While Canadian Pet Connection has developed a reputation as an industry leader in pet nutrition since 1994, many pet owners assume we specialize exclusively in dogs and cats – which is simply not the case. We specialize in nutrition for a wide variety of pets and animals – including exotic small animals, like rabbits and guinea pigs.

“What type of hay is best to feed to my bunny or piggie?”

This is probably the most often-asked question we receive from our small animal loving clients, so lets shed some light on this subject, shall we?

Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa Hay is a high-fiber legume forage hay that is sometimes called the “Queen of Forages”. It differs from grass hays such as timothy, orchard grass and brome in the leaf, stem, and root structure. As a legume hay, Alfalfa has a higher protein, calcium and energy content compared to grass hay.

Alfalfa hay is perfect for young (up to 7 months of age) or lactating animals  that need concentrated nutrition.

The succulent taste of Alfalfa stimulates the appetite of ill or post-surgical animals. Once an animal reaches adulthood or completes recovery, this nutritious forage should be replaced with a grass hay.

Timothy Hay

Looking for a good, basic grass hay with high quality nutrition, and a fresh fragrance that’s irresistible to small herbivores? Western Timothy Hay is the ideal long-strand fiber source for keeping small animal digestive tracts functioning properly. Timothy hay is the most widely recommended hay by veterinarians for rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and other herbivores.

Timothy Hay—with high fiber, low protein and low calcium content—is widely recommended by veterinarians for adult small animals (over the age of 7 months). Our good friends at Oxbow Animal Health were the first pet food company to introduce Timothy Hay as a staple in small animal diets. It is now an industry standard.

Other grass hays to consider include Oat Hay, Orchard Grass Hay, and Meadow Hay.

How Much Hay Should I Feed?

Good quality hay is the most important staple in your small animal’s diet, and should be fed in unlimited quantities. Your pet should consume a pile of hay equivalent to the size of his body every day. Hay is vital to the digestive health of your rabbit or guinea pig. Hay also helps prevent obesity, dental disease, diarrhea and boredom.

75% of your pets daily food intake should consist of hay.

20% should consist of good quality fortified food (aka pelleted food).

5% for treats, fruits and/or veggies.

If you’re looking for more information on healthy feeding for your small animal, Oxbow Animal Health has a great Pet Care section that is definitely worth a read.


Photo Credit: furrytalk.com

Photo Credit: Oxbow Animal Health