Guinea Pig Eating Hay on a Bowl

Top 6 Best Hay for Guinea Pigs (2022 Review and Buyer’s Guide)

All guinea pigs need hay in their diet to keep their digestive system and teeth in check. It’s one of the most important guinea pig foods – without it, your small animal will be unable to digest properly, resulting in an array of health issues.

However, not all types of hay are ideal for guinea pigs. Some can even do more harm than good if fed in excessive amounts.

  • 100% natural Timothy grass hay
  • Doesn’t contain binders or additives
  • High in fiber
  • Sun-cured and grown with zero pesticides
  • Contains no artificial preservatives 
  • High in fiber
Best Value
  • Combination of first cut Timothy hay and second cut Timothy hay
  • Hand-selected and delivered fresh
  • Contains a blend of seed heads, leaves, and stems
Editor’s Choice

When I first started keeping guinea pigs, I was a little overwhelmed with the huge number of hay types. I mistakenly picked up the first hay I found at the pet store, which was both poor quality and unhealthy in the long term.

Luckily, I realized my error before it caused any harm to my piggies, but I know a few small animal owners who weren’t quite as fortunate. It’s important that you select a top-notch and healthy hay for this reason.

So, if you’re looking for some great-quality hay to feed your cavy, here are some of the best hay for guinea pigs.

The Best From The Reviews

Top Pick

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay

This hay is my top pick as it’s healthy, natural, and relatively affordable.

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay

Oxbow Timothy Hay is high in fiber to ensure good digestive health, while containing zero additives or fillers. It’s just 100% natural hay!

Best Value

Kaytee All Natural Timothy Hay for Small Animals

If you need affordable yet high-quality hay for guinea pigs, this one is a solid option.

Kaytee All Natural Timothy Hay for Small Animals

Kaytee Timothy Hay is sun-cured and grown with zero pesticides, making it a natural and healthy food for guinea pigs.

Editor’s Choice

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay Pet Food

If you can afford to spend a little extra on the best hay for guinea pigs, this one is a great choice.

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay Pet Food

The Small Pet Select Timothy Grass Hay is a blend of seedheads, leaves, and stems to encourage your pet’s natural foraging instincts. It’s hand-selected to ensure its quality and freshness.

On To The Reviews…

Top Pick

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay

This Timothy grass hay from Oxbow contains no additives or binders – just 100% natural Timothy hay. It’s high in fiber to keep your guinea pig’s digestive system and teeth healthy.

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay

First up is the Oxbow Western Timothy Hay, 100% natural Timothy hay with no additives or binders. It’s high in fiber to keep your guinea pig’s teeth and digestive system in tip-top shape.

Freshness Guaranteed

The hay is harvested fresh from Oxbow’s farms by their expert hay growers to ensure its quality and taste – your guinea pig deserves only the best hay, after all! 

Oxbow Western Timothy Hay is recommended by veterinarians around the world too, which shows just how healthy and high-quality this hay for guinea pigs is.

However, this Timothy grass hay from Oxbow can occasionally be a little inconsistent in quality. Some batches can be a little dryer than usual or have longer strands of hay, which might be unappealing for picky eaters.

Specs

  • Bag Size: 5.62 lbs
  • Hay Type: Timothy Hay
  • Brand: Oxbow

Pros

  • 100% natural Timothy hay
  • Contains no additives or binders
  • High in fiber

Cons

  • Can be inconsistent in quality depending on batch

Best Value

Kaytee All Natural Timothy Hay for Small Animals

Kaytee Natural Hay for Small Animals is budget-friendly but high-quality Timothy hay that’s been sun-cured and grown without any pesticides.

Kaytee All Natural Timothy Hay for Small Animals

If you’re looking for high-quality hay that won’t break the bank, Kaytee Timothy Hay is an excellent choice. It contains 100% natural sun-cured Timothy hay that is grown without any pesticides.

No Artificial Preservatives

The hay itself contains no artificial preservatives to ensure its healthiness. This also makes it appetizing to many guinea pigs as it replicates the flavor of grass hay cavies eat naturally in the wild.

Sun-Cured

This sun-cured hay is rich in fiber to support healthy digestion and dental health, which keeps your pet in perfect shape.

My only gripe with sun-cured Kaytee Timothy hay is its dustiness. The strands of hay are quite short, which can cause a buildup of dust at the bottom of the bag. Additionally, due to the small size of the strands, it can slip through some hay racks.

Specs

  • Bag Size: 1.5 lbs
  • Hay Type: Timothy Hay
  • Brand: Kaytee

Pros

  • Sun-cured and grown without any pesticides
  • High in fiber
  • Doesn’t contain artificial preservatives

Cons

  • Strands can be a little short and dusty

Editor’s Choice

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay Pet Food

This Timothy grass hay from Small Pet Select is a blend of first cut and third cut Timothy hay, with a combination of seed heads, leaves, and stems to make it deliciously fresh and natural.

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay Pet Food

My personal favorite hay for guinea pigs is Small Pet Select 2nd Cut Timothy Hay, which is perfect for adult and baby guinea pigs. It’s extremely fresh, which you can tell from its vibrant green color and sweet smell (both signs of fresh grass hay).

Ensured Quality

It comes in a high-strength corrugated cardboard box that opens and closes easily, allowing you to store your hay without the risk of it going stale. The small animal Timothy grass hay is hand-selected and delivered in small batches to ensure its quality.

Perfect Blend

It’s a combination of first cut Timothy hay and third cut Timothy hay, which is the perfect blend for guinea pigs.

In addition, the hay consists of a delicious ratio of leaves, seed-heads, and stems, which even picky guinea pigs are sure to love.

However, this second cut Timothy hay can contain quite long strands which you might need to cut up. The fresh hay can also be a little dusty, which isn’t ideal if you or your small animal suffer from allergies.

Specs

  • Bag Size: 10 lbs
  • Hay Type: Timothy Hay
  • Brand: Small Pet Select

Pros

  • Blend of first cut and third cut hay
  • Perfect ratio of seed heads, leaves, and stems
  • Hand-selected to ensure its freshness
  • Ideal for an adult or growing guinea pig

Cons

  • Can contain long strands
  • Can be dusty

Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay

Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay has a soft texture and deliciously sweet taste that your small animal will find irresistable. Its long strand fiber content provides your guinea pig with everything they need for healthy digestion and food dental health.

Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay

Next up is the Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay for guinea pigs, harvested fresh and hand-sorted with care. It’s 100% natural orchard grass hay with no additives or binders. It has a soft texture and sweet taste that most guinea pigs love, even picky adult guinea pigs.

Complete Essential Nutrients

This Oxbow orchard grass hay for guinea pigs contains all the essential nutrients for your pet’s diet, including a high fiber content that’s beneficial for healthy digestion and teeth.

The main downside of the Oxbow orchard grass hay is it can be slightly powdery and dusty. Some batches can also be a little coarse and dry, but this doesn’t seem to happen too regularly.

Specs

  • Bag Size: 2.5 lbs
  • Hay Type: Orchard Grass hay
  • Brand: Oxbow

Pros

  • Soft texture and sweet flavor
  • Long strand fiber
  • Ideal for good dental and digestive health

Cons

  • Can be a little powdery
  • Some batches can be inconsistent in quality

Grandpa’s Best Orchard Grass Bale

Grandpa’s Best Orchard Grass Hay supports your guinea pig’s dental and digestive health due to its high fiber content. It’s low in protein and big in flavor.

Grandpa’s Best Orchard Grass Bale

Another best hay for guinea pigs is Grandpa’s best Orchard Grass Bale, boasting a high fiber and low protein content that’s ideal for your guinea pig’s diet.

Fresh, Sweet, Tasty, and Healthy

The hay is fresh, sweet, and tasty, while also being completely additive and preservative free.

It supports your guinea pig’s digestive system to keep it working efficiently. The hay is beneficial for your guinea pig’s dental health too, preventing them from growing overly long.

Dust Free

If your small animal has a sensitive respiratory system or is prone to allergies, this Orchard fresh hay is a good choice as it’s almost entirely free of dust.

Unfortunately, this hay is delivered in tight packaging, which can cause it to fall apart or disintegrate easily.

