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Thread: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

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    Cavy Slave LexPiggies's Avatar
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    Question What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Hello! I was just wondering what you all feed your guinea pigs on a daily. I've read different things and am unsure about which vegatable I should buy to feed my guinea pigs regularly, I currently have carrots, celery, and kale. I read the kale is high in calcium and because my guinea pigs are young (<3 months), I feed them a piece of kale at least every other day. Although my mom (who is actually scared of the pigs but coming around, likes to attempt to feed them kale daily ).
    Anyways, what veggies/fruit do you feed your pigs? how often?

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    Cavy Slave sallyvh's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Staples should be red or green leaf lettuce and bell peppers (green is prefered).

    Kale is definitely too high in calcium to be fed every day once they are older. I would still limit it now as well as it is very high in Vit. A.

    Are they getting alfalfa based pellets or alfalfa hay mixed with regular hay? If so, you don't need to offer high calcium veggies. That is then too much, even for babies.

    My pigs get the exact same veggies every day and have for years. They don't care that there is little to no variation. They just like to eat. Every day each pig gets:

    -red or green leaf lettuce
    -green bell pepper (1 large pepper split between 7 pigs)
    -cucumber (approx 1-2cm slice each)
    -carrot (baby carrot or equivalent piece of larger carrot)
    -tomato (cherry tomato or equivalent piece of largee tomato)

    The odd time they will get some additional things if they are on sale. Radicchio and belgian endive are big favourites but they can be very expensive. I'll sometimes switch the colour of the pepper as well. Red is a big favourite but it has too much sugar to offer every day.

    Every now and then they will get a little fruit too. Watermelon rind, a cherry (with the pit removed) or a couple blue berries are big favourites. They get fruit maybe 2-3 times a month.

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    Cavy Slave LexPiggies's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    I'm cuurently feeding them alfalfa based pellets with regular timothy hay and then the kale.. is that too much for them? I will soon be buying bell peppers as I see a lot of people feeding them to their pigs. Thank you for the information! I'm trying to get them on a good healthy diet so they don't get obese or sick.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Don't worry about obese. It's nearly impossible for a guinea pig to be obese. Could you get fat eating nothing but salad with no dressing on it? :-)

    Kale is extremely high in calcium and oxalates, and shouldn't be a staple in the diet.

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    Cavy Slave Shieme's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    I feed Timothy Hay and Alfalfa. Pellets are kaytee alfalfa pellets. I feed peppers and carrots in the morning, equals 1/4 cup. Then at night mixed greens, mostly red/green butter lettuce. A full cup of those. Hay and pellets are 24 hours a day available. My girls are 5 months and a month old.

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    For vegetables I feed each guinea pig:

    2 or 3 large leaves of lettuce (either butter, green oakleaf, red oakleaf, radicchio, or one of the heirloom kinds I grow in my garden)
    1/8 of a large bell pepper
    a 1 inch slice of zucchini
    and 2 other vegetables depending on what I currently have growing in my garden and what is available for a reasonable price. Almost every day least one of these, if not both, are a 1 inch slice of carrot or a small slice of tomato/one or two cherry tomatoes.

    Other things I have feed occasionally include (do note none of my guinea pigs have an issue with calcium so some of these are higher in calcium), kohlrabi, turnip greens, turnips, fennel, celery, pumpkin leaves, pumpkin, bok choy, wombok, mung bean sprouts, parsnips, cucumber leaves, cucumber, sweet potato, broccoli leaves, beans, bean leaves, pea pods (either without the peas or with underdeveloped peas), pea leaves, watermelon/cantaloupe leaves, endive, corn husks, corn leaves, or fresh grass.

    For things like the corn leaves I prefer to get them from my personal garden where I know with certainty no chemicals have been used.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Quote Originally Posted by sallyvh View Post
    My pigs get the exact same veggies every day and have for years. They don't care that there is little to no variation. They just like to eat.
    This is pretty much my thinking as well. Unfortunately, the greens that we consider the healthiest are the dark leafy greens, but most of them have entirely too much calcium to be fed regularly.

    The basics of their daily salad: spring mix (all baby lettuces if I can find it), sweet peppers, green beans, frequently radicchio. I sometimes vary it with one other veggie added. They also like celery leaves, broccoli crowns, kale, dandelion greens, baby carrot, corn husks, watermelon and canteloupe rind, and sometimes cucumber.

    Fortunately, they aren't big fans of fruits in general, and will eat only one bite of a cherry and no blueberries. They also don't like tomatoes. Fussy little boys!

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soecara View Post
    other vegetables depending on what I currently have growing in my garden
    Wow, it sounds as though you have an extensive garden! I'm envious. I'm helping my neighbor work his garden this summer and consequently all of us reap the benefit of freshly harvested veggies. The boys seem to be able to tell the difference in veggies straight out of the garden and those from the supermarket......as can we. The garden is coming to an end within the next month or so and we will really miss it.

    As an aside, did you know that kale will last through the winter? We discovered that last year when it was still viable after a couple of snowfalls.

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Yes I do have 3 fairly large garden beds (33 feet long x 10 feet wide) and quite a few pots of lettuce.

