Tag Archives: timothy hay

feeding grass to a guinea pig

A Brief Guide To Feeding Grass To A Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are herbivores which means they are used to eating plant life, insects, veggies, and fruit in the wild.

As natives of the Andes mountains, they are used to the rugged and varied landscape which includes glaciers, volcanoes, grassland, desert, lakes, and forest.

They are used to foraging for what they can get.

The need for plant material

As herbivores, they don’t eat meat and don’t tend to go near anything from animals including eating fish.

This means finding foods for them which suit them which they will enjoy and satisfy an insatiable need for plant material.

One of the easiest foods that you can feed them is grass.

Many owners have good access to grass whether it is in their own garden or land or someone else’s property whether public or private.

There are different types of grass, some is wild and unkempt other types of grass is short, manicured and then even sprayed with pesticides to keep moss or other unwanted items growing on it.

Why grass is good for them

There are several reasons why grass is good for guinea pigs.

Grass is good for them to chew.

Guinea pigs love to chew and need to chew.

It keeps their teeth from growing longer and stops them from getting into pain because of this.

Grass, whether fresh or dry, provides an ideal opportunity for them to chew and grind their teeth down

The digestive tracts of guinea pigs are designed to eat lots of forage.

Eating grass keeps their digestive system moving and means that other food can pass through without a problem.

It means that they will poop more easily as a result.

They draw water from it.

Guinea pigs are creatures who do not like going without water but are used to going long periods without it.

This means they have to draw it out of other plant material such as fresh grass which contains water in it.

The more water that they have, the better for them.

It provides good nutrition for them.

Forages such as grasses can provide good nutrients, minerals and vitamin c for guinea pigs.

This is incredibly beneficial for them especially as they do not naturally produce vitamin c.

So eating grass will give them a supplement which they are deficient but which they most definitely need.


The downsides of feeding grass to a guinea pig
It can be damp and wet.

Wet grass is not good for them.

In fact, it can make them sick.

If you give them grass make sure it is dry.

Leaving guinea pigs out on grass when it is raining or if it has rained is strongly discouraged as they will be sitting on the damp grass or soaking wet grass.

They are not good at getting themselves dry and so will suffer as a result.

Grass can contain parasites.

If a guinea pig eats grass that contains parasites then this can cause problems eventually for them.

It can cause worms to appear as a result of the parasites and they may need regular deworming since soil and grass can contain parasite eggs.

However, there is no way of stopping this from happening other than banning a guinea pig from eating grass which is unrealistic.

Too much too soon can cause tummy problems and soft poop.

If you put your guinea pig straight out onto grass when it hasn’t been part of their diet it will cause them to have a poorly tummy.

If they haven’t eaten grass as part of their diet give it to them in small amounts on a regular basis increasing it to daily after a week or two.

This means you wean them onto it and cause their stomach to be more settled.

Grass can contain pesticides.

Pesticides are not good for guinea pigs as you can imagine.

Eating anything with pesticides on it can cause a guinea pig problems making them sick and possibly causing much worse damage to them.

It is imperative that you know the grass you are feeding them that it hasn’t been sprayed with any kind of chemical.

Grass can often contain feces.

Grass is often frequented by dogs or cats or other animals can defecate on it.

If you feed guinea pigs grass that has been defecated on by another animal this will cause them to get sick.

This is why it is so important to know about the grass you are feeding them and is why feeding wild grass to them is a risk.

Grass that has mildew, mold or fungus on it.

This is easier to spot on the grass and can be identified by careful analysis.

This is why it’s important to pick grass and go through it before you feed it to your guinea pig. If you spot any that has mold, mildew or fungus on it then throw the bunch away.

If they eat it it will cause problems for them and again they may get sick as they will try and eat the grass no matter what it may have on it.

Grass that is beside a high traffic area.

Grass that is found by the side of roads can be polluted with fumes from cars and lorries.

Some of these fumes are poisonous for guinea pigs and if they are absorbed into the grass that is fed to them will cause problems for a guinea pig who eats it.

What type of grass should be fed to guinea pigs?
Fresh lawn grass

Fresh lawn grass is fine which has been picked for them.

If they can chew it directly from the ground whilst grazing.

Again make sure it is pesticide free and hasn’t been defecated on.

Long grass with no thistles in it.

Again make sure you know where what has been on it.

Feeding them grass from public meadows is a risk but can be done but it is fine at your own risk.

You get to know what types of grass are good for your guinea pig.

Whatever they don’t want they tend to leave anyway so it’s good to experiment.

Obviously, avoid anything which you know to be poisonous such as ivy that gets caught up in the grass.

What about dry grass?

Dry grass which can be purchased from let stores such as Timothy hay or meadow hay. Avoid Alfalfa hay in large amounts as it contains a lot of calcium.

Can I feed only grass to them?

It’s a good question.

But it the answer is no.

