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HAY HELP! Timothy or Alfalfa?

sophiee2001

New Born Pup
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#1
Hi! I’m looking to get a couple of guinea pigs soon and have done a lot of reading! There’s so many different opinions on what the best type of hay is to give them. What do you guys do?

I am moving soon and will have a small garden and no lawn so I’ve looked into getting grass trays and having an outdoor run for them in our garden. As for the cage, sawdust and normal hay then add Timothy hay? There’s so many different opinions!
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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#2
Welcome to the forum! When my pigs were babies they got alfalfa as a treat but timothy hay is their staple food with meadow in their trays :)

Have you considered any other substrates? There are lots around now like Carefresh or hemp bedding and such which is much lower dust than sawdust. Might be worth a browse :)

Got any piggies in mind? :D
 

sophiee2001

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#3
Welcome to the forum! When my pigs were babies they got alfalfa as a treat but timothy hay is their staple food with meadow in their trays :)

Have you considered any other substrates? There are lots around now like Carefresh or hemp bedding and such which is much lower dust than sawdust. Might be worth a browse :)

Got any piggies in mind? :D
Thank you for the quick reply! I work in a pet shop so I’ll have a look around at other bedding alternatives, I chose sawdust as it seemed like the easy option although I see your point!

I’m hoping to rescue two females from a sanctuary I used to volunteer at because they’re inundated with guinea pigs, I’m just a bit worried about them being completely unhandled but I’m waiting until the summer so I’ve got loads of time to get them used to being handled etc :)) I wouldn’t really know where to buy them from as I’ve heard pretty bad things of Pets at Home, where did you get yours or do you breed? :))
 

Merab's Slave

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#4
I use wood shavings for mine.
Sawdust is too dusty for guinea pigs.
I give them a variety of different hays and so far they like them all.
Check out some of the forum threads on housing and food. There’s lots of good information.
It will be lovely to see pics of your girls when you get them.
Welcome to the forum
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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#5
Thank you for the quick reply! I work in a pet shop so I’ll have a look around at other bedding alternatives, I chose sawdust as it seemed like the easy option although I see your point!

I’m hoping to rescue two females from a sanctuary I used to volunteer at because they’re inundated with guinea pigs, I’m just a bit worried about them being completely unhandled but I’m waiting until the summer so I’ve got loads of time to get them used to being handled etc :)) I wouldn’t really know where to buy them from as I’ve heard pretty bad things of Pets at Home, where did you get yours or do you breed? :))
I’ve got 5 rescues, my first two were 6 weeks old and born in the rescue so were still babies. The others were a bit older but still under a year so you can still get younguns from rescues :)

I wouldn’t go with P@H ‘cause unfortunately a lot are ill or pregnant which will probably be quite stressful for you. Is that where you work or another pet shop? I work in one too but not P@H, it means I can spoil my animals rotten :))

No I don’t breed, my boy is neutered and breeding is very risky to mums and pups. Just so you know this is a strictly non-breeding forum :)
 

PerceptorII

Teenage Guinea Pig
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#6
Alfalfa hay is more nutritionally rich than timothy, which sounds great but it's not. Guinea pig metabolisms are designed for eating large quantities of nutritionally poor food. Feeding them too much of a nutritionally rich food can lead to obesity. Alfalfa is fine for pups or underweight pigs, but for healthy adults timothy or other true grasses should make up the bulk of their diet.
 

sophiee2001

New Born Pup
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#7
I use wood shavings for mine.
Sawdust is too dusty for guinea pigs.
I give them a variety of different hays and so far they like them all.
Check out some of the forum threads on housing and food. There’s lots of good information.
It will be lovely to see pics of your girls when you get them.
Welcome to the forum
I meant woodshavings I think as that’s what we sell where I work! Thank you and yes, I will definitely post some photos! :)
 

sophiee2001

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#8
I’ve got 5 rescues, my first two were 6 weeks old and born in the rescue so were still babies. The others were a bit older but still under a year so you can still get younguns from rescues :)

I wouldn’t go with P@H ‘cause unfortunately a lot are ill or pregnant which will probably be quite stressful for you. Is that where you work or another pet shop? I work in one too but not P@H, it means I can spoil my animals rotten :))

No I don’t breed, my boy is neutered and breeding is very risky to mums and pups. Just so you know this is a strictly non-breeding forum :)
Yeah I work in an independent pet shop and love it! I spoil my dog and cats already so my Guineas will be loving life I’m sure!
 