    I had no idea about kale surviving snow, as I don't ever get snow here (it rarely ever gets below 30 fahrenheit in winter here, even at night). I have however had some black tuscan kale in my garden for nearly 3 years now. The stems are quite long and thick and it needs to lean against a trellis for support as it is very top heavy but it still produces well for both me and my birds.

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    Cavy Slave Noahsmom71's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    I have had a 5 week old girl for a week now who is NOT a fan of any type of lettuce. I have tried everything from hand feeding her, leaving it in her cage for hours and even overnight. She just isn't a lettuce chewer for now! I'll keep trying! She likes cucumber, red & yellow peppers, broccoli, green grapes and corn on the cob! She also loves those seed bricks meant for her teeth. She chews on that a lot on her upstairs shelf and purrs when she sees it. Her favorite thing EVER is her Timothy hay-- she hops upstairs to her hay stack & lays up there chowing away! She seems happy with what I am feeding her. I just need to bond to her, she's still a little shy but she's my only Pig so she's kind of spoiled!

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    Cavy Star wigglemish's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Hmm, I'd be very careful with those seed bricks. Guinea pigs cannot digest things like that well, and they tend to be very high in sugar, as they use things like honey to bind them together. Same with the grapes and corn, while a little bit occasionally makes for a nice treat, both are sugary. Cucumber should be limited to a couple times a week imho.

    Try buying babyleaf salad bags from your supermarket. Avoid iceberg (obv) and rocket. But things like little butterhead and curly lettuces that come in these bags are a big hit with my herd.

    A typical day for our girls is half a cup of veggies in the morning and evening (usually a couple different lettuces, a rainbow mix of pepper colours (each girl has a preference), then rotation between a little kale, parsley, corriander, basil or dill). Twice a week they either get carrot shavings or wafer thin slices of apple. And I mean wafer thin. I use a vegetable peeler to take pieces off, then eat the rest XD

    For pellets, we use Burgess Excel Guinea Pig Supaexcel. That was the closest I could find to Oxbow in the UK.

    Hay, unlimited Timothy Supreme Science, it's always lovely and green and smells delicious. Again, best I have found in the UK . (If I want oxbow in the UK I can only get 400g bags which last maybe 3 days, come from America and the shipping is HORRIFIC..) A handful of readigrass once a day between 4 pigs.

    'Treats' we buy Rosewood Natural dried goodies. Something like dried blackcurrant leaves, or the garden salad, which is a mix of various dried herbs and dandelion leaves. These are given in pinches, and are reserved either for weekends or when a piggy is ill to coax them to eat. The alfalfa/timothy mix ring they do is popular too, but these are only once a month. Once it's gone, it's gone!

    And of course, the biggest treat of all, fresh grass from our garden!

  12. "Thank you, wigglemish, for this useful post," says:


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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    No seed bricks! Guinea pigs' throats are TINY, and it's very easy for them to get choked on hard nuts and seeds.

    Also, don't feed her corn. It's got tons of sugar, which isn't good for her digestive tract. You feed the silks (cut into roughly one inch lengths) and the inner husks. The outer husks are treated with too much pesticide.

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    Cavy Slave CavyTV's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Oxbow timothy hay 24/7

    No Pellets

    Daily Veg (per pig):
    -1/1.5/2 leaves of green/red/romaine lettuce, depending on size.
    -Small chunk of tomato
    -Small chunk of carrot
    -1/1.5 in. slice of cucumber
    -1/8 of a bell pepper, any color

    Most of the time I include a small portion of celery plus the celery leaves but sometimes I leave it out and just give what's listed above. I also include a bit of red cabbage sometimes; I wouldn't recommend doing this if you feed pellets.

    If we have cilantro, dill, etc. I put a little in his Veg for the Day.

    1-2 times a week (fruit):
    -Apple
    -Watermelon w/ rind
    -Blueberries
    -Strawberries w/ tops
    And others

    I also feed a very small amount of oats now as I believe my current piggie is a tad bit underweight and seeing as winter is approaching I think offering a very small quantity of oats every other day/ few times a week will help him keep warm during the colder seasons. I also feed extra carrot (root vegetable, good for putting weight on a pig) to get his weight up.

    Forage:
    -Different types of grasses

    I try my best to forage as much as possible. I usually only bring home grass (not from roads or parks or anything like that, completely isolated from any possible pesticides being sprayed). I sometimes include dandelions w/ leaves if I can find any that I'm 100% sure are pesticide-free, same with clover and yarrow. I usually feed forage every day or every other day.

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    Cavy Slave ZiggyPig's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Why no pellets?

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    Cavy Slave Shieme's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Pellets should be part of their diet. Alfalfa is good under six months and then Timothy. Pellets should be available 24/7till a certain age (I forget that) and then 1/8 per piggie. Hay should also be 24/7. But since you are doing alfalfa hay I think Timothy pellets are good. Never could get Shiemi to eat alfalfa pellets but she like alfalfa hay fine. She's almost 6 months so I gotta watch her calcium intake but I have to make sure my youngin' gets hers. Ah, life problems. LOL.

