What is the best Hay for a Guinea pig?

Last Updated : May 7, 2021
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The most important part of your Guinea Pigs Diet is hay, grass hay being the best, which you should make readily available in unlimited quantities to Guinea pigs of all ages and sizes.

Grass Hay is packed full of long fiber, which is critical in maintaining a healthy gut. Long fibers promote intestinal contractions which prevent any obstructions, and keep your pet regular and healthy.

But which hay is best for your Guinea Pig?

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Why do Guinea pigs need to eat so much hay?

As well as the benefits of grass hay on your Guinea Pig’s tummy, it is also important in maintaining dental health.

A Guinea Pig’s rear teeth grow continuously, so constant grazing and chewing on grass hay wears these down and prevents them from becoming too long and uncomfortable.

Grass hay is naturally quite abrasive, so makes the perfect material to for him continuously chomp, chew and grind down those rear teeth. Its super tasty too!

The Top 6 Hays for Guinea Pigs at a glance

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Types of Hay

Timothy Hay

Timothy is naturally abundant throughout Europe and America, and is named after the farmer who supposedly introduced the species to North America, Timothy Hanson.

It is commonly used for cattle feed and small animal feed due to its long fiber content and abrasiveness. As mentioned above, these are both great for the animal’s health and well-being.

Some other common names which you might hear are ‘Cats tails’ or ‘common cats’ tails’ because of the appearance of the flower, which is said to look like a cats tail! This is not to be confused with the ‘meadow fox tail’, which tends to flower earlier in the year.

Interesting fact is that the pollen of the Timothy hay family is an allergen, and has been used to develop anti-histamines, which are used to treat hay fever!

The Best All-rounder Timothy Hay to buy

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay

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Oxbow Timothy hay is a high quality, low dust hay which is dried naturally to maintain its color, smell and taste. It is completely Organic, which means there have been no use of pesticides during the harvest. This really is a top-quality product, which your pet will love as much as we do.

The packaging is reassuringly simple, low fuss and gets your hay to you in great condition.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • PROUDLY GROWN IN THE USA: Harvested fresh from Oxbow’s family of farms by our expert hay growers.
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Hand-sorted and hand-packed with care. All Oxbow hay growers are trained in the production of premium hay
  • 100% ALL-NATURAL HAY: All-natural – no additives or binders
  • MEETS SPECIFIC NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS: Grown specifically for small pets. High in fiber for a healthy digestive system and dental health. Fiber is essential to the health of your rabbit, guinea pig, chinchilla, or other small pet.
  • IDEAL FOR MULTIPLE PET HOUSEHOLDS. Our 9 lb, 25 lb, and 50 lb bulk Western Timothy hay sizes provide an incredible value and are an ideal option for pet parents with multiple mouths to feed!

Pros

  • Top Quality Hay
  • Minimal dust
  • Naturally dried for smell and flavor
  • No wasted effort on flash packaging.
  • Available online!

Cons

  • Fairly expensive – definitely not a budget option
  • Contains a low number of flowers
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The Best Premium Timothy Hay to buy

HayRabbit Premium 2nd Cut Timothy Grass Hay

HayRabbit Premium 2nd Cut Timothy Grass Hay

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HayRabbit Hay is bailed directly on the farm field, and then packaged in a breathable, recyclable container to ensure it reaches you and your pet in optimum condition. Because this is 2nd Cut hay, it tends to be softer with more of a leafy consistency.

This Hay is top quality and people have been known to travel to the HayRabbit farm from afar to purchase – now you can access it conveniently online!

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • The Highest Quality Premium Timothy Hay for Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters,Chinchillas and Birds.
  • We are dedicated to our small pets so you can be ensured that we are dedicated to yours!!
  • Delivered in a user friendly box for easy access and storage, for your Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, Mice, Chinchilla and Bird
  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed!!!!

Pros

  • Top Quality Hay
  • Minimal dust
  • Naturally dried for smell and flavor
  • Breathable packaging to reduce moisture
  • Available online!

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • Your pet will want more!
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Meadow Hay

Meadow Hay is a generic term for hay which may contain a variety of species of grass, usually harvested from around the same local area.

It is a cheaper alternative to Timothy Hay and usually more widely available.

You do, of course have to consider that you will not know exactly what is in the pack, but a good quality Meadow hay is sure to keep your Guinea Pig happily chomping away if you are on a budget.

