A constant supply of hay is essential for guinea pigs!! A misconception about guinea pig diets is that they should get the occasional hay, however hay alone is supposed to be 80% of their diet! The amount of times I see a small quantity of hay in their cages is astounding and disappointing.
Since guinea pigs’ teeth are constantly growing, hay is used to help grind them down to an appropriate length. Once they don’t get enough hay, they can develop dental problems in the future. Please keep this mind before adopting guinea pigs. Below are some popular hays that are available:
- Alfalfa Hay
- Bene Terra Hay
- Bluegrass Hay
- Brome Grass Hay
- Clover Hay
- Meadow Hay
- Orchard Grass Hay
- Prairie Grass Hay
- Timothy Hay
Currently, Oxbow brand offers alfalfa hay, bene terra hay, orchard grass hay, and timothy hay. A popular choice by far is the timothy hay. Alfalfa hay should not be used for adult guinea pigs as they have high calcium content, which may cause urinary/bladder stones in adult guinea pigs. Only young pups 6 months and younger or pregnant sows should be fed alfalfa hay.
In terms of where to purchase hay, my favorite is KMS Hayloft, or widely known as Kleenmama in the past. I usually purchase their 45 lb. hay every 6 months. It’s much more affordable than the Oxbow brand hay, and they last such a long time! My guinea pigs’ favorite is the 3rd cut timothy hay from KMS Hayloft. They’re super green, leafy, fragrant, and soft. They contain absolutely no trash, dirt, bugs, or weeds, which is ideal for guinea pigs. Here is a link to their website: https://kms-hayloft.myshopify.com/
Oxbow is another good choice; however I didn’t really like that their hay has a lot of hard stems. This was the first hay I purchased when I adopted my pigs and I was constantly worried about the potential hay poke. Since I switched to KMS Hayloft, I don’t have to worry about this at all! Plus my guinea pigs are always munching on this hay; I always had hard time getting them to eat the Oxbow brand. Then again, my piggies are picky to begin with!
Another alternative is to purchase these hays in bales from any local farm. Being from upstate New York, we have plenty of farms in our area! Perhaps you can do a quick google search to find some in your area. Keep in mind though, for those living in the city, you might need to travel a far distance to reach your local farms. However one benefit from doing this is that you save lots of money, and also on shipping! One day I will have to look into maybe purchasing a bale from there; in the meantime, I’ll stick to KMS!
To view nutritional data on the different types of hay, please see this link: http://www.guinealynx.info/hay_chart.html. It’s super informative and can help you make proper decisions on which type of hay to purchase for your little ones.