For many pet parents, the varieties of hay offered can often get confusing. Timothy hay is used as a staple in your small animal’s diet, while Alfalfa hay is the go-to for young small animals to provide the extra nutrients they need for adulthood. But with all the other types of hay available, it can have you questioning why.
Encourage foraging behaviour
In the wild, small animals have access to all different types of grasses and forage, so why not provide the same at home? This allows your pet to exhibit natural foraging behaviors that further provide enrichment through the availability of different flavours and textures. Furthermore, this abundance of choices can help your small animal feel more safe and secure.
Can help correct picky eating
If your pet is a picky eater, offering a variety of foods and forage can be quite helpful in expanding their palate. This allows them to become used to different textures and flavours due to the difference offered by each hay type and makes them less cautious about trying new things offered.
Supports proper digestion and dental health
Different hays contain varying levels of fibre, and offering a variety helps keep your animal regular and reduces the chance of gastrointestinal upsets. On top of offering different levels of fibre, each hay has a different texture and firmness, which helps your small animal properly maintain their teeth with plenty of options to help naturally wear them down so they don’t overgrow.
Fulfills nutritional needs
While many pellet-style foods have a well-balanced composition to ensure proper nutrient uptake, offering varieties of hay to further increase nutrient variety is a must. Not only does each type of hay contain different levels of fibre, protein, and fat, they have different levels of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals as well.
Feeding different types of hay offers great opportunities to your small animal’s enrichment, activity, health, and wellness. There are many different options and methods to offer hay that can further boost the benefits through stimulating challenges and activities. Whether you have a guinea pig, chinchilla, hamster, or other furry friend, hay can be super beneficial. Much like people need variety in their diets, so do our pets!
If you’ve always fed timothy hay, a great product to start adding to the mix is Oxbows Timothy and Orchard Grass hay blend. This allows an easy introduction to new flavours and textures in a great ratio that will still be familiar to your pet.
Do you have hay-related questions? Feel free to visit us in store or contact us. We’re more than happy to help!