5 Best Ways To Store Guinea Pig Hay (Owner Approved!)

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Guinea pig hay isn’t exactly the easiest thing to store in your home. Sometimes it’s hard to know what the best way is to keep your hay fresh for your furry friends.

As a general rule, guinea pig hay should be stored in a dry location with plenty of air circulation to allow the hay to “breathe”. Additionally, the storage location should be free of pests and any form of dampness. Otherwise the hay will become moldy and encourage the growth of bacteria that could make your piggies sick.

two guinea pigs eating guinea pig hay

But, guinea pigs need constant access to hay – like ALL the time. Its’ necessary for their digestive health. But, where and how can you safely store it? And how can you avoid pulling your hair out from storage related hay frustrations?

In this article, I’ll cover the top five best guinea pig hay storage solutions to make it easy for you!

But, first let’s look at the reasons why you have to be so careful about where you store guinea pig hay

In a hurry? If you’re storing hay inside your house, I recommend a laundry hamper with a breathable cloth interior just like this one. Check out some awesome hamper options on Amazon here. They’re lightweight, look good, and have enough ventilation to keep your hay fresh.

How To Store Hay for Your Piggies Safely

Moisture is the ultimate “enemy” of hay.

New piggie parents often make the mistake of storing their guinea pig hay in places which are hard to properly protect, to keep dry, and to provide ventilation.

This usually leads to a lot of wasted money (from hay that spoils) or sick guinea pigs (from eating hay that’s been molding or has a funky smell).

That’s not gonna cut it, since hay is 80% of a guinea pigs’ daily diet – and necessary if you don’t want their dental health going down the toilet.  

Related: How To Avoid Hay Poke In Guinea Pigs (3 Important Tips)

There’s basically FIVE THINGS that you need to remember to keep your guinea pig hay fresh, safe, and packed with nutrients for your little, fuzz spuds. Let’s take a look at the storage criteria:

  1. Keep it dry. That means if you live in a humid area, you need to find a space that’s air conditioned and dehumidified to keep the hay safe.
  2. Keep it dark. Constant direct sunlight is enough to make hay spoil, so placing it in sunlight is a big NO-NO.
  3. Keep it inside. Storage in a place that is cool and dry (with climate-control) is the best way to store hay. A spare closet, enclosed porch, or extra room (if you have one) are great options.
  4. Keep the area pest free. If you live in an area where there are rodents or other pests that like to chew on things – do NOT use their space for your hay! Your guinea pigs will thank you if you keep them safe from little nibbling vermin.
  5. Keep it ventilated. Off the ground is best. At the very least, whatever storage method you use shouldn’t be airtight.

So now that we know how important it is to keep hay safe, let’s look at five of the best ways you can store it to protect your piggy bank and  their tummies.

5 Hay Storage Options (Piggie Parent Approved!)

a graph that describes how people store their guinea pig hay
I was a little surprised here. I thought that most would’ve gone with the hamper solution.

So, I adore diving into academic research about guinea pigs – well, any pet actually. (I’m a dork, I know. But, you gotta love me!)

However, I do like to find “social proof” of what works and what doesn’t.

What I mean by that is that I like to look at the experiences of many guinea pig owners (like you!) to see what has worked for them AND their piggies.

If lots of people are doing something with positive results – well, there’s got to be some merit right?

So, I polled a bunch of piggie pet parents about how they stored their guinea pig hay. And this is what they had to say about convenient, guinea pig hay storage locations:

1. Totes and Plastic Storage Containers

BY FAR: Most people (around 63.1%) used totes and other plastic storage containers as a hay bin.

They’re definitely the popular choice.  And it’s not surprising.

  • They’re big. So, you can store quite a bit of hay in these containers depending on which gallon size you need.
  • They’re fairly cheap. Even if you go with a larger container (like this one that goes up to 30 gallons), you’re only looking at spending about $20 or less for your new hay storage location.
  • Light-weight. A lot of plastic storage containers are very light weight, which makes it perfect to pick them up and move them around if needed.

Since the tops of totes aren’t airtight, some circulation of air still happens – which is good for the hay.

But, if I were you, I’d either drill a few holes into the side or leave the lid off several times each week to make sure that your piggie’s hay stays fresh. Also, stick with dark plastic to keep out the sunlight.

Most of the folks that went this route didn’t buy hay in bales. Instead they bought hay in smaller amounts and used these containers to keep it protected, dry, and out of direct sunlight.

2. Trash Cans (Ones With Wheels) Or Trash Bags

Trash cans -or a combo of bags with the cans- were ~12.6% of people’s hay storage location.

To be honest, I think this is pretty genius.

I noticed that this choice pop up more frequently with piggie parents who bought bales of hay and they needed a lot more room than a storage tote could give.

Trash cans are also for you if you need to utilize vertical space versus horizontal. It’ll save you some coin on your hay bill each month too!

This should help offset the cost of the trash can – because the size you’ll need (a trashcan like this one on Amazon) will be a bit of an investment.

Buying in bulk (which I’ll get to in a minute) is the only way to go if you want to save money on hay.

Finally, make sure that you drill A LOT of tiny holes into the sides of the trash can to allow for adequate ventilation. If you don’t, your hay could spoil or mold .

3. Laundry Hampers and Bags

Tied with the trash can crew, some piggie parents decided to go with wicker or rattan laundry hampers to store their hay to use as their guinea pig hay storage location.

