Whats the best hay to feed guinea pigs – my guide

Photo by Eden Kaye

 

So you have just got your first guinea pigs and thinking I wonder what’s the best hays to feed. Well I am going to have a bash at answering that very question in this article. Its vital that you feed unlimited amounts to keep them happy and healthy. In terms of looking after guinea pigs hay is going to be the biggest expense as you do need to have a good stock of it.

The types of hay – what you need to know

Western Timothy – This is the one you feed the most of. It is green in appearance and has thick stems. Mainly grown in america where there are a lot of a sunshine hours. It gets cut in the fields at a later stage in the growing process.

Meadow – Light brown appearance and perfect for them to burrow in. Mostly soft but there are some that are a bit harder.

Alfalfa – Very hard stems that is fed more to young and pregnant guinea pigs. A darkish green colour.

Oat, Wheat and Barley – Has a very high fibre content that is perfect. They will love eating this and has a yellow, green and brown appearance. Very hard and long stems that will need cutting down from the packet.

Where to purchase

There are so many places where you can purchase from, for example on the internet, pet stores and from farms. But when looking at hay make sure it doesn’t smell damp and has a good colour to it. You don’t want it being made up of just dust because that is going to make your guinea pigs sneeze. I use some websites a lot of the time to purchase my hay and they are vetuk, zooplus, petsathome, amazon, ebay and thehayexperts. All of these sites offer a great choice of different ones at good value. You can purchase them in various sizes like 1kg bags or some of them 5kg.

Always shop around because you might be able to get the same hay for cheaper somewhere else. These days with the internet you can get things delivered very quickly for a cheap price.

The best hay

Oxbow is an established brand from america that provides top quality hay consistently. In my opinion it’s the best I have tried, smells wonderful and looks great. The western timothy hay by Oxbow I would say is the best to get and is worth spending the money for it. I purchase a big 25kg box to use in my hutch for £73.95 which is a good price, but you do need the space to store it. There are different sizes of bags and boxes that you can purchase to suit your needs.

So I think Oxbow is the best but there are some other great brands as well out there like Burgess, which is recommended by 92 per cent of vets. Alfalfa king is an expensive one but does not hold back on quality and they do a small variety. Woodlands is a good brand and includes lovely forages that mixes in herbs and flowers. There are loads of brands of hay but lastly I am going to mention natures touch which is a spanish meadow hay that apparently includes over forty two species of flowers with calendula that is good for digestion.

Can it be used as a bedding?

Definitely, but not on it’s own as it needs to soak up the urine. It provides warmth and is soft, they can burrow and eat as well. You can use it with newspaper or on other alternative bedding’s. The problem with using hay as a bedding is it smells after a time usually quicker than any others. I place piles of it on top of fleece in different areas of the hutch. Make sure you put a good layer down if your going to use hay. It helps them a lot in winter because of the warmth it provides, especially if you keep the guinea pigs outside in a hutch.

Conclusion

Guinea pigs need a variety of hays to keep them in good working order. There are a lot to choose from, some are of higher quality than others. Its always worth spending a bit more money when you can for the high quality bags but you don’t need to spend a fortune, there are some really nice brands of hay that are not expensive. You just need to look around and do your research. I am always on the lookout for different hays that can come from so many countries around the world.

 

 

 

 

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