Different Types of Guinea Pig Hay
Hay is an essential part of the guinea pig diet. Quality fresh hay supplies them with essential fiber and nutrients which could prevent digestive problems all the while helping them trim their constantly growing teeth.
Many wonder, what type of guinea pig hay do we provide? Well, 80% of a cavy’s diet must consist of good quality hay and must always be available for them to munch on. Keep hay off the floor to avoid it from being soiled by your piggies' urine (guinea pigs can’t and won’t eat the hay then). You can put it in a guinea pig hay feeder like a hay rack, a cardboard box, or any other method you can think of! Quality guinea pig hay should be fresh (green in color and sweet in smell), be as dustless as possible (fine dust will make them sneeze) and contains no additives. Do not always opt for the cheapest variant, always check the quality and most importantly! Do not give them chemically sprayed hay.
However, not all hay can be fed to guinea pigs. There are two types guinea pig hay: grass hay and alfalfa hay. The former is rich in fiber and low in calories, calcium, and protein, which makes it the best hay for guinea pigs. The latter, on the other hand, is the opposite. That could lead to urinary stones and cause your guinea pig to get fat. Alfalfa hay (also known as legume hay) should not be provided as a cavy’s primary food source. Sick guinea pigs, pregnant sows, and pups could benefit from the extra nutrients but always consult your veterinarian first before adding legume hay to their diet.
Here are some different hays for guinea pigs:
1. Timothy Hay for Guinea Pigs
Peanut, Tofu, and Dumpling enjoying their share of fresh timothy hay for guinea pigs from GuineaDad Nourish Series – Timothy Hay
As you can see from above, Timothy hay, a popular choice among guinea parents. Its’ nice smell and taste makes it a guinea pig favorite as well! Not only does Timothy hay provide the right amount of fiber, fat, and protein for our piggies, it is also easy to find! It is composed of the stem, leaf, and seed head of Timothy-grass. Cavies can get lots of vitamins and minerals from the leaves and munching on the stem will help wear down your guinea pig's teeth. Be sure to check that it is free of dust and mold. Choose Timothy hay for guinea pigs that is green, fresh, dust-free and has a hint of a sweet smell!
We carry our Nourish Series Timothy Hay which is a product that focuses heavily on guinea pig’s health. From our packaging to our fresh timothy-grass hay, we have researched and tried many different ways to provide the freshest and healthiest timothy hay for guinea pigs. Our hay goes through a dust filter so that your guinea pigs won't be inhaling small particles to damage their respiratory system. It is then hand filtered to ensure they only get the best hay of the lot! It also comes in a convenient package which also encourages your piggie to exercise and doubles up as a guinea pig hay rack!
Be sure to check it out:
2. Orchard hay for Guinea Pigs
Orchard hay has a soft but broader leaf than Timothy hay. If you are suffering from allergies, this may be a good substitute for Timothy grass hay. Orchard grass hay is usually the next preferred guinea pig hay if your guinea pig is picky about eating Timothy hay. The difference between Orchard hay vs Timothy hay is that, Orchard hay has a slightly lower protein and fiber content then the latter. The hint of sweet smell may also entice your guinea pig to choose this over Timothy hay.
3. Meadow Hay for Guinea Pigs
It is made from long strands of grass, leaves, flowers, and seed heads from the meadow. Some guinea pigs like the mix, while others do not. It is usually not processed and is packed after harvesting. The greener the Meadow hay, the better.
4. Oats Hay for Guinea Pigs
This hay has long stems with oats attached at the end. It contains a higher amount of fiber, fat, and protein than most of the others in the list, and should only be fed once in a while. The added nutrients could be beneficial to sick piggies, but always consult your veterinarian first.
5. Bermuda Hay for Guinea Pigs
Bermuda hay is a very good source of fiber. It contains a moderate amount of protein and has a little more calcium than Timothy hay. Bermuda hay is commonly given as feed for larger animals.
(Peanut enjoying her share of GuineaDad Nourish Series- Timothy Hay all for herself!)
In the end, you have to be careful when choosing what type of guinea pig hay will be a staple in your guinea pig’s diet. Do not make the pick just based on the price, but base it on the quality and needs of your piggies. Make sure that your guinea pig always has unlimited access to hay for them to live a healthy life and to avoid any health issues. If your piggie has special needs, be sure to consult your veterinarian to make sure they are getting the proper choice. Happy feeding!