When you keep a guinea pig, you are often in difficulty about what to use in their cage, what to give them to eat, and similar questions.
If we take straw as an example, which is quite cheap and similar in appearance to hay, you must have wondered if you can use it for guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs have straw in their cage?
You should not have straw in your guinea pig’s cage because it does not absorb guinea pig pee very well. Straw should also not be used because it has hard and spiky ends that can injure the guinea pig.
My recommendation is to avoid using straws in the guinea pig cage.
However, in today’s article, I will share what I have learned from my research on using straw as an alternative to guinea pig cages.
You will learn about the pros and cons of straw as bedding and food for guinea pigs.
Is it OK to use straw for guinea pig bedding?
Research and information from other guinea pig owners indicate that only 20% of them are satisfied with using straws as bedding for their guinea pigs.
If you just use straw for guinea pig bedding it is not the best option, as it cannot absorb urine well and the feet will be wet and not dry like when you use other bedding.
The straw will also not cover the smell of the guinea pigs peeing and pooping and expect that there will be an unpleasant smell that will spread throughout the cage.
The only way to use straw as bedding is if you first put a layer of straw, and on top of that a layer of other bedding that will absorb the liquid or pee of the guinea pigs.
Advantages of straw for guinea pig bedding
Although straw bedding is not the best choice for guinea pigs, it does have some advantages over standard bedding:
cheap price – it has a much lower price than standard bedding, and can be used as a first layer, on top of which standard bedding is applied.
easily available – as it can be found much easier and faster than standard bedding, just be careful that the hard and sharp parts do not injure your pet.
Disadvantages of straw as bedding for guinea pigs
Straw cannot be used as bedding without other bedding. It cannot absorb urine and other liquids like standard bedding, and it can also cause the appearance of mold.
If you only use straw for bedding then don’t expect your guinea pig to have dry feet.
When guinea pigs are wet it is dangerous for them and can cause diseases and health problems. Straw does not absorb the odor of guinea pig pee and poop very well.
An unpleasant smell will begin to spread in the cage and in its surroundings, which of course will not be liked by the owners of guinea pigs.
Can straw make a guinea pig sick?
If you use straw for bedding you risk serious injury to the guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs can be injured by the sharp edges of the straw or develop infections.
There is a lot of dust in the straw that can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other diseases in guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat straw?
Guinea pigs should not eat straw as it does not meet their nutritional needs.
For example, timothy hay contains 65% fiber, while straw contains 41% fiber, which is not enough for guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs need food that is rich in fiber, i.e. containing at least 60% fiber, in order for their digestive system to function normally.
Apart from the fact that the straw does not contain enough fibers, the texture itself does not suit the guinea pigs because it can hurt their mouths, gums, and throat.
Apart from fiber, straw also contains less protein which is needed for the proper growth and development of muscles and the body.
On the other hand, straw contains a lot of calcium, which is important for the bones and teeth of guinea pigs, but in large quantities, it can cause the appearance of stones in the bladder.
Straw cannot replace hay, which is the primary food of guinea pigs, hay has an ideal combination of nutrients to improve and maintain health.
Straw is used as food for many other animals, but unfortunately, it is not the best solution for guinea pigs.
Alternative to straw for guinea pigs
Hay is the best alternative to straw for guinea pigs.
Apart from being the main food for guinea pigs, hay also offers excellent nutrients that no other food can offer to guinea pigs.
Apart from eating, the hay is also a great option as bedding for the guinea pigs. Hay can absorb guinea pig fluids and pee much better.
What will happen if guinea pigs eat straw?
If the guinea pigs eat a bit of straw, nothing terrible should happen, but there is still a danger from the sharp tips of the straw that can cause mouth injuries.
Straw does not have enough nutrients and therefore should not be offered as a meal for guinea pigs.
It is best to avoid giving them straw, give them hay and some vegetables and fruits.
Can guinea pigs eat barley straw?
Barley straw is slightly different from ordinary straw as it is softer and more nutritive to eat.
This type of straw will appeal to guinea pigs and they will want to consume it if you offer it in their menu.
Barley straw contains essential fibers that make it an excellent food for the digestive system of guinea pigs.
Can you use straw instead of hay for guinea pigs?
You can’t use straw instead of hay for guinea pigs because there are too many differences.
Hay is the main and best food choice for guinea pigs, while straw lacks the nutrients found in hay.
Straw can be used for guinea pigs only if you don’t have hay at the moment, but never as a primary food.
Do guinea pigs like to sleep in straw?
Guinea pigs will have trouble sleeping if you put straw instead of standard bedding.
The straw will not absorb urine and other fluids in the cage and can only cause illness in guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs will not want to sleep on straw because it is hard with sharp edges that can injure them.
Read more: Why Is My Guinea Pig Eating Bedding?
Guinea pigs should not eat straw or use it as bedding in their cage.
The straw can have sharp points that can injure the guinea pig when it eats from it, and can also injure it if it lies on the straw.
Straw does not have nutrients like hay, for example, so it cannot be a food that should be used often.
Using straw as bedding can cause respiratory problems and allergies in guinea pigs.