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Hamsters and guinea pigs belong to a huge rodent family. But have you ever thought, can hamsters eat hay?
Well, yes, hamsters can eat hay. But unlike guinea pigs, they don’t need it. Although hay is not an essential part of their balanced diet, it provides few nutritional benefits to hamsters. Some hamsters only chew hay instead of swallowing it.
You are probably here to learn more about “can hamsters eat hay”? So, read till the end to get rid of your curiosity.
What is Hay?
Let us tell you about what is hay.
Hay is an amazing multipurpose grass that most animals like including your hamster. Besides, many animals use this dried grass in bedding.
So, can hamsters eat hay?
Yes, and they only like it if they consume it with their regular food. The fibrous materials in hay help file down their teeth as they swallow it instead of chewing.
But if your hamster doesn’t like the taste of this grass, don’t worry. It’s not an essential part of their diet.
Nutritional Benefits of Hay for Hamsters?
Can hamsters eat hay? How is it beneficial for them?
Well, there is a variety of hay available. Particularly, alfalfa hay is usually suitable for hamsters because of its nutritional benefits. Alfalfa hay contains plenty of nutrients like:
- Calcium protects your hamster’s teeth and bones.
- Protein is important for the hamster’s development and growth.
- Fiber is essential for your pet hamster’s digestive system.
Potential Dangers of Hay for Hamsters
Unlike guinea pigs and rabbits, hamsters don’t need hay in their diet. Therefore, it is not risky for them if given a treat.
But here are some risks of feeding hay to hamsters that can’t be ignored.
Hay can be pointy and can hurt your hamster’s eye. Therefore, remove its sharp pieces before giving hay to your pet. Besides, too much hamster can make your hamster sneeze and trigger various allergic reactions in him.
In addition, there is also a choking hazard associated with it. So, feed only a little bit of your pet. Also, an excessive amount of hay can upset his digestive system. Thus, it’s better to provide it in small amounts and on occasion.
Do You Know?
Hamsters can eat a variety of foods, we have researched lots of them. Check out this One: Can Hamsters Eat Pomegranate?
What Types of Hay Can Hamsters Eat?
Hamsters can eat almost every type of hay, but giving them its common varieties is better. Generally, three types of hay that are best for hamsters:
Alfalfa is the most nutritious hay and is mainly recommended for hamsters. It is loaded with vitamins and nutrients; therefore, your pet will enjoy it fully.
Timothy hay is a popular type of hay and is perfectly safe for hamsters. It is found in Europe and is composed of timothy grass. You can give this to your hamster, but in small amounts.
Orchard Grass Hay
This type of hay is also safe for the hamster. It can be a great part of your pet’s daily diet.
If you want to give your pet something new, go for marigolds, dried daisies, chamomile, or wheat. If your pet doesn’t like the taste of alfalfa or timothy hay, you can mix them with other treats.
How to Give Your Hamster Hay?
Well, giving your pet treats on occasion strengthens your bond with them. In the case of hay, make sure to wash it properly to get rid of chemicals or pesticides.
Feed it as a part of your pet’s daily diet, including treats such as pumpkin, carrots, or cabbage. Also, removing the sharp bits of hay is better so they won’t hurt your pet.
Hay Bedding for Hamsters
Hamsters can use hay in their bedding. In the wild, they make bedding or nests out of everything they find. So, remove all the pointy bits of hay from the mixture. You don’t want to hurt your hamster through sharp bits of hay.
Can Hamsters Live Without Hay?
No doubt, hamsters can survive without eating hay. It is cost-effective food for your hamster that provides him with high fiber and nutrition. Thus, you can safely feed it to your hamster but in small amounts.
To sum up, can hamsters eat hay? Yes, it provides nutrients and minerals, but it isn’t a necessary part of your pet’s diet.
Besides, there is also a risk of choking if hamsters eat hay, so feed them only small pieces. Alfalfa hay, timothy hay, and orchard grass hay are the best options for hamsters to eat.