Can I give my pigs fresh grass instead of hay?

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Babalon

Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:47 pm


I ran out of hay about 3 days ago and have been feeding them freshly pulled grass from my front yard. They seem to love it and I cant find anything on the web that tells me it's a bad idea, unless I use bug spray or fertilizer on our front yard, which I don't.

I'm planning on making a trip to the pet supply shop tomorrow first thing to stock up on more hay, I was just looking for some feedback on the pros and cons of feeding my boys grass instead of hay for the past few day!

~*~ Back story to my pigs since this is my first post on this lovely website: I have 2 2month old guinea pigs, adopted from the Austin Guinea Pig Rescue about a month ago. Their mother along with a few other piggies were found in a box by a dumpster. Along with their mother, another female was pregnant. When my boys were born one of them, L. Ron had an eye infection as was treated right away by the AGPR. His brother Aliester was born healthy and happy, as they are now :) ~*~

I look forward to being a part of this forum, ive already found a lot of great information because of it!

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Bethie
Still supporting in 2014

Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:28 pm


Make sure other animals aren't fouling where you're getting grass.

I'm not an expert, but a think a few days of grass instead of hay won't hurt them. But I wouldn't cut hay out completely. Most lawn grasses are probably too soft to wear the molars down. Corn husks and wheat grass would probably be better options.

(My boys always got cross when there wasn't enough growth to have fresh grass in the winter. Or it was too cold or wet for me to bother. Stink eye abounded when they got 'lettuce again.')

Lana

Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:44 pm


A few days won't hurt them, but they need hay every day - as much as they want to eat. It is for their digestive health, and to wear down their teeth.

Grass - I would treat fresh grass exactly the way I would treat any other fresh veggie. It is not a substitute for hay.

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lisam

Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:45 pm


Actually, fresh grass is just as good, if not better, for grinding down the teeth. One problem is making sure they have enough of it. Pigs who haven't had much grass before can have some digestive upset with so much grass suddenly.

It's the silica content of grass and hay that keeps the molars ground down.

Lana

Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:06 pm


Really? But the amount they need to eat, wouldn't that cause diarrhea?

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karalianne
Supporter in '12

Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:24 pm


I didn't have any problems all summer with diarrhea with any of the boys, and they were all on grass all summer.

Of course, we're talking tall grass for the most part, not lawn grass.

I topped them up with about the same amount of grass as I would have given them hay, and they always ate every single blade (not the stemmy bits, though).

I started slow in the spring with just a few handfuls a day, what with new grass being richer than older grass. And then as the grass got taller, I gave more and more.

Others may not have the same experience, though, as we have an acreage and I was "harvesting" every day from over near the barn... (we don't have any livestock, just some ravens, pigeons, blackbirds, and swallows that live in the barn; I was careful not to give them anything that had animal waste on it)

When you think about it, grass is just REALLY fresh hay. Timothy hay is grass hay, after all, and orchard hay is also grass hay.

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Bethie
Still supporting in 2014

Post   » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:33 pm


Our pigs have grass all year round. More in the summer as it grows faster, and we've never had any tummy troubles. We offer hay as well. They seem to like the variety.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:35 pm


I think the to starting grass is to start with small amounts and work up to larger ones. I don't know about guinea pigs, but you can kill a cow by putting it in fresh grass and allowing it eat all it wants if it isn't used to it.

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lisam

Post   » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:51 pm


My pigs get grass all summer and into fall, too. I let some grow tall by my veggie garden, where it gets lots of water.

guineapig3

Post   » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:15 pm


We've had multiply guinea pigs, whom we have never fed timothy (or any other) hay. Instead, we have always given them fresh grass, fruits, and veggies, and almost every single one of them has lived to be 10 years or older.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:30 pm


Hay is dried grass. Guinea pigs that are used to fresh grass can do quite well on it. Generally most fruits are sugary so using fruits as treats and mainly feeding vegs and fresh grass may be a better choice.

lilythepig2017

Post   » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:03 pm


This is very interesting. We bought a whole tray of wheat grass recently and a few days in our guinea pig LOVES it. She could literally be parked in front of it all day. So if she grazes on fresh grass all day and hay after 6pm that would be ok?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:40 pm


Wheat grass is different from the grass that grows outside. When you buy a tray of wheat grass, it is young and sugary. Not the same as picking some grass from your nice clean lawn with established grass.

lilythepig2017

Post   » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:25 pm


I had no idea. That’s a shame. Is there a way the grow and mature it inside?

Also, wouldn’t the young grass be more nutrionally dense though? Is the sugar a lot more?

Thanks

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:16 pm


I don't think there is a problem with small amounts. But trying to give lots could cause problems.

Young oats are sugary too. If you ever grow some, after it is a foot tall or so, try chewing on the stem (quite sugary).

Fresh blades of established grass are not as sugary. You can tell this yourself by chewing on the grass.

lilythepig2017

Post   » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:00 am


Thanks for your reply

How long does it need to establish before it loses that high sugar? If I planted it in a little flower bed of grass during nice months and let it establish for a month would that be long enough for it to lose that sugar quality?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:27 pm


I think that would be fine. You might try a mildew resistant fescue.

lilythepig2017

Post   » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:14 pm


ok thanks!

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