Bring on the hay!

As autumn steals its way in with misty mornings, tumbling leaves and a distinct nip in the air, your small furries will be hoping for some extra tasty hay to snuggle into and munch on… The damp, chilly days of autumn means that you may not want to have your small pets outside as much, and grazing time on the
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15th September 2022

As autumn steals its way in with misty mornings, tumbling leaves and a distinct nip in the air, your small furries will be hoping for some extra tasty hay to snuggle into and munch on…

The damp, chilly days of autumn means that you may not want to have your small pets outside as much, and grazing time on the lawn may be cut short.

When fresh grass isn’t as readily available, it’s essential that you provide your rabbits and guinea pigs with plenty of fresh, sweet-smelling, munchable hay.

Is the outdoor life better for bunnies and guinea pigs, or will these small pets have a more enriching time if they’re kept indoors? >> 


Why hay is so important

Fibrevores, as we call them at Burgess, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, need lots and lots of tasty, fresh feeding hay every day. In fact, hay should make up around 85-90% of their diet. As a guide, provide each bunny, piggy or chin with at least their own body size in fresh feeding hay every day.

  • HAY PROVIDES VITAL FIBRE Top qualityfeeding hay – not to be confused with lower grade bedding hay – is an excellent source of fibre and plays a vital part in digestion. Rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas need to keep their digestive systems busy with a mix of two kinds of fibre moving through the gut at all times. These types of fibre are called digestible fibre and indigestible fibre. They get this fibre mainly from high quality feeding hay.
  • HAY IS GOOD FOR KEEPING TEETH IN GOOD SHAPE Munching on delicious hay also keeps continuously growing rabbit, guinea pig and chinchilla teeth in check, thereby helping to prevent dental disease.
  • HAY MAKES YOUR SMALL PETS FEEL GOOD Chomping on hay also does wonders for your small pets’ emotional wellbeing. In the wild, fibrevores spend around 70% of their time foraging and eating grass and other plants. For pet rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, being given the opportunity to forage and chew keeps them physically and emotionally stimulated and enables them to express their natural behaviours.
  • HAY HELPS PROMOTE OVERALL HEALTH Feeding the best quality hay and food will go a long way to helping your small pets stay in the best of health throughout the changing seasons. Plenty of high-quality feeding hay, grass-based nuggets and a few fresh greens will help your pets maintain healthy skin, coat, eyes, teeth and digestion.

Did you know that while rabbits cope with cold weather quite well, guinea pigs don’t like it all and should be brought indoors and, in winter, ferrets can be prone to getting flu? Discover 10 ways to keep your small pets snug and warm this winter >>


How to make eating hay even more fun for your small furries

IS IT GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT? Poor quality hay that’s only suitable for bedding does not make for good eating – so your small pets will be less likely to consume the amount they need. Mix and match different hay varieties to see what flavours each of your small pets likes best. Which of these do you think your bunnies, piggies and chins will enjoy munching on the most?

FORAGING FUN Mix in a tasty garnish with a handful of hay, such as a few nuggets, some wildflower forage or luscious leaves so your small pets can search out the extra special bits, munching on some of the hay as they do so.

HAY AND PLAY Most fibrevores simply can’t resist investigating interesting packages. Try putting a bunch of hay in a sheet of brown paper and tying the ends with a strand of hay to look like a Christmas cracker. Your small pets will enjoy nibbling it open to get to the hay inside. A willow ball or cardboard tube filled with hay is ideal for bunnies to bat about.

POO AND CHEW Rabbits generally prefer to munch on hay while they’re resting and they also like to ‘poo and chew’, so put a pile of hay in their favourite resting places and hang a hay rack above their litter tray.

