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I read a lot about hay pellets and Timothy Hay and Timothy Hay pellets here, when it comes to questions about rabbit's (and sometimes guinea pig's) diets.

Here in Germany I did not use nor even actively see something like this. I know hay (dried grass), pellets (grained stuff from vegetable-cut-offs to left-overs of milk production, baked to small balls or rings) and fresh grass, but without any special name.

I try to understand, why there are so much answers recommend to increase the intake of Timothy Hay pellets, even if the rabbit favor fresh green grass instead. (Is it even all the same? Pellets <-> hay <-> Timothy)

Is there something that I miss?

(Examples: What's The Purpose of Hay Pellets?

What are good fiber substitutes for hay in a rabbit's diet?

Is grass OK instead of hay?

my rabbit absolutely will not eat hay and very little pellets )

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Timothy hay pellets are made from Timothy grass (Phleum pratense), a type of grass that originated in Eurasia and has been cultivated in America since the 1720s. It's grown as feed for cattle, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs and other herbivore pets.

Timothy hay is rich in long fibre and its abrasive texture helps to grind down the teeth, keeping both the teeth and jaw in good order. (Source)

Timothy grass is a traditional premium hay for horses and other pets, but its limited yield (only 2 cuttings per year) make it not widely available in commercial products. Its very low sugar and protein content and high fiber content make it a very valuable feed for animals with a sensitive stomach or metabolic disorders.

High quality Timothy Grass contains a moderate amount of protein, usually testing at approximately 8% protein. It has a consistent and balanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus and Timothy Grass has a low to moderate calorie content. Timothy Grass is also a rich source of fiber. Seemingly, the only potential draw-back with Timothy Grass is availability. Timothy grass usually yields just two cuttings per year and requires a significant amount of water to grow. These two factors along with its traditional popularity limit the supply of Timothy Grass hay. (Source)

The German name of Timothy grass is "Wiesen-Lieschgras", which is much more unwieldly and less suited for marketing purposes. There are additional factors why you won't find Timothy hay easily in Germany:

  • Timothy hay is not cheap and can be considered a special diet. That's why you won't find it in most supermarkets that sell only cheap pet food.
  • Most consumers want to offer their pets a varied diet, so most commercial hay products for small pets contain a mixture of different crasses and herbs. You'd need to read the list of ingredients to see if a product contains Timothy hay.
  • Traditional meadows for hay production in Germany usually aren't cultivated and sown each year, but naturally grow a mixture of different plants. To get pure Timothy grass you have to cultivate it on a field.

You can find Timothy hay in specialized shops like heu-kaufen.com (sold as "Timothy") and Hansemanns Team (sold as "Lieschgras").

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  • Thank you for this explanation! Maybe you can help me too with the "pellets" part? If this species of grass is so hogh in fibres, they would not ruin it by grinding, right? Then pellets would be something different from my understanding of this word. For me it is quiet a strange thought to sow grass in other places than soccer-fields ... May 6 at 15:16
  • I'm not sure about the pallets, but grinding the hay to a fine powder would surely destroy many fibres. But the rabbits also "destroy" fibres by chewing the hay. I think the length of fibres is far less important than the quantity. This hay seems to be the equivalent of eating Zwieback for a sick bunny - it's gentle to the stomach and gets the gut working again without overloading the digestive system with too much sugar and protein.
    – Elmy
    May 6 at 15:46
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    I’m from the USA, but usually pet “pellets” are ground materials (doesn’t have to be very finely ground), mixed with liquid and vitamins/other ingredients into a slurry. The slurry is heated and extruded via machine and cut into shapes (usually tubular or spherical) that contain a mix of all ingredients. Usually these foods have measured nutritional content designed to be appropriate for the creature. (This is not inherently natural, but certainly makes feeding easier than trying to recreate a wild diet which not all owners will do appropriately.)
    – user40385
    May 7 at 23:26

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