Hay Cubes

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Chinchillaville13

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Hey! Had a quick question.

I bought some hay cubes. I just noticed that alfalfa hay is the secondary ingredient, timothy hay being the primary. They're cheap, convenient, and he likes them. It's so much easier than plain hay, which he mostly wastes. Plus, he's a fur chewer, and having cubes to work on instead of thin blades of grass. My question is, is this fine for him as a hay substitute, despite the alfalfa?
 

Amethyst

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I would say no, hay cubes don't work to replace loose hay unfortunately, and added alfalfa (assuming you are already feeding an alfalfa based pellet) risks urinary tract stones. You may get away with 100% timothy hay cubes so long as your chins teeth are perfect and don't grow very fast, and he eats several a day. I would make sure you are getting their teeth checked regularly at the vet if you do that. The primary reason you need loose hay is because it takes longer to chew then pellets and cubes of chopped up hay. Since hay cubes are made of chopped hay they take less time to chew the same amount of hay, less chewing means less wear on the molars, less wear can lead to over grown molars over time. Cubes can definitely be used in addition to loose hay though, but the alfalfa mixed ones I would say are best to just limit to a couple a week, which is not enough to replace loose hay.
 

Jawramik

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If you want to try timothy-only cubes, I know that Small Pet Select makes them. You can order them off Amazon. My chin really enjoys them, although I also give her loose hay.

You could also try things like timothy hay balls (and I think there are a few other forms, like mats and "stacks").

I personally wouldn't totally replace loose hay with things like hay cubes and hay balls, but they can certainly be a fun and enriching way to supplement loose hay. And they're all going to help wear down their teeth in different ways, so there's almost certainly some physical health benefits to them as well. But I still wouldn't cut out loose hay all together, for the reasons Amethyst stated.

If your chin isn't eating much of his hay, you could try a different brand. My chin's favourites are Small Pet Select and Farmer Dave's. You could also try some different types of grass hay, like meadow grass or orchard grass.
 

Chinchillaville13

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If you want to try timothy-only cubes, I know that Small Pet Select makes them. You can order them off Amazon. My chin really enjoys them, although I also give her loose hay.

You could also try things like timothy hay balls (and I think there are a few other forms, like mats and "stacks").

I personally wouldn't totally replace loose hay with things like hay cubes and hay balls, but they can certainly be a fun and enriching way to supplement loose hay. And they're all going to help wear down their teeth in different ways, so there's almost certainly some physical health benefits to them as well. But I still wouldn't cut out loose hay all together, for the reasons Amethyst stated.

If your chin isn't eating much of his hay, you could try a different brand. My chin's favourites are Small Pet Select and Farmer Dave's. You could also try some different types of grass hay, like meadow grass or orchard grass.
I could try a different hay, but he's been eating the same hay since I got him 5 years ago. Is there a feeder that you guys use that reduces the amount of hay wasted? I think he does it when he gets bored. He's very active minded and bores easy
 

Jawramik

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I could try a different hay, but he's been eating the same hay since I got him 5 years ago. Is there a feeder that you guys use that reduces the amount of hay wasted? I think he does it when he gets bored. He's very active minded and bores easy
I use this hay feeder: Pandamonium Hay Rack - Etsy

It does seem to reduce the amount of hay my chin flings around.
 

tunes

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To be honest, many large breeders don't feed loose hay at all. If all you're seeing is waste with the loose hay, then use the cubes. If it was me, I would offer the loose hay every once in a while and the hay cubes more often.
 

Jawramik

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he's been eating the same hay since I got him 5 years ago.
Just an idea, but....could this maybe be the problem? Is it possible that he's just gotten sick of his usual hay? I've noticed that my chin does seem to get bored/sick of having the same hay. I'll change up the brand, or even the type of hay, and she'll get excited about it again. She's the same way with toys. No matter how much she seems to love a toy at first, if I give it to her day after day after day, she eventually gets bored with it.

They're smart little buggers, and with intelligence comes the propensity for boredom.
 

Amethyst

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I have hay feeders similar to the ones Jawramik linked, nothing really prevents waste though. There are a few tricks you can try though, one is to not put as much hay in the feeder at a time, rather then filling the hay holder just put a small handful in at a time, and don't clean up hay on the floor of the cage unless it's been peed on. Also don't put new hay in until they current hay has been eaten, or it's time to change the cage. You can also try different kinds of feeders, some do best with hanging feeders inside the cage, others do well with the kind that hang on the outside of the cage (Like this Ware Manufacturing Hay Rack, Assorted Colors : Amazon.ca: Pet Supplies ) and they pull the hay through the bars, but some actually do best with having the hay in a bowl or clay pot sitting on the floor of the cage. Some chins even like to eat hay out of fleece hammocks rather then sleeping in the hammock. With my boy the top hay holder he tosses a lot of hay, but most lands in the hammock below, and he does go and eat it from there later. You may need to try a few things to figure out what works best for your chin. You can also try tucking hay around the cage in clay pots but also in large willow balls and/or cholla logs.

I agree with Jawramik, I don't know how many times I've changed brands as well as I offer a variety of hay, if he starts not wanting the hay I get something else. Being a crop hay can vary not only from brand to brand but also from harvest to harvest or even bag to bag of the same harvest. A variety of hay types too can help increase interest, for example many chins like the timothy and orchard mix and the timothy and meadow mix, Oxbow sells those premixed, or you can mix it yourself with other brands.
 
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