Check out this list of the top hay rack options for guinea pigs.
If you have guinea pigs, you know they are great at getting hay everywhere. Some of my pigs will burrow down into a big pile and somehow carry it across the cage on their back. I’m not really sure how they manage it sometimes, but it can leave you with a big mess to clean up.
Using a hay rack can be a great solution to this – but not all hay racks are created equal. This list of the best hay racks for guinea pigs will give you some great safe options to try out with your guinea pigs!
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Why is Hay Important for Guinea Pigs?
Hay is the most important part of a guinea pig’s diet, so it should be available to them at all times. Not only is it important for their nutrition and digestion, but it also keeps their teeth in good shape. It’s just overall important to your guinea pig’s health. You want an unlimited amount of good quality fresh hay easily accessible for your pets to eat whenever they feel like it.
Guinea pigs have constantly growing teeth that must be worn down all the time. Your piggies will graze on hay all day long, which works to wear down the teeth properly.
Their digestive systems are designed for them to be constantly eating as well. If they don’t have hay available to snack on at all times, their digestion is not going to run as smoothly as it should – and it could even lead to major dental and health issues.
You want to feed high-quality grass hay like Timothy hay or orchard hay. You can also feed small amounts of other hay types – like meadow hay or oat hay – to give your pet some variety. Alfalfa should only be fed to baby guinea pigs less than six months old.
READ MORE >> WHY IS HAY IMPORTANT FOR GUINEA PIGS?
Why Use a Hay Rack?
Some guinea pig owners prefer to use hay racks and some prefer hay piles. It really is just personal preference and piggy preference on what you use. As long as your guinea pig is eating plenty of hay there’s no best way, but finding a good hay rack can save you a lot of cleaning time.
With a hay rack, the hay generally stays contained in the container. Your guinea pig still has full access to the hay, but it can’t push and drag it all over its cage. It keeps the cage much cleaner and ensures your pet is eating clean hay. I’ve found my guinea pigs will eat more hay if they have easier access to fresh clean hay at all times.
The most important thing you want to look for in a hay rack is that it’s super easy for your piggies to get the hay out. You don’t want to make it hard for them to get enough hay each day if there’s only a small opening to pull hay through. You can find hay racks marketed to be for small animals at most pet stores, but they usually don’t hold a good amount of hay.
Of course, you also want to make sure it’s safe. You don’t want anything that your guinea pigs could get inside of or get a leg caught. There are plenty of horror stories about guinea pigs getting caught in metal hay racks and getting hurt. And keep in mind that a young guinea pig could fit in something much smaller than adult guinea pigs can.
Now let’s go over some of my favorite hay rack options!
The Best Hay Racks for Guinea Pigs
Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue Hay Rack
This is the win-win of hay racks! This might be the best hay feeder of the bunch.
Not only are these hay boxes a great way to contain the hay – but they also benefit a fantastic guinea pig rescue!
These hay boxes are made of natural materials and have nice large holes to give your piggies super easy access to the hay. They have hooks to hold them to the side of the cage, and the top is totally open for easy refilling. It’s almost like a hay dispenser instead of a rack.
They even come in a few great colors. I highly recommend picking up one of these if you’re looking for an all-around great hay rack that also benefits piggies in need!
Cloth hay bags have been one of my personal favorite options to use with my guinea pigs over the years. These are pretty much exactly what they sound like – they are fabric bags with holes cut in the front for the guinea pigs to access the hay.
I like mine to have nice large holes for easy access. Just make sure the holes aren’t so large they could fit a guinea pig inside! I’ve had piggies disappear before only to be found snuggled in their hay bag.
You can find some great options on Amazon or Etsy, or if you are handy with sewing you can even make your own for really cheap!
Wooden Hay Racks
There are a ton of different types of wood hay racks you can find for guinea pigs. You can also use a rabbit hay rack as long as it’s still safe for piggies!
Again, the most important thing to consider is how easy the hay is to access and whether the design of the rack is safe for your pets. You want it to have natural wood that is built so it will last a long time – even if it gets a bit chewed on. There are wooden hay racks that are freestanding that you can place anywhere in a cage. Or, there are hanging varieties that attach to the side of a cage. Either can work well depending on how you have your guinea pig’s cage setup.
If I’m going to use a hay rack, I definitely prefer the wooden ones over the plastic or metal (which we’ll discuss in a minute). I think they are a good safe alternative to the metal grate designs. The piggies can also chew on the rack without you having to worry about them hurting their teeth on the metal or breaking off a piece of the plastic.
Ok, this isn’t exactly a “rack.” But it can help keep the hay mess down! Litter boxes are honestly kind of the best of both worlds of hay piles and hay racks if you fill them with big piles of hay.
Guinea pigs love hay piles because it’s a more natural way for them to eat and they can burrow into the hay to hide and keep warm. If you put their pile of hay inside a large litter box inside their cage, you can contain some of the hay mess and your guinea pig still gets the enrichment from the hay pile!
I personally love rotating between hay racks and hay piles, especially in the winter, because it just provides my pets with some variety in their daily routine.
Wire Hay Racks
Wire hay racks would be my last choice to use with my piggies. These are usually designed in a grid to hold the hay inside but still provide some spaces for your pets to pull the hay through. A lot of them are made of stainless steel and sometimes have durable plastic sides or tops.
They sometimes have wires that are too close together for your piggies to have easy access to the hay. And some of them have too large of spaces between the wires which can lead to a stuck guinea pig head!
Another big concern is the danger of a leg going through the wires. Many piggies like to jump into wore hay racks when they get spooked – or just to give themselves better access to eat! Don’t ever use the hanging wire hay balls. Guinea pigs have been known to get entire legs or heads stuck in them and get seriously injured.
I personally find the other options better than wire racks, but there are a few that are ok on Amazon:
If you’re trying to control the hay mess, give one of these hay rack options a try! These are, in my opinion, the best guinea pig hay racks to choose from. Test out a few different options and see which option works the best for your guinea pigs. They’ll help contain the hay but still let your piggies eat to their heart’s content!
Learn More About Feeding Guinea Pigs:
- What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?
- How to Feed Guinea Pig Vegetables (with printable list!)
- Why is Hay Important for Guinea Pigs
- Safe Fruits for Guinea Pigs (with printable list!)
I love the LA Guinea Pig hay rack, but my guinea pigs jump up there and sit in the top of it like a chicken nesting box. ♀️ That defeats the purpose because they soil the hay. Then I have to change out all the hay AND clean the hay rack daily. We’ve gone back to litter boxes mounded up with hay exclusively, but I still dream of having a hay rack in addition to it to ensure clean hay at all times.