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Friday, August 6, 2010

What Guinea Pig Food Should I Give to My Cavies?

By Robert Prior

Cavies are herbivores which means they only eat fruits and vegetables and pellets. Guinea Pig food from any Pet Shop is also good for them for their Guinea Pig diet. Just because cavies eat anything they find or are given, DOESN'T mean it is good for feeding Guinea Pigs.

When feeding them vegetables, either bought or foraged, this must be

- Unfrozen
- Clean
- Free from contamination (crop spraying, animal droppings, exhaust fumes, etc)
- Mildew-free

The following vegetables are enjoyed by Guinea Pigs and Vitamin C information and how much to give to your Guinea Pig per day;

Beetroot
1.4mg
Few chopped pieces, leaves are poisonous

Broccoli
25mg
A handful

Cabbage
10.2mg
Couple leaves

Carrots
1.7mg
A chopped handful

Cauliflower Leaves
24.7mg
Couple leaves

Celery
0.9mg
A handful

Cucumber
0.8mg
1 and half inch, chopped in half

Green Leaf Lettuce
5mg
3 or 4 Leaves

Green Peppers
22.5mg
Chop few strips, without seeds

Parsnips
4.8mg
Few chopped pieces

Pea Pods
16.8mg
Empty pods with ends chopped off

Red Peppers
35.8mg
Chop few strips, without seeds

Red Leaf Lettuce
1mg
Couple leaves

Romaine Lettuce
6.7mg
Couple leaves

Runner Beans
4.6mg
cut into strips, cut off ends and remove beans (poisonous)

Spinach
7.9mg
Few leaves

Sprout Tops and Stalks
74.8mg
A handful, no sprouts

Swede
5.9mg
Not too much as high in Vitamin C

Sweetcorn
1.9mg
A cob in half, including leaves

Tomatoes
3.6mg
No more than a quarter

Fruits can be great as Guinea Pig food although only give in little quantity as too much can cause scabbing around their mouth.

- Apples and Pears - Without seeds
- Melon - Without seeds
- Grapes - Seedless
- Bananas - Including skins
- Oranges - In segments with skins on
- Cherries - Remove stones first

Do not give them peaches and plums, as they are too acidic and causes mouth scabs.

Guinea Pig Nuggets My piggies love eating the Guinea Pig food that consists of nuggets from Pet At Home, once I thought I would change the nuggets to Woodlands Food and Forage. when I did this, I found that they would only touch the nuggets and hays in it, but left the alfafa pellets, so I switched back to the nuggets again.

Be aware, feeding them with just a bag of Guinea Pig food is not good enough for Guinea Pig diet as they need to eat fruits and vegetables as they are good source of Vitamin C. When a bag of Guinea Pig food is opened, it takes up to ninety days for the Vitamin C to decrease in strength. Do NOT use other food mixes such as Hamster mixes, as peanuts and sunflower seeds aren't suitable for Guinea Pigs

Rabbit pellet mixes contain anti-coccidiosis medication (ACS) and is toxic for cavies.

Hay is a MUST

I'll repeat this... Hay is a must! The Piggies eat very large quantities every day and it helps them to have a healthy digestion system. They will nibble hay constantly as this is necessary to keep their teeth grinded down, preventing it to grow too long.

You can purchase a good quality hay from either a farmer or pet shop. It is essential that you check that it is hay and NOT straw as they are used for as bedding and provide no nutritional value.
Timothy Hay Fresh Herbage Alfafa hay are usually used to feed baby cavies or pregnant sow as it is high in protein, calcium, and carbohydrates. Fully grown pigs do not benefit from them as they are prone to stones or illness due to alfafa being too rich in calcium.

For my piggies, I get Timothy Hay Excel Herbage as they love to eat it and if I try to give them an alternative, they'll ignore it completely (fussy pigs yes I know!!!). Since Timothy Hay's pricey, I only use it for their hay rack, and buy a cheaper big bag of normal hay for their bedding.

Dandelions are their favourite plant, can be found in any garden as they are wild plants, give a handful every day with hay.

And finally, last but not least - Water!

Water bottle in cage Water must be available to the pigs at ALL times with Guinea Pig food.

Always clean and flush out the bottle of old stale water before refilling.

They have a nasty habit of blowing left-over food from their mouth into the water sprout and making the water dirty.

Over time algae will build up inside the bottle so use a bottle brush to clean the inside.

If you do not have a brush, I have heard of an alternative that to put 1cm of water in the bottle and a spoonful of dry rice and then shake the bottle and pour out into a strainer.

Do not use water bowl, pigs will use them as a toilet or tips the bowl over, soaking the cage floor.

I hope this page has helped you to understand what Guinea Pig Food is good for them and what's not.

Guinea Pig Paradise is run by Rob "and his Guinea Pigs"

http://www.guinea-pig-paradise.com/guinea-pig-food.html - Guinea Pig food

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