Chinchillas, like many small rodent pets, need a steady supply of hay to help keep their teeth in check and to help balance their digestive tract. Up to 75% of a chinchilla’s diet can be hay, so it’s essential to choose a high-quality brand that’s free of harmful pesticides and preservatives. There are also several types of hay, and you may have questions about whether it’s safe to feed to your pet.
We have chosen 10 different brands to review with you so you can see how much one brand can differ from the next, as well as some of the things we like and don’t like about each one. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide, where we will discuss the different types of hay as well as what the dietary requirements are for your pet chinchilla.
Keep reading while we discuss hay type, length, cut, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay||
|Best Value||Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay||
|Premium Choice||Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay||
|Oxbow Western Timothy Hay||
|Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut||
11 Best Hays for Chinchillas – Reviews 2022
1. Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay – Best Overall
Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay is our pick for the best overall hay for chinchillas. This brand features high-quality, single-ingredient timothy hay. It provides plenty of fiber to help keep your pets digestive tract running smoothly, and it’s low in calcium, which will help reduce the risk your pet will develop painful bladder stones. It also contains the perfect blend of leaves and stems to help promote dental health while providing healthy nutrition.
The only problem we had while reviewing Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay was that some of the pieces were cut shorter than the others, and most of our chinchillas preferred the longer stems and would push the shorter ones aside.
2. Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay – Best Value
Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay is our pick for the best hay for chinchillas for the money. This brand features sweet timothy hay that’s hand-selected to provide the highest quality. It’s high in fiber to help regulate your pet’s digestive tract, and it contains no artificial colors, chemicals, or preservatives.
The only downside we experienced using the Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay was that some of our chinchillas wouldn’t eat it for some reason. We tried several packs with the same results.
3. Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay – Premium Choice
Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay is our premium choice hay for chinchillas, and we believe it’s one of the best products if you have the cash. It contains a balance of roughage nutrition and includes long stems, seed heads, and flat leaves. This hay is high in digestive system balancing fiber, and low in stone-forming calcium and protein. This food promotes side to side chewing and helps maintain dental health.
We liked using the Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay while we were reviewing it, and we tried out many batches. The only problem we had was that not all of the batches were inconsistent. Some were dusty, some were a little browner, and some had short pieces.
4. Oxbow Western Timothy Hay
Oxbow Western Timothy Hay is a hand-sorted brand of natural timothy hay. This brand contains only 100% timothy hay, and there are no preservatives or harmful pesticides used in any growing process. The hay is hand sorted to provide a higher, more consistent product that contains less dust than some of the other brands. This high fiber hay is sweet, and our chinchillas enjoyed it.
What we didn’t like about Oxbow Western Timothy Hay was that despite its hand sorting, we found the hay quality to vary widely from batch t batch. It remains less duty, but some batches dry with brown spots.
5. Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut
The Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut brand is all-natural and chemical-free. It contains plenty of fiber to help regulate your pet’s digestive tract. The hay is sun-cured and cuts into a wafer shape that’s shorter, and easier to peel. It also helps promote dental health.
The primary downside we experienced while we were using the Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut brand was that there were lots of brown, dried out hay in each of the several batches we tried. Our chinchillas would push this hay aside, and it would get wasted.
6. Sweet Meadow Farm Timothy Hay
It’s important for chinchillas to have a fiber-rich diet that consists primarily of hay, like Timothy hay. The Sweet Meadow Farm Timothy Hay is second-cutting that contains 32.1% fiber, making it ideal for your chinchilla’s dietary needs. This hay is available in three package sizes from 20 ounces to 9 pounds. It’s grown and packed at a small family farm that does not use pesticides on their Timothy hay, ensuring it is safe for animals as delicate as chinchillas. It’s sweet tasting and has a soft texture, making it appealing to your chinchilla. As long as it stays dry, this product is good for at least a year after opening, and it is very cost-effective. Unfortunately, if moisture gets into the packaging, then this hay can rot quickly.
7. Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay
Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay is similar to timothy hay but is greener and has a fruity smell. It’s still high in fiber promoting digestive health, and chewing the stems and leaves helps keep your pet’s teeth in top shape. This brand is hand sorted to reduce dust and is available in many sizes, so you can get enough for as many pets as you have.
While we were reviewing Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay, we felt that it had too many small, shot strands and not nearly enough longer stems that our chinchillas enjoy. These smaller pieces also create a larger mess, and we found lots of dry brown pieces in the several batches we tried. Our chinchillas would pick these pieces out and make more of a mess. Finally, a few of our pets would eat this brand no matter what we tried.
