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May 11, 2022

What Is The Difference Between Oxbow’s Hand-Sorted And Bulk Hay Products?

At Oxbow, we recognize that every pet household is unique with its own specific product needs.  For this reason, we believe in providing a variety of hay sizes to meet the needs of families of every shape and size. Whether yours is home to a single pet, or one with a large fluffle of rabbits, a herd of guinea pigs, or any other kaleidoscope of hay-loving friends, you can rest assured that we have premium hay that will meet the daily nutrition needs of all of your hungriest herbivores. 

Oxbow Hay at a Glance: 

No matter which size of Oxbow hay you purchase, there are some shared characteristics you will always find with the hay inside the package.  At a glance, here are some shared characteristics of all Oxbow hay products:  

  • Oxbow hay is harvested predominantly in the Northwestern region of the United States, an area that provides the ideal conditions for consistently growing premium quality hay.  
  • We work with a small, select group of expert grower partners that meet the stringent growing and harvesting standards we’ve had in place for decades.  
  • We focus on the maturity of the hay, targeting an early cut of the immature hay which provides the best nutritional and physical plant properties for our small animal clientele. 

Hand-Sorted vs. Bulk Hay  

Our customers often ask about the differences between our hand-sorted and bulk hay products.  You will find our hand-sorted hay products in our traditional full-color packaging (i.e., bags) in sizes ranging from 15 to 90 ounces, as well as 9 lb. boxes.  Our bulk hay products, meanwhile, will appear in our 25 and 50 lb. boxes.  Regardless of which size you purchase for your pets, let’s take a closer look at the features of the hay inside. 

Oxbow’s Hand-Sorted Hay 

When our hand-sorted hay is packaged, our production experts comb through the hay by hand, removing anything left over from the fields.  This can include weeds and twine that can get caught up during the baling process. Once the sorting process is complete, the hay is packaged into a bag and sealed. 
 
Learn more about Oxbow’s hay quality process.      
 
Features of Oxbow’s hand-sorted hay varieties include:  

  • Grown by expert partners across Oxbow’s family of farms 
  • Harvested at an immature stage of growth to meet nutritional needs and taste and texture preferences of small animals 
  • Nutritionally tested to ensure the hay meets the specific requirements of small animals  
  • Hand-sorted by trained production experts 
  • Hand-sorted sizes include: 15 oz, 20 oz, 35 oz, 40 oz, 84 oz, 90 oz, 9 lb.   

Oxbow’s hand-sorted varieties of hay are the perfect size for households with one or two pets, or for owners who want to provide a variety of hays, which is optimal for pets.   

Read more about the many benefits of offering multiple varieties of hay to your little loved ones.   

Oxbow’s Bulk Hay 

Oxbow’s bulk hay products consist of the same hay you’ll find in our smaller, hand-sorted products. These larger sizes are hand-packed into large bags and then placed in a corrugate box without undergoing the same hand-sorting process as our smaller sizes.  

As a result of the less labor-intensive packaging process, we are able to offer these larger sizes at a lower price/oz than our smaller, hand-sorted options, but you may also see more natural variability in the characteristics of the hay.  These characteristics can change as you move through the portions of the hay bale in the box.  For this reason, we always recommend sorting through our bulk hay as you feed it to your pet to make sure anything undesirable is removed.  

Features of Oxbow’s bulk hay varieties include:  

  • Grown by expert partners across Oxbow’s family of farms 
  • Harvested at an immature stage of growth to meet nutritional needs and taste and texture preferences of small animals 
  • Nutritionally tested to ensure the hay meets the specific requirements of small animals 
  • Lower cost/oz than Oxbow hand-sorted hays  
  • More commonly available online than in brick-and-mortar stores    
  • Bulk sizes include: 25 lb., 50 lb.  

Bulk hay boxes are ideal for those households that have a larger menagerie of little friends, are looking for a more economical option, or are unable to get to the pet store as often. 

Since our bulk offerings are large and not ideal for retail shelves, you are more likely to find them at one of our online retail partners than in a brick-and-mortar location. 

How to Store Your Pet’s Hay  

  • Whether you prefer hand-sort bags or bulk box sizes of hay, it is important to remember to store your pet’s hay in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight.   
  • If you choose to store your hay in a different container, make sure to provide ventilation holes for the hay. Proper airflow is important for storage and to prevent any chance of the hay becoming damp or moldy.  
  • Always keep the bag or take photos of the lot information on the outside of the bag or box, in case you need to contact us with any concerns or questions. This information is extremely important to our team. 

If you have any questions about any of our bulk or bagged varieties of hays, contact our Customer Care team. We are always happy to assist with any question or concern!