6 Reasons Why Timothy Hay is a Big Deal for Small Pets
Written by The Rabbit Hole Hay Team
If you've spent any time looking around the internet for tips on rabbit, guinea pig, or chinchilla care and their chewing mechanics then you have run into lots of suggestions on what and how to feed your small pet. All of them suggesting a diet of grass hays, mainly Timothy Hay (Coarse, Medium, or Soft).
Grass hay is an important staple in the diet of rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas. For rabbits 7 months and older and guinea pigs 6 months and older, grass hay should make up 80% of their diet. For chinchillas older than a year, grass hay should make up 75% of their diet. The constant foraging and grazing encouraged by hay helps to keep them physically active and mentally stimulated. It also helps to wear down their teeth while the long strand fiber helps to keep their digestion regular and functioning properly.
So here are six reasons why Timothy Hay is one of the best choices for your small pet to keep them happy and healthy.
1. High in Fiber
Timothy Hay is extremely high in fiber, which is essential to your small pet's digestive health. Too many treats can throw off your rabbit’s, guinea pig's, or chinchilla's digestive system and can lead to obesity and potential diarrhea.
2. Dental Health
Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas have constantly growing teeth, and when left unchecked they can be a danger to their overall health. Small pets who do not get enough Timothy Hay (or any coarse grass hay) in their diet are susceptible to growing spurs on their teeth. This can be uncomfortable for the them and create sores and infections that can compromise their health and their chewing mechanics. In some cases tooth spurs have to be corrected by your veterinarian, which can lead to unnecessary expenses for you.
Coarse and Medium Timothy Hay are coarse enough to help wear down your small pet's constantly growing teeth, which will help to keep the spurs away.
3. Well-Toned Muscles
While we aren't talking about your small pet's biceps, a diet high in long strand crude fiber will help promote well-toned digestive muscles which help them effectively pass hair and food through their digestive system.
4. You Can Never Give Too Much
While it may seem obvious, Timothy Hay is not a treat and that is a very good thing. This means that you can never give your small pet too much Timothy Hay. In fact, grass hays like Timothy Hay should be making up 80% of your small pet's diet.
Your rabbit care, guinea pig care, or chinchillas care doesn't need to include fruit, nuts, seeds, etc. because they are not part of their natural diet. They are generally only given to small pets for their owners benefit and joy (which is totally okay as long as you are feeding them ones that are safe to eat). Small pets are the healthiest and ultimately the happiest when they are fed a relatively consistent diet of high quality, long strand Timothy Hay and the occasional leafy green.
Note: This doesn't mean you can't feed them other foods! Safe herbs, fruits, and veggies can been good for giving them antioxidants and other minerals to help aid in good health. But they should never be their main source of food.
Some rabbits do not enjoy the coarser and healthier Coarse Timothy Hay. Medium and Soft Timothy Hay has only slightly less fiber and is much more fragrant and softer, which may appeal to your rabbit.
That's one of the best things about Timothy Hay, you have options on the type of cut you want:
Known for having almost no seed heads, very few stems, and lots of small blades of hay making it feel almost like what we know traditionally as grass.
Ideal for small pets who are extremely picky in what they eat because it still offers all the nutrients and fiber required for keeping their digestive tracts functioning properly.
To maintain dental health, you must supplement with chew toys or coarse hay.
Rabbit Hole Hay knows the source of the Timothy Hay we sell. We live and work in an area where we can see the hay growing and harvested. We visually inspect and hand-pack every package of hay to ensure that you get fresh, green, fragrant hay of the highest quality. Your hay is always hand-processed, never machine-cut, creating nice long strands and less small pieces. We then preserve freshness by bagging all of our hay inside the box which helps keep it from drying out or absorbing unwanted odors.
Learn about other grass hays that you can feed your rabbit by downloading our Hay is for Rabbits eBook below. You'll learn all about the different types of hay, the best ones to feed your rabbit based on their age, allergies, and more!