When families drop off their pets with us we are often told ‘they don’t eat much hay’ and that’s never good as hay should be the main diet for both guinea pigs and rabbits (there will be a post about this coming soon).
There are some simple steps you can take to encourage your pets to eat more hay.
Firstly – not all hays are equal and not all pets like the same hay!
Your first task is to find the right hay for your pet. We have experimented with lots, and for us the most popular hay is the Ings hay from Hay & Straw.
The picture below shows you 3 different types of hay to demonstrate how different it can be. You need to try different hay with your pets and find the one they like best.
The other reason your pet may not be eating enough hay is that they may be filling up on nuggets and fresh food – think like you are trying to get a child to eat more vegetables, my mum always told me I couldn’t leave veg until last and then say I was full, I had to eat it first and if I was full I could leave something else.
When guests stay with us and don’t eat enough hay, the first thing we do is delay breakfast. When we go to our guests first thing in the morning we give them fresh hay before we give them anything else. That way, if they are hungry they will start with the hay (you will be amazed how many go straight for it!). After that, if they normally have nuggets at home in the morning we will give them a small portion. We regularly top up our guests hay throughout the day and evening as we know some don’t like to eat it once they have stood on it – it always seems to taste better straight from the bag.
If you are looking for tips and tricks to help encourage your pets to eat more hay you could make it more exciting for them. You can buy hay that already has dried flowers and herbs in it or you can make hay more exciting for your pets by hiding food in it yourself– this could be their nuggets, dried forage, small amounts of treats or their fresh food. Making them work for their food makes them exhibit more natural foraging behaviour and can encourage them to eat more hay.
We would love to hear if this has worked for you – why not pop over to our facebook page and look for the link to this blog post and comment.