5 Top Tips To Stop Guinea Pig Hay Waste

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Guinea pigs love hay, but they can end up wasting a lot of it – which is frustrating , and crazy expensive.

It can be hard to know what’s going on with a guinea pig’s hay waste .

They often seem very happy munching away or burrowing into it, even if it ends up scattered around the cage in small pieces!  It’s just guinea pig nature.

But, if money is tight (and let’s face it…sometimes it gets tight)…

guinea pig laying in a pile of hay waste
Keep in mind, what’s waste to you, is crazy fun for your piggies. You’ll need to find a happy medium.

It’s possible to limit hay waste (without making your guinea pigs furious or unhappy) time, effort, and creativity.  And you’ll be able to save some money, too.

Here are some tips to stop the hay waste without having to run out and buy a new bag every week:

1. Give Small Amounts of Hay More Often

guinea pig hay waste top tips - guinea pig being fed a piece of hay
Hay waste can’t be completely eliminated. But, it can be limited.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “But, guinea pigs should have unlimited hay all the time!”

I totally agree.

Even if some piggies will literally pick through half the pile, pluck out that solitary piece that they want to munch on, and then pee on the rest, they still need access to tons of hay.

What I mean is, instead of plopping a huge pile of hay into the cage, give multiple, small piles of hay in the morning, in the evening, and throughout the course of the day on their cage floor.

Many owners have said that this method has made a big difference in their fussy piggies’ hay waste.

If you give your piggies just one pile of hay at each meal, they might dig through it all right away – pee and poop in it and the next thing you know, they’re wheeking for more.

If you give them multiple piles of hay, they’re less likely to waste it.

It’s not a foolproof method – some guinea pigs will still pee and poop in the food bowls no matter what you do! But, this can be an effective way to cut down on hay waste .

Make sure you have lots of hay in the cage at all times – just not a huge, unmanageable pile that they’ll “wreck” in minutes

This tip will help you to stop wasting hay AND save money on your grocery bill!

2. Buy in Bulk

Hay waste, you’ve met your match.

Well, kinda.

Like most items, hay is cheaper when you buy in bulk.

Although buying hay by the bale might not stop the actual waste of the hay, it’ll stop you from wasting money – because bulk hay is so affordable.

  • You can find a huge bag of hay online and split the cost with friends or other guinea pig owners, which will save you money over time.
  • If that seems like too much hassle – it’s totally understandable! Some local pet stores that offer discounts if you buy large amounts of food at once, and the prices can be very reasonable. (coupons are your friend)
  • You could also check with local farms to see if they sell hay or offer bulk discounts – you might be surprised at what you find!

3. Invest In A Safe Hay feeder

Traditional hay feeders include hay racks and hay bags. But, there’s lots of creative ways to feed hay.

You can feed your piggies hay in:

  • paint trays
  • cloth, cotton bags with a slit in it
  • bowls

This keeps the hay relatively contained, so that it doesn’t end up scattered all over the place.

Some owners have even used a large, plastic storage bin with holes poked in it to make a simple hay feeder!

4. Distract Them With Something Else

Bored guinea pigs are much more likely to get into mischief – like redecorating their cage with hay or tossing it out the enclosure like confetti at New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

If you make sure your piggies have lots of stuff to do, they’ll be less likely to spend their time digging around cage and creating a mess with all that loose hay.

You can use a store bought option or DIY it. I’m more of a store bought, kinda girl, (cuz I tend to be a bit of klutz when it comes to crafty stuff) but you do you, boo. Either way, there’s plenty of options:

  • Oxbow Enrichment Toys are a popular choice for lots of pet parents.
  • Hay stuffed toilet paper rolls are a tried and true piggie toy; just make sure the toilet paper rolls are cut lengthwise, so that you fur babies don’t get stuck
  • Carboard boxes or paper grocery bags (with the handles cut off) stuffed with shredded newspaper can make an awesome burrowing toy. Toss in some pea flakes or herbs and your piggie can have a blast digging in for treats!
  • Snuffle mats are a good option, too, if you want your little friends to enjoy foraging-type play WITHOUT wasting hay. Just tuck little pellets or tiny treats into the folds of the matt and watch your piggies have the time of their lives.

5. Make A Dedicated Kitchen Area

A kitchen area is a spot of your little friends’ cage where you put their hay and food bowls. Usually the hay is put in some sort of cat little tray or a paint tray.

Containment is once again the name of the game.

And doing this usually cuts down on the hay waste, because it’s not as likely to get dragged around or spilled outside the cage.

Just make sure that your piggies can’t get stuck in their kitchen area and that they have enough room to move around comfortably and to get in and out of it easily.

An added benefit is that since guinea pigs often use the bathroom where they eat, you’re likely to end up with a cleaner cage.

Because most of their “business” is going to take place in the kitchen area, you’ll save time cleaning just by emptying and scrubbing out the kitchen.

(And doesn’t every piggie parent need all the help they can get with keeping their cage clean?)

Why Do Guinea Pigs Waste Hay?

Hands up, if you’re really feelin’ this meme!

Well, to them, they’re not wasting the hay.

Guinea pigs are just enjoying playing with, burrowing in, and nibbling on the hay that they need to live.

Any hay that’s wasted is simply collateral damage – a side effect of their good time.

Guinea pigs don’t mean anything personally by it.

So don’t take it too personally when their cage looks like a hay tornado has gone through it.

Even though, it’s frustrating and annoying as a poison-ivy smeared itch you can’t scratch, it’s just how they are.

That said…

You’re not made of money.

So, you have to explore methods reduce the waste while making sure your piggies stay happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Guinea Pig Hay Waste

guinea pig rolling in a pile of hay that he's about to waste
Guinea pigs are notoriously picky and it probably has something to do with the foraging instincts that they have.

Why do guinea pigs poop in their hay?

Guinea pigs poop hundreds of times of day. If there’s poop in their hay, it’s because they spend so much time in it. Guinea pigs aren’t going to excuse themselves to go to the bathroom elsewhere. They’re going to go wherever they are.

Are hay holders good for guinea pigs?

As long as the hay holders are made or modified to be safe and it’s easy for your little friend to access their hay, then they can be a good option to stop hay waste.

Should guinea pigs have access to hay all the time?

Guinea pigs need to have access to hay all the time, because hay keeps their digestive system working properly. Also, eating hay helps guinea pigs grind down their teeth (which constantly grow). If they didn’t eat hay, their teeth would grow so long that it would cause them pain and even death.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to save money (without if you invest a little, time, effort, and creativity to stop the hay waste.

Whether you’re a piggie parent, it can be frustrating when they waste hay.

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to help prevent this from happening and save money in the long run.

These include:

  • making sure your little friend has their own dedicated kitchen area for food and hay
  • buy hay in bulk (bales are a great budget-friendly option if you’re able to store it properly)
  • giving them more entertaining things to do other than scattering hay everywhere like giving them a with a snuffle mat for playing or toilet paper rolls for play
  • using containment strategies like cardboard boxes or grocery bags filled with shredded newspaper.

What other methods have you found helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

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