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Guinea Pig Supplies—Hey! Hay for Cavies Explained

PETCO 64 oz. Natural Premium Timothy Hay (64 oz.)

PETCO 64 oz. Natural Premium Timothy Hay (64 oz.)

PETCO Natural Premium Timothy hay is the healthy choice, providing your small animal with the proper nutrition.









When we got our first guinea pig, we knew that we also needed a few guinea pig supplies—especially food. We grabbed a bag of hay because we had heard that pigs liked hay. As we looked through the huge offering of guinea pig supplies at the pet store, we noticed that there were many varieties of hay. But the most popular seemed to be alfalfa hay—so we grabbed some of that and headed home—content, dumb and happy with our newest pet. But, we did some research later and found that we had unwittingly made a poor choice regarding our pig’s nutritional needs.

Alfalfa Hay

When we think of hay, we tend to think of grass or fibrous grass-like plants. However, alfalfa is not a grass hay. It is a legume hay. This means that it’s more closely related to peas, beans, lentils and peanuts than to your front lawn. As such, it’s much too rich in protein and calcium for your guinea pig.

Alfalfa hay may be given to guinea pigs with increased protein and calcium needs—young, growing guinea pigs (under six-months of age); convalescing animals and pregnant or nursing sows. However, it should not be given daily to mature guinea pigs as it may cause excess weight gain and may increase the likelihood of kidney stones.

Our exotic pet veterinarian likes to say that alfalfa hay is like a Snickers bar to your pet. It tastes great, they love it, but it’s simply too rich to be eaten very often. Much better to stick to the healthier grass hays like Timothy hay, orchard grass hay or oat hay.

Timothy Hay

In recent years, Timothy hay has become the standard hay for healthy guinea pigs. Unlike alfalfa, Timothy is a grass hay. As such it contains the long strand fibers that are so very vital for your cavy’s digestive processes. And with a much lower protein and calcium content that alfalfa hay, Timothy hay is well-equipped to meet your pig’s nutritional requirements.

Timothy hay is the hay most commonly recommended by veterinarians.

Orchard Grass Hay

As the name implies, Orchard grass hay is another grass hay. Because it is very similar in fiber, protein and calcium contents to Timothy hay, it is also a very healthy choice for your guinea pig.

Oat Hay

Oat hay is highly recommended because it is also a grass hay. It is comparable to Timothy and orchard grass hays in terms of fiber and protein content. It is also slightly lower in calcium content than the other two varieties.

Summary

In terms of nutritional value, Timothy hay, orchard grass hay and oat hay are virtually interchangeable as far as guinea pig health is concerned. All three should be given in unlimited quantities. That is, they should always be available to your guinea pig 24/7. Not only do they satisfy your cavy’s nutritional needs, but they also serve to grind down their teeth in order to keep them from growing out of control.

And while your pig can certainly thrive on any of these three hay types alone, we suggest that when choosing guinea pig supplies, you choose all three (as well as other grass hays). This will serve to add variety to your pet’s diet.

Kaytee Orchard Grass (16 oz.)

Kaytee Orchard Grass (16 oz.)

Our Kaytee(R) Orchard Grass provides a natural alternative source of fiber for chinchillas, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals. Orchard Grass is a sweet, fruity scented high fiber hay that aids in the digestive process of small pets. Feeding Orchard Grass will encourage natural foraging instincts. Because Orchard Grass is compressed, it’s easy to feed and creates less mess.








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    Oxbow Cavy Cuisine Guinea Pig Diet - CLICK ON PHOTO to buy
    Cavy Cuisine is specifically formulated to meet the particular nutritional needs of adult guinea pigs. Its pellets are made with timothy grass meal which provides a lower level of protein, calories, and calcium than traditional alfalfa pellets. Cavy Cuisine's optimal calcium to phosphorus ratio also helps maintain a healthy urinary system. Cavy Cuisine contains a stabilized form of vitamin C, which guinea pigs require daily. Features & Benefits: Timothy Hay based pellet High in fiber to maintain digestive health Fortified with stabilized Vitamin C Balanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratio Recommended for: Adult Guinea Pigs Ingredients: Timothy Grass Meal, Soybean Hulls, Wheat Middlings, Soybean Meal, Cane Molasses, Salt, L-ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Limestone, Yeast Culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement (tocopherol), Ascorbic Acid, Colloidal Silica, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Riboflavin, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Pyrodoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Magnesium Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate, Manganese Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Mineral Oil, Calcium Idodate, Potassium Chloride. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 14.0% Crude Fat (min) 1.5% Crude Fiber (min) 25.0% Crude Fiber (max) 28.0% Moisture (max) 10.0% Calcium (min) 0.35% Calcium (max) 0.85% Phosphorus (min) 0.25% Salt (min) 0.5%; (max) 1.0% Vitamin A - 20,000 IU/kg Ascorbic Acid (Vit C) - 400 mg/kg Vitamin D - 880 IU/kg Vitamin E - 140 IU/kg Copper - 20mg/kg
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