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    Cavy Slave ZiggyPig's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Quote Originally Posted by CavyTV View Post
    Oxbow timothy hay 24/7

    No Pellets

    Daily Veg (per pig):
    -1/1.5/2 leaves of green/red/romaine lettuce, depending on size.
    -Small chunk of tomato
    -Small chunk of carrot
    -1/1.5 in. slice of cucumber
    -1/8 of a bell pepper, any color

    Most of the time I include a small portion of celery plus the celery leaves but sometimes I leave it out and just give what's listed above. I also include a bit of red cabbage sometimes; I wouldn't recommend doing this if you feed pellets.
    Why no pellets CavyTV?

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    Cavy Slave CavyTV's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    I know this is kind of a controversial subject, but I believe pellets are unnecessary for guinea pigs. They are like multivitamins, you don't need to take them. Pellets have often also been associated with bloat (when fed alongside veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, romaine lettuce, etc.) and bladder stones. They also swell up in a pig's stomach, because of the liquid, you can experiment this, and thus lead to a decline in hay consumption, which is the most important part of a guinea pig's diet. My guinea pig, Flynn, gets all of his nutrients through vegetables and hay. This is actually how they would be getting their nutrients in the wild; I try to make it as natural as possible for my guinea pigs. Most pellets also contain grains, which I personally believe should not be fed to guinea pigs. There is a special pellet that is grain-free, but I can't get it because it is sold in the UK. The only time I would feed pellets is when my guinea pig(s) are sick (Critical Care, for example).

    Feel free to disagree with me, this is just my opinion and I am not trying to make everyone do it "my way". A lot of people actually believe in this "no pellet" thing as well, but I understand that not everyone will agree.

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    Cavy Slave ZiggyPig's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Quote Originally Posted by CavyTV View Post
    I know this is kind of a controversial subject, but I believe pellets are unnecessary for guinea pigs. They are like multivitamins, you don't need to take them. Pellets have often also been associated with bloat (when fed alongside veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, romaine lettuce, etc.) and bladder stones. They also swell up in a pig's stomach, because of the liquid, you can experiment this, and thus lead to a decline in hay consumption, which is the most important part of a guinea pig's diet. My guinea pig, Flynn, gets all of his nutrients through vegetables and hay. This is actually how they would be getting their nutrients in the wild; I try to make it as natural as possible for my guinea pigs. Most pellets also contain grains, which I personally believe should not be fed to guinea pigs. There is a special pellet that is grain-free, but I can't get it because it is sold in the UK. The only time I would feed pellets is when my guinea pig(s) are sick (Critical Care, for example).

    Feel free to disagree with me, this is just my opinion and I am not trying to make everyone do it "my way". A lot of people actually believe in this "no pellet" thing as well, but I understand that not everyone will agree.
    No actually, what you say makes sense. It requires a little more attention to rounding out their veggie diet, but not much. And I agree regarding grains and processed foods. My piggies don't really seem to eat much of their pellets anyway, they clean up their veggies and their hay.

    I don't feed my dogs' kibble, I feed them raw (prepackaged - make it easy on myself) and top it with various stuff to keep their diet varied and healthy; in my mind, your argument makes total sense, because why would I do any less for my piggies?

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    Cavy Slave miniver's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    Quote Originally Posted by CavyTV View Post
    I know this is kind of a controversial subject, but I believe pellets are unnecessary for guinea pigs. They are like multivitamins, you don't need to take them. Pellets have often also been associated with bloat (when fed alongside veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, romaine lettuce, etc.) and bladder stones. They also swell up in a pig's stomach, because of the liquid, you can experiment this, and thus lead to a decline in hay consumption, which is the most important part of a guinea pig's diet. My guinea pig, Flynn, gets all of his nutrients through vegetables and hay. This is actually how they would be getting their nutrients in the wild;

    Pellets are not "unnecessary". They are simply one of many ways to ensure guinea pigs get the vitamins they need. You can choose to not use them and provide for all dietary needs with veggies and/or supplements but pellets do serve a purpose.

    I'm not familiar with the link between pellets and bloat. How "often" does that happen?
    I don't think they swell up the stomach. I think they can eat too many, get full and ignore their hay. Please, no one "experiment" with this.

    Bad pellets can cause stones but that is from the type or levels of calcium in the pellet alone. It is not from their combination with veggies. Some guinea pigs have trouble with the calcium in romaine but others are fine. These are two separate effects. (I have a stone pig and would very much appreciate if someone would correct me if I have misunderstood my research on that one.)

    Please, anyone, correct me if I got any of this wrong.

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    Cavy Slave ZiggyPig's Avatar
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    Re: What do you feed your guinea pigs on a daily?

    @miniver I see your point.
    Diet can get very controversial very quickly when it comes to any animal. I know the debate about raw vs. kibble with dogs is hot. Or the fact that I feed my dogs raw while my cats get medium-quality kibble. When I had a bearded dragon, some people would feed mealworms because they are easiest to dust with calcium, others would say that those could cause impaction.
    It can become a hotly debated subject on any turf.

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