It should be part of a balanced diet with fruits and veggies and a good guinea pig mix to give them a balanced diet that nourishes them and gives them the nutrients that they need.


can guinea pigs eat too much timothy hay

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Too Much Timothy Hay?

One of the things about guinea pigs is that’s they need to eat.

In order to do this, they need regular foods to chew on day and night to keep their teeth from growing.

One of the foods that they absolutely love is Timothy hay.

What is Timothy hay?

Timothy hay is dried Timothy grass which is a type of grass found in Europe.

When grown in its natural habitat it can grow from 48cm to 150cm tall depending on the conditions and the soil it grows in. It typically grows in heavy soils, but if it happens to grow in dry and sandy soils it can survive as well.

As a grass, it has a flowerhead and pink stamen

It has leaves that grow up to 40 cm long

To turn into Timothy hay, timothy grass is dried but the great thing about this type of hay is that it keeps its green color and its freshness.

This is what makes it so popular with guinea pigs.


image wikipedia

By having hay and in particular types such as Meadow hay or Timothy hay it enables guinea pigs to be able to chew on a consist basis.

We’ve seen how good Timothy hay is for them and the benefits it brings to your guinea pigs.

However is Timothy hay a food that they can over-eat?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Too Much Timothy Hay?

If you feed Timothy hay to guinea pigs regularly they will eat because they love it.

However, it is a food that they can eat all the time and it isn’t bad for them at all.

In fact, it is good for them.

So don’t be so concerned about guinea pigs eating too much Timothy hay as you’re actually doing them good by doing so.

This is because the nutrients that it contains are of real benefit to them and barely contain anything of detriment to them.

For more information on Timothy Hay, check out this post here

guinea pig hay holder

A Free Guinea Pig Hay Holder Alternative

Hay is the most important food for a guinea pig to have as part of their diet. It should take up 75% of their food intake.

Unlike other rodents like hamsters, gerbils and rats and mice, guinea pigs don’t need hay as bedding. In fact, when you lay it down for them they usually just move it to the side or even just pee on it.

So its important that the hay is set aside to ensure that the guinea pig can get to it but not pee in on it if they can help it.

You can buy a guinea pig hay holder to keep the hay in and these can be bought from any good pet store. But you can also do this for free very easily. 

free guinea pig hay holder

We finished a kitchen roll today, so I took the inside tube and broke it in half for my two

boars. Then I filled them both with the oxbow western timothy hay ensuring that it was sticking out both sides.

I’ve read about this idea on one of the guinea pig forums and thought i’d try it out.

Doing it this way provides a fun way of getting the guiena pig hay for your cavy. It means they can have some fun rooting into the tube to get it.

They can also enjoy chewing on the cardboard roll as well which provides an additional benefit.

Check out ‘Rocket’ enjoying it here


Oxbow western Timothy hay review

Oxbow Western Timothy Hay Review

Today I stopped by our local pet store for some more Timothy Hay and picked up a bag of Oxbow Western Timothy Hay. I’ve seen Oxbow recommended on other guinea pig blogs so thought I would check it out.

Oxbow western Timothy hay reviewMy previous experience with buying Timothy Hay has taught me not to buy it if it isn’t a green colour as this means it has lost its freshness and dried out too much.

Once its dried out, its just not enjoyable for the guinea pigs. It was quite hard work getting my piggies to eat the last lot of Timothy hay I bought them, so I was determined not to make the same mistake.

On the pack, Oxbow promise that Western Timothy Hay will be mid-range of ‘sweet’ and ‘hearty’ and mid-range of ‘soft’ and ‘crunchy’.

They promise that it is preservative and additive free, which is great. It also contains Loose hay contains stems, leaves, and limited seed heads, says they packaging.

Having regular hay in their diet is vital for a guinea pig as it supports their digestive system and should make up at least 75% of their diet.

It should therefore be available for them to eat at all times.

This was the Western Timothy hay that I was trying, other hay’s that Oxbow provide are Orchard Grass, Botanic Hay, Organic Meadow Hay, Oat Hay and Alafa.

It needs to be put in a place where they won’t lie in it as its not meant for bedding, but for chewing. I’ve done that before and you just end up with soggy hay, which is just gross!
So its best put in a corner or an empty toilet roll, something like that.

Another thing to remember with timothy hay is to store it in a cool and dry location in its packaging away from sunlight so that it doesn’t dry out and fade.

Checking out Oxbow Western Timothy Hay

So, we put some down for one of our guinea pig’s to see how he would take to it.
It went down pretty well. I took a brief video of him tucking into it.

Knowing that it is full of good stuff, it was purely down to taste and it disappeared pretty quickly. My guinea pig seemed to enjoy it and was a much different experience to the previous timothy hay that I gave him.

I would get Oxbow western timothy hay again.

(note: I am just reviewing this for the benefit of me and you and have received no incentive, so I am totally impartial :))

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