What are the differences between 1st Cut Timothy Hay, 2nd Cut Timothy Hay, Orchard Grass, and Alfalfa?

by George Pomeroy on February 28, 2023

Hay is an essential component of small pets' diets, especially for rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas. Each type of hay has its nutritional benefits, and the choice of hay depends on the pet's age, weight, and specific dietary needs.

1st cut Timothy Hay refers to the first harvest of hay of the season. It is generally thicker, coarser, and contains more seed heads. This type of hay is lower in protein and calcium and higher in fiber, making it an ideal choice for adult rabbits and guinea pigs.

2nd cut Timothy Hay is the second harvest of the season and is usually softer, more tender, and contains fewer seed heads. It is higher in protein, lower in fiber, and has a sweeter taste, making it an excellent choice for young, growing rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as picky eaters.

Orchard Grass Hay is another popular choice for small pets. It is softer and more palatable than Timothy hay, making it an ideal choice for picky eaters. It is also a good source of fiber and lower in calcium, making it an excellent choice for pets prone to bladder or kidney problems.

Alfalfa Hay is higher in protein and calcium, making it a good choice for young, growing pets, pregnant or nursing mothers, and underweight pets. However, it should be fed in moderation or avoided altogether for adult rabbits and guinea pigs because excessive calcium can lead to bladder or kidney stones.

In summary, choosing the right type of hay is crucial to ensure that your small pet's nutritional needs are met. Consulting with a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist can help determine the best hay for your pet's specific needs.