Can Hamsters Have Hay In Their Cage?

Hay is one of the staple foods among guinea pigs and rabbits. Being so popular, people often wonder whether they can use hay as bedding material in their Hamster’s cage? Can their Hamsters eat hay? So, I decided to do some research on the same, and here is what I have learned!

Hay is not a necessity for Hamsters like it is for other pets like guinea pigs and rabbits. Although Hamsters eat hay, they do not enjoy it as much as other food. You must keep in mind that not all kinds of hay are suitable for Hamsters. Also, hay as bedding does not work well for Hamsters.

It can be challenging task for Hamster owners to find the perfect bedding for their little ones. If we choose wrong, our Hamster may suffer from severe health complications, and this is some thing no Hamster parent would want.

Hamster Essentials x
Hamster Essentials

With these points in mind, let us understand more about Hay as bedding and food for our Hamsters.

Is Hay Safe For Hamsters?

Although hay is safe for our Hamsters, we must be very careful about it’s sharp ends. The ends are sharp enough to poke our Hamster’s eye or cut them.

We must only keep soft hay in our Hamster’s enclosure. Hay racks or hay cubes are a much safer option rather than loose strands. Most Hamsters prefer to nibble on fresh grass than hay.

Can You Use Hay As Hamster Bedding?

Hay bedding does not work out well for Hamsters as well as their owners. Most Hamsters prefer other materials as Hamster bedding.

Hay does not have a good moisture retention capacity, as a result, your Hamster’s paw will remain wet most of the times. This can result in health problems like bumblefoot in them.

Besides this, the smell of your Hamster’s droppings will spread all over your room if you use hay as the bedding. Hay does not trap the liquid well.

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Can Hamsters Eat Hay?

Yes, Hamsters can eat hay though it is not a crucial element of their diet, as it is for guinea pigs.

Most Hamsters prefer out eatables like fruits, vegetables, and their regular pellets.

Always remember to serve them in moderation, like any other food hay will do more bad than good.

Hay For Hamsters

Hamsters can eat various types of hay, though all are not suitable for them.

A wide varieties of hay are available in the market, we must be very careful while choosing the one for our little ones. The following types of hay are preferred by most Hamsters and their owners:

Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is the most preferred among all Hamster owners. Timothy hay is easily available and has a pleasant aroma. Also, Hamsters really like the taste of timothy hay.

If you do not know, timothy hay is available in various seasonal cuts, right from 1st cut to 3rd cut.

The 1st cut timothy is rather tough to chew as compared to the third cut, which is very soft. 2nd cut timothy hay is perfect for healthy Hamsters.

You must be very cautious like choosing the right timothy hay for your Hamster. Avoid thick straw-like hay as Hamsters will have a hard time digesting it.

Fresh, green, and sweet-smelling timothy hay is perfect for your Hamsters. Always but dry and mold-free hay. Also, prevent the packets that have a musky smell coming out of it.

Orchard Hay

Orchard hay is one of the best options for our Hamsters. This kind of hay has the perfect balance of fiber, fats and protein.

In comparison to timothy hay, orchard hay has broader leaves, which makes it easy for our Hamsters to chew.

Always get your Hamster green and mold-free hay.

Alfalfa Hay

Some Hamsters love to munch on alfalfa while others don’t, it totally depends on your Hamster’s personality. Alfalfa has a high concentration of fiber, protein and fat.

Alfalfa should be fed in minimal amounts to our Hamsters, as it has a high amount of calcium in it, which is terrible for our Hamsters.

Meadow Hay

This type of hay consists of soft-stemmed grasses, clovers, leaves, flowers and seed heads of several edible plants like dandelions, daisies, etc.

Meadow is much softer than timothy hay, which is why some Hamsters love to munch on it. Also, the meadow is less dusty in comparison to other feeds.

You must go for long green strands, if you choose meadow for your Hamsters, as they are fresh and nutritious.

Is Hay Bedding Good For Hamster Bedding?

No, hay is not the best available bedding for our Hamsters. There are much better picks in the market than hay.

Also, if you have a long haired Hamster, they will not enjoy hay bedding at all. The hay gets stuck to their fur causing irritation.

In some cases, hay can be too dusty for our Hamsters which might cause several health complications.

Is Hay Bedding Bad For Hamsters?

You should never use hay as a bedding material for your Hamsters. It does not absorb moisture and invites several other diseases in Hamsters.

Therefore it is best to avoid hay as a bedding as much as possible. Some of the common problems with hay bedding are as follows:

Not Good With Odor Control

Hay is not at all good with odor control. The smell of ammonia of your Hamster’s pee will be likely to spread all over your room. This can be a nuisance for you.

Also, the poop of your Hamster’s is going to break down and produce a pungent smell if it stays on the wet surface.

Therefore, hay might not be the best bedding material, especially if your Hamster is housed in your bedroom.

Health Issues

Some of the kinds of hay have a lot of sharp edges and dust. Dust can lead to respiratory problems in Hamster. The sharp edges can poke their eyes or even cut the inner portion of their mouth.

Whenever our Hamster will try to burrow in their bedding, they will end up poking their eyes or cutting themselves. It could even cause some kind of eye infection or blindness in them.

Also, if the hay is dusty, it could cause allergies to them leading to severe health problems.

It Is A Bad Absorbent

Hamsters do not hold moisture well. As Hamsters are likely to pee and poop a lot, their bedding will remain wet most of the time if a bad absorbent material is used.

Wet bedding can several health complications in Hamsters such as bumblefoot, skin diseases, etc.

Paper bedding are a much better option than hay bedding as Hamsters prefer to say dry and warm.

Gets Moldy Too Quickly

Hay gets moldy too often. Moldy hay works as a poison for our Hamsters.

You must be already aware that Hamsters cannot sit in one place for a very long time. They run from one corner of their enclosure to another causing chaos.

If your Hamsters ever spill water in the hay, it will make the hay moldy. Wet and moldy can be terrible for our Hamsters.

Hay needs to be changed regularly to maintain the freshness, which can pinch your pocket in the long run.

Also, to be honest, it will be a tedious task for every Hamster owner, to change their little one’s hay bedding every other day.

What Can Be Used As Bedding For Hamsters?

Each type of bedding has its own pros and cons. However, paper-based bedding and aspen bedding are the most widely used ones.

Picture Credits: Nelson, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

Paper-based bedding is one of the best options for our Hamsters. In all ways, it is the best. It is eco-friendly, soft, absorbent, and odor-free in comparison to other bedding materials.

Kaytee Clean & Cozy, Small Pet Select Natural Paper Bedding, and Fresh News Paper Small Animal Bedding are a few of my personal favorite paper-based beddings.

Aspen is another safe option for our Hamsters as aspen is the only hardwood that is non-aromatic in nature. Never use pine or cedar as bedding materials, they are toxic for Hamsters.

Kaytee Aspen Bedding is the best option if you want to go for wood shaving bedding.


Is hay the right choice for our Hamsters? Definitely not! Hay might be a popular choice of bedding and food for other comparatively large pets like guinea pigs or rabbits, but it is not right for our little ones.

Hamsters love to burrow and hay could easily poke their eye or cut their body. Also, if Hamsters try to chew on hay, they might hurt the inner portion of their mouth.

Therefore, it is best to avoid hay in your Hamster’s cage be it as bedding or as food.


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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