Guinea Pigs

7 Best Hay For Guinea Pigs

Nov 16, 2019
Avatar

author:

7 Best Hay For Guinea Pigs

This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More

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 7 picks for the best hay for guinea pigs.

We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Compare Best Hay For Guinea Pigs

Overall Best
Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay Pet Food

1. Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay Pet Food

Runner Up
Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass

2. Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass

Best Digestive
Oxbow Oat Hay Small Animal Food

3. Oxbow Oat Hay Small Animal Food

Premium Choice
Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay Small Animal Food

4. Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay Small Animal Food

Best Affordable
Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack Small Animal Food

5. Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack Small Animal Food

Most Popular
Oxbow Alfalfa Hay Small Animal Food

6. Oxbow Alfalfa Hay Small Animal Food

High In Fiber
Kaytee First Cut Timothy Hay Small Animal Food

7. Kaytee First Cut Timothy Hay Small Animal Food

Main Ingredient
Timothy Hay
Main Ingredient
Timothy Hay
Main Ingredient
Oat Grass Hay
Main Ingredient
Orchard Grass
Main Ingredient
Timothy Hay
Main Ingredient
Alfalfa hay
Main Ingredient
Timothy
Additional Ingredients
None
Additional Ingredients
None
Additional Ingredients
None
Additional Ingredients
None
Additional Ingredients
Dried carrots, cranberries, mango, mint, and calendula
Additional Ingredients
Preservative and additive free. Loose hay contains stems, leaves, and limited seed heads.
Additional Ingredients
Unknown
Cutting
Second cut
Cutting
First cut, sun-cured
Cutting
First cut
Cutting
Unknown
Cutting
Unknown
Cutting
Unknown
Cutting
First Cut

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 7 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.

Our Top Picks For The Best Hay For Guinea Pigs

Overall Best
1.

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay Pet Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Timothy Hay
  • Additional Ingredients: None
  • Cutting: Second cut
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.
Runner Up
2.

Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Timothy Hay
  • Additional Ingredients: None
  • Cutting: First cut, sun-cured
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.
Best Digestive
3.

Oxbow Oat Hay Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Oat Grass Hay
  • Additional Ingredients: None
  • Cutting: First cut
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.
Premium Choice
4.

Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Orchard Grass
  • Additional Ingredients: None
  • Cutting: Unknown
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.
Best Affordable
5.

Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Timothy Hay
  • Additional Ingredients: Dried carrots, cranberries, mango, mint, and calendula
  • Cutting: Unknown
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.
Most Popular
6.

Oxbow Alfalfa Hay Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Alfalfa hay
  • Additional Ingredients: Preservative and additive free. Loose hay contains stems, leaves, and limited seed heads.
  • Cutting: Unknown
Pros
  • Delivered fresh in a mess-free bag
  • High in protein and fiber, low in fat
  • Sweet flavor and soft texture
Cons
  • Somewhat more expensive than timothy hay
  • Some shipments are dusty and dry
Alfalfa hay is a rich source of protein and fiber for your Guinea Pig while remaining very low in fat. This Oxbow Alfalfa Hay is delivered fresh in a convenient, mess-free bag that reseals to keep the product fresh. It has a sweet flavor and soft texture your Guinea Pig will love, and it is grown naturally without the use of any chemicals. Choose from a 15-ounce or 30-ounce bag.
High In Fiber
7.

Kaytee First Cut Timothy Hay Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Timothy
  • Additional Ingredients: Unknown
  • Cutting: First Cut
Pros
  • Available in first or second cut
  • Stay-fresh inner package, arrives fresh
  • Hand-selected for stem-to-leaf ratio
Cons
  • Some bags arrive finely shredded and dusty
Available in first or second cut, this wafer cut timothy hay is rich in fiber to support your Guinea Pig’s healthy digestion. It offers superior nutritional value and is hand-selected to ensure the optimal stem-to-leaf ratio. Plus, it comes with a stay-fresh inner package to make sure it arrives fresh.

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 7 best guinea pig hays we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!

Was this article helpful?
Let us know what you think.
Avatar

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
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *