eaten for food by rabbits, more hay must be provided at least once daily.


In conclusion, the article has attempted to give you details and facts about ‘timothy hay for rabbits. A most-asked question was answered, i.e.Is there a difference between a bunny and a rabbit? Hope you got a clear idea about ‘what is timothy hay?’