Hay is famously known to be good for rabbits, and rabbits are rodents. So will it be a good item for the hamsters, which are rodents too? Hay can be used for bedding purposes as well as eating purposes. Hay does not contain fat or sugar, thus it is a safe option for pets that wish to have it. Also keeping the pets busy munching is a task for the pet owners and hay can be that food item that keeps the pet busy without harming it physically.
Can hay be given to the hamsters?
Yes, hay can be given to the hamsters. This is a safe bedding option and it does allow the natural foraging or digging habit of the pets. Hay in fact works as stimuli to practice digging for the hamsters. There are various different types of grass that can be given to pet hamsters like timothy, orchard grass, oats, or brome hay.
Is hay necessary for the hamsters?
No, if an owner cannot arrange for hay for his or her hamster, it would not be very difficult for the pet to survive. This is not a mandatory thing for the hamster’s living. Hay comes with some nutrition as well as the soft feel of the homely atmosphere if provided for bedding.
But there are other feeding or bedding options too, which can replace hay. The nutritional value of hay is minimal and it contains mostly fibers with some amount of minerals. If you can give hay to your hamster then it is fine, but not giving them would not cause much problem.
How long can hamsters go without hay?
If you have managed to give hay to your hamster regularly then it would not be easy for the pet to survive long without it. If the pet is having hay only as food, then it can manage to stay alive for 3-4 days without hay. Their natural habit is eating a good amount of food when that is available.
As the hamsters are natural creatures of the desert getting ample food is not in their luck. So they are used to the scarcity of food, and thus they usually eat as much as possible to stay without food for some forthcoming days. This habit helps them to survive in the desert, and in some cases at home, if the owner is absent or cannot provide food to the pet for some reason.
They also keep some food hidden inside their cage, which is yet another survival tactic. They try to make the best of the situation when there is ample food. So if your pet is alive and in good health even after two days of not having been provided with hay, do not be surprised.
Can I put hay in my hamster’s cage?
Yes, hay can be put in the hamster’s cage, but it should be soft hay. Soft hay is good for their bedding as it does not contains harsh spikes which make the hamster feel uncomfortable in its bedding. There is less nutritional value for the soft hay but the hamsters can be seen chewing them often. They like to be busy all the time and the chewing of their bedding ingredient is quite common among the pets.
Why do the owners find it uncommon to give hay to their hamsters?
As we have mentioned earlier, rodents like guinea pigs and rabbits need hay to survive and stay happy. But hamsters are not that popularly known to have hay in their like list. So for the owners, it is hard to believe and accept that their pet hamsters, which look somehow similar to the rodents like guinea pigs or rabbits, are also of similar nature of liking hay.
Do hamsters interact with the hay when given to them in cages?
Yes, hamsters show interest in the hay when it is given for the first time to their cages. As it is their natural habit to dig the surface of their shelter, they get the hay to practice such behavior, and so they accept the hay with enthusiasm in their cage.
Not only for foraging, but hay also provides them the benefit of filing their teeth. As they keep on chewing on hay, it keeps their ever-growing teeth in the right size. They file their teeth in the jungle by chewing or biting wood but in captivity, they can do this with the hay that is provided to them in their cage.
How can you choose the right hay for your hamster?
Hay is nothing but the dried form of grass. Thus the owners can give the hay of the favorite herb of their hamsters as that will be chosen by the pets. The smell of the herb will remain the same when it will become hay. The nutritional value of the hay is nothing of much bothering and so you can give any herb or hay to the hamster from the list mentioned above.
Which are safe hay options for the hamsters?
Apart from timothy, oats, or brome hay, the other uncommon but safe options are daisies, clover, chamomile, wheat, and marigold. All the plants can be turned into hay and provided to the hamster. When the hamster will chew it or forage into it. These plants are counted as safe options for hamsters.
Shall I give commercial hay to my hamster?
Getting hay in huge amounts regularly for the pet hamster is not easy. For example, if your hamster prefers marigold hay then you have to spend a good amount on this hay for purchasing it from the pet stores. The other way is to pick marigold plants at home and dry it. But this is a time taking process and it may not be possible for you to get the hay regularly in this process.
When getting commercial hay, you may find that the stalk of the hay is yellow in color. Be cautious in this situation. Yellow hay is usually for farm animals. But for the hamsters, these extra dry yellow hay may be too spiky and hard. The hamster is a little animal and it will not like the hard feeling of the yellow hay. Also, this hay will not be suitable for their bedding as well, as this spiky thing will make them too uncomfortable to lie on.
So if possible and if you have the opportunity to grow hay in your own backyard garden, then getting the right premium and specific hay for your hamster would be the right decision. You will know how much drying of hay is needed for the consumption and cage bedding of the hamsters.
How can you use hay as a bedding option for the hamsters?
When hay is put on top of the regular bedding of the hamster, the pets are seen to use the hay to build a nest inside the cage. They also move the hay away and keep it hidden in some hideout within the shelter. Also, keep the hard bits out of the pile of hay as that will make the little creature prickly.
The shelter that they make with hay is not a regular-shaped one, but something like a blanket that will keep them comfortable. This habit is seen among them when they are in the wild, as they try to keep themselves warm by gathering soft and musky leaves or hay around them while sleeping.