What is the best bedding for rabbits?
Personally, I’ve always used fresh hay for my bunny bedding.
We live rurally on a hobby farm and have sheep and horses on our property.
That means we already have a good supply of hay on hand, so that’s what the rabbits get as well.
The best part is that it’s cheap, safe, and healthy for rabbits as well!
Bunny Rabbit Bedding
Timothy Hay For Rabbit Bedding
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Alfalfa Hay Bunny Bedding
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Meadow Hay Bedding For Bunnies
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Natural Paper Safe Rabbit Bedding
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Best Dust Free Bedding For Rabbits
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Use the best bedding to ensure your rabbit is kept safe and healthy.
There are products that are often used which are not as safe as others, and may even be harmful to a rabbit’s health.
Keep in mind how easily a product can be disposed of as well.
Some bedding, such as hay, can simply be thrown onto the compost heap.
Whereas other products, like cat litter, will need to be disposed of carefully (and should not even be used for rabbits).
The best bedding may depend on your rabbit breed, so if you’ve got a rare one make sure you dig a little deeper.
Annie, pictured above, sleeps and relaxes in her rabbit travel carrier that is always filled with hay – that means she can have a little nibble whenever she feels like it.
It’s also easy to change, get rid of, and it basically costs us nothing as she uses so little of it and keeps it clean.
Best Bedding For Rabbits
The best rabbit bedding has the following features to it.
Use natural products without harsh chemicals and additives.
This is why my preferred rabbit bedding is the likes of timothy hay, alfalfa hay, or meadow hay.
When it comes to hay, try and get one that is organic and from a spray-free field.
Grass that has pesticides and herbicides used on it isn’t good for rabbits.
Using dust-free products will be best for your rabbit’s health.
They aren’t going to have breathing and/or liver problems if you keep away from dusty materials.
I think it’s best if your rabbit’s bedding can be eaten.
My bunnies love just sitting in their hutch and nibbling away at their bedding.
They can’t do this if their bedding is paper, pellets, wood shavings, or other non-grass substances.
If you are just looking for rabbit bedding, this isn’t so important.
Rabbits will only use a certain area for a toilet.
My bunnies for example, if they are outside, have quite a large run.
When they are in their inside area, they have a toilet box they go in, and again, they won’t use their bed for a toilet.
We don’t use an indoor hutch when they’re inside – they are just free-ranging.
Again, not so important if you’re just looking for bedding.
Rabbits are very clean animals and don’t put off a lot of odor if they are well kept.
Straws and hays are not the best at masking smell if rabbits are using them as a toilet, but they are very good for bedding.
At least rabbits are easily toilet trained, though some pet owners can have troubles with rabbits peeing on them.
You don’t want to have to spend a fortune on your bunny bedding, and you don’t need to.
While you can purchase a lot of these products online through the links we’ve included, often your local pet store will have bags of hay a lot cheaper.
Alternatively, do you have any friends that have hay for other animals that you could buy a bale of hay off every once in a while?
A bale of hay will last a long time for rabbit bedding and litter material – we’d only go through one bale a year and maybe it costs $15 – $20.
If you did want to buy hay for rabbit bedding, the Oxbox rabbit food range is worth checking out.
1. Timothy Hay Bunny Bedding
Timothy hay is not only great for your rabbit’s diet, but it can also make good bedding.
Hay is a warm and dry bedding material that rabbits naturally enjoy sleeping in.
Also, a rabbit’s diet should consist of at least 80% hay and grass, and if your rabbit is anything like mine, it will spend a lot of time nibbling as it lies in its bedding area.
The Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack is a great option.
Some of the benefits include:
- No artificial flavors or colors
- A good ratio of leaf and stem
- Supports rabbit urinary health
- Comes with a small number of dehydrated veggies (such as carrots) throughout for extra nibbling incentive
Another choice for hay is the very popular 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay.
This product does not have any flavorings or additives, it is just straight hay.
- The right amount of fiber and protein
- Soft second cutting for your rabbits eating pleasure
- Great quality at a great price
I even use such hay to fill up an inside toilet box and will often find my rabbit spending extra time on the loo just to have a snack while he is at it!
Hay is not very absorbent, however, so if your rabbit is toileting in the hay it will need to be emptied out fairly frequently.
I replace the hay in my house rabbit’s toilet about every 5 days.
This avoids the hay becoming smelly, and means that my rabbit won’t get urine etc. on his feet while using the toilet.
It doesn’t start to soak upwards until a weeks worth of wee is in there.
2. Alfalfa Hay Rabbit Bedding
Similar to Timothy Grass, and approximately the same price, Alfalfa hay is another great bedding material for rabbits.
