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Brands of hay

There are many brands of hay sold in Singapore. Certain brands only carry certain types of hay & I will go into this in detail as we proceed. Although hay quality differs with each batch, certain brands are known for consistently good quality hay & similarly, some brands are known for having consistently lousy quality hay!

If you remember what I mentioned, alfalfa should NOT be given as an everyday feeding hay to cavies 6 months & older. Hays which can be fed daily are timothy, orchard grass, brome, oat & meadow hays. In the US they have other hays like bermuda grass hay, barley hay & wheat hay. If you are wealthy enough to import those, they are suitable as daily fed hay too. Now I shall feature the brands sold in Singapore, they types of hay they offer & a brief review of their general hay quality.

8 in 1
Alfalfa King
American Pet Diner
Brown's
Bunny
Ferplast
Kaytee
L & M
Living World (Hagen)
Oxbow
Sunseed
Supreme
Vitakraft
Summary of hay types & brands

8 in 1

I'm suprised that 8 in 1's hay quality is so lousy when their pellets & treats are quite decent. So far I've only seen 8 in 1 timothy hay & it is quite rare. Their timothy hay is one of the lousiest in terms of quality. Extremely yellow hay & probably void of any nutrients. In fact 8 in 1 timothy hay looks worst than any other brand. Not recommended at all, even if you are desperate!

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Alfalfa King

Alfalfa King hay comes in compressed bales. Their timothy comes in boxes weighing 4 lbs (1.8 kg), alfalfa in 5 lbs boxes & they also have a mixture comprising of oat, wheat & barley hays which is also 4 lbs. Out of the three types of hay, the oat, wheat & barley mix has the least protein (7%) in comparison to timothy's 8% & alfafa's 18%. As for fibre, alfalfa's the lowest at 30% compared to 32% for timothy & the oat, wheat & barley mix. When Oxbow hay was out of stock, I tried their timothy & I was quite disappointed.

The hay had lots of stem & was obviously first cutting timothy hay which was okay I guess, although most cavies prefer second cutting timothy hay. The hay wasn't very green & about 40 to 50% of it was yellowish with a fair bit of brown hay too. My cavies as usual refused to eat brown hay & they barely touched the yellowish hay, nibbling it only 'cos they had no choice. Definitely not what I would consider good quality hay.

I sent an email to Mark Hartman & complained about the hay. To my suprise, he offered to send me 2 boxes of timothy to make up for it. He also sent a pre-paid Fedex packet so I could send him some of the lousy hay to investigate. And it didn't take ages too. The hay arrived about 5 days after I received an email from Fedex confirming the delivery. The new hay wasn't as green as Oxbow or APD's but definitely better than my original box. I think its safe to say that Alfalfa King's timothy is all first cutting judging by the amount of stems. So ifs your cavies don't like first cutting timothy, then you may have to avoid Alfafa King. Although their timothy hay isn't tops in quality, their customer service recovery certainly is!

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American Pet Diner

APD does not have a distributor in S'pore so what some shops have done, is import large bales of APD timothy hay, re-pack them into smaller bags & sell them. Pet Essentials near Ten Mile Junction, Little Pet Wonder at Bedok & Pet Lovers Centre Thomson Plaza are three such shops. The bag looks slightly larger than Kaytee's but keep in mind that Kaytee's is first cutting so it tends to take up more space. Also, Kaytee's is more tightly packed. For a rough idea of the size difference, check out the pic below.

So looking at the bag of hay may not give you an accurate idea of which has more hay. So I decided to use my hay container as a guide. I have 2 containers at home, the smaller one being this old plastic fish tank which measures 33.5 X 20 X 21.5 cm (L X W X H). I can get the 15 oz bag of Oxbow timothy into it with little difficulty. But for Kaytee & APD, after each handful I have to keep pushing the hay into the fish tank to compress it. I literally have to cram in the hay & then hurry to put the lid back on before the hay "springs out". Here's a pic of my overflowing fish tank!

According to Pet Lovers, its a 16 oz bag. Although different shops may pack differently, judging from the size of the bag, I think most places do pack in 16 oz portions. I have pictures below of the hay. First pic is of a bag of APD timothy hay. The next pic is what it looks like when opened & the third pic is an upclose view of the hay.

It does contain a bit of brown hay but I think there's nothing much that we can do about it unless we live in USA & get "fresh" hay from the farms daily! Besides, APD hay quality is quite consistent & I have yet to see yellowish hay from APD. It is also always 2nd cutting. Unfortunately its rather costly even compared with Oxbow orchard grass hay. Hence the only time I get it is if Oxbow orchard grass hay (my 1st choice) & Oxbow timothy hay are sold out.

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Brown's

Brown's offers both timothy & alfalfa hays & the quality of their timothy hay is quite similar to brands like Sunseed and L & M in the sense that these three brands' timothy hay are not as green or fresh as APD however they are better than 8 in 1's timothy hay.

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Bunny

I was told by Pet Lovers Centre that Bunny was timothy hay. It is NOT! Upon opening the bag I could tell the difference in smell. I liken the sweet smell more to Vitakraft's meadow hay. Its also a lot thinner & finer & even had dried soil. Timothy never has dried soil. Normally its only meadow hay that does. When you grab a handful, it even feels different from timothy.

Even the hay heads look different. Take a look at them below. So I sent a picture of the hay heads to Dawn from Oxbow & she confirmed it is NOT timothy hay. She believes its a combination of brome hay as well as a grain hay, possibly oat. The German words on the packing translates as "fresh grass hay".

