Hay is an important part of your guinea pig's diet, and we're always looking for high quality hay to feed the animals at our rescue. A high quality hay makes a huge difference in the health and longevity of your pet, and getting them to consume enough hay as part of their regular diet is extremely important. We had an opportunity to check out the hay from Small Pet Select, a company that specializes in packaging and selling high quality hay for guinea pigs, rabbits and chinchillas.
We received an 8lbs box of Timothy Hay, which seems to be about equal to a healthy sized flake of hay from a full sized bale. The first stand-out about this product is the packaging. Our 8lbs box of hay came shipped in a box with an easy fold open lid that can be used for storing the hay in until you've used it up. There's no wasted packaging, and the cardboard will allow the hay to breathe, discouraging mold growth that can be a problem with plastic bagged hay. The box closes back up easily, and if you fill your hay racks inside the box, you'll keep most of the mess off of your floor. The hay was packed in solidly and was neatly compressed in the box.
Our pictures don't do justice to the hay in person, but you can see that there is a nice leaf to stem ratio in the hay in general in these images. The hay itself smelled fresh and sweet, and had extremely low dust compared to many other pre-boxed hay types we've tried in the past. Having had our box open and dwindling as it's eaten up by our guinea pigs, we haven't seen the hay fading or wilting across several weeks of use.
The true test, of course, is with the guinea pigs themselves. We tested out the hay with seven guinea pigs, including three pairs and one single pig, to see how the different groups would like it. All of the guinea pigs immediately went after the fresh hay and spent the next several hours cleaning up. In the picture above you can see Snickers, a special needs senior guinea pig at our rescue who has been in treatment for impaction and bumblefoot. It's especially important for us to get Snickers eating as much hay as possible to help with his digestion problems and enable him to poop freely, and he's been eating 1-2 fully stuffed hay feeders of this particular hay a day now. We're happy to say that thanks to his increased hay intake, Snickers has been doing much better with his impaction problems.
Above is Bo, one of our senior foster guinea pigs. Bo came to us very underweight and has gained a lot back while being in foster care. A high quality timothy hay is especially important for senior male guinea pigs, as other types of hay with more calcium can contribute to kidney stones.
Besides being important nutritionally, many guinea pigs will have fun burrowing through hay and making a hiding spot for themselves. Above is a picture of Beaker and Gizmo, who both got cozy in the middle of the hay pile where they could have a nibble from the inside.
If you'd like to try some of the hay out for yourself, you can purchase hay online from Small Pet Select. Small Pet Select offers Timothy Hay, Alfalfa Hay, Orchard Hay and Oat Hay for small pets. Enter 'Northstar' in the coupon code field and you will receive free shipping of your hay order, and 10% of your purchase will be donated by Small Pet Select to our rescue to help feed our guinea pigs.