Specs

  • Bag Size: 10 lbs
  • Hay Type: Orchard hay
  • Brand: Grandpa’s Best

Pros

  • High in fiber
  • Low in protein
  • Sweet taste
  • Almost completely dust free

Cons

  • Strands can disintegrate due to tight packaging

Viking Farmer Oat Hay

Viking Farmer Oat Hay contains a lot of nutrients and is high in fiber, which keeps your small animal fit and healthy. It’s 100% natural and harvested with no pesticides, preservatives, additives, and GMO products.

Viking Farmer Oat Hay

Last but not least is Viking Farmer Oat Hay, a great food to give your small animal every now and again alongside grass hay.

It’s fresh and 100% natural as it’s harvested without any pesticides, additives, preservatives, and GMO products.

Rich in Nutrients

This oat hay is rich in nutrients like fiber and protein, which supports your guinea pig’s digestive system, teeth, and coat.

It’s grown, fertilized, harvested, and packaged by a family-owned farm in Utah, so it’s made with passion and care.

The only drawback of Viking Farmer Oat Hay is its priciness, especially for the amount you get. That said, the oat hay isn’t designed to be a main component of your pet’s daily diet, so you don’t need to feed it frequently or in large portions.

Specs

  • Bag Size: 3 lbs
  • Hay Type: Oat Grass Hay
  • Brand: Viking Farmer

Pros

  • High in fiber
  • 100% natural
  • Supports your guinea pig’s coat, teeth, and digestive system

Cons

  • Little pricey

Why Give Your Guinea Pig Hay? 

Girl Giving a Bowl of Hay To a Guinea Pig
Girl Giving a Bowl of Hay To a Guinea Pig

Fresh hay should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet (80%!) as it contains a lot of fiber, which cavies need for digestion and to keep their teeth healthy.

Hay helps your guinea pig digest food and wears down their teeth to prevent them from growing too long.

How Can You Tell Good-quality Hay?

Good-quality hay will have a vibrant green color and sweet fragrance, as well as have a high ratio of leaves with no rough stems and seed heads.

It will be almost completely dust free and contain no signs of mold or rot.

Is Timothy Hay or Alfalfa Hay Better for Guinea Pigs?

Timothy hay is better for guinea pigs than alfalfa hay as it’s lower in protein, calcium, and fat.

How Much Timothy Hay Should I Give My Guinea Pig? 

Your guinea pig should have an unlimited amount of fresh timothy hay (or other type of grass hay) every day.

This is one of the foods they should never run out…

This is one of the foods they should never run out of as it’s crucial for their digestion. If you notice your guinea pig has eaten all of the hay you’ve given them, offer more.

How Often Should I Give Hay to My Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs need to eat hay daily, alongside guinea pig pellets (Timothy hay-based ones are a good choice) and fresh veggies.

Do Guinea Pigs Need Hay All the Time?

Guinea Pigs Eating Hay
(1) Guinea Pigs Eating Hay

Yes, guinea pigs do need hay all the time as it helps them digest food and keeps their teeth healthy.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Hay?

Guinea pigs can go around 24 hours without hay, but this is far from ideal and should not be a regular occurrence.

TIP

If you won’t be home to feed your guinea pig hay, make sure you ask a friend or family member to stop by to top up your cavy’s hay supply.

Can Guinea Pigs Just Eat Hay?

While fresh hay is important in your guinea pig’s diet, they still require other food sources to keep them healthy.

Cavies require a good-quality pellet/nugget food and fresh vegetables, particularly ones that are rich in Vitamin C as they can’t produce it themselves.

Fresh fruits can also be offered a couple of times a week in small portions…

Fresh fruits can also be offered a couple of times a week in small portions for some extra vitamins and minerals.

Here’s a video about what kind of fruit can guinea pigs eat and how much to give them.

What kind of fruit can guinea pigs eat and how much?

What Can Replace Hay for Guinea Pigs?

If you’ve run out of hay for your guinea pig, a decent temporary replacement is fresh grass. Your guinea pig can forage for grass outside if you own a run or covered enclosure, or you can pick some yourself.

