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Old 01-30-2017, 09:07 PM   #1
JLPrairie
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Smile Salt licks and hay

I've never used salt licks nor hay, so I was wondering about the nutritional value and if the hamsters touch them or not. Are salt licks or those liquid vitamin thingy you put in water better? And what is the hay used for? I heard some people say their hamsters just use it for bedding, but is it intended as a supplement?

BTW if you could recommend any salt licks/hay on amazing that would be great
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:43 PM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Salt licks and hay

Salt licks are a definite no, they don't need them & too much salt can be dangerous.
You don't need vitamin drops either, if you use a commercial mix it will have added vitamins so if you use the drops in addition you run the risk of your ham getting too much of certain vitamins which can also be bad for health.
Hay is a bit controversial it seems, some people say don't use it but in Germany is considered essential!
I use it & my hams seem to enjoy exploring the different texture & dig around in it, they may eat a little but I can't really tell tbh, none of mine have dragged it off to the nest.
If you do use it you need to go through it carefully to remove any sharp bits that could damage pouches then freeze it (at least 48hrs) in case of mites or other small bugs.
This hay is quite nice & soft & this is another good one.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Salt licks and hay

I've given a tiny bit of soft hay to a couple of my hamsters before and Jessie was quite intrigued by it, later on I discovered that she had dragged it off to her nest. James and Victoria ignored it though. I wouldn't say that it was essential (unless you live in Germany) but if you wanted to try a bit to see what your hamster makes of it then I don't think there's any harm in doing so as long as you're careful to remove any sharp bits as Cypher says.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Salt licks and hay

Definitely a no to salt licks, hams get plenty of salt through their diets and giving them extra can lead to problems like UTI's and nutritional imbalances. Vitamin drops in the water are even worse than salt licks, they make the water cloudy, moldy, and spoiled. This will discourage your ham from drinking water which you do not want happening.
As for hay, most hamsters don't tend to eat it as they don't really recognize it as food, but it can be given so they can use it in their nests or to help hold tunnels up in their bedding. Just remove sharp pieces and make sure it's soft, smells sweet, and has long pieces removed.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:33 AM   #5
JLPrairie
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Red face Re: Salt licks and hay

I heard that to provide hay you need a hay manger...is this true? Or can you just toss it into the cage.
Also what kind is better? Timothy or alfalfa?

(If they are both the same quality which kind is cheaper?)

Last edited by JLPrairie; 01-31-2017 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:34 AM   #6
cypher
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Default Re: Salt licks and hay

No, you don't need to put it in anything, just a handful (or two depending on how big your cage is) anywhere in the cage so they can do what they like with it.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Salt licks and hay

Timothy is generally a more rough hay,and it is high in fiber and very low in other things.This is excellent for adult guinea pigs and rabbits,but not very good for other small pets.Alfalfa is softer,high in calcium and protein,and can be very strong smelling.

Plain toilet paper is just as appreciated as hay,and is completely safe as well as extremely cheap.Plus,it would be a lot easier to nest with than hay!
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Salt licks and hay

I wouldn't deprive my hams of their toilet tissue for anything, not sure they would forgive me lol! but variety in the cage is a great form of enrichment so some hay in addition to normal substrate & tissue is just fine.
I mix it with leaves, flowers & herbs & they really enjoy foraging in something more natural & diverse.
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Old 01-31-2017, 08:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Salt licks and hay

My hamster loved his hay. He used it to built the external part of his nest. I've never seen him eating it. I know that he chewed it but I think that he only did that to make little pieces that suit him better. I stop giving it to him because I read here that some hay could cause abscesses and that I should remove the sharp bits, but to me all the hay that I had in general looked hard and I couldn't distinguish the sharp bits or the soft bit so I just didn't give it to him anymore.

You can always try it. Maybe you can find a soft one.
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