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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2010, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Question Alt. to Timothy Hay?

I just saw a thread in the rabbit forum that gave me this idea.

I have had my chinchillas for four years, and within the last year, I developed an allergy to the Timothy Hay they eat. My mom has been on me about getting rid of them for the sake of my health for a while now, which is not an option I would like to consider because a) they mean too much to me, and b) one gets stress related seizures and I would not want him living with anyone who did not know how to deal with it.

My allergies cause me to sneeze a lot when I feed them, despite the fact that I wear a protective mask over my nose and mouth, and once, when the hay pricked my skin, I got minor hives on my hands.

Are there any suggestions to reduce the reaction I have to the hay? I am already on a prescription nasal spray for my allergies. Can I substitute the timothy hay with some other type without harming the chinchillas digestive systems? Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2010, 12:12 PM
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I use orchard grass for my chins, which is a lot less dusty. Also I find that the better quality brands of hay (Oxbow and KMs) are proprotionately less dusty than the little bags of stuff that Kaytee bags.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2010, 01:06 PM
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i am allergic to timothy hay myself. i talked to my vet about it, and she suggested to me i use coastal hay. so i made the switch, and viola!! no more sneezing cause of the hay!! im still allergic to the dust bath though, but i just have to deal with that one!!
it took the chins a little while to get use to the coastal but they eat it now. to make it a little bit tastier, i put 1/4 alfalfa with 3/4 coastal.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2010, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennicat View Post
I use orchard grass for my chins, which is a lot less dusty. Also I find that the better quality brands of hay (Oxbow and KMs) are proprotionately less dusty than the little bags of stuff that Kaytee bags.
That's probably part of the problem is I buy Kaytee brand, but I know the Oxbow orchard grass is available near me as well so I may try that and see if it is better for me. Should I start by mixing that and the Timothy hay first before changing them over?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2010, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcglothlin2803 View Post
i am allergic to timothy hay myself. i talked to my vet about it, and she suggested to me i use coastal hay.
I have never heard of costal hay. What is it?

Thank you both for the suggestions!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2010, 04:50 PM
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coastal hay is used largely in farming communities for horses, and cattle. you cant find it in a pet store, you would need to go to a feed store. the fiber content is similar to the timothy, but because its usually sold in bales, it doesnt have the dust.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2010, 05:57 PM
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I don't usually bother slowly weaning them over on the hay when I switch.

Also, be aware that the quality of your local hay is going to vary greatly. I can buy orchard, bermuda, coastal, and timothy locally from farms but it's very yellow and stalky.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 12:36 PM
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I agree with Jennicat. You can just stop feeding timothy hay and switch to the other hay.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I will try this. The current sneezing is quite annoying.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 03:44 PM
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yea thats another thing about the coastal. you want to make sure that it is green not yellow.
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