Many pet stores sell rodent cage fillings like rats, guinea pigs, and hamsters. This filling, or bedding, serves as the cage’s base, makes it comfortable, and absorbs waste and odor.
While bedding seems like a no-brainer, some hamster owners may be wondering about hay. What is the best hay for hamsters, and is it okay to use it in their cage?
We’ll answer these questions and more to make sure your pet hamster is getting the best care for a happy and healthy life.
It may seem odd to ask about the best hay for hamsters, but it turns out that there are several different kinds to choose from. As a pet parent, it’s critical to choose the right kind to serve your pet’s needs and health best.
A few of the best types of hay for hamsters are:
- Timothy hay
- Meadow hay
There are several other types of hay that are good for hamsters, but these are just a few of the top choices out there. Let’s take a closer look at these three types of hay.
Timothy hay is not only a safe hay to feed hamsters, but it has some great nutritional value. This type of hay is a fantastic source of minerals and fiber – both of which are important in your hamster’s diet.
Hamsters also love to use Timothy hay as bedding, and many pet owners love it as an alternative to synthetic bedding. Because its pieces are long and sturdy, this hay is often used to make hamster huts.
You can find Timothy hay at your local pet store. Oxbow Western Timothy Hay is also an excellent option grown on farms, gently processed, and quality tested.
Alfalfa hay is a legume hay with a very high nutritional content for hamsters. It’s chock full of protein and calcium—more than any other kind of hay. It also has a substantial level of vitamins and minerals to keep your hamster healthy.
Alfalfa is a very common plant that farmers often grow to feed livestock – especially cattle. It’s a well-adapted plant with a high yield, meaning there should be no short supply of it.
We like Kaytee Timothy Hay Blend Cubes, which contain half Timothy hay and half alfalfa hay in a sun-cured cube that’s high-fiber and nutritional.
Orchard grass hay is another ideal hay to give to your hamster. Unlike other kinds of hay, orchard grass is softer with a nice scent. It makes both great bedding and a promising snack for your pet hamster.
Orchard hay is full of fiber and has a sweet taste that hamsters enjoy. It comes highly recommended by many veterinarians too, so you know it’s safe for your pet.
Oxbow offers a top-notch orchard grass hay that’s perfect for hamsters. It’s all-natural and healthy with no additives or binders. Plus, it’s grown by US farmers, allowing you to know where your pet’s food is coming from.
So, we know that Timothy hay, alfalfa hay, and meadow hay are three excellent kinds of hay to put in your hamster’s cage. But what other information is essential here?
Our FAQ section can help you learn a little bit more about hay in case you still have some concerns. Check it out below.
In addition to using hay as shelter and bedding, hamsters also tend to snack on the product.
Hay is considered safe and suitable for hamsters, but it’s always a good idea to wash it before giving it to them as it may contain pesticides or harsh chemicals that can harm them. Some hamsters may also display allergic reactions to certain kinds of hay, so keep an eye out for sneezing.
Otherwise, hay is a natural product that these animals would consume in the wild, so it’s okay to give them plenty of it.
Hay is a very low-risk food for hamsters, but it can pose a few small risks. Some packages of hay may contain a few very hard and pointy pieces. Do your best to remove these before putting a handful in the cage.
Your hamster may also experience digestive issues if they eat too much hay. If your hamster eats through a lot of hay at once, try limiting the amount you put in its cage.
Depending on which kind of hay you choose, it can hold some nutritional value for your pet hamster. All hay has fiber, which aids in digestion. Alfalfa hay contains healthy amounts of calcium and protein, which can help with bone strength and development, respectively.
Lots of various hays are safe for hamsters! The three we discussed above are simply a few of their favorites. Your hamster may also enjoy dried herbs like:
Keep in mind that dried herbs like the ones above may be more expensive than the other types of hay found at pet stores. You can also try growing, picking, and drying your own herbs—just make sure they are hamster-friendly first.
Note: commercial yellow hay is not a good choice for hamsters. It’s very sturdy, thick, and coarse, which can harm your hamster’s cheeks.
To wrap things up, let’s summarize:
- Timothy hay, alfalfa hay, and meadow hay are all great types of hay to feed your hamster.
- You can dry your own hamster-friendly herbs to give as treats.
- Avoid giving your hamster commercial yellow hay.
- Monitor how much hay your hamster eats and cut down how much you give it, if necessary.
Now that you know more about the best hay for hamsters, you can start treating your pet to some tasty, healthy snacks. Be sure to consult with your vet before introducing new foods into your pet’s diet.