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The HayPigs!® blog. All the latest news from HayPigs!® along with lots of fun and informative information about guinea pigs.

The Importance of Hay in a Guinea Pig's Diet

Helen Cridland



 It’s no coincidence that we are called HayPigs!

As fibrevores, high quality feeding hay is an essential food for guinea pigs and they literally need access to it 24/7.

Good quality grass hay should account for 80 – 90% of the daily food intake for your piggies, along with fresh water, vegetables and a small amount of nuggets. This might seem like a lot, but hay (along with forage) is super important, it literally keeps their bodies ticking over. Without it, a guinea pig's unique digestive system won't work properly, so please make sure they maintain a high fibre diet with loads of hay!

In addition to keeping their digestive system in order, hay is also great for wearing your piggies teeth down. A guinea pig’s teeth are always growing, so regular chewing helps stop them overgrowing.

The trick with hay is to make sure you are getting good quality feeding hay that is super fresh! It should be green in colour, smell sweet and be free of dust. We joke as piggy parents that it should smell tasty enough to eat ourselves!

At HayPigs! we also use hay as bedding for our piggies, and while they do chomp on it (especially when their den has been freshly cleaned out) this bedding hay soon gets trampled and soiled on and we find they quickly lose interest in it as a snack food! So, it's strongly recommended to present feeding hay in something that keeps it off the floor. The HayPigs! Wheek Wagon (but of course!) is a great way to contain your feeding hay, giving good access for a herd of piggies to munch away happily on their essential fibre. But also, don’t forget you can be creative with how you present their hay too...  try using left over toilet roll tubes, egg boxes or other natural cardboard items to stuff the hay into, maybe with some other tasty treats and forage hidden in there too. This presents them with more of a food challenge and some stimulation to keep their brains active.

Here at HayPigs! HQ, we give our piggies fresh handfuls of feeding hay multiple times a day – it’s most interesting to them when it’s fresh out of the bag! Our piggies really love the Burgess Long Stem Feeding Hay (which is great for piggies!), and also their Chamomile Herbage and the Dandelion and Marigold Feeding Hay. But there are lots of great feeding hays out there – look for a tasty Timothy or meadow hay. If your piggies don’t eat much of what you present for them, try something else! Some piggies can be picky, so don’t risk them not eating enough hay, experiment with different types to find what they like best*.

(*It’s worth noting that alfalfa hay is high in calcium and, aside from perhaps feeding this to pregnant sows and guinea pig pups, it should be reserved as a treat only for healthy adult pigs, as too much calcium could cause problems.)

So, it really is hay, hay and more hay! And what better way of treating your piggies than giving them a super healthy and tasty snack, that will have them popcorning with joy?!

Right, I’m off to pick the hay out of my hair…and off my jumper…and out of my boots….

Did you know we now stock tasty feeding hay on our website?! Why not check it out here.

Rest in Peace Indiana, Feb 2017 - Nov 2018

Rik Cridland

Indiana RIP.jpg

It is with great sadness that we must official announce the passing of our little angel Indiana 🐹💔😔. Those of you who have been following us over the last week will know that she has been very ill and despite our best efforts her body gave up on her yesterday afternoon. It has not been a good year for us for loosing piggies; the original 8 are now down to 5 and it certainly does not get any easy, particularly with young piggies 💔.

Indiana came to us from Blackberry Patch rescue, an excited Tracey messaged me to say she had the perfect HayPig piggy and I had to meet her. She'd lived her first 9 months as a solitary pig, so was socially awkward / a bit of b***h with other guinea pigs! Tracey had had problems with her attacking all the others, but then I saw her and my heart melted - she was the most beautiful little creature ever! 😍😍😍 I told Helen Tracey was coming round for a visit and she knew straight away I'd agreed to take another pig on!
We had introduced her to our herd and had some troubles at first. She was feisty and aggressive, and we noticed a few teeth wounds and chucks of hair missing on the other pigs. But we worked hard to settle her in and the aggression soon stopped. Over the coming months, we then saw a complete transformation from her. She began grooming all the other pigs, snuggling up with them and following them about. Maybe Indiana just needed time to work out what a family was.