Here’s some of the best rattan and wicker hampers on Amazon. And you’re sure to find a snazzy one for y9our home.

I’ve got to admit. This is my absolute favorite option for a couple reasons:

  • Vertical storage options always take up less space – which is key if you don’t have a lot of it at home.
  • They’re stylish. You can buy one that’ll store your hay properly AND look great in your house if you want to. Just take a look at some of these awesome laundry hamper options.
  • They already have built-in ventilation (can you say “airflow” piggies?!?)

I definitely recommend the laundry hamper as a hay storage location idea for your guinea pigs.

4. Cardboard Box

Around 8.7% of piggie parents have hay storage that fit inside of a cardboard box.

So what makes this option so popular?

Low-cost. Or even no-cost if you use the box that the hay came in.

Most of the owners who used the box option have their hay shipped to their homes from a pet store or online retailer. In this case, the box is a compact option that takes up little space in your home.

But, what if you don’t have your hay shipped?

No worries.

It’s so easy to find a box around your home that will work for this purpose or just buy one online. Here’s a good brand of boxes that you could use as a hay bin.

Also convenient is the fact that most cardboard boxes are fairly light-weight and collapsible – making it easy to move them around as needed.

5. A Duvet Cover

Are you like me, and had no idea what a duvet cover is?

A duvet cover is a removable cover that goes over a duvet, which is sort of like a comforter.  

And according to 2.9% of people from the survey, it’s a great way to store hay.

You can use your duvet cover to store hay for your guinea pigs because it’s easily washable, reusable, and had decent airflow (thanks to the lightweight, fabric material).

Two downsides, though:

  1. I wouldn’t call duvet covers fragile materials, but they’re definitely not as sturdy as some of the other hay storage ideas. You’d have to handle them more delicately than some of the other options, that’s for sure.
  2. Also, duvet covers won’t hold a shape. So, you’re basically dealing with an epic, unruly mess as you put the hay in and take it out each time. But hey, if that’s not a big deal to you, then go for it!

My Final Hay Storage Recommendations

In order to keep your guinea pig hay fresh and free from contamination (and to avoid going psycho from a big mess of hay), I recommend doing one of two things, depending on what your hay storage needs are.

If you don’t have a lot of space in your home, I suggest that you:

  • Go with the laundry hamper or wicker basket option (and get a cute one cuz pretty things are nice, right?). Sooooo, many excellent choices of hampers to pick from – there’s something for everyone.
  • Then keep it close to your piggies’ cage to top off your piggies’ hay as needed.

But, if you have a reasonably sized home or have options for where you store your hay elsewhere, I recommend that you:

  • Get a hay bale bag for storage large amounts of hay. No, they didn’t come up in the survey, but, yes – they’re a thing. They’re convenient, and good for keeping everything tightly together until you need to flake it off for your piggie. Here’s some great hay bale options on Amazon.
  • Or you can go with a trash can for vertical storage- just remember to drill lots of holes into the sides to let air circulate for the hay. Here’s a sturdy 32 gallon option with wheels.
  • Utilize a snazzy laundry basket. Use it as a cute, well-ventilated spare hay storage. Then when you need to refill it, take it to your hay bale bag or trash can, stuff it full of hay, and then haul it back to piggies.

Thinking about adding a piggie to your family or want to brush up on the essentials? Gotcha covered. What you need is a reliable, “all-in-one” resource to refer to when you’re struggling. A Beginner’s Ultimate Guide To Guinea Pig Care is a starting point with all the basics and more to get you on your way!

Final Thoughts About Guinea Pig Hay Storage

I hope that this article has provided you with some new and interesting ideas for how to store your guinea pig’s hay.

There are so many different ways to store your guinea pig hay (ways to keep it fresh and filled with the essential nutrients your furry friends need, so they don’t have digestive health issues down the road.

But, you still need to make sure that your storage solution is feasible for your location.

You have to find the perfect balance between the two.  

Fortunately, you’ve got options.  

  • Two popular options are laundry baskets and wicker baskets, which can be used as a permanent or temporary solution depend on how much space you have to dedicate to it.  It’s definitely THE CHOICE for people who need a quick fix.
  • For those looking for something more long term, there are hay bale bags. These are great for storing large quantities of hay for longer periods of time. You’ll want to use these for larger spaces, such as garages, basements, sheds, etc. 
  • Trash cans and totes require a bit more prep work. Either drill holes into the sides or leave the top off several times a week to allow the hay to breathe.
  • Another budget-friendly option is using a duvet cover that’s easily washable and reusable without sacrificing airflow.

Either way, you’ll want to make sure that the hay is dry, protected from contamination as well as any potential pests such as mice or bugs, so think about where you will be storing it before making a decision. Now, that’s proper hay storage.

Personally, I recommend keeping a smaller storage bin handy by your piggies’ cage for easy use.  

Because the last thing you want to do is leave a trail of hay through your entire house.  That sort of thing is enough to make you lose your mind. 

That said…

Happy Hay-storing!

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

Guinea lynx :: Hay storage. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig. https://www.guinealynx.info/hay_storage.html

Guinea pig feeding. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-feeding

Hay Storage Considerations. (n.d.). Forages. https://forages.osu.edu/sites/forages/files/imce/2021%20Hay%20Storage%20Factsheet.pdf

What should I feed my Guinea pigs? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-should-i-feed-my-guinea-pigs/

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