Why is hay so important for small pets?

Grass hay is one of the most important dietary supplements you can provide your guinea pig.

Grass hay is responsible for keeping a cavies front incisors and back molars down. It also helps guinea pigs digest their food and keeps their digestive system healthy. Grass Hay should be available to your cavy 24/7. In the wild guinea pigs spend the day grazing and foraging on grass and plant matter.

As a guinea pig owner you should make sure your guinea pig has hay available at all times. A hay rack should be included in any cage, this will ensure the hay remains off the ground where it could otherwise be soiled. There are a number of variety's that can be fed to your cavy these include: wheaten, blue grass, meadow, oaten, barley, and Timothy.

Watche our Hay Guide

Why is hay so important?

How to store hay correctly

Safely storing your hay will not only prolong the life span and maintain the quality of the hay you purchase it will also ensure you guinea pigs are being offered the freshest hay possible. When stored correctly hay will maintain its nutritional value thus ensuring your cavies staple contains the essential vitamins and minerals required.


When choosing an area or method of storing your hay whether it be by the bale or biscuit, it is essential you follow the below guide to reduce storage loss:

Store in a well drained area – Always ensure the area in which you store your hay is dry. Moisture content can result in mildew, fungi and will cause the hay to become no longer suitable for consumption. Moisture content plays a large role in hay storage and is discussed in full below.

Adequate air circulation – Allow your hay to “breathe”. Do not store your hay in air tight tubs or containers as this will cause the hay to ferment and encourage the growth of mold. If hay is to be stored in air tight containers you must ensure the moisture content of your hay is at a very low level preferably below 15%. The addition of holes in the lid is also recommended.

Free from mold, mildew or pests – Do not store you hay in an environment where it will easily be exposed to mold, mildew or pests. A clean, dry environment is ideal.

Methods for Outdoor Storage

When storing hay outside it is vitally important to ensure:

Hay is undercover
Protected from the outside elements
Stored off the ground
Access to air circulation
Kept away from pests, mice and other insects
Stored in a dry environment
Stack your hay - more hay is then off the ground
Stack in a pyramid shape -- promotes moisture run off

Unlike indoor storage outside storage does pose certain issues in regards to exposure to the elements, however, if stored correctly hay can last quite adequately outdoors.

Wooden pallets/Tarps: When storing hay outdoors always ensure you store your hay off the ground. A great way to achieve this is via wooden pallets. Pallets have a sections of wood which are positioned in a criss crossing action. This allows adequate air flow causing the base of the hay to remain dry preventing the growth of mold. Tarps can also cover the hay creating a waterproof barrier whilst also protecting the hay from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will cause hay to lose nutrients affecting the palatability and nutritional value of the hay. Pallets can be purchased from produce stores or supermarkets may have some for free.


Pallets allow airflow


Avoids Direct Sunlight


Hay needs to be stacked correctly

Tarp needs to be secured strongly

Storing hay correctly whether indoors or outdoors will ensure you hay remains fresh, promotes longevity and will enable your guinea pigs to enjoy their daily staple

Choosing Hay

When choosing hay there are many variables which can affect the quality of any hay you purchase. These include:
Weather conditions
Time of cutting
Duration of baling
Quantity of crops
Type of hay

However there are certain key elements to consider when purchasing your hay. The below guide will help you identify good quality hay.

Appearance: Always inspect your hay closely. Hay should be free of foreign objects and weeds. It should contain leaf mater and be pliable to the touch. Don’t be afraid to break apart your hay when inspecting it prior to purchase. Within the centre of the bale always grab a handful of hay to inspect the quality and quantity of leafy plant matter.

Storage Solutions for Hay

See Here