Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Product Review: Small Pet Select Third Cutting Timothy Hay

Long time readers probably already know that we're big fans of Small Pet Select's hay. Our previous review of their hay was of their second cut hay. The difference between first, second and third-cut hay was something we didn't touch on in our Ask A Guinea Pig on hay, so let's start with their characteristics:

  • First cut hay: Has lots of seed heads and stems; rather tough and irregular; slightly lower in nutrition; slightly higher in fiber; tends to be lighter in color, with more yellow/brown parts; tends to be harder to digest;
  • Second cut hay: Some seed heads; softer than first cut; fewer stems; more uniform; more nutritious than first cut hay; darker green color than first cut; 
  • Third cut hay: Very few seed heads and stems, very soft; lower fiber content.

Here's an image showing the difference, courtesy of Small Pet Select's blog:
I wish those two hays were in front of me right now so I could nibble on both of them!
So what does first, second and third cut actually mean? It refers to when in the growing season the hay is cut. The first time it grows and gets cut makes it the first cut. When it grows back and you cut it again, it's the second cut, and so on. If the second cut hay had enough time to mature, it too would start to take on the characteristics of first-cut hay, such as lots of stems. However, by that point in the growing season, cooler weather has generally started setting in, and the growth is slowed. Each additional hay cutting produces lower yields, so it will tend to be more expensive and to run out quicker. Third cut hay requires a longer, warmer growing season to be produced at all.

Looks like I can eat my hay in peace--Oh, look who just showed up.

Lola got randomly spooked. That was odd.

I'm hiding off to the side (off-camera) so Lola can't see me.
Small Pet Select's third-cut was really good. It's incredibly fresh and green. However, one thing that we did learn the hard way is due to the lower fiber content, if you only eat third cut hay, it can make your poops softer, which freaks out the humans. The only other complaint that we had about this stuff is that as good as it was, we kind of missed the seed heads from second-cut hay. Therefore, we recommend that you mix your third-cut hay with second-cut hay so your piggies still get their fiber and seed heads.

We give it 4/5 stars!


  1. We're pretty sure that we have second cut hay based on your post.
    Ashley & Wendy

    1. I think second-cut is what most guinea pig hays are. And, as is probably clear from our review, it's the type we generally prefer, although it's nice to mix in some third-cut as a special treat.

  2. I have a friend that sells accessories. Her email is accessorizecompany@gmail.com
    Wendy & Ashley's owner

    1. Guinea pig accessories, I assume? Does she have a webpage?