It is always good to buy the freshest hay whether your rabbit or guinea pig is a picky eater or the type that eats up everything with enthusiasm. Regardless of the herbivore you feed, they will even love you more for getting them fresh premium hay. Therefore knowing what to look for when buying hay is important.
Check the date
The best thing about hay is that it is a natural product that doesn’t expire conventionally, especially when stored properly. But it is good to check the ‘freshest by’ or ‘best by date before purchasing the hay box. With time, the aroma of fresh hay that herbivores love degrades, which is why it is good to buy them the freshest hay in the market.
Always go for matured and well-cured hay.
The primary hallmark for high-quality and fresh hay is a rich green color, which indicates that the hay is more likely to have been grown and harvested under the right conditions and techniques for producing high-quality hay. It is also essential to note some of the factors that negatively impact the quality of grass, including:
- Sunlight- typically, after the hay is harvested, it is spread outside t cure naturally with the help of the sun. When it is left to cure for an extended period, the hay loses its rich color. When stored in bulk, hay that is outsides is likely to bleach due to direct exposure to the sun.
- Temperature- humid and moist conditions can cause the hay to lose its color; therefore, dry and hot conditions are the best for producing premium hay.
- Humidity and precipitation- humidity and damp conditions are the enemies to fresh hay. It can accelerate the sun’s effect on the hay and cause it to lose its green color.
- Maturity- hay harvested prematurely will most likely have the lovely green color you see on the package. But as the plant matures, it starts focusing its nutrients on the seed head, which is why the rest of the plant starts yellowing.
Generally, it is best to go for the green stuff on the aisle.
Consider the aroma
The smell of hay during harvest time is unmistakable, and if you have been rearing pets for quite some time, you will tell fresh premium hay by the scent. Even if it is in a sealed package, the aroma of fresh grass is so strong that you can smell it. The smell is sweet and natural, and it comes out easily when you squeeze the hay box. Be keen to avoid hay with a musty smell- it could be an indicator of mold growth on the hay, which can harm your pets healthwise.
Buy from a reputable brand.
The easiest way to source high-quality hay for your herbivores is to buy it from a reputable company. That way, you are assured that your pets will always have the best hay in the market. Also, if you buy your hay in bulk, ensure the storage conditions are right. Store the hay in a dry location to prevent the impact of direct sunlight and maintain its fresh color and smell.