Sunday, August 16, 2015

Product Review: KMS Hayloft Bluegrass Hay

Our hearts are still aching from the loss of Lola. It just won't be the same reviewing products and answering questions without her, but we'll try our best to continue on. We're sure she'd want us to keep the blog that she worked so hard on going. Just an FYI, this was the last post we were working on before her untimely passing, which is why there's a picture of her in this one.

Readers probably know that when it comes to hay, Oxbow and Small Pet Select tend to be our favorite brands. But did you know that there's another brand of hay out there that tends to be highly-regarded by reputable guinea pig sites? They're called KMS Hayloft (formerly known as Kleenmama), and they're mail-order only. We actually reviewed them before, but it was several years back so we had to remind ourselves what we had said. It looks like it was so different from the store brand hay we were used to at the time that we weren't sure whether we wanted to eat it or not, and held off on reviewing it.

KMS  Hayloft sells two types of hay: Timothy and Bluegrass. They were out of timothy when we had the humans order, and I don't think we've ever tried bluegrass, so we went with that. We actually hadn't heard of bluegrass before (it wasn't listed on our hay post), so we checked their website and found more information about it:

"The beautiful hay we carry called 'bluegrass' is actually a hybrid seed my farmer has developed. It is an orchard/bluegrass seed. For those of you that are used to orchard grass, this will be similar except it has a beautiful blue/green color. After viewing more that 30 farms and countless hays, it just didn't do justice to call my hay 'orchard', so I have chosen to call it 'bluegrass'. It is a wide bladed, leafy variety that is soft and pliable. Nutritionally, it is equivalent to orchard grass."

This is what KMS Hayloft's bluegrass hay looks like.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs need to have a grass hay, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a timothy hay. There are some slight nutritional differences between grass hays, but generally not enough to make much of a difference. (Remember, legume hays, such as alfalfa hay, are a different story, however! These should not be part of an adult guinea pig's diet in most cases.)

Lola seemed to enjoy it! (Poor Lola... We miss her!)
Bluegrass is fragrant and delicious. Our only issue with it is that it doesn't have any seed heads, which is our favorite part! But, if you want to mix some bluegrass with timothy hay, you could then mix things up without missing out on the seed heads.

Some of you may be wondering: How does KMS Hayloft compare with Small Pet Select? Well, let's do a comparison:
  • In terms of price, Small Pet Select seems to have higher list prices. For example, at the moment, Small Pet Select has 20 pounds of 2nd cut timothy hay for $44.99 ($2.25 per pound) and 60 pounds for $84.99 ($1.42 per pound), while KMS Hayloft has 40 pounds of 2nd cut timothy hay for $28.00 ($0.70 per pound). So at first glance, it sounds like KMS Hayloft gives you more for less. However, this is only before you factor in shipping! On this order of KMS Hayloft hay, it cost $32 for shipping, roughly as much as the order costs, and bringing the cost up to about $1.50 per pound. However, they were shipping from the west coast to the east cost, so the rate would probably have been cheaper if we lived closer to them. Small Pet Select, on the other hand, usually offers free shipping if you subscribe to their newsletters and find the weekly code in each one. (Even if you don't have a code, they offer free shipping on orders over $40.) If you're a cost-conscious hay buyer, you may want to get a free code for Small Pet Select, determine the shipping cost for KMS Hayloft where you live, and then calculate the price per pound for each to figure out the better deal for you.
    • We should also point out that Small Pet Select has a "schedule & save" discount of 15% if you're willing to commit to having hay automatically ordered on a regular basis. If you're willing to do this, you should also take this into account when figuring out the best deal.
  • In terms of shipping, they use different companies in case you have a preference; Small Pet Select uses FedEx, while KMS Hayloft uses UPS. A Consumer Reports study found FedEx to be a little better than UPS for what that's worth.  They also ship from different locations; KMS Hayloft ships from Spokane, WA, while Small Pet Select ships from Louisville, KY. How close or far these locations are to you will probably affect the shipping speed as well as the cost. Finally, we should point out that in our most recent orders, Small Pet Select took 1 day to ship the hay from the order date, while KMS Hayloft took 2 days.
  • In terms of quality, we have no complaints about either one.
In summary, both Small Pet Select and KMS Hayloft are good options. We'd probably go with Small Pet Select if we're running low and need the hay in a hurry to avoid running out, but otherwise, it's kind of a toss-up.

We'll give KMS Hayloft Bluegrass Hay 4.5/5 stars!

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