Best and Worst Types of Hay for Your Skinny Pig!
Hay is an essential component of a skinny pigs' diet and should comprise 80% of their overall food intake. But, not all hay is created equal. Let's look at the best types of hay for your skinny pig and which ones you should avoid.
Why Hay Matters:
Why is hay so crucial for skinny pigs?
Well, it's not just about filling their tummies. Hay provides the necessary fiber for a healthy digestive system and helps wear down their ever-growing teeth. Plus, it's a source of entertainment and mental stimulation for these curious animals.
The Hay Winners:
The gold standard for skinny pigs, Timothy hay is high in fiber and low in protein and calcium, which is ideal for adult skinny pigs. It helps prevent obesity and bladder stones – two common issues in these pets. The long strands also encourage natural foraging and chewing behaviors.
Orchard Grass Hay:
A great alternative to Timothy, orchard grass is softer and has a sweet smell that can entice picky eaters. It's similar in nutritional content to Timothy hay, making it another excellent choice for your furless friend. This is the perfect hay choice if you suffer from hay allergies.
Oat hay is a bit of a treat. With seed heads that skinny pigs love, it’s higher in protein and lower in fiber. While it’s not for everyday feeding, it’s a great occasional supplement to your skinny pig’s diet.
The Hay to Avoid:
Often mistaken as a good choice, alfalfa hay (a type of legume hay) is high in calcium and protein, making it suitable for young, pregnant, or nursing skinny pigs but not for adults. Regular consumption can lead to obesity and bladder stones in adult skinny pigs.
Legume hays (like clover and alfalfa) are too rich for adult skinny pigs. They can cause digestive issues, urinary stones, and obesity if fed regularly.
Tips for Hay Feeding:
Variety is Key:
Mixing different types of hay can keep your skinny pig interested and ensure a balanced diet. Just be sure to stick to the recommended types.
Always provide fresh, clean hay. Avoid any hay that looks moldy or smells musty, as it can be harmful. Do not leave hay just lying about your pet’s living area as they might wee and poo on it and then eat it. Consider using a hay box or a feeder for the fresh hay meant for eating.
Free-Feed Hay: Good quality hay should make up the bulk of your skinny pig's diet and be available at all times. They need to munch on hay throughout the day for their digestive health.
Storage Matters: Store your hay in a cool, dry place to prevent mold and maintain its nutritional value.
Make sure the hay you feed is free from chemicals and pesticides.
Remember, every skinny pig is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Keep an eye on your pet’s health and preferences, and consult with a vet if you're unsure about dietary changes. With the right hay in their diet, your skinny pigs will maintain excellent health.
Keep giving your pets the best of natural life!
April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H