It's hard to believe Indiana was only in our lives just over a year, we've had so many amazing experiences with her and she was such a huge personality. Known as the sassy pig, like many Abyssinians, Indiana had no trouble coming forward! She was vocal and fearless and half your job was keeping her in one place such was her love to explore. For this reason, she would let us take great photos and videos of her and allowed us to get really close and intimate with her. She has provided some laugh-out-loud moments with her antics, like her up-side-down drinking, her piggy kisses, her photo bombs and her attempted run escapes mid-filming. We will miss all that and we know our herd will miss her too, she became so friendly with them all.
We first noticed the warning signs of a problem in her around the time Xena passed. There had been some weight loss and some of her hair was falling out. This is often the indication of a ovarian cyst (a fairly common problem in lady pigs) and having just been through the procedure with Pepper, we thought we'd be going through it again with Indiana. But after a couple of thorough examinations at our exotic vets and some tests, a more ominous problem came to light. It appeared Indiana's kidneys were not functioning properly and were unlikely to get much better. There were drugs that we could try to manage the problem for her, but it would be a case of trying to maintain a quality of life for her rather than being able to fix the problem. We set out with a positive mindset, to get some more weight on her and try the drugs, and over the following few weeks she was given plenty of opportunity to gorge on all sorts of weight building treats. We gave her food in isolation with Napoleon, which actually benefited them both and gave them more time to eat (away from the rest of the greedy guts!). We also administered critical care to give her a boast. But despite some really positive munching and extra meal times, the weight continued to drop off.


If you've followed our journey over the last week you'll know what happened next. It's all very raw right now and I'd rather focus on all the great times we had together with Indiana than go through it all again. But I guess in summary, the hardest thing about the whole situation is the feeling of helplessness. You try everything. You get a small win, or have a positive day and your heart gets a little charge and then she has a bad day or the next weigh-in shows another loss. Indiana was certainly a fighter and if we didn't believe we could pull her through we wouldn't have been up three times a night syringe feeding her. But fate decided we wouldn't have long with the little sassy pig and we are just so grateful for the time we had with her. As with all the other HayPigs, she will not be forgotten and is already immortalised in our 2019 calendar. We hope she is enjoying meeting up with Xena, Nutty and Crunchie over that rainbow bridge.

Indiana, you were one of a kind, we are devastated you are gone. Sorry we couldn't fix it. Thank you for everything, you were one amazing little girl and everyone will miss you so much. Rest in peace little one. Mummy and daddy love you. xxx 🐹❤🌈

Do guinea pigs smell?

Helen Cridland



We aren’t questioning the effectiveness of those guinea pig noses here, because we all know they can sniff out a sprig of parsley at fifty paces! But a common question, especially from those who are first thinking about getting guinea pigs as pets, is “do guinea pigs smell”? Now we think it’s fair to say that guinea pigs are generally very clean animals (we’re not biased, honest!) and as long as they are cleaned out regularly, then no, they don’t smell!

Guinea pigs groom themselves and there’s nothing cuter than watching them have a ‘wash’ with their paws! They actually secrete a white substance from the corner of their eyes and use this to clean their face, as well becoming masters of contortion using their mouth to groom the rest of their body.

If anything is going to cause any smell to develop, it will most likely be the urine and not the animal itself. So, keep bedding fresh, spot clean dirty areas regularly and do a full clean out at least once a week.

People also wonder about the need to give your ‘pampered’ piggies a wash or a bath. There are occasionally times when a guinea pig has got a little grubby and may need freshening up, but it’s not something that needs to be done regularly, if at all with some pigs.  But a couple of things to bear in mind: Long haired piggies are likely to need more grooming care than short haired ones, as their fur will have more contact with the floor of their enclosure. Boars (and occasionally sows) can also need a little more attention if their grease gland (found just above where their tail would be, if they had one) is overactive. This can be a challenge to keep clean but we find breaking down the grease with Swarfega first, before rinsing and then a quick shampoo to follow, is a good way to deal with their behinds!

If you do find your guinea pig needs a bath, then make sure to use an appropriate shampoo for small animals, avoid getting water on their head and in their ears, always rinse well and make sure they are nicely dry before they go back into their enclosure, so they do not catch a chill.


So, if you keep their cages clean and just assist them with the occasional extra wash if needs be, then you shouldn’t be catching a whiff of any unpleasant odours. You can just enjoy the smell of fresh hay and vegetables, although you can bet the piggies will be loving that kind of smell even more than you!

HayPigs!® are finalists in the Essex Business Awards 2018 for New Company of the Year!

Rik Cridland

Countywide finalist logo 2018.jpg

Press Release - 30.09.18


HayPigs!® are thrilled to announce that we have been selected as one of 5 finalists in the Essex Business Awards 2018 for New Company of the Year! It is wonderful to be recognised in our home region and we are once again honoured to be representing the pet trade at another awards event.

HayPigs!® is home of the multi-award-winning HayPigs!® Guinea Pig Circus™. Our family run business designs toys, feeders and accessories for guinea pigs and other small animals . Our range of bespoke products has a circus theme and is designed to enhance and enrich the everyday lives of small furries and their owners.

