American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2007 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Critter Critiques

Oxbow “Orchard Grass Hay” Review

Karen Robbins, Winnetka, CA
After getting the new English mouse imports in 2004, I wanted to make their transition as easy as possible and searched for hay similar to the meadow hay used by the breeders in England. After trying the timothy and orchard grass hay from different companies, I found the Oxbow Orchard Grass hay. This hay is always green and fresh smelling. Other brands I found would be dusty and unappealing in color. I decided to stick with the Orchard Grass hay as it is more of a flat leaf and the mice can use it in their nests easier than the round stalks and seed heads of the timothy hay.

Orchard Grass is a high-fiber, low-protein grass hay with a sweet smell and has a Guaranteed Analysis of:

Crude Protein min 7.00%
Crude Fat min 1.50%
Crude Fiber max 32.00%
Moisture max 15.00%

It is packaged in 15 oz ($4.25), 40 oz ($8.50), 9 lb ($15.25), 25 lb ($19.75), and 50 lb ($28.75) bags. It is available from their web site or through a retailer.

A red Bio-Serv Mouse Igloo®.
Some of Karen Robbins’ mice enjoying their “Orchard Grass” hay from Oxbow Pet Products, at one of our displays. Photo by Karen Robbins.

With the moms, they like to have hay in their nest mixed with the shredded napkins. I made the mistake once and put hay in one pile and the shredded napkins in another pile for the mom to make her own nest and she used the hay and left the shredded napkins untouched. After adding the shredding napkins to the hay, she then made a new nest for her kids. For all the moms, now I put a handful of hay on the bottom with the shredded napkins on top for them to make warm cosy nests for their kids.

All my mice get hay but not everyone uses it in their nests—rather they like to just eat it. During winter I give everyone shredded napkins and then the hay and shredded napkins are used in their nests.

Hay is not only used for nest building, but is an important part of their diet. Some of my cages of mice eat almost every speck of hay, they like it so much. After cleaning the cages, the first thing the mice like to do is run into the hay.

Seeing how much the mice enjoy this product for nest building and eating, I consider it a requirement for mouse breeders everywhere to use hay of some sort with their mice.

My mice all give this a hearty squeak of approval!

Susan Yanover, North Las Vegas, NV
I worked at the AFRMA booth at the last Pet Expo, in Costa Mesa, CA.

Oxbow Products donated a large bag of orchard hay. Although I’ve used their food and hay in the past for my Guinea Pigs and Chinchillas I have never used it for my rats and mice.

When I got home, I placed some of the hay in my rat and mice cages. They loved it! The big difference that I have noticed with Oxbow Products is that the food and hay always looks and smells fresh. Thank you, Oxbow, for your wonderful products.

Gina Pomeroy, Escondido, CA
At the AFRMA booth at the Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, I was given some Orchard Grass hay to try with my rats and mice. I find that my rats really enjoyed the hay a lot. They chewed on it, made a nest out of it, and they burrowed in it. My mice liked it too. They used the hay to burrow in.

Oxbow Hay
“Orchard Grass” hay from Oxbow Pet Products, Oxbow Enterprises

NOTE: Orchard Grass Hay is made by Oxbow Enterprises, 29012 Mill Road, Murdock, NE 68407, (800) 249-0366, Fax (402)867-3222, Their web site is *

Back to top

Updated May 4, 2015