Most knowledgeable resources recommend that you supply your guinea pig with an unlimited supply of timothy hay that they can eat at their leisure, but they don’t say anything about what brand it best. To most people, a bag of hay is simply that, but there can be quite a bit of difference from one brand to the next.
We have chosen them popular hay for guinea pigs to review for you to help you learn about the subtle differences between brands. We’ll tell you about the brands our pets liked and which ones they didn’t. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide that will explain a few things about timothy hay so you can look at two nearly identical bags of hay and see a difference.
Join us while we take a close look at timothy grass and discuss the difference between cuttings, alfalfa, dust levels, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorite 2024
|Oxbow Western Timothy Hay
|Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay Small
|Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay
|Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay
|Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut
The 9 Best Hay for Guinea Pigs
1. Oxbow Western Timothy Hay – Best Overall
Oxbow Western Timothy Hay is our pick for the best overall hay for guinea pigs. This product is 100% natural, and the company uses an extraction method that produces a less dusty food product for your guinea pig. This food is naturally high in fiber and good for your pet’s teeth. All hay is hand sorted before packaging.
The only downside we could find while reviewing Oxbow Western Timothy Hay was that quality would suffer from time to time. We figured this was due to it being a natural product.
2. Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay Small – Best Value
Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay Small is our pick for the best hay for guinea pigs for the money. This brand of timothy hay comes in a 13-pound bag. Its high in fiber and low in protein and calcium, so it helps prevent urinary tract problems.
The downside to this budget brand is that the quality isn’t always consistent. One batch of Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay will be green, while the next batch is brown. Because of the quality changes, your pet’s desire for it will also change.
3. Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay – Premium Choice
The Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay is our premium choice hay for guinea pigs. The brand features thin stems, seed heads, and leaves for a balance of roughage and nutrition that is high in fiber and low in protein and calcium. This balance also helps promote side to side chewing in your pet that allows molars to wear down evenly.
Most of our guinea pigs seemed to enjoy Rabbit Hole Hay Second Cut Timothy Hay, and the only problem we feel is worth mentioning is that it was a little dusty towards the end of the bag.
4. Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay
Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay is high-quality hay for guinea pigs that our pets love. They run right for this high-fiber food and often pass up the veggies. This hay promotes weight loss and comes in a mess-free bag that helps prevent spills. This hay is a blend of orchard and oxbow hay and is said to provide a sweeter taste for your pet.
What we didn’t like about Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay was that it is somewhat inconsistent in quality, and every few batches are especially dry. We like the mess-free bag, but despite it, we found a lot of dust in the air when getting close to the bottom of the package.
5. Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut
The Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut is the second kind of guinea pig hay on this list from the people at Kaytee. This kind features the same high quality, all-natural hay, but is processed using a different style of cut. This wafer cut produces a thinner product that some pets may enjoy. All grass is sun-cured and high in fiber.
The downside to Kaytee Timothy Hay Wafer-Cut hay is that it is very dusty. The dust is likely to be one of the first things you notice about this brand, and we bought several packages that were all the same. Some packages were a lot greener than others, so there is not much consistency besides the dust. Also, our guinea pigs did not seem to like this brand as much as many of the others. We feel the dislike has to do with the wafer cut.
6. Sweet Meadow Farm Timothy Hay
Guinea pigs should be offered free choice low calcium hay at all times, making timothy hay a fantastic choice to keep available to them. The 32.1% fiber content of this second-cutting hay is perfect for the dietary needs of guinea pigs. Since it’s second-cutting hay, it’s softer than first-cutting hay, making it ideal for senior guinea pigs that prefer softer foods. This cost-effective product is available in 20-ounce, 3-pound, and 9-pound packages. It’s good for at least a year when kept dry, and it has an appetizing taste and texture to guinea pigs. If this package is damaged in shipping and moisture gets inside, the hay will quickly rot.
