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Thread: Grass and alfalfa cubes?

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    Grass and alfalfa cubes?

    Hello,
    I'm a relatively new guinea pig owner (since May). I like to just go out and gather grass for them to eat like hay. I have been giving them grass, pellets, and occasional greens/ fruits/ veggies. I'm going to figure out what kind of weeds they can eat as forage as well since I have plenty of grass and weeds to spare . I am wondering if I need to buy them hay or can I feed them copious amounts of grass as a substitute? Will that meet their nutritional needs? The other question I have is about alfalfa cubes. (I have a horse that I get alfalfa cubes for). I have heard alfalfa is too high in protein for them as a sole source of hay , but I am wondering if I mix some alfalfa with the grass if that would increase the nutritional value of the grass I'm feeding them?
    Jamie T.

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    Cavy Slave AbuBalooandMe's Avatar
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    Re: Grass and alfalfa cubes?

    First of all, Welcome to the Forum!

    You definitely need to get your piggies hay. They need it 24/7. Grass is very good for them, but they need the hay all the time. Some good hays include timothy, orchard, bluegrass, or oat hay to name a few.

    Piggies need vegetables everyday. The amount of it is debatable, but I would say around a cup of veggies a day per pig. They need a variety of vegetables everyday, but only feed fruits occasionally due to its high sugar content.

    About the alfalfa cubes, it depends on the age of your pigs. If they are under 6 months, then yes, that would be fine. If they are over 6 months, alfalfa hay contains too much calcium for them. Calcium can cause bladder stones, so you want to make sure to avoid it.

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    Re: Grass and alfalfa cubes?

    Ok. So a vet told my friend that she should try to give her piggies just veggies/greens and hay and if possible stay away from pellets. I am pig sitting her little piggies (who are younger than mine). I have noticed a couple of things about them. I'm thinking they could be age and/or diet related and am thinking I'd like to potentially give something like her piggies diet a try. Her 2 little piggies who are about 6 months old drink a lot less and seem to poop less (a more digestible diet). Hers are not at plump as mine , but I kind of thought that all piggies were plump.... they are like little blobs with legs.
    I'd like to make their new diet as affordable as possible, meaning I'd like to collect as much wild grasses and weeds as I can to supplement it. I have plenty of space with weeds and grass to collect (and I live in FL so the grass is pretty much year round ).
    What type of grass is good? What type of weeds should I pick? What are the guinea pigs getting from the hay that they cannot get from grass alone?

    I ask all these questions to learn and feed my guinea pigs and keep them happy. I am an avid animal owner/lover but not a dietician.

    Right now I have not been giving my pigs hay. I had bought a bale from my horse feed supplier and it went moldy really fast! . So I started giving them more grass (I always gave them grass so they were accustomed to it) until I had a chance to get more hay and the piggies have been happy and healthy so I haven't gotten out to get hay yet. I give them copious amounts of grass and avoid areas where my dogs and horse doing their thing . However, now that I'm thinking about it, we have a lot of wild animals-- how do you deworm guinea pigs?
    SO I have been feeding them unlimited grass- enough for them to hide and burrow in their cages, as much grass as I'd feed them hay. I feed them some veggies and some pellets. I'm planning on decreasing on the pellet side and increasing some various safe wild greens and store veggies. And obviously plenty of water.
    So what is the nutrient from hay that they are missing?

    From a loving animal Mom,
    Jamie.

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: Grass and alfalfa cubes?

    Hay is just dried grass. There is no nutrient that hay has that grass is missing.

    However most people chose to feed hay and not grass for practicality reasons due to their own personal situation. If your guinea pigs are accustom to eating large amounts of grass, you have ample and secure year round supply that hasn't been treated with chemicals, and you keep on top of removing any uneaten grass before it spoils then there is no reason you can't feed grass as a replacement for hay.

    If anyone reading this is considering switching to grass instead of hay it is important to note you must slowly change them over. If you suddenly start feeding grass in large amounts it can cause bloat (which can be fatal) if your guinea pig is not used to eating grass.

    For quite a while I fed hay and vegetables only, as there were not any pellets that were of a quality I felt good about feeding them available in my country. It was difficult to juggle tracking the vitamins they were getting. There were some that would be in pellets that it is very difficult to provide while also avoiding gas causing/high calcium vegetables like vitamin E, or some that it is impossible to provide on vegetables only like vitamin D3. I now chose to feed pellets as higher quality pellets have become available to me (oxbow) and it is much more convenient to feed them pellets. It also reduced the amount I was spending on vegetables as I can now feed more out of just my garden as I don't have to worry about providing a wide variety as much.

    Young guinea pig are always less plump then their adult counterparts. I find it is usually after about 7-8 months old they start to develop more of the pear shape of an adult guinea pig. Also plump is not always a bad thing, guinea pigs lose weight so fast in times of sickness that having a bit of extra weight can make a big difference to the outcome of that illness.

    Guinea pigs and rabbits are not very susceptible to intestinal worms, clinical cases of infestations are very rare, so it is not recommended to regularly treat them. If your guinea pigs do end up having signs of a worm infestation it would be best to seek advice from a good guinea pig vet as I suspect recommended treatment will vary depending on the type of worm involved.

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