Rabbits have a big appetite for small mammals, and grass clippings seem to be a reasonable, budget-friendly option for bedding and feeding purposes. But, if you use hay or gas for bedding, your rabbit will eat their bedding more than anything else. So can you use grass clippings for rabbit bedding?
You can use grass clippings for bedding, so long as the grass clippings are dry and herbicide free. However, it’s only a good idea in very select circumstances. The reality is that it can cause other problems that have little to do with the grass and more with how rabbits react to it.
Grass clippings are generally safe for rabbits, so long as the grass clippings are completely dried out and free of herbicides. Never use grass that you used to treat your lawn before you cut the grass.
If you suspect it may have been compromised with herbicide, you shouldn’t risk it.
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Why Are Grass Clippings Not a Good Idea?
There is very little use for the kind of bedding you have in mind for an indoor rabbit, which most of them are. Rabbits prefer to lay on clean, cool surfaces and are far more likely to eat the grass clippings than actually sleep on them. Unfortunately, it’s not the only problem that grass clippings present.
- In all likeliness, a rabbit won’t even use the grass clippings for bedding
- Your rabbit will probably eat them
- Grass clippings have virtually no nutritional value
- Your rabbit may start to confuse the grass clippings with its litter
- Grass clippings may attract bugs and other undesirable insects and disease
- Grass clippings have to be completely dried, or they will mold
- There is always the possibility that grass clippings may have herbicide in them, either from you or from transference
Grass clippings seem pretty awful when you look at it from a broad perspective. However, we should reiterate that on their own, without herbicides, grass clippings in a bedding format won’t harm the rabbit.
However, there’s very little value when using grass clippings as bedding.
Why Grass Clippings Don’t Make The Best Rabbit Bedding
Most rabbits are indoor rabbits, but they can also be outside rabbits. So when it comes to the outside, bedding has a little more potential when it comes to keeping your rabbit warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
In that instance, grass clippings hold a little more value, but there are so many options out there that are far superior to grass clippings for outdoor use, especially when it comes to keeping your rabbit warm or cool.
If your rabbit decides to eat the grass clippings, that’s perfectly fine, even though it’s mostly just a snack to keep their bellies full. Grass clippings, especially when properly dried before use as bedding. That said, the clippings have no nutritional value for the rabbit.
Domesticated indoor rabbits that use a litter box will often confuse their grass clippings with their litter box, which can become disastrous in a hurry. This is especially true if it goes unnoticed for a full day or two.
Lastly, you always have to worry about herbicides, even if you don’t personally use herbicides.
It happens in organic farming, where an adjacent farm accidentally transfers some of its non-organic crops, pesticides, and herbicides to the organic side.
The same deal happens here. If your neighbor is using herbicides, the odds are pretty good that some of that herbicide will settle on your lawn, especially if there is a little bit of a breeze the day it’s applied.
Better Alternatives to Grass Clippings
Bedding for rabbits is usually only suitable for outdoor rabbits. If you’ve ever placed a towel or something in your rabbit’s habitat, you will probably have noticed by now that the rabbit will often toss it to the side, preferring the hard cool surface to lay on.
However, some good alternatives to grass clippings out there may be worth your time, especially if you are raising rabbits outdoors.
- Regular hay
- Paper/cardboard pulp
- Wood shavings
- Towels or old blankets
Hay is on the expensive side, but, fortunately, you won’t need much of the stuff unless you raise a lot of rabbits or have a large outdoor enclosure. It makes excellent insulation, so it’s a good choice for surrounding your rabbit’s enclosure.
Towels and blankets are good insulation, although you will have to keep a sharp eye out and ensure the rabbit(s) are not trying to eat it. Pet stores often sell pulp that is a byproduct of paper or cardboard. Both are safe options for rabbits as well.
Wood shavings are another excellent option, but you only want to stick with aspen wood shavings and avoid pine or cedar shavings altogether.
Last but not least, straw is the cheap version of hay. It works alright as an insulator, but your rabbit may try to snack on it more often than not.
Something for Your Rabbit to Sleep On
For the most part, your rabbit will prefer to lay on a cool, hard surface. They love to lay on ceramic or marble tile surfaces, and rabbits would choose that all day long over softer bedding options.
Dogs or cat beds are also good options, though your rabbit may just use those to chill out rather than sleep.
Rabbits like a bit of privacy when they sleep, so you can always construct or purchase a small wooden house for sleeping. Rabbits are naturally intuitive and highly reactive “prey” animals, so the idea of a little bit of enclosure is probably pretty appealing.
You can lay out towels or blankets as you see fit. But you want to ensure that your rabbit is well trained and familiar with going to the litter box, so they don’t urinate and defecate on the towels and blankets you provide.
Rabbits may also try to snack on blankets and towels. However, their teeth are razor sharp, and they will have little trouble cutting up some cloth material.
It’s okay if they ingest some of the stuff, but you will want to avoid allowing them to consume lots of it.
Even a cardboard box in a rabbit’s enclosure is probably a better option than grass clippings. Rabbits are not likely to chew up their box unless you have one of those rabbits that love to chew anything and everything. Also, a cardboard box will provide some security and warmth during the winter.
While it’s perfectly fine to use clean, dried-out grass clippings for rabbit enclosure bedding, there’s not much in the way of usefulness for the stuff. The rabbit is more likely to eat it instead of using it for bedding.
If there is any potential for herbicides in the grass clippings, they are even more dangerous to the rabbit.
As far as a snack goes, properly prepped grass clippings are perfectly fine. However, that’s about as far as it goes.
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