7. Higgins Sunburst Break-A-Bale Timothy Hay
Higgins Sunburst Break-A-Bale Timothy Hay is a unique brand of precut and compressed hay. They handpicked each strand to ensure quality, and because they are precut and compressed, there is no dust in the package to spill into your home.
The downside of Higgins Sunburst Break-A-Bale Timothy Hay is that as your guinea pigs tear apart the miniature bales of hay, they can make quite a mess. We also felt that these compressed cubes were very dry, and we wondered if we should increase moisture in other ways.
8. ZuPreem Nature’s Promise Western Timothy Hay
ZuPreem Nature’s Promise Western Timothy Hay is a brand that emphasizes safety and high-quality grass. All hay used by ZuPreem is tested and monitored for pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The hay is sun-dried and not processed in any way to preserve the nutritious value
The downside to ZuPreem Nature’s Promise Western Timothy Hay is that its very dusty. The hay is also very dry and seems to be adding more dust. Several of our guinea pigs would not eat this brand.
9. Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay
Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay is the second brand on this list to feature compressed hay. This brand is easy to feed your pet as its already portioned and shaped. This hay contains no preservatives or pesticides and comes in a handy resealable bag.
Despite the resealable bag helping to preserve freshness, we found Vitakraft Timothy Sweet Grass Hay to be one of the dustier brands on this list. The same goes for the hay. It was very dry and almost crumbly. Most of our guinea pigs would not eat this brand.
Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Hay for Guinea Pigs
Let’s discuss some of the things you should consider before making a purchase.
Types of Hay
There are several common types of hay that you are likely to run across as you shop for your guinea pig, and we would like to go over a few of them here.
Timothy hay is one of the most popular and well-known types of hay to feed a guinea pig. It’s readily available and is a favorite among guinea pigs. Timothy hay is available in three cuts, the first two being relatively inexpensive and easy to find. The type you get will depend on your pet’s taste.
Many farmers plant other fast-growing grasses alongside third cut timothy hay and harvest them at the same time to increase their crop, so pure third cut timothy hay is usually expensive and hard to find.
Orchard hay is a little bit harder to find in the United States and is much more popular in England. However, it is an excellent substitute for timothy hay and is equally nutritious and beneficial to your guinea pig. Orchard hay is usually identifiable by its greener color when compared to timothy hay. Many American brands mix orchard hay with timothy hay.
Meadow hay is an essential type of hay to look for because it encourages foraging behavior in your guinea pig. This type of hay often contains herbs and other types of wild plants that guinea pigs enjoy eating and often do in the wild. We recommend making sure to add some of this type of hay to your pet’s diet.
The downside to meadow hay is that it contains a little more calcium than the other types of hay so far. We don’t want to add too much calcium to our guinea pig’s diet, or it can create health concerns, but every now and then, meadow hay makes a great treat.
There are several more types of hay available that you can give your guinea pig, but the last one we want to talk about is ryegrass. The reason we want to mention ryegrass is that it is the most popular hay found in pet shops.
It’s OK to feed your guinea pig ryegrass, but you must introduce it into their diet slowly to avoid digestive problems caused by the high amount of gas created by consuming this grass.
How to Choose the Best Hay
Here are a few tips that might help you choose a high-quality hay:
Conclusion: Hay for Guinea Pigs
When choosing a brand of hay for your guinea pig, we recommend keeping it simple and sticking to the buyer’s guide. Oxbow Western Timothy Hay is our pick for the best overall hay for guinea pigs, and it satisfies all requirements with flying colors. It’s high-quality timothy hay with a low dust content your pets will love. Kaytee Natural Timothy Hay Small is our pick for the best value, and this brand is similar to our top choice, it’s just in a smaller package.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over our reviews and agreed with our results. Hopefully, our buyer’s guide has answered any questions you may have had and will serve as a checklist when making your next purchase. If you have found it helpful, please share this guide to choosing the best hay for your guinea pig on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit By: PHOTO FUN, shutterstock