Great question, Bella. We guinea pigs need unlimited amounts of timothy hay (or another grass hay) past the age of 6 months. Other types of grass hays include:
Alfalfa hay is a legume hay, not a grass hay. Only give alfalfa hay to pregnant, nursing, or young guinea pigs under 6 months old. Alfalfa hay is too rich for adult guinea pigs because it contains high levels of calcium, and in excess can lead to health problems, such as bladder or kidney stones. Even if you have a young, pregnant or nursing guinea pig, certain piggies who are prone to stones or other medical conditions should not be given alfalfa hay. All of this goes for other legume hays, too. Other types of legume hay include:
- Clover, Red
- Clover, White
- Lespedeza, Common
In addition, make sure you choose quality hay. Quality hay should look green, not brown. It should also have a fragrant, clean smell; avoid hays that smell musty or burnt. Also avoid hay with clumps that seem "welded" together, since this means they've probably been exposed to mold. There are many good suppliers of hay out there, but we recommend Small Pet Select. They've always provided us with quality hay, and their customer service seems excellent.
The reason hay is important to feed your guinea pig is because the fiber helps keep our intestines healthy by promoting gut mobility. Also, the chewing promotes healthy wear on our teeth; otherwise, they can grow too long. Pellets, treats and chew toys are nice, but are no substitute for a regular supply of good hay!
|Quality timothy hay! This is the life. Definitely better than running around in the wild!|