If you have a pet bunny rabbit, then I know you have cleaned up hay, which inevitably leads to trying to vacuum hay. I chose the word ‘trying’ because with the wrong vacuum it’s nearly impossible to clean up rabbit hay.
So let’s dig into how to clean up bunny hay easily.
1. Start With Quality Hay
If you’ve been reading my bunny articles for a bit, you know I’m a little frugal (though my family has less tasteful words). I don’t like spending more money than necessary.
With that in mind, I tried feeding our rabbits the cheapest hay I could find at my local farm store. The biggest problem I had with that hay was the mess.
Cheap hay has lots of tiny bits and pieces and it has dust…lots of dust. It’s a mess.
So I tried brands of better hay and eventually landed on Oxbow Timothy Hay. It’s not the most expensive, but it’s really good.
Oxbow rabbit hay has very few bits, and nearly no dust. Because of that it contains the mess so I don’t have to clean it up.
As a bonus, it smells sweet & fresh and our bunnies love it way more than the cheaper hays we tried.
If you’d like a more complete explanation of why recommend Oxbow Rabbit Feed, check out our recommended bunny gear.
2. Contain Your Rabbit’s Hay
You’ll have a lot less of a hay mess to clean up if you start with the hay contained instead of just tossed out on the floor.
In our rabbit household, we always use rabbit hay feeders of some type. These keep the hay contained. As an added bonus, many of these hay feeders provide a stimulating challenge for your bun as they try to get to the hay which keeps them engaged and happy.
Some hay feeders contain the hay behind fencing like the one below.
Other bunny hay feeders add more ‘game’ to the feeding process, forcing your rabbit to problem solve as they dig in smaller holes to get to the hay they love.
If you’d like to see our recommended hay feeders, (once again) be sure to check out our recommended bunny gear.
3. Keep Your Rabbit Hay Dry
Wet hay is way harder to cleanup then dry hay, so keep it dry.
Since it won’t be raining inside your hJuouse, this just means keeping your hay far away from your rabbit’s water.
Even if you are using a drip-style rabbit waterer, you need to keep the hay away from it. When your bunny drinks, she will inevitably dribble some water on the floor and you don’t want those dribbles to land on hay that you’ll be cleaning up later.
Rabbit ProTip: Also consider putting something absorbent under the water bowl to help contain the water mess. Just a small piece of carpet or rug works great.
4. Place Your Hay Above The Rabbit Litter Box
In the images above, you’ll notice that both of the hay feeders are designed to hang from the side of your bunny’s cage. That contains the hay and keeps your rabbit from digging in it…as much.
Still, that little cutie is going to pull out hay and drop it just for fun. We can’t stop that, but we can control where it falls when she drops her hay either for fun or because it’s not her favorite piece of hay.
If we hang that hay feeder over the rabbit litter box, the majority of it is going to fall into the box that we’re going to have to clean up anyway. Win!
5. Pick Up Your Rabbit Hay Mess Daily
As I said above, your bunny is going to pull out hay and just toss it on the ground for fun or because he’s spoiled and is just looking for the sweetest bits of hay. It’s going to happen, but don’t let every dropped piece of hay become waste.
Pick up the tossed hay daily and put it back in the hay feeder.
Just because your bun didn’t eat that piece of hay today doesn’t mean he won’t eat it tomorrow. He might have just been digging for the sweet seed head which is now long gone.
6. Use A Broom To Get The Bigger Pieces of Hay
Before you reach for your vacuum (regardless of the quality of that vac), start with a good broom and get the big chunks of hay out.
What do you do with the big chunks of hay?
If you’ve been picking up your bunny’s hay mess daily, it might be time to just toss it…or take it to the compost pile which is what we do.
If you’ve been a little lax in your daily hay pickup (we all have at times), then just shove it back in the hay feeder.
Now use a decent broom and dustpan to pick up the rest…but what about that hay that’s stuck in the carpet? Yup, you need a hay vacuum.
7. Vacuum Hay With A Hay Vacuum
I’m sure you’re asking what a hay vacuum is, and quite simply it’s a vacuum that can handle hay.
Hay is tough on vacuums. It’s abrasive on the vacuum’s parts (remember we feed hay to wear down our bunny’s continually growing teeth) and if you are sucking up longer strands of hay it’s going to get wrapped up on all the spinning parts of your vacuum.
When choosing a rabbit vacuum also keep in mind that you’re not going to be sucking up just hay. You’re going to be cleaning up bunny hair and poop too.
So you need either a high-quality multi-purpose vacuum that can be used for daily household cleaning and hay cleanup or a dedicated vacuum for the hay.
I’ve included my choice for rabbit vacuums in my recommended Bunny Gear list; just look under the Rabbit Care Equipment. It also includes a nice write-up to help you choose between a dedicated or whole-house vacuum.
What Do You Do With The Rabbit Hay Cleanup?
Keep in mind that you are picking up more than just hay. You are also cleaning up rabbit hair and poop. So what do you do with all of the rabbit cleanups?
After cleaning up the bunny rabbit hair, poop, and hay bits you should take it out to your compost pile. This mixture will supercharge your compost pile.
Are you wondering if I’m sure about composting rabbit fur?
You can compost rabbit hair or fur just make sure to dig a hole in your compost heap and bury the bunny hair. You don’t want it to blow away before it has time to compost.
Alternatively, you can put rabbit poop directly in your garden. It’s one of the few manures that doesn’t need to be composted before being used as fertilizer.
However, the rabbit fur might get stuck on your flowers and veggies when the wind blows.
Finally, if you have mostly bunny manure in your cleanup, you could always sell it as fertilizer to help offset the cost of your bunny. If you’d like to learn more about selling rabbit manure, here is an article we wrote about it.
Don’t Reduce Rabbit Hay To Avoid A Mess
Some bunnies really enjoy making a mess with their hay and it can be super frustrating. If your sweet bun is a hay maniac, it’s going to cross your mind to only give hay once a day to reduce the mess.
Please don’t do this. Rabbits need free access to hay to keep their guts healthy and their teeth at a healthy length. You can learn more about the importance of bunny hay in this article.
Your Bunny Friend,