Find out more about creating DIY toys and upcycling old furniture and unwanted items from around the house into interesting features for your pets’ environment >>


There’s no hay quite like Burgess hay…

  • At Burgess, we have a long tradition of supporting British farmers. As part of our ongoing commitment, we actively source our ingredients as close to our mill as possible.
  • The grass used in our Excel nuggets is sourced from the UK to meet our stringent specifications and we know exactly which field each batch comes from and the date it was harvested. It’s also exclusive to Burgess. No other pet food manufacturer has access to our grass!
  • The grass is harvested when it’s at its lushest to ensure the optimum level of nutrients and fibre, helping to ensure that it delivers all the goodness pet animals require.
  • Our grass is grown on an estate that works in partnership with the local wildlife trust and ensures that the grassland is managed to reduce environmental impact and positively encourage biodiversity. This includes over 140 miles of hedgerow, providing a home for a variety of flora and fauna including bird species such as linnets, whitethroats, yellow wagtails and blackbirds. The field margins have been enhanced with wildflowers and rare plants are encouraged, such as yellow-wort, autumn gentian, dyer’s greenweed, clustered bellflower, pyramidal and man orchids, to encourage pollinating insects.

Did you know that 92% of UK vets recommend our Excel range? What’s more, the grass used in our Burgess Excel Rabbit NuggetsGuinea Pig NuggetsChinchilla NuggetsFeeding Hay and Treats for small pets is sourced from the UK to meet our stringent specifications and is exclusive to Burgess.

Always opt for high-quality feeding hay to help your small pets stay healthy and happy – and now you can Subscribe & Save 10%!


Let’s get social… Sign up to the Excel Bunny Base – a safe Facebook community for rabbit guardians that are looking for advice and friendly discussions from likeminded owners – and there are lots of cute bunny photos and videos! Also join us on Instagram.

Or why not become part of the Excel Squeak Squad on Facebook? Join Berry & Bramble, our special G-force guinea pigs, on weekly missions and fun competitions.


Are your small pets Burgess small pets?  Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

CARE MORE Find lots of useful advice on caring for your rabbitsguinea pigschinchillasratshamstersgerbils and ferrets from Burgess, the pet experts.


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MADE IN YORKSHIRE Burgess Pet Care is a British, family-owned company and one of the UK’s leading pet food manufacturers – and its story goes back more than 300 years. Find out more about the people who make your pets’ favourite food…

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WILD AT HEART Inside every pampered small pet is the desire to exhibit their innate, hardwired, natural behaviours which reveal their wild origins. It’s the reason why bunnies want to dig and burrow, guinea pigs like to keep a watchful eye on what’s going on from a safe hiding place, hamsters stuff food in their cheek pouches and chinchillas prefer to sleep hunched up. Find out more about the natural and fascinating behaviours of some of our favourite small furries.

THE SECRET TO HEALTHY, HAPPY GUINEA PIGS Guinea pigs have long enjoyed the status of being one of the most popular pets – which is something they undeniably deserve. However, in order to help them live their best guinea pig lives, it helps to see things from their perspective.

GET EVEN CLOSER TO YOUR BUNNIES Getting into the habit of carrying out regular health checks can make all the difference to the health and happiness of your beautiful bunnies, advises our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes.

HOW ARE YOUR CHINCHILLAS DOING TODAY? All chinchillas should receive annual veterinary check-ups, however, as they are a prey animal, they’ll hide signs of ill-health or pain, which is why you should check them daily. We’ve a chin checklist to help you out…

BIG IDEAS FOR SMALL PETS Enriching the lives of our small animals will help them lead their best pet lives. We’ve lots of ideas for things you can introduce to keep things interesting for small furries.

FERRETS IN RESIDENCE Fun-loving ferrets need exactly the right accommodation to keep them safe and happy. Find out how to create a dream home for your smart, slinky friends…

HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE A HAPPY PET With some pets, it’s pretty easy to work out if they’re happy. Dogs, for example, are such a giveaway with their wagging tails and big sloppy smiles. With other pets, signs of happiness can be rather more tricky to figure out.

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