Hay can used in a lot of instances when you own a guinea pig. This actually makes finding the best hay for guinea pigs a slightly tougher question to answer than what it looks like at first glance.
There are actually a few factors to consider when buying guinea pig hay. But before I go to in depth, I just thought I would give you my first recommendation upfront:
I’ll go into in a bit more depth further down in the article, but, if you are short of time, check the hay out above.
How To Decide What Makes The Best Guinea Pig Hay
So I have considered a few factors in my decision making process…
PRICE – You don’t want to be spending an outrageous amount money on bedding. So… I have tried to keep prices on the low side of things.
MATERIAL – Whether you are using the hay for bedding or food, you want to use something that is chemical free and healthy. Your guinea pig is going to be ingesting some form of chemicals originating from the hay, whether it through eating or breathing if they are present. This may seem like something small and harmless, but overtime, chemicals can definitely take their toll.
AMOUNT – This kind of links to the price side of things but you want to make sure you are getting good bang for your buck.
Amongst other things, those were the main factors I considered
Kaytee can pretty much always be relied on to make a pretty darn good product when it comes to guinea pigs. Hay is no exception!
PRICE – Coming in at about $27 for a 12 pound bag, your getting pretty good value for money. By my calculations (and I am no mathematician), that is about $2.25 cents per pound of hay. In this case, the more hay you buy the cheaper the product gets.
However, I typically recommend to people that they buy hay in smaller increments. Unless you are going to be using a lot in a short period of time, there is a good chance that the hay will dry out befor you have a chance to use it. Like with many things, the fresher the better and hay is no exception.
MATERIAL – The hay is… well… it’s hay, that is pretty self explanatory. However, in this case hay helps support a high fibre diet and supports a healthy digestive system. Kaytee advertise the food as being designed to compliment the standard guinea pig diet and not as a stand alone food. In regards to food, I always recommend that people utilise a varied diet when it comes to guinea pigs.
Its just like people, no one wants to eat the same food day in and day out and guinea pigs are no exception. Read my ultimate guinea pig list to find out a bit more when it comes to varied diet for guinea pigs.
AMOUNT – As mentioned, the hay weighs in at about 12 pounds. You can increase or decrease the amount according to your guinea pigs requirements. The more guinea pigs you have, the more hay you will need. On a side note, keep in mind the storing of the hay. The more you buy, the longer you are going to have to hold onto it which means… the less fresh it will get over time.
The only reason I didn’t put these guys up as number one on my list is due to the price. They are slightly more expensive than the Kaytee option, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Side note, these guys offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee or you get your money back. What could go wrong?!
PRICE – So as I said at the start, this is slightly more expensive than the Kaytee recommendation. This hay comes in at about is $31 for 12 pounds which equals at about $2.58 per pound. Yep, definitely a bit more expensive but the more you look into this hay, the more you realise the value. Once again, you can go further up in the price range with this guinea pig hay depending on how much you actually want. In saying though, that the more you end up buying the cheaper it gets 🙂
MATERIAL – So this is where Small Pet Select really come into their own. The hay in itself is simply a much higher quality than what is already out their, don’t believe me, check out the reviews here. The hay is delivered on a regular basis (to Small Pet Select) and handled as little as possible. This means two things. One, the hay is always gonna be as fresh as possible. Two, you aren’t going to get any unhealthy ‘fresheners’ added to your guinea pig’s hay. A lot of the fresheners or preservatives contain harmful chemicals that I always recommend people steer clear of.
The texture of the hay is derived from the fact that it is sourced from the second cutting. What does this mean? Well, many people believe that the texture of the hay changes after the first cutting (softens) and then ‘refirms’ after the second. Basically, this means the hay will not be corse or uncomfortable. On top of that, due to the softens of the hay ,the chances of an eye infection are hugely decreased (more on this later).
AMOUNT – Okay, in this recommendation the amount is only about 12 pounds. But these guys do sell hay in increments all the way up to 30 pounds (which will cost you a bit more). As mentioned above, keep in mind the storage side of things. However, this hay is probably going to last you a lot longer than most just due to how fresh it is.
Some people might ask, is it fair to recommend two things from the same company? My answer is ‘if its as good as the stuff Small Pet Select puts out there, YES!’ Next up on my list is Small Pet Select’s guinea pig hay sampler box. This box is great if you are trying to figure out and experiment what the best type of hay for your guinea pig actually is. Trial and error (without harm) is usually the best way to see what works when it comes to your guinea pig.
