We love our hamsters! We want the best for them and we want to do the best for their health. This includes what food they eat, you are what you eat and this applies for hamsters as well! This results in us wondering what types of food are suitable for hamsters, for instance, Do Hamsters Eat Hay? This is an important question! Pet treats are often expensive and therefore common household foods can be useful for giving our hamster a healthy and varied diet. The good news is that hamsters do eat hay! It is safe for them and it can also be used as bedding!
This article will be taking you through the uses for hay for hamsters. It will show you how much hay you should feed your hamster as well as the benefits and risks of hay as a food! It will then show you the different uses for hay outside of food. There are so many different types of hay such as timothy, alfalfa and orchard grass. We recommend alfalfa hay the most and this article will be written for this type of hay.
What is Hay
Hay is an incredible multipurpose grass that is loved by so many animals! It is primarily eaten by livestock as well as rabbits and guinea pigs. It is simply dried grass which is used as bedding by many animals as well. Early farmers discovered that drying grass would give their animals food for the winter and that’s how hay was created! Your hammy could love this dried grass!
Can Hamsters Eat Hay?
As stated before, our lovely furry friends can absolutely eat hay! Lots of animals love this dried grass, because it is what they would often eat in the wild! The real question is how much our pets can eat and the other uses that they can make of hay. That’s what the rest of this article will be talking about!
How to give your hamster Hay
When you are giving treats, such as this food, to your hamster, always make sure you are holding them or make sure that you are close to them. This is because giving treats to your hamster can strengthen your bond and assist in socializing them. Only give a small amount to your hamster at first, this is to figure out if they like hay. There’s no point giving your hamster a lot of it if they just ignore it! Your hamster might put the food in their cheek poaches though.
Make sure that you wash the hay beforehand. This gets rid of any of the chemicals that may have been on the hay to protect it whilst it was growing. Pesticides can hurt your hamster’s health. We will be discussing what kind of hay is best for your hamster later on in the article.
Sometimes, your pet may start sneezing due to the hay brand having a negative impact on their nose. If this happens then you can change the brand of hay or remove the hay altogether. Hay can be very dusty and this can cause problems if you put too much in. Remove the sharp bits of hay from what yo give them. Hamsters are likely to pouch hay and your hamster can have serious problems if the cheek poach is penetrated.
How much Hay should you feed your hamster?
Luckily, you can feed quite a lot of hay to your hamster. This is because it is simply grass, grass doesn’t pose any real risks to your hamster and their health. This is the same for Syrians, Robos and Dwarf hamsters. Just make sure that you are being sensible with the amount of hay that you give them and ensure that it is enough that they can eat. Furthermore, make sure that you follow the guidelines that have already been given. Give your hamster hay in small amounts first. Hamsters can be impacted negatively by too much hay.
Benefits of Hay
There’s many different types of Hay, this list of benefits will be for alfalfa hay as this is the main type of hay that we recommend for hamsters.Alfafa hay contains lots of nutrients such as:
- Protein. This helps to build your hamster’s tissue growth and development
- Calcium. This protects your hamster’s bones and teeth
- Fibre. This helps your hamster’s digestive system
Risks of Hay
There’s not many risks of Hay when it comes to actually eating it. However there’s a few risks when it comes to your hamster being silly and possibly hurting themselves!
- Hay can be pointy. This can hurt your hamster if they poach it or if it hits their eye. Make sure to remove especially pointy pieces of hay from your mix.
- Too much hay can be problematic for your hamster. It can make them itch and make them sneeze. Only give them a little bit.
- Hay could be a choking hazard. Don’t give them big pieces of hay
- Too much of anything can fill your hamster up and hurt their digestive system. This is the same for hay. Only give them a small amount at a time.
What else can hay be used for?
Your hamster may use the hay for other things other than food! Here’s some of them:
Your hamster may use hay as part of their bedding. It’s normal for hamsters in the wild to make bedding and nests out of anything they can find, hay is no exception! This is why you need to make sure that you remove the pointy bits of hay from the mixture. You don’t want your hamster stabbing themselves in their sleep!
Your hamster may simply leave the hay on the ground, this means it will form part of the floor substrate that your hamster needs in their cage. Don’t automatically think that this means that your hamster doesn’t want it! Hamsters can be quite complex and have certain reasons for what they do. If this becomes a common pattern though, you may want to not give hay anymore.
What types of Hay can Hamsters Eat?
There’s so many different types of Hay! Can our furry friends have all of the different kinds? Let’s find out! For the sake of time, we will just be looking at three types of hay.
Timothy hay is one of the most popular types of this lovely food and it is perfectly safe for hamsters. It is native to Europe and made out of timothy grass. You can give this to your hamster as long as you follow the guidelines that are presented above!
Alfalfa is probably the most nutritious form of hay and it is, therefore, the hay that we recommend the most! It is packed full of vitamins and nutrients which means that your lovely pet should absolutely enjoy it! Glenway Animal Hospital state that this hay has much better levels of protein and calcium!
Orchard Grass Hay
Again, this type of hay is perfectly safe for your hamster! It can be a wonderful part of your pet’s daily diet.
Conclusion – Do Hamsters Eat Hay?
So in conclusion, hamsters do absolutely love hay! They can use it for food, bedding and floor substrate. It provides many vital nutrients and vitamins and also is a great help for wearing down their teeth. Just make sure that you follow the correct guidelines. Always remove the pointy parts of hay and chop the hay down to a correct size! Don’t put too much in as your hamster needs to get used to the hay! This grass can be a delicious snack for your pet, so enjoy!
Have you tried out hay before? Did your hamster like it? Let us know in the comments!