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The type of hay you choose for your small pets depends on their nutritional needs and age. Here are some general guidelines:
First Cut Timothy Hay: This hay is coarser and has more stems than leaves. It is higher in fiber, making it a good choice for overweight or older animals that need more roughage in their diet. First cut timothy hay is also ideal for dental health since the long stems can help wear down teeth.
Second Cut Timothy Hay: This hay is softer and has more leaves than stems. It is lower in fiber but higher in protein and nutrients, making it a good choice for growing animals, nursing mothers, and active pets. This is the most popular choice for adult small pets.
Orchard Grass: This hay is a good alternative to timothy hay for pets that have a sensitivity to timothy hay and for pet owners who have allergies to timothy hay. It is softer and has more leaves than stems. Orchard grass is higher in protein and lower in fiber than timothy hay, making it a good choice for young or active animals.
Alfalfa: This hay is high in protein and calcium, making it a good choice for young animals, pregnant or nursing mothers, and sick or recovering pets. However, it is not recommended for adult animals as it is too rich and can lead to obesity and other health problems.
It's important to note that every pet has different nutritional needs, so it's best to consult with your veterinarian or a knowledgeable pet store employee to determine the best type of hay for your small pet.