Do you have a guinea pig and you’re unsure which type of hay is best to feed them?
Guinea pigs are cute, small animals that make great pets. We should know we have 4 at home. They need hay to eat and live in order to stay healthy. But what type of hay is good for them? And can all guinea pigs eat it?
We want your pet to be happy and healthy just like you do! That’s why we created this article about the best types of hay for guinea pigs. It will tell you everything you need to know about their diet so they can have a long life with lots of friends.
There are many popular brands of Hay like Timothy Hay. But is it the best for your guinea pig or is it more hype than good?
We took a look at some of the most popular brands of Hay online and came up with our selection of the TOP 5 Hay’s for your Guinea Pig.
Top 5 Brands of Hay for Guinea Pigs
|Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay||Latest Price on Amazon|
|Kaytee Wafer Cut Hay 60 Ounces||Latest Price on Amazon|
|Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay 10-Pound||Latest Price on Amazon|
|Oxbow Animal Health Meadow Hay 15 oz.||Latest Price on Amazon|
|Kaytee Timothy Hay 12 pounds||Latest Price on Amazon|
Best Guinea Pig Hay Buyers Guide
Hay is a vital component in your guinea pigs’ diet. Feeding your pigs with an adequate amount of hay enhances their dental and digestive health.
Hay consists of essential nutrients and fiber that impact the overall health of your guinea pigs.
However, all hays are not the same. They differ in taste, color, fiber, and calories level. Tasty and delicious hay may not always provide the right fiber or nutritional value that your little buddy requires.
Different brands will use varied compositions in their hay packages. But the key is finding the right one with proper nutritional value.
Here are several aspects to consider when choosing hay for your guinea pigs:
The guinea pig’s age
Age is an essential consideration when picking hay for your guinea pigs. Young pigs need vital nutrients such as calcium, proteins, and fiber for growth and development.
Their dental system is still delicate, and they cannot chew rough hay. If your guinea pigs are young, go for soft hay rich in calcium.
For older guinea pigs, avoid hay with high levels of calcium. Feeding such hay to your pets may cause bladder stones.
When picking hay for your pig, always assess its content. This way, you will select the perfect hay fit for their age and avoid significant health issues.
Type of hay
All hays are not equal. They differ in their nutritional content and type. You need to understand the different types of hay available. With adequate knowledge, you can pick the best one for your guinea pigs.
There are four common types of hay ideal for guinea pigs.
Timothy hay is a popular type among guinea pig owners. It is available in three cuts, with the first two cuts being affordable and easy to source. This hay type is a good choice for all pigs regardless of their age or condition.
Meadow hay is the next common type in the market. It will meet all your pet’s diet needs because it contains herbs and wild plants. Besides, it encourages foraging behavior. However, its high calcium content makes it a bad choice for older guinea pigs.
Orchard hay is an excellent alternative to Timothy hay. It is rare to find in the US but common in the UK. Due to its high nutritional content, it is ideal for younger guinea pigs.
Ryegrass hay is also another choice. You’ll likely find it in your local pet shop. While it’s perfect for both young and older Guinea pigs, introduce it to them in small amounts to avoid digestion complications.
When selecting hay to feed your guinea pigs, consider the following:
- Hay should not contain any pesticides. It should be 100% in its natural form.
- The cut: the first cut is coarse and high in fiber; the second cut is softer than the first and is a mixture of leaves and few stems, while the third cuts are incredibly soft and are an excellent choice for fussy/sick eaters.
- It should have the smell of fresh-cut grass. Keep off anything with a moldy smell.
- Pick only organically grown hay from small USA farms.
Your guinea pig’s health condition
Just like other animals, sick, pregnant, and nursing guinea pigs require a special diet. For instance, nursing and pregnant guinea pigs need hay with high calcium content.
The calcium content supports fetus growth and development. It also provides essential nutrients to nursing pigs. This aspect makes alfa alfa hay a perfect choice.
If your pet is obese, they will need hay that will aid in weight loss. Feed them with hay that is low fat and with minimal calories. First cut hay may be the best idea for your overweight guinea pig.
Work with your vet for assessment and recommendations to pick the right hay for your fur buddy if you are not sure.
No doubt, hay differs in quality. Every type of hay available in the pet shop does not provide the same nutrient content level. High-quality hay will be fresh and tasty. Your pigs will enjoy munching it.
Ensure the hay has no additives or chemicals. Always consider the hay’s quality to be sure it will give your pet the required nutrients for its optimum growth.
Cleanness and smell
Smell and cleanness are other crucial elements in hay selection. Since hay grows in the open fields, it is exposed to dust and other contaminants. Dusty hay will make your guinea pig sneeze.
Dust and dirt on hay are signs of poor harvesting and storage. Feeding your guinea pig with such hay can be detrimental to their health. And if you have a picky eater, the musty smell on hay will quickly put them off, and they will likely not feed well.
Ensure that the hay you pick has a pleasant scent and smells like fresh-cut grass. This way, you will be confident that your tiny pets are eating clean and fresh hay.
High-quality hay does not have a single color. The best hay should have a mixture of gold and green colors.
Any yellow- or black-colored hay indicates poor storage. It could also mean that the hay has been in the store for too long. Such hay has lost its vitamin content, making it inappropriate for your pigs.
Hay is the essential source of nutrients for your guinea pigs. These pets are herbivores meaning they do not feed on meat. However, they need protein for growth and muscle functioning. Good hay should contain at least 9% crude protein of its nutritional content.
Fiber is also a vital nutrient in your guinea pig’s diet. Other essential nutrients include vitamins and minerals, fat and oils, calcium, and phosphorous.
Good hay should contain a balance of all the above nutrients. This way, you will be confident that your guinea pigs will not suffer from any deficiencies and nutritional issues.
Hay is the basic food in your guinea pig’s diet. When selecting it, ensure it is fresh and offers the correct nutritional value. High-quality hay will guarantee a safe and healthy diet for your guinea pigs.