countingchick'ns

Hatching out Dreams of Country Living

DIY Hay Bag for Rabbit

We own an adorable English lop rabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is cuddly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really cuddly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really, very cuddly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, he is also messy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have owned many rabbits.  He is the messiest rabbit we’ve ever seen.  His favorite activity of all is scattering hay EVERYWHERE.

We tried over ten hay rack designs for him, both store bought and home made, but he thwarted them all with his messiness.  Wire racks?  No good.  Solid boxes with holes?  Not a chance.  Containers that open at the top?  Just a second litter box to him.

Frustrated, we bought a 99 cent bag and cut a hole in it.  The heavens opened, the angels sang, the floor was clean of hay from that point onward.

So, in case anyone else out there owns the world’s messiest rabbit, we will show you how to make a very cheap and easy hay bag.

Some words of warning:  This design should NOT be used for any rabbit that is an avid chewer, or any rabbit that will chew cloth.  A rabbit who eats cloth could get an impaction in the gut or have other serious and life threatening complications.  Also, we used hot glue for these as our sewing machine is temporarily out of commision.  Do not use hot glue on your bags!  Sew any additions on instead.  The only reason we can get away with using hot glue is because we own English lops who are the laziest and lowest energy rabbit breed in the history of ever.  Our English lops never chew on anything but hay. 

Materials Needed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-1 Bag  (Cat optional) Again, do not use this design if there is any chance your rabbit will chew on the bag.  We have used both the breathable reusable shopping bags and the heavier but more expensive cloth reusable shopping bags.)

 

 

-Scissors

-Some sort of trim to keep any edges you cut from fraying.  Tough nylon straps have worked well for us.

-An oversized button

-Needle and thick thread (Optional: A sewing machine)

-Some type of fastening device for the straps.  We use:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place your bag in your working area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut a hole at the bottom of the bag (it is important to cut it at the bottom so your rabbit can make use of all the hay).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrap your trim around any cut edges and sew into place with your sewing machine or needle and thread.  To make nice, clean corners, you may have to cut an L shape into some of your pieces of trim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to turn the bag inside out and securely sew the trim that folds on the back side too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn the bag right side out again.  Above where you made and trimmed the hole, cut a slit in the top of the bag just big enough to push the oversized button through.  Sew trim along the cut edges of the slit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew a button at the top of the bag that, when buttoned, will hold the back side of the bag to the front side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the strap that is on the front side of the bag (the side you cut the large hole and also the button slit into).  There should be a second strap on the back side of the bag (the side you sewed the button onto).  Cut this strap in half.

If using the Scotch fasteners, cut one strip lengthwise.  Sew one half onto the front of one strap piece.  Sew the other half onto the back side of the other strap piece.  The same can be done with velcro, buttons, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

You should now have a hay bag that is ready to be stuffed full of hay, buttoned shut, and hung for your rabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOM NOM NOM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We recommend hanging your hay bag over either the side or back of a high-sided litter box.  In our experience, rabbits poop and pee where they eat, even if otherwise litter box trained.  Having the hay over their litter box helps encourage them to only use their box.  Also, any hay that spills will just fall into their litter box rather than on the floor!

If hanging the hay bag low so that it touches any of the litter, we recommend that you sew some type of water-proof and easily cleaned material to the bottom of your bag to keep urine from soaking into the bag and hay.

 

 

 

 

 

The straps are designed to fasten together through cage bars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our English lop buck has a very large head so needs a very large hole for his hay.  To keep hay from falling out of a larger hole, sew a strap down the middle, or sew two straps (forming an X) to keep the hay in.

 

 

 

 

No more hay mess!  This bag also lasts our big male 2-3 days of fresh, well ventilated hay.  He is a ten pound rabbit and eats a LOT of hay, so we are very happy that we no longer have to refill his hay daily.

If you have a rabbit that can reach the top of the bag and is messily pulling hay out the top, you may want to sew on a zipper to keep the top zippered shut.  We recommend you use a breathable bag in that case as hay should be allowed air exposure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hole for the hay does not have to be a square.  It can be a circle, an oval, a heart…anything that will keep the hay in!  Here is a bag with a star shaped hole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As our rabbit showed us, there is no one hay rack that will meet the needs of every rabbit.  Feel free to use this as a base and dress it up to meet the needs of your rabbit.  Even then, this design will not be the best solution for every rabbit.  The right hay rack for your rabbit is whatever keeps hay well ventilated and clean from feces and urine.  This will keep your rabbit healthy and will waste much less hay.  A rack that can do this and keep your house clean is going to be right for the both of you!

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