Products include the 'Cavy Cannonball™' tilting tunnel, The 'Circus Hidey Hut™' fleece hidey and the PATS 2017 Best New Small Animal Product winning 'Piggy Weightlifter™' vegetable kebab maker.

Fingers (and paws) are now crossed that we can go all the way and scoop the top prize! Wheek! Wheek! Wheek!

HayPigs!® secures deal to stock over 150 Petbarn stores in Australia

Rik Cridland

HayPigs!® Petbarn.jpg

Press Release - 20.09.18


Ahead of their second appearance at PATS Telford this weekend, small furry accessories brand, HayPigs!® have some extremely exciting news to share. With help from their 'pawtners' Guinea Pigs Australia, they have just signed a deal to stock over 150 Petbarn stores in Australia.

HayPigs!® MD and self-proclaimed Ringmaster, Rik, is overjoyed with the news, "This is obviously really exciting news and we are delighted that our range has been so warmly welcomed over in Australia. We can't thank Niomie, Steve and the team at Guinea Pigs Australia enough for their hard work and dedication in helping make this happen. It's humbling to think that we will be enriching the lives of so many small furries across the length and breadth of Australia."

Steven Ferrante of Guinea Pigs Australia had this to add, "Guinea Pigs Australia is so excited to be officially launching HayPigs!® into Petbarn, Australia. With Petbarn's fantastic reach across Australia it will give more guinea pig owners the opportunity to access high quality, fun and creative enclosure accessories. HayPigs!® product range will be available on Petbarn online and at over 150 Petbarn stores by December 2018."

In a triple celebration, HayPigs!® are also thrilled to have made it to the final of the PetQuip Awards for Marketing Project of the Year and also the Essex Business Awards for Best New Business. HayPigs!® Co-founder Helen is really looking forward to the awards events, "It's just lovely to have been recognised for all our hard work. As HayPigs!® is a family business, there have been a lot of sacrifices over the last couple of years, so this is a great opportunity to give ourselves a pat on the back and let our hair down a bit!"

HayPigs!® will be exhibiting at PATS Telford this Sunday and Monday and will also be unveiling a brand new product at the show. For more information, contact or check out their website:

How many toes do guinea pigs have?

Helen Cridland



OK, we admit it, it’s not a topic that is going to change the world, but, on the other hand (or foot), have you ever noticed how cute a guinea pig’s feet are?! And don’t we just all need a little bit of cute in our lives to keep our spirits up from time to time?

So, we bring you guinea pigs’ toes. They have fourteen toes in total, with four on each of their front feet, and three on each of their back feet. All their toes have nails that grow continuously (just like ours!) and need regular trimming. (See our previous post on nail trimming for more on this.) Piggies have a soft pad underneath their foot and it’s always worth checking their feet as part of your regular health checks. That way you can keep an eye out for any potential problems like bumblefoot (the common - and much easier to say - name for ‘pododermatitis’), which is a painful infection on the bottom of the foot. Also look out for spurs on the underside of the feet, usually the front ones. Some piggies will never get any, others may have them growing quite regularly. These flaps of hard skin don’t generally cause many problems except perhaps if they are large and then tear and get infected as a result. Spurs that are large can be cut off (VERY carefully) with nail clippers to be on the safe side and avoid any potential knock on issues.

Sometimes, guinea pigs can have more than the expected number of toes, and if they do, it’s most likely to be an extra one on their back feet. These can be removed, if necessary, by a vet, so seek advice from a professional if you are concerned.

But, extra toes, bumbles and spurs aside, guinea pigs’ toes and feet are just totally CUTE! And if you catch sight of your precious piggies chilling out, then you will more often than not see them kicking out their back feet for all to see just how happy and relaxed they are!

How do you cut guinea pigs nails?

Helen Cridland


Much like our own nails, Guinea pigs’ nails just keep on growing, so regular nail trimming is essential for their health and wellbeing. While they may all look similar, these nails can be very different depending on the age of the guinea pig; young piggies tend to have very sharp nails while older piggies tougher and more brittle ones. Regardless of the age though, we’d suggest to aim for a nail trim once-a-month.

Guinea pig nails typically fall into two categories; dark nails and light nails. When it comes to cutting, light nails are a lot easier, as the 'quick' (the blood supply that runs within the nail) is easier to see and therefore easy to avoid! Dark nails provide more of a challenge, as the quick is hidden and cutting too much nail off can result in bleeding. That said, if you keep up with a regular nail cutting routine, the quick will recede and your job will become easier. It's definitely a case of 'less is more' (i.e. cut less off and do it more regularly) than the other way around!