Make sure the grass has not been treated with any weed killer, pesticides, or any other harmful chemicals.

TIP

I’d also advise not using grass that grows in public parks or near roads for this reason, unless you’re 100% sure it’s safe.

Types of Hay 

person carrying a big bowl of hay
Person Carrying a Big Bowl of Hay

There are three basic categories hay can be split up into: grass, wheat, and legume hay. Grass hays include timothy, orchard, and meadow hay.

Grain hay includes oat hay and barley hay, while legume hays includes alfalfa hay and clover hay. Below are some of the most common types of small animal hay for young and adult guinea pigs.

Oat Hay

Small animal oat hay has a golden color with long stems. Oats are attached to the ends of the stems, so it’s high in fiber but equally as high in fat and protein. Oat grass hay shouldn’t make up a large part of your guinea pig’s diet for this reason.

Timothy Hay

Guinea pig Timothy hay contains Timothy grass (also referred to as meadow’s cat tail and common cat’s tail). It’s one of the best types of hay to feed adult and young guinea pigs as it’s high in fiber but low in protein and calcium.

Meadow Hay

Made up mostly of soft stemmed pasture grasses, as well as bits of plants, legumes, and flowers, meadow hay is beneficial for guinea pigs as it contains plenty of fiber. It has a soft texture that most guinea pigs love, alongside long strands that can help support digestion.

Orchard Hay

Small animal orchard hay is a fragrant and soft-textured grass hay with a sweet flavor. It’s similar to the best Timothy hay but is slightly lower in fiber. However, it’s still a great hay to feed your small animal every day.

Alfalfa Hay

Legume hays like small animal alfalfa hay are very high in calcium and protein, so they should not be a main component of your guinea pig’s diet. Alfalfa hay can cause obesity, bladder stones, and other health issues if fed too frequently or in large portions.

You can feed your small animal alfalfa hay every once in a while as a treat, but not every day like you can with grass hay.

NOTE

Alfalfa hay can be beneficial for elderly, nursing, pregnant, underweight, or young guinea pigs who need the extra calories and fat to help them build strength.

Clover Hay

This type of hay is extremely high in calcium and protein, so it shouldn’t be fed to your small animal very often, otherwise, they could develop bladder stones. It should be fed in moderation as an occasional treat to your small animal.

Final Thoughts

I hope I helped you find the best hay for guinea pigs. Remember, grass hays like Timothy hay and Orchard hay are the best types of hay to feed your small animal every day for a healthy diet.

Don’t forget guinea pig pellets and fresh vegetables daily, as well as some fresh fruit a couple of times a week, too!

While all of the hay products I’ve reviewed are great options for guinea pigs, below are my three top choices.

  • 100% natural Timothy grass hay
  • Doesn’t contain binders or additives
  • High in fiber
  • Sun-cured and grown with zero pesticides
  • Contains no artificial preservatives 
  • High in fiber
Best Value
  • Combination of first cut Timothy hay and second cut Timothy hay
  • Hand-selected and delivered fresh
  • Contains a blend of seed heads, leaves, and stems
Editor’s Choice

Top Pick

Oxbow Animal Health Western Timothy Hay is an excellent hay for a small animal as it’s high in fiber for healthy digestion and teeth. It’s also grown without any additives or binders, making it completely natural.

Best Value

If you need an affordable but premium-quality Timothy hay for your small animal, you can’t go wrong with Kaytee Timothy Hay for Small Animals. It’s sun-cured and doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives.

Editor’s Choice

If you can afford to spend a little extra on guinea pig hay, my personal favorite is Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay Pet Food as it’s high-quality and fresh.

Feel Free To Share!

Thanks for reading my guide on the best hay for guinea pigs. If you know any other guinea pig owners, please share this post to help them find the best hay for their pet guinea pig.

If you need any more advice on guinea pigs, take a look at some of my other in-depth and guinea pig guides here.

“Guinea Pig Farm” by Phillie Casablanca is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Michelle Dees
Michelle Dees
Founder of GuineaPigOwner. I love to keep and learn about my guinea pigs and have spent the last 10 years learning and teaching everything there is to know about guinea pig care. 🐹