timothy hay for guinea pigs

What is Timothy Hay? 24 Facts and Benefits

Timothy hay is vital for guinea pigs to eat as part of their daily staple diet. So what is Timothy Hay, what makes it so important, and what makes it different from other types of hay you can get?

Here are 24 different facts and benefits of Timothy hay.

  1. Timothy hay is dried timothy-grass which is a perennial grass found all over Europe.
  2. It is also called meadow cat’s-tail or common cat’s tail.
  3. Early settlers to the new world brought grass seeds to sow and started a significant growth in wild grass in the United States which started the growth of timothy-grass
  4. It is named after Timothy Hanson, who was a New England farmer in the USA who first introduced it to the southern states of the USA in the 18th century.
  5. It was first described as ‘hurd grass’ by Jonathan Herd in 1711 in New England, as it was commonly grown for cattle feed and hay for horses and is considered part of the of the standard mix of grass hay nutrition for horses.
  6. It is one of the most widely cultivated hay grasses in north America
  7. It can adapt to most cool and moist climates where it is often grown in mixtures
  8. It is usually sown in the fall
  9. It is less damp than other hays
  10. It is less prone to mould
  11. It was a valuable cash crop, between 1870 and 1910 as it was needed to feed horses that powered much of the machinery of the age.
  12. It has a coarse, abrasive texture that helps to grind down the teeth.
  13. Timothy Hay helps digestion of guinea pigs as it is very fibrous
  14. Guinea pigs need fresh timothy hay daily
  15. It should be an integral part of their diet
  16. As the hay is chewed by the guinea pig, it moves through the intestines and helps the food pass through it.
  17. it wears down and cleans their cheek teeth which are constantly growing. These are the large grinding teeth at the back of its mouth.
  18. Plain cut hay is the best choice of timothy hay
  19. Make sure its fresh hay
  20. Try and make sure that it has a nice, green colour rather than a dried out brown colour.
  21. There are different ways you can serve it. Most pets love it in a big pile but some owners have been creative in the way they serve it by putting it in say a cardboard tube and letting the guinea pig dig it out.
  22. It has a low calcium content compared to other forms of hay such as alfalfa, which can help those who may be prone to getting bladder stones and crystallization of urine.
  23. It has a low protein content
  24. It has a low moisture content which can also help stop dried grass from rotting

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