Hay racks are very handy for helping to keep your cage clean. With a litter tray underneath to catch all those loose strands. However, it can be difficult choosing the right type of hay racks for guinea pigs because of the many unsafe ones on the market.
Some hay racks are quite dangerous. Guinea pigs have been known to get their heads stuck inside the wire racks and could potentially have suffocated had the owners not been around to get them out. In some cases the wire had to be cut and bent with wire clippers to get the piggy safely out.
We also tend to forget that babies have tinier heads and because you many want to add a new addition to your home it is important to consider whether any of your toys may be a problem.
Especially if you decide to get a youngster. It is amazing what babies can squeeze their heads into! But it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be able to get it out again!
The Trixie hay rack manger is not only very poorly designed, it is also a hazard to guinea pigs and rabbits alike! Disappointed reviewers have claimed that the hay doesn’t stay put, it falls out and makes a mess everywhere.
Warning: Avoid all wire hay racks! Wire is Dangerous!
“This morning I found one of a pair of male guinea’s hung from his hay rack. He had stuck his head into the hay rack and from what could be seen has got his bottom tooth stuck under a rung and had died attached to the rack.” The Guinea Pig Forum.
Wooden Hay Racks for guinea pigs
As long as the bars aren’t spaces apart too wide, wooden racks are the safest and tidiest option for your cage.
Be aware that your guinea pigs may possibly gnaw on the wood to keep their teeth down and this should not be discouraged.
Since guinea pigs need to keep their teeth down a few little marks on the wood won’t hurt them. Though I can certainly understand you house proud owners out there! Chewing on toys that are not meant to be chewed (decorations) are annoying.
Guinea pigs love to sit on top of their hay racks so don’t be surprised if you come in and see one sitting on top like the crowned prince of guinea pigs who owns the cage!
These rollers are also very dangerous for small babies who can, and have, wriggled inside.
“The baby got stuck inside it once, so funny because we were there but could have been bad if he was stuck a long time. Which brings me to the con, the opening is inconvenient. There isn’t a latching mechanism, you basically pull it free and push it into place.” Amazon.
Watch out if you have guinea pigs that love to chew anything and everything because plastic is not good for them!
“DANGEROUS | This product was great except it turned out to be dangerous to my animals. I own two Guinea pigs, and if you look closely at the bars on the product there is a little door that opens, but does not have a latch to secure it shut. I walked in my room to find that the little door had fallen open and the biggest of my Guinea pigs had crawled partially inside to get the hay stuck to the other side of the ball. The door is very tiny and the barrier was squeezing him tightly below his rib cage. It was so tight that his stomach was being pinched in and his rib cage was lodged on the inside of the door. I almost could not remove him.” Amazon
Plastic Hay Racks
If your guinea pigs are not interested in chewing plastic, then these may work the best for you! Contrary to what people may think, guinea pigs aren’t all chewing machines! Mine aren’t interested in plastic at all!
See what works the best for you! What may not work for some may be perfect for others.
There is another option which I hadn’t known about until now! This option is fast becoming popular with owners, as it is easier to minimize the mess which guinea pigs make. Hay bags are make of cotton or fleece material with two holes at the bottom in which the hay can be pulled out.
You do have to watch out that your guineas cannot burrow into the bag itself and snuggle up in the hay! This is not dangerous like the wire racks but it can be quite annoying when the objective is to prevent the hay from being soiled!
To stop this from happening I recommenced that you buy a bag with small holes and make sure that you stuff the bag full every morning and evening. The more stuffed the bag is, the less likely your guinea pigs will try to get inside to reach the hay.
Minimize the mess!
I hope that I have helped you in your decision to choose a place for the hay to go! Now, how to minimize the mess! Every owner will know what I’m talking about when I mention that after you’ve cleaned the cage, five minutes later it is close to being just as messy as it was before! Those amazing photos of clean cages with not a poo in sight were taken right after the area was cleaned! In reality, owners spend a lot of time sweeping up poos and loose strands of hay from the cage.
Litter trays places cleverly under the hay racks/bags can help to keep any bits of hay and dust contained. So that when the time comes to do a spot-clean (sweeping up), you don’t have to worry about the pieces that are stuck to the fleece, as hay does!
If the litter tray is nice and big, you may want to add the food bowls and water bottles in that area. Since the hay, pellets, veggies and water are being served in one place, this is where your guinea pigs will spend a lot of time. Hopefully doing most of their messes in the litter tray! You won’t be able to perfectly toilet train them, but you can help it along!