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-   -   Is Hay In My Hedgehogs Cage Safe? (https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191280)

Bella.hedgie 04-23-2019 11:35 PM

Is Hay In My Hedgehogs Cage Safe?
 
Hello everyone! I was wondering if using hay in Bella’s cage is a good idea? I want to give her a new bedding she can explore and burrow in. Her main bedding is paper carefresh. I wouldn’t use the hay in large amounts just a little bit here and there. My main concerns are it being dusty, or it possibly being good eye-poking material. If it’s determined hay is unsafe, what would a good alternative(other than fleece strips or wood type bedding) be?

Ria 04-24-2019 03:33 AM

Hay isnt dusty, and depending on the type of hay depends on how good at eye poking it is. My main thing is with hay they may try to chew it and eat it, and I dont think that would be a good thing for a hedgehog (I could be wrong but personally I dont think it would be)

Animal safe shredded cardboard, its mainly sold as a horse bedding. You can try searching finacard (Ik it defiantly comes up in the UK) they actually changed the product to softacard but it the same thing just shredded differently.

Emc 04-24-2019 09:07 AM

I can't think of any logical reason for why hay wouldn't be safe. If they eat it it wouldn't be a problem; it's just dried grass (I mean, depending on what type you choose but generally speaking, it's just grass). High-quality hay should be virtually dust free. The only real 'risk' would be hay-pokes. And even if you use a very soft hay (i.e meadow hay) there would still be some degree of risk attached.

That same risk is attached across every species who are offered hay; most notably rabbits and guinea-pigs, where hay is a vital component of their diet. It's not life threatening, and if it were to happen, it's very easy to treat and is of (generally) really no major concern at all.

Timothy hay and alfalfa legume hay are more pokey, and IMO best avoided (I dont even use either with my rabbits, nor guinea pigs). But a high quality meadow hay should be nice and soft, and although the risk of hay poke is always there, it's a very, very minor risk that wouldn't deter me (personally) from using it. But it's up to you. :)

Kalandra 04-24-2019 11:08 AM

Are you just looking for environmental enrichment and not asking about using it as a substrate?

If its just enrichment, I'd recommend looking into other products that have less risk than hay. Pieces of fleece cut in varying sizes can be fun. You can create fleece forests, tubes, or shove some in a pigloo to dig out.

You'll likely see a hedgehog get interested in hay initially because it smells interesting. They may anoint with it, but its not part of their diet so of no real benefit there. And they likely won't show too much interest in it as they get used to the smell.

Softer hays and hay that is kept fresh tends to be less dusty, but there is always a little dust and a risk of a sharp piece of stalk being in a bale, its just the nature of how you grow hay.

As a bedding substrate, hay is not very absorbent. So you'll need a sub-layer of product to take care of that. Another concern to consider is that hay can mold quickly in the right environment. Hay that has become soiled should be removed daily to help reduce these risks.

Honestly, no matter whether its for substrate change or environmental enrichment I'd look at alternatives.


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