Pillow Wad Meadow Hay

Pillow Wad Meadow Hay

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Pillow Wad is an independent family run business, proudly spanning three generations of farming. They produce and supply fresh feed and bedding to customers from their centrally located and much loved farm.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • Dust extracted.
  • Palatable for small animals.
  • Full of vitamins.
  • Left in longer strands so that pets can burrow.
  • Ragwort free.

Pros

  • Low levels of Dust
  • Sweet smell
  • Cheaper Option to Timothy Hay

Cons

  • Quality is not always Guaranteed on Meadow Hay
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Pettex Meadow Hay

Pettex Meadow Hay

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The Online Gardner Pettex Meadow Hay is a blend of local Meadow hays from local meadows. It is dried naturally and packaged direct form the field, thus retaining a lot of its color and scent.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • Sweet Scented & Meadow Fresh
  • Specialy selected for Discerning Pet owners
  • Fresh from the field to your pet
  • Natural Product straight from the farmers fields to you

Pros

  • Low levels of Dust
  • Sweet smell
  • Cheaper Option to Timothy Hay

Cons

  • Quality is not always Guaranteed on Meadow Hay
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Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa is a perennial plant from the legume family. Legumes are plants which are solely harvested for their dried seeds. Some of the other seeds in the legume family regularly harvested for human consumption are Peanuts, Chick peas and lentils.

Alfalfa Hay, therefore is not a grass hay, but a legume hay. This is an important point to note since legume hays are much higher in calcium, protein and carbohydrates than grass hay, and can cause bladder stones if fed in high quantities to your Adult Guinea Pig.

Limit your Adult Guinea Pigs Alfalfa hay intake by reserving for treats and occasional use.

It is, however recommended to blend in some Alfalfa hay with grass hay for younger guinea Pigs, or pregnant sows, as the need for increased levels of calcium and protein during these periods is important for growth and rearing of young pups.

Kaytee Alfalfa Mini Bale Pet Treat

Kaytee Alfalfa Mini Bale Pet Treat

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Kaytee Alfalfa Hay is a high-fiber legume hay with the same long-strand fiber found in grass hays, but with more protein, energy and calcium. This hay is perfect for young or lactating animals that need concentrated nutrition. The succulent taste stimulates the appetite of ill or post-surgical animals.

Once an animal reaches adulthood or completes recovery, this nutritious forage should be replaced with a grass hay. Alfalfa Hay, mixed with any other grass hay, creates a rich, flavorful and nutritious treat.

Manufacturers Specs and Features

  • High protein and calcium for growing or breeding small animals
  • Naturally grown without pesticides or GMO
  • Supreme Grade hay with balanced leaf to stem
  • High Fiber supports digestive health
  • America’s #1 hay brand

Pros

  • Preservative and Additive Free
  • Loose Hay Contains Stems, Leaves and Limited Seed Heads
  • High Protein, Low Fiber
  • Recommended by Veterinarians

Cons

  • Varying levels of Hay quality for the price
  • Dusty
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Hay Quality

Hay makes up a large percentage of the Guinea Pig’s diet. Therefore, it is important to supply your Pet with the best possible quality hay, with the greatest nutritional value possible.

There are several things to look out for with regards to Hay Quality, and ensuring your pet is getting the very best.

  1. Hay Stem Diameter. A Smaller diameter stem indicates the hay was harvested earlier, therefore contains more nutrients.
  2. Fewer flowers and seeds. This again indicates a less mature Hay, which will be richer in Nutrients than an older Hay
  3. Hay Color. Hay should be bright green with a little fading. Anything yellow or black is likely to of been stored for too long, or in poor conditions and would of lost all of its Vitamin content.
  4. Hay Cleanliness. Your hay should contain just that! anything else including dust and dirt indicates the hay hasn’t been harvested or stored adequately.
  5. Hay Smell. Hay should smell fresh and appetizing! If there are any signs of mold or muskiness, then its likely your piggy will not be overly interested in eating it and worse case could cause health problems.

What is the best hay for Guinea pigs?

We have covered most of the details in the above blog, but as a quick reference, here are the recommended Hay types for your Guinea Pigs at all stages of life.

The Best Hay for pregnant, nursing or young Guinea pigs

  • Alfalfa Hay
  • Timothy Hay

The Best Hay for Adult Guinea Pigs

  • Timothy Hay
  • Meadow Hay

Fresh Grass

Fresh Grass is an excellent addition to your Guinea Pigs diet as it contains a high level of vitamin C. Be sure that the grass is not treated with any herbicide or pesticide first, as this can cause serious health issues.

If you have a safe grassy area in your back yard, then let your Guinea pig search a forage itself which adds some fun and exercise as well as a nutritional snack!

References

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-feeding

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