Why Do Guinea Pigs Waste Their Hay?

The hay that you get for your guinea pigs might not always be the most expensive thing that you get for them.

But the cost of it can start building up if they constantly waste it, so why do guinea pigs waste their hay?

Guinea pigs will mainly waste their hay because they are picky eaters but they can also waste their hay unintentionally when they try to pull certain pieces out of the hay and all of it starts to come out.

This is common for most guinea pigs to do, but luckily there are some things that you can try that can help stop your guinea pigs from wasting all of their hay all the time.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Waste Hay?

If you have a guinea pig that doesn’t eat all of their hay and seems to waste most of it, then that can lead you to wonder why they’ll do it.

Well, the main reason why guinea pigs will waste their hay is that they will pick through all of the hay so that they can find the tastiest pieces.

So you’re likely to see them foraging around for the parts of the hay that they like the most.

The reason why they will do this is that guinea pigs can be very picky and most of the time they will only eat their favorite pieces of hay while leaving the rest of it alone.

That being said, sometimes guinea pigs aren’t throwing their hay everywhere on purpose but they’re doing it unintentionally.

This can happen if you give them their hay out of a cheaper hay feeder where the holes in the feeder are way too big.

So when your guinea pigs try to pull out the pieces that they like from the feeder, a lot of the other hay can come out of it as well.

Then they will repeat that process until they’ve gone through all of their favorite pieces of hay while leaving the rest of it on the floor of their cage.

What Do Guinea Pigs Do With The Hay If They’re Not Eating It?

So if some guinea pigs don’t eat all of their hay and it seems to go to waste, then what else are they doing with the rest of it.

One thing that guinea pigs will do with the hay that they don’t eat is play with it. It feels natural for them so they will walk all over it while also using it for burrowing.

Most of the time guinea pigs can pee a lot, so if they’re not eating it and it’s sitting on the bottom of their cage then they will definitely pee on it.

Another thing that guinea pigs will do with the hay that they don’t eat is use it for sleeping.

So what you’ll see them do is try to pile up enough of the hay in a certain area in their cage, so that they can make a nest out of it and relax and maybe even fall asleep on it.

Sometimes guinea pigs will just mix the hay with the bedding that they have and then forage for it later as well.

So the hay is really only thought of as waste if you only consider that the purpose of the hay is to be eaten by your guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs can use it in a number of different ways so you’re not really wasting as much of it as you think you are because they will still do other things with it.

So don’t be too upset if your guinea pigs don’t eat all of their hay because when you leave it in their cage for a decent amount of time it still gets used in one way or another.

How To Keep Guinea Pigs From Wasting Hay

Most of the time you won’t be able to fully stop a guinea pig from wasting their hay, but there are some simple things that you can try that can help reduce the amount that they do waste though.

The first thing that you can try to stop your guinea pigs from wasting hay is to slightly trick them into eating more of it.

So what you would have to do is sprinkle some of the clean parts of the wasted hay back in with the new hay that you put in their cage.

This can make the old wasted hay smell a little fresher now that it’s mixed in with the new hay. Some guinea pigs won’t be able to tell the difference because now all of the hay smells the same.

The second thing that you can try to get them to stop wasting hay is using a hay ball.

A hay ball can help reduce the amount of hay that’s wasted while also keeping the cage a lot cleaner.

You can easily attach it to their cage and they’ll be able to eat the hay and play with the ball at the same time.

However, this option is only for bigger guinea pigs because smaller guinea pigs might try to stick their little heads into the ball and can possibly get stuck.

The third thing that you can try to help keep your guinea pigs from wasting hay is to use a hay holder, but not just any old hay holder though.

You’ll either need to get a hay feeder that holds the hay firmly and doesn’t have spots where they can easily take a lot of the hay out, or modify your current one to do that.

When you do that you can reduce the amount of hay that they can pull out at once because the holes are smaller and the holder can hold it firmly.

That can make it harder for your guinea pigs to get all of the hay out of the holder at once and waste it.

The fourth thing that you can do is try a different type of hay because guinea pigs can be really picky about what they eat.

So maybe they won’t eat the current hay that you’re using but they might really like a different one if you let them try it.

There are different types of hay available and a lot of different brands to choose from, so you can try different ones until you notice that they really like a certain one.

Once you find the type or brand that they really like then you can start buying it in bulk to save yourself some money over time.

Will Guinea Pigs Always Waste Their Hay?

Some things that guinea pigs do can go away as time goes on, but they will generally always waste some of their hay because of how picky they are.

So don’t feel too bad if they don’t eat all of it and some of it goes to waste. Try not to expect them to eat all of their hay because sometimes that’s just what they do.

You can always try to reuse some of their hay if it’s still fresh and they haven’t peed on it.

But if you’re unsure if they have peed on it or not, then it’s best not to reuse it just to be safe.

So even if you can’t reuse the hay or you don’t want to reuse it then that’s perfectly fine.

You can look at the hay that you get for your guinea pigs as a necessity and as an expense because it has nutritional value, and they also have fun eating and playing with it too.

So it’s something that your guinea pigs need throughout their lives and something that you should always get for them regardless of if they waste some of the hay or not.


Hey, I'm Guliana. I really love animals, especially small ones. I grew up having gerbils and guinea pigs as pets and know a lot about them. That's why I'm passionate about writing everything I've learned about them over the years.

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