8. ZuPreem Nature’s Promise Western Timothy Hay
ZuPreem Nature’s Promise Western Timothy Hay is a sun-cured brand of timothy hay specially formulated to provide optimum nutrition to small pets. It’s high in protein, which helps promote digestive health, and it’s tested before packaging to ensure no pesticides are contaminating the hay.
The biggest downside we experienced while we were reviewing ZuPreem Nature’s Promise Western Timothy Hay was that it was extremely dusty and created quite a mess. That packages are also quite small, and once you remove the dust, there is not much product remaining.
9. Rabbit Hole Hay Alfafa Hay
Rabbit Hole Hay Alfafa Hay, as the name suggests, is alfalfa hay. This type of hay is a little higher in calcium and protein than most brands of timothy hay and is also a little lower in fiber. This type of hay provides your chinchillas with balanced nutrition. This type of hay is well suited to a baby or growing chinchilla, and it makes a nice change of pace from timothy hay from time to time. It also promotes dental health the same as timothy hay.
What we didn’t like about Rabbit Hole Hay Alfafa Hay was the small pieces in each of the batches we tried, and it was very dusty. In some cases, we were tossing half the batch into the trash, and our chinchillas were still leaving some of it uneaten. Another problem with alfalfa-grass is the high calcium can lead to bladder stones in some adult chinchillas.
10. BM Hay Company No Mess Timothy Hay
BM Hay Company No Mess Timothy Hay is a brand of timothy hay that arrives in a convenient no-mess box. The batches we tried all had a nice fresh smell, and the high fiber this brand contains is perfect for balancing digestion and promotes dental health.
Unfortunately, once we dug into our box of BM Hay Company No Mess Timothy Hay, we found most of it was brown, dried-out, and extremely dusty. Many pieces were small and seemed to be bottom of the barrel, but each batch was the same. This dry hay was also very dusty and would have made a significant mess if not for the packaging. Most of the pieces were thick and fibrous, which wasn’t a favorite of more than one of our chinchillas.
11. Higgins Sunburst Break-A-Bale Timothy Hay
Higgins Sunburst Break-A-Bale Timothy Hay is the last brand of hay for chinchillas on our list to review. This brand contains 100% handpicked timothy hay. This hay is compressed into easy to distribute baled that encourages your pet’s natural foraging behavior.
The biggest downside to the Higgins Sunburst Break-A-Bale Timothy Hay is that you only get four bales per package, which amounts to four servings. We were constantly running out and ordering more. The bales seemed like a good idea, but our chinchillas made large messes as they tore them apart, and we found the insides to be mostly dry and yellow hay.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to consider when choosing hay for chinchillas.
Hay is critical to your chinchilla’s health, and you will need to provide it unlimited quantities of the lifetime of your pet. Hay helps with digestion, and it also helps grind down the continuously growing teeth of your pet. Without hay, your pet can quickly run into health problems. There are several types available, including timothy, alfalfa, and orchard.
Timothy hay is the most common hay to feed chinchillas, and it’s the type we recommend. This type of hay is high in fiber and low in protein and calcium.
Orchard grass is a type of grass that is a little higher in calories than timothy grass due to the higher level of digestible fiber it contains. It also has a higher level of protein. Orchard grass does not have a high level of calcium. This grass tends to be sweeter than timothy grass and is a good substitute from time to time.
Alfalfa is a sweet hay that chinchillas enjoy, but it contains a higher level of calcium than the other two brands, so you should only give it as an occasional treat.
Hay contains fiber that is essential to your chinchilla digestive tract. Your pet has a difficult time extracting nutrition from fiber and requires two types of fiber working together in its gut at all times. These two types of fiber are digestible and ingestible. Hay is responsible for the indigestible fiber that keeps your pet healthy.
Too much calcium in your pet’s diet can lead to the formation of bladder stones, which can be a painful and life-threatening danger to your pet. High calcium levels are the reason we avoid alfalfa and recommend timothy hay.
When choosing a brand of hay for your chinchilla, we recommend a brand like our top choice. Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay features only all-natural timothy hay with no preservatives or pesticides. It’s high in fiber, low in calcium, and has a perfect leaf to stem ratio. If you are on a tight budget, Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay is a great substitute for our top choice. This handpicked brand is almost as good and comes at a discount.
We hope you have enjoyed reading these reviews, and our buyer’s guide has helped answer any questions you have had about the different types of hay that are available. If we have helped you get closer to making a purchase, please share this guide o the best hay for chinchillas on Facebook and Twitter.
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