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Best Hay Buying Guide For Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Degus, And Chinchillas

Hay is a core and staple element in the diet of many small pets, including rabbits, guinea pigs, degus, and chinchillas. 

Each of these animals requires hay to maintain digestive and dental health and to aid their health and wellness, which is essential for a happy life!

This article explores the best types of hay for these pets and provides tips on choosing the suitable hay for your furry friend.

What's the Best Hay for Your Pet? Know Your Options!

HayDay’s in-house nutritionist, Briony, recommends that “a rabbit's diet should consist of 80-90% hay, to which they must have constant and unlimited access!”

So there you have it. Hay isn't just for mid-day naps —it's the basis of your pet's health. Let's nibble through the different types of hay that your small pet might love! 

Timothy Hay

So, why do pet lovers swear by Timothy Hay? 

Timothy Hay is high in protein and fiber and is the go-to for keeping your small pets in tip-top health. Its coarse stems greatly aid your rabbits or guinea pigs’s dental and digestive health. So say goodbye to any inconsistent small pet poop and say hello to beautiful golden poops!

Meadow Hay

Diversify your small pet’s diet with a soft and palatable option!

Meadow Hay offers your furry friend a blend of different tastes and textures that keep your pet enriched—and nibbling happily! Its softer texture will appeal to even the fussiest of pets – and not to forget, it’s high in fiber to support gut health.

Ryegrass Hay

Want to enrich your small pet’s diet? Ryegrass Hay is the perfect addition for enhanced nutrition!

With its long, stalky stems and sweet taste, this hay is a hit with pets of all ages to feed in moderation. As feeding hay for additional nutrition, its ample fiber assists with your furry friend's digestion and dental function.

Alfalfa Hay

Rich in nutrients, Alfalfa hay is the go-to for youngsters (up to six months), breeding or nursing pets – and those who are ill or recovering from injury.

Watch your little ones grow strong and active with this beautifully green, coarse, and leafy powerhouse! Lucerne, also known as Alfalfa Hay, is a legume high in protein and calcium, supporting your small pets' health and development!

Choosing the Right Hay for Each Pet

Factors to Consider

When selecting hay for your pet, consider its nutritional needs based on age and health and your go-to hay supplier's freshness, texture, and drying process.

Nutritional Content

Age, health, and weight are essential in deciding the most suitable for your small pet.

For example, younger pets require more protein and calcium to help them grow strong. At the same time, adults benefit from higher fiber (found in Timothy Hay) content to prevent obesity and dental issues.

Age and Dietary Needs

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

Young, breeding, or ill rabbits and guinea pigs thrive on Alfalfa Hay, while adults do best with Timothy Hay or Meadow Hay as their base hay. Don’t forget that Ryegrass Hay and Alfalfa Hay can be fed in moderation to adult pets to enrich their diet. Diversity is key!


Degus can enjoy various hay varieties, such as Timothy, Meadow Ryegrass, or Alfalfa Hay. However, Ryegrass and Alfa Hay should be offered occasionally as a treat for added enrichment.


Chinchillas require an unlimited supply of fresh hay, such as Timothy Hay or Meadow Hay, at all times.

All About the Main Benefits of Hay!

Improved Digestive Health

Hay is essential for all of the above small pets' sensitive tummies. It helps promote regular bowel movements and prevents issues such as GI Stasis.

Better Dental Health

The act of chewing long stem and high fibre hay helps maintain dental health by wearing down their ever growing teeth, which continuously grow in their lifetime.

Happy Bunnies

Chewing hay also fulfills natural foraging behaviours which would occur in the wild. Keeping your pets mentally stimulated and physically active will help keep them enriched for longer periods of time!

Keep Hay Fresh

Always store your small pet’s hay in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight to preserve its nutritional quality and to prevent mould. Use containers or cardboard boxes that allow the hay to breathe.

Refresh hay daily to ensure it remains fresh and clean.

Spot the Signs of Poor Quality Hay

Mold, dust, or a ‘musty’ smell are indicators of poor-quality hay and should be avoided.

By understanding the different types of hay and their benefits, you can ensure that your pet is happy, healthy, and well-fed. Choosing the right type of hay, and of the correct quality, is crucial for the health of your small pets!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best hay for young rabbits?

For young rabbits (up to 6 months), the best hay to feed is Alfalfa Hay. This type of hay is high in protein and calcium which are essential for their growth and development. 

Is alfalfa hay good for adult guinea pigs?

Alfalfa Hay is most suitable for guinea pigs who are young, pregnant, nursing or ill, where increased calcium and protein are required. Alfalfa Hay can be fed in moderation to adult guinea pigs, for added nutrition and to enrich their diet.

How often should I replace the hay in my pet's cage?

Hay should be refreshed daily to ensure it remains clean and fresh for your small pet. Remove any wet, soiled, or old hay from your small pet’s litter tray and housing every day, and replenish it with fresh hay. 

Can degus eat the same hay as chinchillas?

Yes, degus can eat the same hay as chinchillas. Both these pets benefit from a high-fibre diet, and hays such as Timothy and Meadow hay are perfect for them.

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