The important of feeding hay - especially timothy hay.
Why feeding hay to your small animal pet is a MUST?
The most important part of the small animals like rabbit, guinea pig and chinchilla diet is an unlimited supply of grass hay which provides essential fibre as well as proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Fibre from hay helps the digestive system maintain proper motility, fibre in the hay can help prevent blockages that may kill your pet. With a daily feeding of handful of timothy hay or other grass like orchard grass will helps to maintain proper tooth alignment, and prevent molar spurs. Do not feed chop hay which said to have easy feeding, it does not benefit to your pet at all. Chop hay had done the job of your pet, your pet suppose to chew it and munching on the hay by them self, by doing this to maintain proper tooth alignment, and prevent molar spurs
Keeping them well stocked with hay may also help to keep the fur and other weird foreign bodies moving through your pet's complex digestive system. A lack of hay can slow down your pet's intestinal functions and cause a multitude of problems. Hay is an essential part of your pet's diet, and you should no more leave your hay without hay than you would leave it without water.
There are two general classes of hay: legume or lucern and grass. Legumes have a different root and leaf structure and contain more calcium and protein than grasses. Examples of legume hay are clover and alfalfa. Because of the higher protein content. Legume hay is generally reserved for lactating nursing female, young animal, animal that is recover from sickness, animal that under seven months of age or use as treat.
When we think of grass hay, we typically think of timothy because it's the most common grass hay sold at local pet supply shops. When hay is eaten by the animal, large amounts of saliva are secreted. This saliva is basic and creates an environment in the rumen to encourage the growth of microbial populations that will digest the fibre in the hay. Good hay should smell sweet or like fresh grass. It should be green to greenish-grey in colour. Given free choice, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and other pet herbivores, normally prefer sweet, green, leafy hay rather than the more golden, stalky hay. The green colour indicates higher levels of chlorophyll, vitamin C and vitamin A. More golden or sun burn hay has more vitamin D. Leafy hay tends to be higher in protein in calcium than stalky hay.
Green, soft, leafy hay is used as an alternative to replace hard feed (pellets or mix) (for example if you are already feeding vegetables as part of the diet); coarser hay is used to complement or balance the hard feed fed. Timothy hay is the most popular rabbit, guinea pigs, chinchillas and other pet herbivores feeding hay, and probably the easiest for you to obtain. Alfafa hays are tastier to your pet, but contain a great deal of calcium and protein.
If your rabbit suddenly stops eating hay where he previously enjoyed it, you should check his mouth for dental problems or soreness of any kind. Rabbits do not normally 'go off' a food without good reason. Any rabbit which suddenly displays a preference for only soft food should be checked for dental problems.
Guinea pigs have a serious need for hay. In the wild they create tunnel like passageways through the long grass where they can hide from predators as they go about their foraging activity. Barging through to bury themselves in a great bundle of hay and munching away is what a guinea pig likes best. Hay for them is not so much a bedding, more a way of life!
Chinchillas live on a particularly sparse diet in the wild. They both have a bit of a sweet tooth which must not be overindulged as they cannot tolerate sugar and too much will make them extremely ill. Chinchillas are extremely active when they are awake and benefit from having their hay stuffed into hollow logs just like guinea pigs.