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Thread: Timothy vs. Orchard Grass vs. Oat Hay

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave Murk21's Avatar
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    Timothy vs. Orchard Grass vs. Oat Hay

    My vet's comments on some of the hays were a bit contradictory to the info I have found on this site so I wanted to post what he said and get others' opinions.

    The vet is a known exotics vet in my area and came highly recommended by @Paula. He seems pretty knowledgeable. He said that he has tested the nutritional values on the various hays and has come to this opinion because of the results.

    As a quick background, the hay issue was brought up because my pig Kevy may be dealing with an allergy. I have a thread in the Medical section with the full details: http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/...s-vs-uris.html

    Currently I am feeding Timothy and Orchard Grass hays. The vet said to feed only one of each for about 4 days to see if the nasal discharge goes away.

    However, if it turns out that the Timothy hay is the allergen, my vet would prefer I do not only feed Orchard Grass because the Orchard Grass is similar to alfalfa and is higher in protein which can lead to obesity.

    He said that if we find that Kevy is allergic to Timothy, he would prefer to see Kevy on Oat Hay. I searched found a previous thread on this forum where a moderator said that Oat Hay should only be given as a treat.

    Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on his comments and these hays?

  2. "Thank you, Murk21, for this useful post," says:

    SamanthaC02 (02-19-13)

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Timothy vs. Orchard Grass vs. Oat Hay

    Was it Burgess? Burgess is a fat-o-phobe. I wouldn't worry about obesity. I've fed exclusively orchard grass for quite some time because of the higher calcium content in timothy and due to the poor quality of local timothy and none of my animals are obese or even overweight. That said, I have fed oat hay exclusively in the case of stone and sludge pigs and have had no problem doing so.

  4. "Thank you, Paula, for this useful post," says:

    Murk21 (02-19-13)

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Timothy vs. Orchard Grass vs. Oat Hay

    I don't know how helpful my thoughts will be, but here they are.

    The nutritional content of hays varies with the age of the hay when it's harvested. Several sites say that oat hay has about the same nutritional value as grass hay when it's harvested young, but it loses value when it gets older. Since we don't know what hays your vet tested, or how old they were, or how the tests were done, I'd reserve judgment until I had more data.

    I believe oat hay has more fat content than other hays, so it might not be suitable as a regular diet for an overweight pig.

    Here's a chart done by the National Research Council in the UK that compares different kinds of hays: Nutritional Value of Hay Charts | Horses 101: The Complete Guide to Buying and Caring for Your Horse. Alfalfa and orchard grass seem more dissimilar than orchard grass and timothy. I'm sure you can google up some more comparison information.

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    Cavy Slave Murk21's Avatar
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    Re: Timothy vs. Orchard Grass vs. Oat Hay

    Yes, it was Burgess... good to know about him being a fat-o-phobe! Surrency said Kevy was at a good weight, but she wouldn't him to gain any more weight either.

    Burgess did say that hays could vary with maturity, soil, etc. I beleive that some of the hay he was testing was Oxbow hay. But I do understand your point about the variences.

    Thank you, both, for your comments!

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