Well whatever it is, its definitely not timothy. Probably a combination of brome & other types of grass hay, possibly bermuda or what have you! Having said that, I believe it is suitable for daily consumption provided your cavies like it of course. Expect tons of it to be falling out from the hay rack since its so fine. My bag of Bunny hay had some string in it. Check out the string among the hay in the picture below. Imagine if they had eaten it! Not a very good first impression that I have of Bunny!

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Ferplast

The only Ferplast hay sold here is meadow hay. The pack is much smaller compared to Supreme & Vitakraft. Never used it before so I can't comment much. I feel meadow hay is more suitable as a bedding used in conjunction with safe bedding or newspapers.

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Kaytee

Kaytee sells both timothy hay & alfalfa. I used to use Kaytee timothy but the quality got from good to bad to worst! I don't wish to waste space repeating the entire story here. So I recommend you go to my "General Advice" page & look under "Beware of Kaytee". There you will see all I have to say about Kaytee hay (and their other products!). Kaytee is one of the brands I rank at the bottom of the table. Not recommended unless no other brand is available! And if you do use it, go through the hay thoroughly & look out for duct tape, snake parts & other junk!

On 1 Feb 2002 I went to a pet shop & saw the newly packed Kaytee timothy hay. The packing now says "for rabbit, guinea pigs & small animals", which is an improvement over their previous "for rabbits" packing. I bought a bag & noticed the hay was no longer yellowish, pale green & brown. It was mostly green as can be seen from the pics below.

Previously the bale of hay was sliced across the width & then stacked together back into a bale. This resulted in very short length hay that kept dropping out of the rack. As can be seen from the pic below, the hay is now a "proper" bale which is dense & not chopped & stacked back together again. The pack I bought also had no junk. However I am still quite hesistant about Kaytee products & the only reason why I got one bale previously was 'cos Oxbow was out of stock. Kaytee's hay is usually first cutting.

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L & M

Offering both timothy hay & alfalfa, L & M's timothy hay is similar in quality to brands like Sunseed & Brown's. Their timothy hays are a pale green & slightly yellow. Not as green or fresh as APD however they are better than 8 in 1's timothy hay. Quite a rare brand & Sam & Yick in Marine Parade is the only place so far I've seen selling it.

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Living World (Hagen)

Living World is a brand within Hagen. So far I've seen only their timothy hay. The quality is quite pathetic to say the least. Comparable with 8 in 1's hay. Very yellow & stick like. Certainly not recommended!

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Oxbow

Oxbow has the widest variety of hays in Singapore. They sell timothy, orchard grass, oat & brome hays & also alfalfa. In fact so far Oxbow is the only brand to offer oat & brome hays in Singapore. All Oxbow hays come in 15 oz (425 gms) bags except their timothy & orchard grass hays which are available in 15 oz as well as 40 oz (1.134 kg) bags. Below are two pics of Oxbow timothy hay.

Oxbow's timothy tends to be inconsistent in quality. At one time their hay was superb. Very green & soft & not too finely chopped. These days it tends to be yellowish, hard & so finely chopped that it can't stay in the hay rack. After a frustrating & fruitless search for nice & green second cutting timothy, I finally gave up & bought Oxbow orchard grass hay instead. Tends to be more green than their timothy & is soft & leafy. Two pics below for you to see how lovely Oxbow's orchard grass hay is.


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Sunseed

The only place I've seen stocking it is Pet Kingdom at Upper Thomson Road. Although they have both timothy hay & alfalfa, I took notice only of their timothy hay since I don't give my cavies alfalfa hay due to their age. Sunseed timothy is quite similar to brands like L & M and Brown's in the sense that these three brands' timothy hay are not as green or fresh as APD however they are better than 8 in 1's timothy hay.

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Supreme

Supreme's bag is a massive 2.5 kg. The quality is similar to Vitakraft's meadow hay unfortunately Supreme's hay smells rather awful. When I started using it, I took some time to get used to the soil smell & its definitely not as appealing as the aroma of Vitakraft's meadow hay. I have not ranked Vitakraft & Supreme's meadow hays 'cos like I said earlier, most cavies don't enjoy eating it. Hence its better off, in my opinion, as a bedding used in conjunction with safe bedding or newspapers.

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Vitakraft

The only type of hay Vitakraft sells in Singapore is meadow hay. It is labelled as Alpenwiesenheu which translates as alpine meadow hay. The only other brand which sells meadow hay in Singapore is Supreme, so there's not much to compare with & I have really no idea what "good" or "bad" quality meadow hay looks like. However I have used it before & the quality does appear good & it has a very nice aroma. Available in 1 kg bags. Most cavies don't like eating meadow hay though (mine certainly didn't) & thus I recommend it as a bedding on top of safe bedding or newspapers.

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Summary of hay types & brands

Timothy hay
8 in 1
Alfalfa King
American Pet Diner
Brown's
Bunny
Kaytee
L & M
Living World (Hagen)
Oxbow
Sunseed

Orchard grass hay
American Pet Diner
Oxbow

Brome hay
Oxbow

Oat hay
Alfalfa King (mixture of oat, wheat & barley hays)
Oxbow

Alfalfa
Brown's
Kaytee
L & M
Oxbow
Sunseed

Meadow hay
Ferplast
Supreme
Vitakraft

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