How do you cut your guinea pigs’ nails?

You can take your piggies to the vet, who will do nail trimming for you (for a fee, of course!), but it will save you a lot of time (and money) to learn how to do it yourself.

So if you are going to take this task, be prepared and make sure you are comfortable with the idea... here’s a few hints and tips that we’ve found helpful, so hopefully you will too!

What do you need?

  • A good pair of clippers. Make life easier for yourself with a decent pair that are sharp and will cut cleanly. Some people even find that ‘human’ nail clippers work well.

  • A torch, if you have guinea pigs with dark or black nails. This can help you to see the ‘quick’. Failing that, err on the side of caution and don’t take too much off the nail, but ensure you trim regularly to avoid nails getting too long.

  • It can be handy to have a styptic pencil (you can find these in chemists/beauty stores - they are used to help stop bleeding from shaving cuts). If you do catch the quick and the nail bleeds, use the styptic pencil to stop the bleeding. Or, use some general first aid knowledge - have some cotton wool/tissue to hand and apply pressure to the appropriate nail.

Helpful Tips!

  • Have everything you might need ready and close by. To avoid too much stress, remember, most guinea pigs are happiest when munching on something tasty. Get their favourite food and give it to them before/during/after nail trimming to distract them and then make them feel good afterwards!

  • Make the animal feel safe and secure. You can sit down and have the piggy on your lap (place a towel over your knees), held securely and close to your body. If you have someone to help you, even better – one person to hold and one person to clip! Or, place your guinea pig on a flat non-slip surface (you can use the towel again!), standing with your body close to the piggy to provide comfort and support.

  • If you have a pig that’s a bit of a diva (we do!) and/or is not a fan of a trip to the nail salon, try wrapping them securely (but not too tight!!) in a towel to minimise any wriggling, leaving the appropriate paw free for clipping.

  • Ensure you get the right angle when trimmingsee our diagram below for this.



Nail clipping can be a nail-biting experience for even experienced guinea pig owners(!), but with patience and practice it can be done by you (yes you!) at home. Don’t panic if you are worried about cutting the quick - if you are cautious and keep nail trims quite short, this will be enough as long as you ensure you do them regularly.

Do Guinea Pigs Sneeze?

Helen Cridland



In short, yes.

And it sounds just like you’d expect…. but at a smaller decibel level than made by the human pig-slave’s sneeze!

A Good Sneeze vs. A Bad Sneeze

An occasional sneeze from your piggy is not usually anything to worry about.

Just like us, guinea pigs can get particles up their nose and they may sneeze to shift the blockage. Hay is often the culprit and even when getting good quality ‘dust extracted’ hay, there can sometimes be enough dust to cause a little irritation. On two or three occasions now we've had one of our piggies develop a sudden crackly noise through their nose when breathing. Immediately our guard has gone up, with concerns of the dreaded URI (see below) yet they've had no other symptoms and a day or two later a big sneeze has shifted it and the noise has gone.

However, there are times when sneezing should be treated more seriously and may require swift action. If there are additional symptoms as well as sneezing, like runny eyes and nose, crackly and noisy or laboured breathing, lethargy and hunched posture, coughing or wheezing and/or a change in behaviour, then it could be a URI (upper respiratory infection). A URI can usually be easily treated with antibiotics, as long as it is caught EARLY (this is so important!). If left, it can be fatal, so don't mess around if you have suspicions and seek the advice of your vet without delay.

Guinea pig sneezes may also be the result of an allergy to a particular thing, like a strong scent of perfume for example. Symptoms of an allergy can sometimes be similar to a URI, but if you are concerned, always see a vet to first check if it is the serious issue of a URI, before looking at any potential allergies.


Guinea pigs do sneeze and the odd one now and then is usually more ‘cute’ than ‘concerning’! But, as always with your lovable furry friends, if there are other signs and symptoms along with the sneezing, then don’t waste time in taking the appropriate action to ensure the good health of your precious piggy.

Where Do Guinea Pigs Come From?

Helen Cridland



As with many of the questions about our gorgeous guinea pig friends, the answer is not always as obvious as it might seem! So, no, guinea pigs do not originate from Guinea, in west Africa. And, while we’re at it, they aren’t related to pigs either (but that’s another story!).

If not Guinea, then where?!