Little Piglets

Junior Guinea Pig
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#10
My understanding is Alfalfa is VERY high in calcium, which can lead to urinary issues in adults. Pups apparently need it while growing and young.

I originally bought pine shavings (by accident- thought it was Aspen) and the brown (unbleached) Care Fresh compressed-paper to mix the two. Despite being labeled "99% dust-free", the Care Fresh was most definitely not. Piggie is all black with short hair. I could see the dust on him, and black bars in cage. I now use that sparingly, mainly in the corners on the potty lids.

When I got my baby female (about 4 weeks old), within hours I could hear her sneezing and she sounded congested, and after having parakeets over the years, recognized an upper respiratory issue, so took her to the vet. He verified Upper/Resp. and suggested changing the bedding to something else. I went with 100% Aspen shavings and plenty of veggie/fruit to help her fight it off as he didn't want to administer antibiotics, given her age and it having an effect on gut bacteria. Her breathing improved greatly within 24 hours, though she still sounds hoarse when trying to wheek, but she's eating and drinking like a champ, so fingers crossed she'll get over it completely.

While not as experienced as others here, bedding is important. If you hear ANY labored breathing sounds, lots of sneezing, etc. consider a bedding-type change. I buy the LARGE Aspen bags and it seems to work well. If your cage has corners, consider putting large lids upside down in the corner they always squat in. I put mine under the bedding. They'll always go there, and it saves the rest of the bedding from getting "run off" or wicking a bunch. Also, consider putting one under the water bottle too. I have bottles near the corners on both cages, and lids under them with mix of bedding in it. Does a great job as you can lift it out, knock it clean in trash, rinse under hot water, dry and put back and rest of bedding remains dry and low-odor.
 

sophiee2001

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#11
Thank you for your help!

Does anyone here use fleece as a liner then have Timothy hay in hay feeders? Or line the cage with newspaper and alfalfa hay then have Timothy hay feeders? It’s great to hear how you guys do it and what works best because there’s so many conflicting views when it comes to this kind of thing! I thought fleece would be quite good as it’s easy to wash etc, but then the piggies can’t burrow :/ does anyone here have experience using fleece?
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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#12
Thank you for your help!

Does anyone here use fleece as a liner then have Timothy hay in hay feeders? Or line the cage with newspaper and alfalfa hay then have Timothy hay feeders? It’s great to hear how you guys do it and what works best because there’s so many conflicting views when it comes to this kind of thing! I thought fleece would be quite good as it’s easy to wash etc, but then the piggies can’t burrow :/ does anyone here have experience using fleece?
I use fleece :) I have plenty of big hay trays so they can burrow if they want to but they don’t really bother. They just sit on top and munch away.

I personally prefer fleece to other bedding types as it’s no dust, low maintenance and no extra costs every week/month. I’m currently replacing my fleece with some new fleece liners from Ziggy’s. The ones I have now have lasted almost 3 years now and I’m sure they’d be fine to use longer but it’s got to a point where I think they need new. Fleece has probably saved me a bunch of money too! :)
 

sophiee2001

New Born Pup
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#13
I use fleece :) I have plenty of big hay trays so they can burrow if they want to but they don’t really bother. They just sit on top and munch away.

I personally prefer fleece to other bedding types as it’s no dust, low maintenance and no extra costs every week/month. I’m currently replacing my fleece with some new fleece liners from Ziggy’s. The ones I have now have lasted almost 3 years now and I’m sure they’d be fine to use longer but it’s got to a point where I think they need new. Fleece has probably saved me a bunch of money too! :)
Thank you so much! I think this will definitely be my option then! :)
 
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