What is a guinea pigs diet – lets cover it
What is a guinea pigs diet, well apart from them needing unlimited amounts of hay, that is not the only thing that they need. As mentioned hay accounts for ninety per cent. It’s vital that guinea pigs have the right amount of vitamin c as this is something that they are unable to produce on their own, so they need help from us owners. Now vegetables will provide the most of this and below is a list of the suitable fresh veggies you can feed them and how often. Also, fruits as a tiny treat once a week can be given.
- Kale – can cause bloating if fed too much (once a week)
- Romaine Lettuce (three times a week)
- Broccoli – Do not overfeed, it can cause bloating (once a week)
- Bell peppers – the highest in vit c (four times a week)
- Parsnip – high in phosphorus (once a week)
- Carrot – high in sugar (once a week)
- Celery – high water content (once a week)
- Cucumber – high in water content (once a week)
- Coriander – high in calcium and good vitamin c content (twice a week)
- Fennel – medium in vitamin c and high in dietary fibre (four times a week)
Fruit list – once per week
- Watermelon (best for summer)
- Strawberries plus they love the leaves on top
It is important not to feed a diet that is high in calcium as this can cause them to get painful kidney stones. That is low in phosphorus and sugar. But go ahead and feed high in fibre. When feeding veg give 40 to 50 grams per guinea pig.
Onto nuggets which accounts for the other five per cent of the diet. These need to contain a good amount of vitamin c and no extra additives. Burgess excel is a great brand that will cover those needs, I suggest buying a small bag as it will last a good amount of time without the vitamin c levels dropping too much over time.
With hay or on its own, bags of herbs and flowers are a lovely addition which will keep them interested in eating. Again burgess and woodlands brands do these small bags, but do not overfeed as they will add too much onto what you are already feeding them. They might contain flowers/herbs that are higher in calcium. I use mine once every two to three months.
Do they actually need vitamin C supplements?
Supplements will just make sure they are definitely getting the right amount of vitamin c in their diets. There is no harm in them getting slightly more than they need. Get the oxbow hay tablets as the liquid version that has to be placed in water bottles is not good enough. When it sits in water for a time the vitamin c decreases. The guinea pigs will probably love eating the tablets as ingredients like flax seed in the oxbow are included, plus it’s good for wearing their teeth down.
Flowers/weeds that can be eaten when outside
There are lots of flowers and weeds that can be surprisingly eaten by them. Make sure there has never been weed killer used on the associated area when placing them out on the grass in your garden. The weeds that can be eaten are dandelions including the leafs, plantain, chickweed, clover and yarrow are just a few to mention. Flowers for example marigold (yum), chamomile and roses. The guinea pigs will love the extra variety provided from your own back yard/outside area.
A good diet will keep the weight in check as well as providing for their nutritional needs. Make sure vegetables are fresh not out of date or the quality is really bad to start with. They have fragile digestive systems that need to be managed carefully in order to avoid serious problems. Unfortunately I was feeding mine the wrong quantities for a bit of time. Giving them too much and feeding loads of chicory which should be avoided as the calcium content is very high. It has led to them being a bit overweight but they have been exercising more and quantities reduced accordingly, so their weight has now gone down.