Well, the wild relations to our domesticated guinea pigs originate from the Andean region of South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia). Wild guinea pigs are often found living in the rocky areas and grassy plains that this part of the world provides. Although they do not burrow themselves (like a rabbit would), they have no problem using and sheltering in any unused tunnels made by other animals, or naturally occurring crevices and hidey holes. Those natural instincts to hide from prey are still to be found in the guinea pigs we know and love as pets today, so that’s why it’s important to provide them with tunnels and hideaways to avoid any undue stress.

Wild vs. Domestic

It would seem that guinea pigs were first domesticated in order to be eaten, and indeed they are still on the menu in some South American countries today……not something that, as owners of our pet piggies, we can even begin to contemplate! But the guinea pigs we care for and love as pets around the world today are a bit like ‘second cousins three times removed’ from their wild origins. For a start, wild guinea pigs certainly don’t have the range and variety of colours and hairstyles that our pet guineas do!


So, in summary, not-from-Guinea guinea pigs (that aren’t pigs) originally come from South America, but thanks to lots of interesting things happening throughout history (see the ‘All About Piggies’ section on our website for more on this!), we are fortunate to have ended up with our furry guinea pig companions to share our homes.

How long do guinea pigs live?

Helen Cridland



So, how many years of joy can you expect to get from your furry piggie friends?  It’s the million-dollar question that lots of people ask, and of course, the answer can vary depending on who you speak to...but let’s see if we can dispel a few myths and give you an idea of the sort of commitment you need to be prepared for, if you are going to give these gorgeous little critters a forever home!

A guinea pig is not a hamster.

So, this (you would think) should be fairly self-explanatory, however in our experience, we have come across many people confusing guinea pigs with hamsters! Now, not only do guinea pigs have very different needs and grow much larger than their (very distant!) relation the hamster, but the life expectancy of these creatures also differs. On average, a hamster can be expected to live for 2-3 years, depending on breed type and lifestyle.

So, go on then, what is the average lifespan of a pet guinea pig?

Well, without hedging our bets too widely, the average lifespan for a domestic guinea pig is 5-7 years, although as with any living creature, there are many factors that can influence this. They have been known to live for much longer than 7 years, indeed as the 2006 Guinness World Record states, the longest living guinea pig survived for 14 years, 10.5 months! While this record may not be the norm, guinea pigs are certainly a pet that you need to be confident about affording the care and devotion to, for a good number of years.

How can we help our precious piggies to enjoy a long and happy life?

There are lots of things you can do to give your guinea pigs the best chance of reaching old age. Good diet, a large enclosure, plenty of exercise, social interaction, good hygiene and proper response to any potential health issues are all factors that can contribute to a long and happy life. So, ensure you are feeding the correct foods in the right amounts, with plentiful hay and forage on the side! Provide your piggies with ample space and opportunities to run around, using tunnels and stimulating toys in their cages/runs or during floor time/out in the garden. Guinea pigs are social animals, so make sure they have a bonded cage mate, so they don’t get lonely or bored. Of course don’t forget, most guinea pigs love spending time with humans too, so enjoy some lap-time snuggles with them. Clean their enclosures regularly and thoroughly and ensure you handle your animals daily to keep a close eye on their health, seeking advice from an exotic vet should the need arise.

The Rainbow Bridge

As with any animal, there can be health problems in guinea pigs that occur at any age. This can be very hard to deal with, especially if a young piggie is taken ill. With the best will in the world, and despite all the best efforts to provide a healthy environment for our furry friends, there will be problems beyond your control. We suggest that you find a good exotic vet who is used to dealing with guinea pigs and act quickly should you need to, as they can go downhill quickly.


So, unlike their ‘wild’ guinea pig relations, who can only be expected to live for 1-4 years, pet guinea pigs can live 5-7 years providing you with many years of love, snuggles and wheeks! So, be prepared to do all you can to provide them with a long, healthy and happy life, and they will indeed brighten up your days in return!

Why do guinea pigs lick?

Rik Cridland


Why do guinea pigs lick? - Also known as a 'piggy kiss'

Have you ever noticed how your guinea pig likes to lick your fingers, hand or face? Have you ever caught your guinea pig licking itself or indeed another piggy? Well while this may seem a little strange, it's perfectly normal. In fact, in many cases it is a sign of affection!

Licking themselves

Guinea pigs love to groom themselves and licking is an effective way of giving themselves a little wash. No doubt you may have witnessed your piggy in an impressive yoga pose while attempting to hit the right spot! This is just like a human having a quick wipe with a flannel!

Licking other piggies

Being social little fur balls, guinea pigs also love to groom one another and again, this is perfectly normal. If this is happening frequently in your herd, this suggests they are very content with one another and enjoy each other's company.