Benefits of Alfalfa Hay for bunnies:
- It is a safe and natural product
- Good ratio of stalks and leaves
- Sun cured and free from weeds – grown in Kansas
It’s suitable for all breeds of rabbits at all stages of life and can be used for groups of rabbits as well.
3. Meadow Hay Bedding For Rabbits
Meadow hay is another great bedding material for rabbits.
I actually use meadow hay more than I use anything else.
It’s usually very cheap and comes in large bags.
When we lived in the city I would buy a few bags at a time and it lasts my bunnies 6 months – cleaning out and replacing the hay once every 1-2 weeks (they didn’t use it as a toilet then).
Benefits of Oxbow BeneTerra Organic Meadow Hay include:
- It is organic naturally grown grass
- High in fiber
- Contains a variety of grass hays for different flavors and textures
This brand is made in the USA and is spray-free certified organic – a super important feature.
It could also be used in a rabbit nesting box if you have a bunny having babies.
4. Chemical Free Paper Safe Bedding
Instead of using newspaper, which may contain toxic chemicals and inks, you can get chemical-free, 100% safe paper bedding for rabbits.
One example is Small Pet Select Premium Soft Paper Bedding.
You are able to purchase this product in large volume (178 Litre packs) at a very reasonable price.
It will last you quite some time as there’s always more in the bag than you think – it expands significantly!
Features of this product:
- Made from unbleached paper
- Expands greatly upon opening
- Soft on rabbit’s feet
- Comfortable to sleep in
It’s not ok for rabbits to eat this bedding though, so I always prefer hays and grasses which rabbits naturally bed in.
If your pet eats products like this you could end up with a bad case of rabbit diarrhea on your hands.
5. Natural Eco-Bedding For Rabbits
Fibercore Natural Eco-bedding is another non-toxic product for small animal bedding.
This material is crinkled up pieces of recycled paper.
What’s great about it?
- One pack goes a long way
- It is dust-free – great for rabbits and anyone in the house that has allergies
- Extremely absorbent
- Helps mask the usual smells if your bunny uses it as a toilet
The dust-free nature of paper bunny bedding is great, but again, it’s better if the rabbit can eat it as well in my opinion.
However, you could always put some rabbit treats for your bunny to hunt for in the bedding.
Unsafe Bedding For Rabbits
Here is a list of unsafe and just plain bad rabbit bedding.
Avoid these products if at all possible.
Newspaper can be suitable when nothing else is around, but it’s not the best bedding material for rabbits.
That’s because of all the chemical processing the paper has gone through, and then, of course, it is covered in ink.
Rabbits will eat their bedding, and too much chemically processed paper and/or newspaper ink is going to have a detrimental effect on their health.
I wouldn’t worry about using it from time to time if necessary, just avoid using it regularly.
Shredded newspaper for rabbit bedding is a cheap alternative to some of the other options, and so it is tempting to use it.
Rabbits are herbivores, not paper eaters.
2. Softwood Shavings
Softwood shavings contain things like sawdust and pine shavings that can be very harmful to rabbits.
They contain a lot of dust and fumes which will not only badly affect your rabbit’s respiratory system but perhaps cause liver disease.
There are phenols (toxins) in heat-treated wood which are passed on to your rabbit through the dust and fumes.
These go on through to the lungs, then into the blood, and eventually into the liver.
When you open up a bag of softwood shavings, you can smell the phenols yourself.
They are simply the piney/woody smell that is put off by the wood shavings, and which can be quite pungent!
Bedding materials that may contain these deadly phenols include:
- Cedar chips
- Pine shavings
It goes without saying, but it is best not to use any softwood litter for rabbits.
3. Cat Litters
Cat litters are another product you should not use for rabbit cages or hutch bedding.
Kitty litter is made for cat toilets, not rabbit beds, nor rabbit toilets.
They tend to be dusty, chemical-laden products that are not safe and healthy for your bunnies.
Kitty litters are something that could kill your rabbit if it were to eat it regularly.
Bunny Cage And Hutch Bedding
I hope that gives you a good idea as to what you should and should not use for a rabbit cage, hutch, or toilet box.
You can check out the video above that also has another opinion on rabbit bedding – not to use it at all.
The presenter states not to use it because:
- It’s difficult to clean
- Can make toilet training more difficult
- Can be expensive
- May attract bugs
I don’t have any of these problems, and my rabbits love lying on top the hay bedding, so I always have it there for them.
Annie would get very grumpy without her bunny bedding hay!
The most important thing is that, whatever you use, keep it clean with frequent changes and make sure you’re using the safest, healthiest products.
Lastly, check out these best automatic rabbit feeders for a fun way to feed your bunny good food.