Is timothy hay safe?

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mstodd

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I went to walmart looking for aspen shavings. Right now George is living on mostly newspaper and a small corner of eco earth. I didn't see any aspen, but I did pick up timothy hay as I recalled reading about it online before. When I got back home, I double checked that timothy hay was okay for tortoises and put a pile in another corner of his enclosure.

While doing this, I noticed the hay was extremely dry and I felt like I was cutting my hands open. I have read that people do try looking for soft hay.

So my question is, can this dry hay hurt my tortoise? I have a russian tortoise, if this makes any difference.
 

GBtortoises

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Hay should be dry, very dry. There are other types of hay available like Orchard hay that is softer but my tortoises have never shown an interest in it. I buy mine by the bale from a hay supplier that sells to local farms. It contains every type of weed imaginable along with grasses which is what causes that sharp edge feeling. Some people prefer to cut it up in shorter lengths too. I feed it to mine "full size" and haven't had any problems with cuts or any other type of injuries due to the contents of the hay.
 

Missy

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I mix orchard grass with other greens so my torts will eat it.
 

dmmj

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the only main problem is hay gets moldy when wet
 

Yvonne G

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If you buy grass hay from a feed dealer it's usually a lot fresher and a little softer. That stuff packaged up by Kaytee or others has been sitting on a shelf for such a long time that it's very dry and old.

I don't like to use hay as substrate, but for food it's good.
 

tortoisenerd

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Yes the softness of hay varies. I find my tort doesn't have a problem with the rough stuff, but yes I prefer the soft stuff. You can find softer stuff at feed stores, or online at places like Carolina Pet Supply (they have an organic orchard grass that is awesome, but very very pricey especially when you add shipping). Look for timothy hay or orchard grass, not alfalfa. It keeps for awhile just fine, although just won't smell as fresh.

However, I only use a pile of it as a hide and such, not for substrate. I don't think its suitable for substrate as the tort can't really walk on it. Russians won't typically eat hay. I've seen aspen in the small animal section at Walmart (and Petco and such)...people use it for hamsters...just ensure its pure aspen...not a wood mix, not pine, not cedar. I prefer the stuff for snakes that has smaller particles than the flake stuff in the small animal section, but its more expensive. I am lucky enough to live within driving distance of the Bean Farm...last time I picked up a car load of 45 lb bags it was $20 each, vs. $10 for a bag maybe 1/20 the size at Petco (they ship but I don't know their cost for the heavy aspen bales).
 

Laura

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for a russian? not good bedding. and they dont eat it..
newspaper is not good either..
try some sort of organic potting soil or orchid bark...
Dirt from outside is ok too, if no pesticides...
 

mstodd

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Thank you all for your input & advice.

I didn't mean to use the timothy hay as substrate. I want to use eco earth as substrate (just soaked a brick today). But for the hay, as a pile for him to dig in. He already has a log hide that he seems to enjoy. Today, he was only interested in climbing on top of it. I will keep the pile in the corner and get that eco earth laid down.

It's impossible to find regular dirt around here this time of the year :(
 

Laura

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that is fine.. he might like it.. :)
just make sure if he burrrows in it, that it doesnt get up to where the lights or heat is..
hay is flammable...
 

Madortoise

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I wonder if I can ask the question about the Timothy Hay as well. I have an unused half of the bag from probably 2 years ago. Is it still okay to use? I went through different substrate phase a while back and got a bunch of different things. I didn't like Timothy Hay too much but I was thinking of giving it to someone else. They are dry and appear to be good. If it's not good as substrate or food, is it good for anything? I hate wasting.
 

GBtortoises

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Hay doesn't loose much nutrition over time, in part because there aren't many nutrients in it to begin with. But older hay will break down and become excessively dusty. Also look for any white or black growth on older hay before using it. White is a sign of fungus, black is sign of mold. Either or both can happen in situations where the hay has gotten wet or been exposed to high humidity for a long period of time at some point. If it has been kept consistently dry and warm neither should be a problem. Personally, if it were two years old, I wouldn't use it anyway. It's cheap enough to replace with fresher hay.
 

mike1011

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Anyone looking for nice soft timothy? kmshayloft.com has some REAL nice soft 3rd. cut timothy avail. that my torts love. It is softer than most orchards!
 
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