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how can I avoid hay poke?

Sweet Potato

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I don't know what's changed but since the beginning of lock down hay poke has become a regular occurrence in our house. I know every incident of hay poke should be seen by a vet but I've always been able to remove the hay myself so I have only been to the vet on one occasion where the surface of the eye looked foggy. they gave me extra eye drops which i have been using for a few days after each incident. I just don't know how to reduce how often this happens it seems like it's every other week but before the first incident in April I'd never had it happen at all.

My boys get their hay in large hay racks and in a cat litter tray during floor time and sometimes in the cat litter tray in the cage as a treat. we use pets at home meadow/timothy hay mix. the first time it happened it was during floor time but has happened mostly in the cage since. it is usually Gundhams left eye but has been Gundhams right eye once and spud has just got his first hay poke in his right eye.

does anyone know what I'm doing wrong? I hate to see my boys suffer. I know this is just something that happens but I have had the boys for nearly two years without it ever happening and now it seems to be constant and I haven't changed their care at all.
 

Qualcast&Flymo

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I've never had to deal with haypoke with my piggies, but one thing I'm pretty certain of, is that you're not doing anything wrong at all, and I'm not doing anything more right. Haypoke is a matter of luck, or bad luck, and some people suffer with it more than others. As pigs need hay both for food and bedding the risk is always going to be there. If you put all the hay on the floor, they'll dive headfirst into it, if you put hay in a rack they can still stick their heads in it at an awkward angle and get it in an eye....

I've found in the past that many brands of Timothy hay can be quite coarse, with thick stalks that look as though they might cause a nasty haypoke. Has maybe the hay you've had since March been a bit rougher than before, could that be anything to do with it?
 

Sweet Potato

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I've been getting the same brand of hay and haven't noticed much difference in texture. it usually seems to be seed heads that end up in their eyes so I was wondering if there might just be more seed heads in there hay recently but they're hard to spot when they're mixed into the hay and I don't know that a different brand would necessarily be better for this.
 

piggieminder

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You are not doing anything wrong.
The little brown pig in my avatar has had so many hay pokes I've lost count. Not just in his eyes, he's had nose bleeds, an abscess on his chest and one on his face all thought by the vet to have come from pokes by hay. The first one he had in his eye was a flat piece of very soft hay like a blade of grass. This was still enough to give him an ulcer. These hay pokes all came about when the boys were only having very soft meadow hay, I've since been advised by the vet to feed the hard stalky timothy because of Rusty's tooth problem. I have stopped giving him the boxes and bags stuffed with hay that he used to dive into when playing because of the way he had of pushing his face into them. He's not had a poke (touching wood here) since I just put hay on the floor of the cage. When they have sharp timothy hay I put it flat on the cage floor, they eat most of a handful each in a few minutes and any odd bit that's left I remove just in case, I only leave meadow hay in the cage 24/7.
 

Piggies&buns

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You’re definitely not doing anything wrong. Piggies are low to the ground, they need lots of hay - those two things combined make haypokes common.
I feed both meadow and Timothy just on the floor. The Timothy feed to be flat on the flat (due to its non fluffy nature), and they sit on it and eat it. The meadow obviously fluffs up and they run through it.
 

Jamjarpigs

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I know how you're feeling- Olive had two during lockdown. I think teddy types might be more susceptible slightly, but there's not a lot to be done to avoid it. We haven't changed how we feed but have been haypoke free for a few months now.
 

VickiA

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I’m afraid dealing with hay poke is part and parcel of having piggies. It’s a design fault. Low to the ground, protruding eyes, needing to live in and eat hay..... it’s an accident waiting to happen. And it’s just luck of the draw. My first 2 - 3 piggies never had a single hay poke between them. But my latest piggies have a lovely knack of developing hay pokes in evenings and at weekends requiring trips to the emergency vets. Holly has had plentiful hay pokes including one that truly threatened her eye. And she’s had several in the same eye. I’m obsessed with eyes....
 

Sweet Potato

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Thanks everyone it's nice to hear that it's not my fault. I wish there was something I could do it's just come as a bit of a shock that this keeps happening after not happening for years.
 
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