Licking you

If your guinea pig starts licking you, this could be a very good sign that he or she likes you. It's generally regarded as a very affectionate gesture. In the same way that they show affection through grooming one another, they could well be attempting to groom you to!

Other reasons for giving you a lick

Guinea pigs may also lick you to lap up the salty taste on your skin. In this case, it's less affection, more exploiting your presence for a tasty snack! Likewise, they may detect the resonance of some food you may have been handling. Have you ever noticed how piggies may still be interested in your hand, even when all the herbs have been pillaged?!


All in all, guinea pig kisses, or licks, are a wonderful experience. Not all pets are so giving, so enjoy sharing this little intimate moment with your fur babies.

HayPigs!® reach the finals of the SME National Business Awards 2018

Rik Cridland

HayPigs SME National Business Awards 2018.jpg

HayPigs!® is delighted to announce that it has been successful in reaching the finals of the SME National Business Awards in the Best New Business Category.

Reaching the finals of these national awards is fitting recognition for the hard work, enterprise and endeavour shown by husband and wife team, Rik and Helen Cridland and their team of small furries, the HayPigs!®

"We're obviously over the moon to have reached the finals." explains Helen "What is particularly pleasing is that we are up against businesses outside of our sector, so we are flying the flag for the pet trade! We are just crossing our fingers and paws now that we can go all the way and scoop the top prize!"

The awards final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Friday 7th December 2018 and, whatever the result, HayPigs!® will have plenty to celebrate after a stellar first year.

HayPigs!® wins Best UK Small Pet Accessories Provider 2018 in LUX Awards!

Rik Cridland

LPP18026-LUX Pet Product & Services Award  Winners Logo.jpg

We are delighted to announce that HayPigs!® has won Best UK Small Pet Accessories Provider 2018 in the LUX Magazine Pet Product & Service Awards 2018! Yay!

LUX Magazine recognises those who have helped this industry see exponential growth in recent years. They have rewarded those individuals, organisations and enterprises who strive to produce the services and products which benefit the well-being and health of mankind’s best friends.

Commenting on the success of the awards, Kaven Cooper, Coordinator at LUX, said: “How we care, feed, and treat our pets is a reflection on society and the Pet Product & Service Awards is proud to provide the accolades for those who allow us to care for our domestic animal population in a sustainable and humane fashion. I am truly proud of all of my winners and wish them congratulations, I will be watching your future endeavours with interest.”

Rest in Peace Nutty, March 2012 - May 2018

Rik Cridland


🐹😔🌈💔 It's with deep sadness that Helen and I have to inform you of the passing of our favourite little dude Nutmeg (he was 6). Nutmeg, or Nutty as we like to call him, passed away in his sleep last night after a long battle with Osteodystrophy. He was diagnosed with the terminal condition back in September but we were managing his condition with drugs and he was still very much enjoying himself. Yesterday, he didn't seem himself, his breathing was laboured and he was generally lethargic. We feared the worst but he has come through spells like this before and bounced back to health. Sadly, this time it was not to be. Fortunately, we both got to say our goodbyes and are honestly very relieved that he is not in any pain anymore, but it has ripped a hole in our hearts 😢💔.

Nutmeg is the reason HayPigs even exists, he has been a massive inspiration to us both and was such an outgoing, lovable character, everyone who met him adored him. We've never met a small furry with such a human-like personality, he could be stroppy, sassy and grumpy but also incredibly affectionate and loving. We feel so honoured and privileged to have looked after this little piggy for the last 4 years, he has truly changed the course of our lives and will be missed every day 😢💓.

It's time to find Crunchie over the rainbow bridge buddy, goodbye my friend, you are forever in our souls, we love you very much. Mum and Dad Xxx 🐹🎪❤🌈😚 #NutmegtheGuineaPig RIP 🐹🌈


SPECIAL MESSAGE: ❤ Thank you to everyone for your kind words of support at this sad time for our family, we really appreciate your love and guidance. ❤ Nutmeg was very special to us all and will leave a legacy behind him. For everyone who has ever enjoyed playing with a HayPigs!® product, this little guy was the inspiration behind it all, forever our ringmaster. 🐹🎪❤ We decided to bury Nutty in a deep pot so we could create a memorial in his memory 🐹🌈❤. We laid him on some tasty fresh hay with some of his favourite herbs 🌿 and a clutch of fresh strawberry leaves 🍓. On the top we planted some basil and parsley, we know he would be happy to hear that the other piggies could enjoy a treat on him. It's never easy losing a pet that you hold so dear, but we're so glad we had a plan this time around and found a fitting way to say goodbye. Love you Nutty 😚

