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Hungrylady

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Hello everyone,

I have contacted many people concerning this issue. First a rabbit expert to find out if hay is really needed, yes it is. Then I was told Meadow hay would be ok by the rabbit expert. Before buying I asked the meadow hay people about any wheat contamination. Now I completely understand about the law aspect of them needing to cover themselves so no one can really give me a proper answer. This is a copy of them email I got in response to that (see below).

We have not gotten the bunny yet. He will be able to leave his mom by this monday. I must figure this out soon because I probably need to order any special hay over the net and have it in time.

I love animals and have chickens which I found out I need to mix their own feed so I don't have wheat in it. I really want this bunny but I really don't want to be glutened. The rabbit will be out of his cage most of the time, but his cage will be in my room.

Anyone know about what hay I can give this bunny and be ok with?

Email from company below:

Thank you for your e-mail. Honestly I have never been asked this question or know much about gluten in hay.

I did some quick research though by calling some hay people and using the internet.

I somewhat cautiously say that there is no gluten in Timothy hay or Alfalfa hay, but I don't think I or anyone else could 100% guarantee that there could be trace amounts of another type of grass in a timothy or alfalfa hay field. So for this reason I would say you might still want to be careful, maybe by wearing a dust mask while around the hay? At least until you hear a more definite answer from an expert.

The Meadow hay also probably does not have gluten but since it is made up of mostly wild grasses, it is more likely than Timothy or alfalfa to have gluten.

I hope that helps and I am sorry I do not have a definite answer.

and the one before this one (from bunny expert):

You can use other hays such as Orchard hay. You would have to buy it online.

www.bunnybytes.com

www.sweetmeadowhay.com

Hay is the most important part of a rabbit's diet.

Are allergic to just touching the hay? You can where gloves and wear a mask when giving it out or cleaning it. I am allergic to timothy hay, but not mixed grass hay in bales sold locally. I wear gloves and a mask if I have to touch timothy hay.

==<>==<>=

Jan Rebmann

co-Chapter Manager

HRS Chicago

just did a google search and hay is not made from wheat. Rye may be in the baled local hay, but Timothy, Orchard and meadow hay are not wheat.

So the stuff you buy in bags at the pet supply store (timothy) does not contain wheat or rye. It's a mountainous grass.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hay

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Good grief, you are making this more complicated than it needs to be - just where are you located ?

Google "feed store name of your town" or "farm and feed supplies name of your town" or "hay and feed name of your town" or "pet food dealers name of your town." or "horse feed name of your town." "goat feed name of your town." Find a store.

A farm feed supply store will have hay. You can buy an entire year's worth of hay by purchasing two or three full size bales, for what you would pay for mail ordering those tiny ones over and over again. Keep the hay DRY, covered, and up on a pallet or plywood set up on some scrap wood 2x4 in a building or shed, and it keeps for a year or two.

Second, if you don't have hay, the thing CAN eat grass as long as it is not sprayed with chemicals. Either hand pick or hand cut fresh daily, or put the cage outside on the lawn, in the shade with some water, so it can eat it.

Third, hay DOES come in pellets! Pelletized hay can be purchased at feed stores in big bags. There is alfalfa pellets, cubes, and sometimes grass hay pellets or cubes. Store in a metal trash can in a DRY place and it will not get vermin in it. Some feed stores here will sell this in bulk bins.

Breakdown on hays:

Alfalfa is a leafy high protein legume perennial so it is not a gluten product, it's frequently interseeded with other non gluten hays. This is good for rabbit, but not as its entire forage diet.

"Meadow grass" is an anonymous term for "whatever mixture" and typically can be anything, but out here in CA I've seen it be anything from fine bladed lawn type grasses to fescue or fescue mixes. This is fine for your rabbit. Fescue is okay as long as it's not for a pregnant cow or horse in the last part of pregnancy, because it can have an endophyte fungus which causes birthing problems and photosensitivity from affecting the liver for some cows/horses during the summer. This is not your rabbit situation as your rabbit is not a cow, a horse, nor pregnant.

Timothy. very high quality hay.

Orchardgrass. very high quality hay, may not be as palatable as others.

Hay baling equipment typically not run over wheat fields, which are combined.

______________

Hays that may have gluten:

Bermuda grass family - this is in the rye grass family. Surprise ! I sure was.

Rye grass- yes, this is in the same family as "wheat rye barley."

"Oat hay or oat straw" - from cross contamination from being rotated with other wheat/barley/ rye crops.

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wow, I don't think that was necessary! If you didn't want to respond you could have just not responded. Not everyone "knows" that hay comes in pellet form. I don't think being cautious is going overboard.

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wow, I don't think that was necessary! If you didn't want to respond you could have just not responded. Not everyone "knows" that hay comes in pellet form. I don't think being cautious is going overboard.

I agree with you....

Anyway, we have a bunny. He's house trained and all. We feed him Timothy hay from the pet store and a mixture of oats (gluten-free) and pellets. We have an amazing breeder who has walked me thru everything. The problem is--and this is VERY important!!! When you get the bunny, you CANNOT start feeding him something completely different!!! You MUST wean him off his current food with a mixture of the gluten-free stuff until he's acclimated enough. If you change the diet drastically, you can acutally kill the bunny. Verrrry sensitive digestive tracts! For the first week or so, until ours was weaned, I handled the food and the hutch cleaning. We didn't start the pottly training until he was completely on gluten-free food and I had sanitized the hutch thoroughly. There is 1 brand of gluten-free pellets that I've found and I will try to find the name of it for you (I'm at work today and don't have the bag in front of me ;) )

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