Hay as Feed for Small Animals and Pets is a Great Option
Ask small pet owners what they were most surprised to learn about caring for small pets and you are likely to hear how much food these animals require. From guinea pig to rabbits the amount of food – specifically hay – that these animals consume is remarkable.
So why do these animals require so much food? Previously eaten food is pushed further along the gastro-intestinal track of these animals. If food is not continually pushed through the GI tract, harmful bacteria can build up in their digestive systems. This can lead to death.
As is the case with large livestock, hay is the preferred choice for small animals. This is because it contains a lot of fiber without too many calories. Therefore, small animals are able to eat as much as they like – and they like to eat a lot – without gaining too much weight. Hay provides daily energy requirements while allowing the digestive system to run properly, as well.
Guinea pigs are a perfect example of the benefits of hay as feed for small animals. Hay can be used to meet a variety of needs in a guinea pig. It can be used as a snack, a main meal and even litter! Consider giving guinea pigs crisp stalks in the morning with water and a carrot.
When feeding hay to your guinea pigs, put a pile in the middle of the cage and add straw. Guinea pigs chew all day to grind down their teeth. Since guinea pigs can experience feeding problems if their teeth get too long, it is important to keep an eye on the length of their teeth. Many times dental problems are confused with a loss of appetite.
Veterinarians recommend that guinea pigs eat three meals per day. A typical diet should consist of green fodder for lunch and fruit and vegetables for dinner. Hay should remain available to guinea pigs all day and night in addition to whatever else a guinea pig is eating at mealtimes. Small animals such as guinea pigs should always have fresh water available, too. Some owners even provide a mineral lick for these small animals but that is something that should be discussed with a veterinarian.
If you decide to make changes in the diet of any small animal, make sure and do it gradually. One thing is for sure – no matter what you feed your pets – hay as feed for small animals is a great option!