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Diet Just need to make sure that I've got this all right. Hay/Pellets etc.


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jun 27, 2006
Right now I have 4 guinea pigs. 2 sows, one is 3 months old and the other will be 3 months old next Thursday. Our boys Oliver (might be changed to Max) and Chester were born on January 20th and the 24th respectively.

They all eat unlimited alfalfa hay. I've had to buy Kaytee even though I'm not a fan of theirs because the last two times I bought Oxbow it looked terrible and was so hard the girls wouldn't touch it.

They all eat Oxbow's young cavy alfalfa based pellets.

They get various veggies twice a day (I use that chart that is often linked to on this site as a guide) The girls get a little of everything, the boys are sticking with the staples as we've had them for just one day and haven't really had them introduced to anything new yet. They go for their first check up with our vet on Tuesday morning then we'll start introducing tomatoes and carrots and random other veg that our girls already love and we buy.

My questions are these.....

Should I switch to buying hay online? Even with the shipping costs I can understand and justify the larger cost since over the long run it is cheaper. If so is alfalfa the type of hay they should be getting for their age or can they have timothy hay and other grasses. What are the benefits of adding orchard grasses or bluegrasses to the standard Timothy hay?

The girls, whom we've had since December, continue to have the white urine no matter how closely we monitor the amount of calcium in their veg intake. Does this mean we should switch to a different type of pellets? Someone suggested earlier combining the Oxbow with the KMS to see if that helped their pig but their pigs hated the KMS pellets. They are all on Alfalfa based Oxbow young cavy pellets since they are all under 6 months of age.

The girls are growing steadily and the boys had their first weigh in tonight, I don't have the chart here or I'd put that info down.

Any advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I want to make sure I am giving our herd the best quality nutrition I can. If I can afford to feed my family organic for certain items, or non-gluten or non-soy whatever...then I can certainly justify affording paying shipping costs for hay or pellets or whatever our piggies need.
If they are on an alfalfa based pellet, then you can switch them all to timothy or any other grass hay. Personally I like orchard grass because it doesn't effect allergies as much.

I would just try one switch at a time. Start with the hay and see if that helps with the white spots. If I remember correctly, alfalfa is higher in calcium then the grass hays.

Buying in bulk is a good idea. As you said, it's cheaper in the long run and you don't really have to worry about hay going stale. If stored properly it can last up to a year.
I don't have the space to store enough for a year, I can use a decent sized rubbermaid bin to store it in (one with holes in it for ventilation since it needs that right?) and put that under the cage so I can probably store a few months supply at a time, but even that would be less expensive than spending 4 dollars per mini-bale of hay and going through a mini-bale in 2 days (just for the girls, that's not counting the boys since we haven't had them long enough to know how much hay they go through daily).

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it, we have allergies and severe asthma so I'm thrilled that you said I could possibly switch away from the alfalfa hay. We already use fleece and are even in the process of switching from carefresh to wood pellets for the litter tray.
The best way to store hay is in the cardboard box they ship it to you in with no plastic. However, if ventilated, a plastic tote will work well too.

Orchard grass has been amazing with the allergies. I would recommend it to anyone.
Alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets are overkill. Pigs need a long strand grass hay, and alfalfa isn't even a grass, it's a legume. Pigs never need alfalfa hay unless they can't get alfalfa pellets when they're young, pregnant, or nursing. The alfalfa pellets will do the job nicely.

Switch them off to a grass hay -- timothy, orchard, meadow and brome are the most common kinds of sufficiently high quality for guinea pigs.
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