PRICE – I feel like the further I go this list, the pricier things get! Keep in mind though, that does not mean things become less of a bargain! Coming in at about $40 per box, this box of hay is a bit higher up in the price range, but definitely worth the money in my opinion.
MATERIAL – So as the title of this product states, this box comprises of a sample of multiple different types of hay. So what are they???
Well, the box has a second cutting of perfect blend Timothy Hay. For the finer details of what makes a perfect blend, check the product out here. Essentially the perfect blend is a mixture of different nutrients that are designed to support a healthy guinea pig diet. The second cutting part means the hay is a lot softer (I can’t really explain the biology behind it). The sample box also has a 3rd cutting of Timothy, Oat and Orchard hay. Personally I think the 2nd cutting would be better for the softness and the third cutting samples would be better in regards to the dietary side of things. What I really like about this product, is that it allows you to find out for yourself!
AMOUNT – So there are only 8 pounds of hay in this whole box. But in saying that, this is by no means designed to be the hay you buy every time for your guinea pig. It is designed to let you test and try what works best for you. See what hay your guinea pig takes a liking to and use that one from there on in. Rather than this being the best guinea pig hay you can buy, this sample box lets you decide what guinea pig hay is best for you 🙂
Tell me what you think about this product. To be honest, if you are a bit unsure of what you should end up buying as far a guinea pig hay goes, this is a great way to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
I thought I would point you in the direction of a bulk guinea pig hay option for those who want to try and get a bit more bang for their buck. Standlee Hay company are certainly a bit less know than most other companies selling guinea pig products, but they certainly don’t fall short when it comes to quality.
PRICE – So this hay is about the same price of that for Small Pet Select: $40. In saying that, you are getting more hay for your buck (more on this later)
MATERIAL – These guys have insured that their hay is completely free of any chemical additives which even in minor amounts, can drastically effect your guinea pig’s help. On top of that, Standlee have introduced some natural vitamins that are designed to encourage your guinea pig to eat the vitamin rich hay, and support your little guys digestive system.
The hay has also been designed so as to ensure a constant chewing which at first might sound like a bad thing. However, unlike people, a guinea pig’s teeth do not stop growing throughout their entire life. This means, it is up to us to find ways to wear out our guinea pig’s teeth down naturally. Providing them with a course enough food is one of the ways you can sort this out (amongst others). If you want to learn more about guinea pig teeth and the health related issues with them, check out this article here.
Another interesting point, these guys have a really efficient supply chain which is great when it comes to hay. Why you might ask? Well, the quicker your hay gets from point A to point B the fresher it is going to be. With these guys, you are going to get some pretty darn fresh hay.
AMOUNT – As I said at the start, you are definitely getting more bang for you buck when it comes to the $40 price tag compared to Small Pet Select’s option. For $40, you are gonna get about 25 pounds of hay. However, you can increase the weight if you want. Standlee sell their hay in increments all the way to 45 pounds and the more you buy the cheaper it gets!
The last hay that I will recommend is from Oxbow. The last time I recommended something by these guys was in relation to their vitamin C supplement, an damn do they make a good one. The only reason I haven’t put these guys further up on my list is honestly due to my lack of experience with them. I have plenty of good things from these guys about their hay. However, I have never actually tried it myself. None the less, hopefully the information I have gathered below is still useful!
PRICE – Finally, a step down in the price range from the other options I have suggested. This guinea pig hay only comes in at $30.
MATERIAL – Now, this hay is designed to consumed as a food only and can’t really be used as a bedding material. The hay compound that is used in this food is designed to be rich in fibre. What does this mean for your guinea pig? Well, a high fibre diet essentially supports a healthy intestinal tract which then contributes to an efficient and effective digestive system. Now, this does not mean this food is an end all be all for your guinea pig. I always recommend to people to supplement their guinea pig’s regular food with other healthy options as well such as certain fruits and vegetables.
These guys have also included a fragrance within their food that encourages your guinea pig to eat the food. This is always helpful if you are having difficulty encouraging your little guy to eat.
AMOUNT – So this item comprises of 90 ounces or 5.6 pounds of food. Now, while this is certainly a bit less than the above recommendations, it is designed to be purely a food rather than anything else.
Risk of Using Hay for Guinea Pig Bedding
The one risk I have seen that comes from using hay for your guinea pig is the potential for eye infections. Eye infections you ask? Well, hay can occasionally jab the eyes of your guinea pig and in doing this, can lead to infections further down the road.
Infections can lead to illnesses later down the road which may require further intervention.
Well, there you go, I hope this has helped you find the best guinea pig hay regardless of what you are using it for.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask, I love hearing from you and I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP!