The Life of a Guinea Pig

I like grass!
June 27, 2012, 10:20 pm
Filed under: General | Tags: ,

Slave has been giving us all grass to eat instead of hay. It is very good and I like it a lot. It is fresh and green and tasty!

We have had different kinds of hay.

Hay from Quebec
The hay from Quebec.

Mostly we have had timothy hay that is very green but also very stiff with lots of stems in it. That hay also has lots of seed heads. It is dusty, and it makes Slave complain about something called “allergies.” She sniffs a lot and rubs at her eyes. The problem with hay like this is that the stems are very stiff and they can hurt us if we try to burrow into it. Squeak and Batman really like to burrow into their hay, so that’s an important thing to remember! The dust is also a problem because we can get upper respiratory infections (URI’s) really easily. The brands we have had that are like this are Oxbow, All Living Things, Kaytee, and Seed to Sky Products. Kaytee has a lot of brown stuff in it, so Slave doesn’t buy it very often. The best one is All Living Things, but it is still very stiff. The worst ones were Oxbow and Seed to Sky Products. Slave says it’s because these companies only use “first cut” hay, which I guess is the cut from the first time it grows in the field.

One time Slave got us something called Botanical Hay, from Oxbow. That hay was very stiff as well, but it tasted really good and had lots of flowers in it. We liked it better than the Oxbow timothy hay! It made Slave have lots of allergies, too, though, so she won’t get it for us again.

The other hay we had came from a place called Quebec. Slave ordered it online from a store called Montreal Critters. It was very tasty and nice and soft, so it was safe to burrow in and everything, but there was way too much brown stuff in there for us. Slave had to sweep out our cages almost every day to get rid of the brown bits we didn’t eat.

Bubble says hi to the little guy (H/B)
Some of the land outside the house.

Since we live in the country, there is lots of grass outside. It is very long, and Slave and her mate pick it every day so that we can have it fresh. Sometimes they give us very long grass with lots of stems. We only eat the leaves – the flat parts that grow on the stems – so Slave has to clean out the stems a lot.

It is very important for us to have hay or grass to eat all the time. We eat it starting from the end, and we use our front teeth to bite the hay or grass and pull pieces back to our molars. Then we chew up the small pieces and swallow. We can chew with all of our teeth at the same time!

We eat hay all the time, except when we’re eating pellets or vegetables, or when we’re drinking water or sleeping. It’s important for us to chew so much because it keeps our teeth worn down. Our digestive systems also need to always have food in them, and hay helps make that happen.

We need to keep our teeth worn down because they are always growing. Not just our front teeth, either. Our back teeth grow all the time, too. That’s why it’s important to keep hay or grass in our cages for us. If we can’t chew on it all the time, our teeth might get too long and that will make it hard for us to eat anything. Some people think that giving us wood blocks to chew on will help with our teeth, but that’s not true. Wood blocks can’t help us with our back teeth, and that is usually the cause of overgrown front teeth.

Slave is going to see if she can find a good source of grass hay to feed us over the winter. Hay keeps for a long time (at least six months to a year) if you store it properly. She is going to see if there is someone around here who grows hay specially for horses, because the hay that is best for horses is the same hay that is best for us! Hay that is bad for us is alfalfa and lucerne hay. That is good for cows, but not for horses or guinea pigs. We need grass hay, like brome or timothy.

And now you know lots about hay and guinea pigs!



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