Keeping pets is expensive and for the most part you should not take short cuts. Generally with cats and dogs, cheap food is low quality, but owners of rabbits do have some great, frugal, options for saving money on the things their rabbits need most, food, bedding, and chew things. Here are some tips to save money on rabbit food.
Cheap Rabbit Food
Rabbit pellets can be purchased at most pet supply stores, they usually come in boxes or bags, but neither last long. A smart shopper will instead go to a local livestock feed store and ask about getting a large bag of rabbit pellets (often stored in the feed store warehouse, not on the shelves). These large bags will last a long time, and can reduce your feeding costs by half or more. You will want to store the pellets in a way that mice and insects do not get in – pouring the rabbit food into large plastic containers is often the best way of storing it.
Pet rabbits also eat hay; alfalfa when young, timothy when mature. Rabbits should have a small amount of hay every day. Hay can be expensive when purchased at a pet store, or pet supply store.
Farmers buy hay by the bale; large round bales, large square bales, or small square bales. You will note that square bales are really rectangular. The farmer pays as much for a small square bale of hay as you might pay for a bag of hay, nothing that alfalfa hay costs more, and prices of hay vary from year to year, and area to area. Farmers prefer to sell 300 bales at a time, but some will sell you just one. You can find hay for sale advertised in the newspaper, or on bulletin boards at livestock feed stores. Or you can ask at a horse stable if they have a small square bale they well sell you. You can even ask about buying a few pieces off a large round bale – which could be stored packed into a large plastic storage container. Just be sure to get the right kind of hay for your rabbit (timothy in most cases).
Other rabbit food, such as carrots, romaine lettuce, and so forth, are things you can grow yourself in your garden. Be sure to wash them if you have used chemicals in your garden, or better yet do not use chemicals. Look for where your local grocery store sets their discounted produce items and purchase those for rabbit food.
Rabbits also love things like dandelion leaves, but again, only if you do not use chemicals on your lawn and garden.
The two most popular types of bedding for rabbits are shavings or straw. Cedar shavings should never be used, pine is okay, but aspen is best. Some pet stores sell these in bulk bags, livestock feed stores also sell shavings in bulk. Bulk shavings are cheapest.
Straw can be purchased similar to hay, from a farmer, a bale at a time.
Rabbits like to chew wood, and need to for dental health. If you have an apple tree, any good sized branch will make an excellent, and free, chew item for your rabbit. You should wash it well if you have sprayed your tree with insecticides.
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