HayPigs!® First Birthday - Press Release

Rik Cridland

Happy Birthday HayPigs.jpg

HayPigs!®, home of the award-winning  HayPigs!® Guinea Pig Circus™, celebrates its first Birthday this weekend and is keen to thank everyone for their fabulous support. As the anniversary approaches, co-founders Rik and Helen Cridland reflect on what has been an very challenging, but rewarding journey;

"A couple of years ago, had we told you that we were going to launch a 'guinea pig circus' and design products specifically aimed at guinea pigs, you would have thought we were mad (and some still do!)." explains Rik, "It was quite a hard sell to be frank, many in the trade didn't believe there was enough of a market to focus solely on small animals, let alone specialise in guinea pig accessories! But we had a clear vision of what we wanted to do and most importantly, really knew our target market well. This gave us great confidence in our product and brand idea."

"Early days were tough, for our idea to work we needed to commit to a significant amount of stock in order to launch with a coherent, themed range of products. All our products were bespoke, some of the them required expensive tooling, there was significant testing and IP costs and once our stock landed, we also had to deal with storing it all. But thankfully, when the whole package was presented to the trade and most importantly, our potential customers, they loved it! The feedback we have had over the last year has been incredible and made all the hard work worthwhile."

Eager to establish their brand quickly, HayPigs!® spent a good portion of last year on the road attending trade shows and public events. Along with their relentless social media activity, these public events have done a lot to build and grow a loyal and committed fan base that HayPigs!® are very proud of. Helen explains, "We knew before we started this adventure that the guinea pig and small animal community are a very special bunch. They adore their pets and go to great lengths to please them. As guinea pig owners, we refer to ourselves as 'pig slaves' and if we're honest, our pets probably eat better than we do! Attending public shows like the National Pet Show has been a great opportunity for us to meet with our social media followers, introduce ourselves to new pet fanatics and get our educational messages out there. It has been a real family affair, those of you who attended PATS Telford last year may have found me with a new born baby strapped to my chest. We joke that Scarlett (or 'HayBaby!')  had done 3 shows before she was even born!"

In a year that has seen them scoop the best new small animal product in the PATS Telford showcase, get to the final of the PetQuip Awards for Pet Product of the Year as well as being finalist in the Innovation category at the PIF Awards, HayPigs!® have a lot to be proud of. This in addition to their range being taken on by several of the UK's largest retailers and many of the wonderful and diverse independents up and down the country, it's been a great start for the Essex based family business and their band of small furry friends.

"We can't wait to show you what's coming next" says Rik with a big smile on his face, "The show's only just begun!"

Grass Time for Guinea Pigs - Some Top Tips!

Rik Cridland


Serious nom nom appeal!

Serious nom nom appeal!

Like many herbivores, guinea pigs love munching on grass! Our HayPigs!® will spend most of the Summer out on the lawn* keeping our grass trimmed. Like hay, grass is great for a guinea pigs digestive system and is also a source of vitamin C as well as many other useful vitamins and minerals. When planning to feed you piggies grass, please consider the following:

- Make sure the grass has not been contaminated by any chemicals or pesticides

- Make sure there is no mould present on the grass and that it looks healthy

- Avoid areas that may have been soiled by other pets or livestock

- Avoid feeding from lawn mower clippings

There are a couple of obvious ways to let your guinea pigs eat grass; bring it to them or find a secure spot to let them eat it straight off the ground. If you plan to collect it yourself (to pop in their run, hutch or cage), please always cut the grass with a pair of scissors and don't just rip it out of the ground. The roots on grass can actually  be harmful to piggies, so please avoid them.

If you are planning to let your guinea pigs forage for their own grass (which they will love by the way!) please bear in mind that they need introducing to grass gradually. To begin with, limit the amount of grass they consume a day or they will very quickly become bloated and may suffer from diarrhoea. Over time, their guts will become more used to the grass and they will be able to eat more. That said, please still provide them plenty of hay throughout the day, regardless of whether you think they've got enough grass to keep them busy munching!

A secure run or cage with a sealed or covered roof is great for outdoor grass time.

A secure run or cage with a sealed or covered roof is great for outdoor grass time.




Make sure it is warm enough for your piggies to be outside. Feel the ground temperature with your hand, it shouldn't feel cold. Remember your piggies move around with their bodies very low to the ground, if the floor is cold, they will get cold too.


Introduce your piggies to Spring grass gradually so their tummies can get used to it. For example, on day 1 they might have 10 minutes out on the lawn, day 2, 30 minutes, day 3, an hour, day 4, 2 hours etc.


