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5 Best Hay For Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs June 13, 2019
best hay for guinea pigs

5 Best Hay For Guinea Pigs

best hay for guinea pigs

If you walk into a pet store, you’ll find a wide selection of guinea pig foods. What many pet owners fail to realize, however, is that commercial foods should make up a small portion of your guinea pig’s diet. The most important food for a pet guinea pig is fresh hay.

In this article, we’ll talk about your guinea pig’s nutritional needs and how important it is to provide fresh hay. We’ll also show you our top 5 picks for the best hay for guinea pigs.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • High-quality, second cut timothy hay
  • Delivered fresh in a cardboard box for easy storage
  • Hand-selected in small batches for freshness and quality
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  • Hand-selected and 100% natural timothy hay
  • Completely free from additives and preservatives
  • Supports natural foraging and healthy digestion
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  • Made from 100% natural oat grass hay, no additives
  • Harvested at the peak of maturity, before seed head develops
  • Natural source of long strand fiber for healthy digestion
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  • Adds healthy variety to a guinea pig’s diet
  • Supports natural foraging behavior and healthy digestion
  • Sweet smell and taste with a soft texture
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
  • Comes with 5 bags of flavored timothy hay
  • Hay is harvested fresh and sun-cured
  • Adds variety and flavor to your guinea pig’s diet
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What To Look For In Hay For Guinea Pigs

About 80% of your guinea pig’s diet should consist of fresh hay. Fresh hay provides the essential nutrients your guinea pig needs, but it also helps grind down the guinea pig’s teeth and supports healthy digestion.

The best kind of hay for guinea pigs is timothy hay, though other low-calcium grass hays like oat hay and orchard grass can be fed occasionally.

Legume hays like clover and alfalfa should be reserved for very young guinea pigs and pregnant or lactating females who have higher needs for protein and calcium than adult guinea pigs.

Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In Guinea Pig Hay:

  • All-natural ingredients. The fresh hay you feed your guinea pig should consist of 100% natural hay with no added ingredients, and it should be delivered fresh for maximum nutritional value.
  • First, second, third cut. First-cut timothy hay is high in fiber with a coarse texture. Second and third cuts are softer and more palatable. First-cut hay has more seed heads which guinea pigs love but are less nutritious. Look for second or third-cut timothy hay for your guinea pig.
  • Proper leaf-to-stem ratio. Guinea pigs love soft, leafy hay, but it is lower in fiber than the stems. An ideal leaf-to-stem ratio supports healthy digestion while also appealing to your guinea pig.
  • No additives or preservatives. Fresh hay should be nothing more than that – hay. Avoid any guinea pig hay that contains artificial additives or preservatives.
  • Optimal protein content. For young guinea pigs (under 4 months) and pregnant mothers, a higher protein intake is needed. Alfalfa hay is high in protein, but it is too high in calcium for adult guinea pigs, so only feed it to young guinea pigs or as an occasional treat for adults.

Now that you have a better idea what to look for in guinea pig hay, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best hay for guinea pigs.

Generally speaking, timothy hay is the best hay for guinea pigs. It is high in fiber, low in calories and fat, with moderate protein content.

For young guinea pigs (as well as pregnant or lactating females), alfalfa or clover hay can be added in moderate amounts to provide additional protein and calcium.

For adult guinea pigs, avoid alfalfa hay as much as possible, supplementing your guinea pig’s timothy hay with small amounts of other grass hays like orchard grass and oat grass hay.

Here Are Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Guinea Pig Hays:

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay

Specs:

  • Main Ingredient – Timothy Hay
  • Additional Ingredients – None
  • Cutting – Second cut
  • Price$29.99

Pros:

  • High-quality, second cut timothy hay
  • Delivered fresh in a cardboard box for easy storage
  • Hand-selected in small batches for freshness and quality

Cons:

  • Quality and freshness may vary between shipments

Available in boxes ranging from just 2 pounds up to 60 pounds, this fresh timothy hay is of the highest quality. Delivered fresh to your door, Small Pet Select timothy hay is second-cut hay, giving it the perfect ratio of leaves, seed heads, and stems to keep your guinea pig satisfied. It supports healthy digestion while keeping your guinea pig’s teeth trimmed and also supports its natural foraging behavior.

Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass

Specs:

  • Main Ingredient – Timothy Hay
  • Additional Ingredients – None
  • Cutting – First cut, sun-cured
  • Price$32.10

Pros:

  • Hand-selected and 100% natural timothy hay
  • Completely free from additives and preservatives
  • Supports natural foraging and healthy digestion

Cons:

  • Some batches may be first-cut, others second-cut
  • May contain broken pieces if handled roughly during shipping

Made entirely from 100% natural, hand-selected timothy hay, this product is completely free from additives and preservatives. It features long stem fiber that supports your guinea pig’s natural foraging instincts while also ensuring healthy and regular digestion. It is a natural source of fiber but low in protein and calories, making it the ideal staple diet for guinea pigs.

Oxbow Oat Hay

Specs:

  • Main Ingredient – Oat Grass Hay
  • Additional Ingredients – None
  • Cutting – First cut
  • PriceCheck on Amazon

Pros:

  • Made from 100% natural oat grass hay, no additives
  • Harvested at the peak of maturity, before seed head develops
  • Natural source of long strand fiber for healthy digestion

Cons:

  • Some guinea pigs may find it too tough
  • Freshness may vary from one shipment to another

To supplement your guinea pig’s staple diet of timothy hay, this oat grass hay is rich in fiber and adds healthy variety to your pet’s diet.

This hay is harvested at the ideal state of maturity, before the seed head develops, to maximize nutrition. It also acts as a natural source of long strand fiber for healthy digestion and optimal intestinal function.

Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay

Specs:

  • Main Ingredient – Orchard Grass
  • Additional Ingredients – None
  • Cutting – Unknown
  • Price$10.19

Pros:

  • Adds healthy variety to a guinea pig’s diet
  • Supports natural foraging behavior and healthy digestion
  • Sweet smell and taste with a soft texture

Cons:

  • Freshness may vary from one shipment to another

In addition to adding some healthy variety to your guinea pig’s diet, this orchard grass hay is a rich source of fiber but still low in protein and calories.

It supports your guinea pig’s natural foraging behavior as well as healthy intestinal function and efficient digestion. This hay has a sweet smell and taste with a soft texture, making it the ideal snack for adult guinea pigs.

Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack

Specs:

  • Main Ingredient – Timothy Hay
  • Additional Ingredients – Dried carrots, cranberries, mango, mint, and calendula
  • Cutting – Unknown
  • PriceCheck on Amazon

Pros:

  • Comes with 5 bags of flavored timothy hay
  • Hay is harvested fresh and sun-cured
  • Adds variety and flavor to your guinea pig’s diet

Cons:

  • Some guinea pigs may pick out the fruit and leave the hay
  • Freshness may vary from one shipment to another

While timothy hay should be the staple of your guinea pig’s diet, there is no harm in adding a little variety. This variety pack comes with five bags of premium-quality timothy hay, each with an added ingredient like dried carrots, mango, cranberries, mint, or calendula.

The hay itself is sun-cured and harvested fresh to deliver a high-fiber, low-protein, healthy meal for your pet.

Tips for Feeding Guinea Pigs

Like all animals, guinea pigs require a balanced diet for optimal health and wellness. What you need to know about your guinea pig is that it is an herbivorous animal, so its diet should come entirely from plant foods.

As you’ve already learned, about 80% of that diet should come from fresh hay.

Here Are Some Other Tips For Feeding Your Guinea Pig:

  • Make sure the hay you feed your guinea pig is fresh – it should be dry in texture but green rather than yellow or brown.
  • Supplement your guinea pig’s diet with about 2 tablespoons of commercial timothy hay pellets per day.
  • Provide your guinea pig with small amounts of leafy greens and colorful veggies (high in Vitamin C) on a daily basis.
  • Give small amounts of fresh fruit as occasional treats, no more than a few times per week.
  • Keep your guinea pig’s water bottle full of fresh water and rinse and refill it daily.

In addition to following these tips, consider adding a liquid vitamin C supplement to your guinea pig’s water. This will help maintain its optimal health and wellness.

Final Remarks

Though you should be careful to make sure that your guinea pig’s nutritional needs are met, you don’t have to worry too much about overfeeding. Guinea pigs don’t tend to overeat as much as other animals, and as long as your guinea pig’s diet is primarily made up of hay, the calorie content is not enough to worry about unhealthy weight gain.

If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for guinea pig hay, try out one of the top 5 best guinea pig hays we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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