Why High Quality Hay is a Must-Have for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

Hay is essential for the maintenance of overall health of guinea pigs and rabbits.

Not all hay is created equal, however, which is why it’s important to choose a reliable brand that offers superior quality. Vetafarm takes pride in providing the finest hay for your furry companions grown on our farm in the Riverina, NSW. 

Discover the difference that high-quality hay can make in the lives of your beloved pets. Learn how Vetafarm can help keep your rabbits and guinea pigs healthier and happier than ever before.

The benefits of hay – digestive system

When it comes to the dietary needs of rabbits and guinea pigs, understanding their digestive systems is crucial. Both adorable pets are herbivores, meaning their digestive systems have evolved to thrive on a diet primarily composed of plant matter. One of the key components of their diet is high-quality indigestible fibre, which plays a vital role in maintaining their digestive health.

Indigestible fibre serves as the backbone of their diet, aiding in food movement through the digestive tract. Without an adequate amount of fibre, the digestive system can slow down, potentially leading to a condition known as gastrointestinal stasis or GI stasis. GI stasis is a serious health concern in rabbits and guinea pigs, as it can result in a range of issues, including decreased appetite, bloating and discomfort. In severe cases, it can even be life-threatening.

This is where high-quality hay comes into play. Not all types of hay are created equal; however, hay that is fresh, leafy and free from dust or mould is an excellent source of essential nutrients for these small herbivores. In addition to providing the necessary fibre for proper digestion, high-quality hay also contains many vitamins, minerals and proteins essential for maintaining their overall health.

The benefits of hay – teeth

One of the unique features of both guinea pigs and rabbits is their continuously growing teeth, a characteristic that sets them apart from many other animals. Unlike humans and some other mammals whose teeth reach a fixed size and stop growing, the teeth of guinea pigs and rabbits grow continuously throughout their lives. While this may sound like a peculiar trait, it serves a crucial purpose in their dietary habits and overall health.

The constant growth of their teeth presents a potential problem if not properly managed. Without regular wear and tear, their teeth can become overgrown, leading to a range of dental issues that can affect their ability to eat and groom and even lead to painful abscesses.

Fortunately, nature has provided a simple solution to this potential problem: hay. The process of eating hay serves as a natural dental care regimen for guinea pigs and rabbits, helping to grind down their teeth and keep them at an appropriate length. As these small herbivores munch on the fibrous strands of hay, their teeth undergo the necessary wear and tear, effectively preventing overgrowth and maintaining proper dental health.

Which hay should you choose?

Understanding the different types of hay is important to ensure you are providing your small animal with the correct hay that meets its nutritional needs. Hay is divided into two main categories: high-fiber fescue and high-protein lucerne.


Fescue is a grass hay, which is high in fibre and low in protein. The high fibre hay supports optimum digestion. Being a lower protein hay than lucerne, fescue is suitable for adult rabbits and guinea pigs of all ages. Adult guinea pigs and rabbits require lower protein hay than young animals, as high protein diets may lead to obesity and other health issues.


Lucerne (aka alfalfa) legume hay is high in calcium and protein. The high calcium and protein content of lucerne hay supports the development of young rabbits and guinea pigs and the increased nutritional demands of pregnant and lactating animals. Switching young rabbits and guinea pigs to fescue hay is recommended as young rabbits and guinea pigs reach adulthood.

How to store hay to maintain its freshness and nutritional value

Proper storage of hay is crucial to maintain its freshness and nutritional value. Improperly stored hay can become mouldy or lose its nutritional content, which can harm your pets. Here are some tips for storing hay effectively:

Choose an Appropriate Storage Area: Select a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area to store your hay. Avoid areas with high humidity or extreme temperature fluctuations, such as basements or garages. Ideally, use a dedicated storage space away from direct sunlight.

Opt for Small Batches: Purchase hay in smaller quantities to ensure you can use it up before it loses its freshness. Avoid buying hay in bulk unless you have proper storage facilities to maintain its quality.

Rotate Stock: To ensure your pets receive fresh hay, rotate your stock regularly. Use older batches of hay first and replenish your supply with fresh hay.

Check for Mould or Dust: Before feeding hay to your pets, inspect it for any signs of mould or excessive dust. If you notice any abnormalities, discard the hay immediately to prevent potential health risks.

Feeding hay to rabbits and guinea pigs – best practices and quantities

Hay (along with water) should always be available to your pets. They should have unlimited access, allowing them to graze and nibble as they please.

As a rule of thumb hay should make up 75% of their diet. 20% of their diet should be made up of pellets such as Cavy Origins or Rabbit Origins and 5% should be treats and vegetables.

Serve Fresh Portions: Replace the hay daily to ensure they always have fresh portions available. Remove any soiled or uneaten hay to maintain cleanliness.

Monitor Consumption: Observe your pets’ hay consumption to ensure they are eating an adequate amount. On average, rabbits and guinea pigs should consume hay equal to the size of their own body every day.

Gradual Introductions: If you are switching hay types or introducing hay to a picky eater, do so gradually. Mix a small amount of the new hay with their current hay and gradually increase the ratio over time. Remember, hay is a staple in their diet and should always be available.

Vetafarm Mini Bales

Experience the difference with our Mini Bales, meticulously crafted by Vetafarm from farm to bale. Years of dedicated research and development have gone into perfecting these unique Mini Bales, from cultivating our own fescue to engineering custom machinery for baling. Our commitment is to deliver the highest quality hay to your small animals, ensuring their health and happiness with every bite.

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