Avoid putting your piggies out on damp grass, this is dangerous for them. Wait until the morning dew has burned off in the sun or rain drops have dried up.


*Please ensure that your guinea pigs are properly secured when foraging outside. A secure run or cage with a sealed or covered roof is essential to protect them from predators and keep them from running off.


Provide your piggies with a cover over at least half of their outdoor run. This can be done with a towel or sheet pegged over the top of it. Not only will this provide them with shade from the sun, but it will also make them feel safer from predators and they will therefore be more active.   


HayPigs!® Launch Dog Treat!

Rik Cridland

Hi guys, we have some very exciting news to share with you; this morning we are officially launching a brand new HayPigs!® product! To find out more, please read our press release:

HayPigs!®, home of the award-winning HayPigs!® Guinea Pig Circus™ and designers of toys, feeders and accessories for guinea pigs and other small animals, are delighted to announce the launch of their brand new healthy dog treat, Guinea Poop™.

Having  received rave reviews for their range of small animal products, this quirky and exciting family run business has decided to branch out into the dog market. MD Rik explains:

"With innovation at the core of our business, we believe we have spotted a real commercial opportunity that has been completely overlooked by the rest of the trade. We believe our new vitimin B rich doggy treats will be a massive hit!"


The secret behind Guinea Poop™ is the production technique which involves a secret recipe developed by their resident small furries. Co-founder Helen explains:

"Having spent a lot of time with our guinea pigs and indeed our border collie, Sansa, we noticed she had a real interest in the piggies backsides. On closer inspection, it wasn't the pigs themselves that she was after, but the poops they produced."

While this may sound a little disgusting for some, research conducted by HayPigs!® revealed that this was happening up and down the country:

"My dog is obsessed with piggy poop. He thinks the guinea pigs are sweet machines." ruledbyguineapigs (

HayPigs!® new dog treat recycles and reuses fresh guinea pig poops and packages them in a resealable, foil lined pouch. 100% organic and packed with vegetable nutrients, each poop is carefully inspected for size and weight before being added to the pack.

While the initial production run began in the UK, demand has meant that HayPigs!® have now approached LA Guinea Pig Rescue for help. They were recently involved in the dramatic rescue of a hoard of over 700 guinea pigs, a record for the US. It is hoped that a joint Anglo American venture will allow harvesting of an abundance of poops from their Californian base.

Guinea Poop™ retails at £3.99 for a 60g pouch. The product is available from April 1st. For more details, email

If you have enjoyed reading our press release and can spare some change to help out the incredible team of volunteers at LA Guinea Pig Rescue we would be very grateful. With all the medical attention, feeding and neutering required, their average weekly bill is currently running at around $1300. We have set up a Just Giving page (below). Any donation, no matter how small, would be greatly received. Have a great Easter wheek-end everybody!

Wheek to you soon!

Helen, Rik, Scarlett Rose and the HayPigs!®


EDIT: APRIL FOOLS! We're sorry guys, as many of you will have guessed, we were fibbing! 🤥😋😘 But we are delighted so many of you embraced our concept, maybe it's not such a daft idea after all...?! 🤔😄😅🤡

Just a little disclaimer; if your dog does eat a few guinea pig poos it shouldn't do them any harm, but it's recommended that you don't let them make a habit of it. Eating copious amounts of piggy poo can make your dog ill if there are any nasties (like parasites or infectious diseases) in it. 👍❤

PATS Telford - Best New Product Award

Rik Cridland



Fresh from scooping the best new product award for the small animals category in the PATS Telford showcase, newcomers HayPigs!® are already looking forward to exciting times ahead, "We're really chuffed to have won this award in our first year of trading." says Rik Cridland, MD and self-proclaimed Ringmaster, "PATS Telford was a wonderful experience and we are really appreciative of the warm welcome we received from the pet trade community. It feels like we are part of one big family already! Thank you to everyone who has supported us to date, it really means a lot. It's been an exhausting experience, but so worth it! We look forward to the exciting journey ahead and can't wait to show you what else we've got planned for HayPigs!®"

HayPigs!® mix of product innovation, quirkiness and good humour, caught the judges' eye after they entered four of their six circus themed launch products into the showcase. Their winning product, the HayPigs!® Piggy Weightlifter™, is said to be the World's first, horizontal, pet friendly, vegetable kebab maker. It provides guinea pigs and other small animals with an enriching food challenge while also entertaining their owners. "The judges were unanimous in their choice of this winning product." said the panel "They felt a fun circus range for small animals was a great addition to the market. The winning product from the range was a novel idea and will provide hours of enjoyment."