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Nutrition Confused on Romaine Lettuce


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Mar 29, 2012
I read on the chart and it appears to me roamaine is an ok staple lettuce. Then I heard somewhere from a poster that it isn't??? Can someone clarify this for me? I just bought kale yesterday, and I put in one or two other vegtables a day with the lettuce, usually a carrot, celery, tomoatoe. I alternate what I give her everyday, only the lettuce remains pretty much the same until it is gone. Then I will buy a red or green etc. I know that the kale is not supposed to be a large amount each day...but I am totally confused about romaine.
I don't know the exact details of *why*, but some pigs have issues with romaine. I'd like to know the reasoning behind it myself.

I used to feed it as my main lettuce, but I noticed the towles under my fleece were covered in white spots when I went to change it. They weren't gritty, but quite excessive. I then noticed one of my pigs always had white pee. A while after I switched to red/green leaf the white spots were significantly reduced. The white spots became even less when I switched to KMS pellets. My other pig could tolerate romaine (seemingly) just fine, though.
Romaine is fine, when you look at the ingredients there's no vitamins or anything in it that are bad for piggies. I feed my piggies romaine daily and they love it, no problems so far.
theres nothing really that can hurt your pig with romain, but alot of people hear do avoid it. for me, it gve my pigs white pee (witch could can led to kidny stones) so i wiched them off it. some pigs can tolerate it and others cant.
Romaine is a lettuce that only some guinea pigs can eat without getting white pee, which like nibbler100 said could lead to stones which is not good. Romaine has a higher content of calcium which causes this. Having too much calcium is bad for some piggies.

My guinea pig is prone to getting white pee (or sludge) and I rarely ever feed her romaine. It would be better for younger guinea pigs who need more calcium, but if you had older guinea pigs it would be best to stay with green leaf or red leaf. I'm not saying never give your guinea pigs Romaine, it's good once in a while but I wouldn't use it as a staple if your guinea pigs develops white urine.

Edited by bpatters: Romaine does not have higher calcium than other types of lettuce. No one knows why some pigs have problems processing romaine and others don't. Maybe those pigs are missing something in their genetic makeup that allows them process properly, or maybe they've got something slightly amok in their metabolism that makes them excrete calcium.
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Oh ok. I suppose I will watch her pee and see how she does, and after its gone I may just be safe and get the red and green leaf. It will be gone soon because I'm making some salad for the humans tonight haha.
@charliespet , for some pigs, romaine is fine. Others will have white powdery/sludgy urine when fed romaine. Obviously there's something about some pigs' genetics or metabolism that makes them process romaine differently than other pigs.

If your pig has no white urine deposits, feed it all the romaine you want. If it does, don't feed it romaine -- give it red or green leaf lettuce instead.
@bpatters - What are other things that can cause the white pee? Every once in awhile the pee in their cozy cup dries white... They mostly get green or red lettuce, green bell pepper (other colors of the little sweet ones sometimes instead), parsley, cilantro, and baby carrot 1/2 each. And the occasional cucumber slice.

They get unlimited Blue grass hay and Alfalfa pellets (they are 4 & 5 months old).

Sorry for the thread hijack :)
One other known culprit for some pigs for white deposits is Oxbow pellets. Again, nobody has a clue why some have problems and some don't, but there have been quite a number of owners who had found that the only dietary change they had to make to get rid of white deposits is to switch from Oxbow pellets.

We haven't had reports of anybody having powder or sludge with KM pellets. Oxbow and KM have about the same amount of calcium, but use different calcium compounds for the source of the calcium in the pellets. But even then, we don't know if that's what causes the difference -- it could be something else that's in, or not in, one or the other brand that causes it.

Some pigs are just prone to excreting calcium in the urine. In that case, you have to develop a really hard heart about them wheeking for veggies, and feed them a very low calcium, not many veggies diet with strict adherence of a calcium-to-phosphate ratio of 1.5:1.
@bpatters , carrots can cause it too, right? Maybe this is why SeeSpotSit's cavies sometimes have deposits. Or the parsley.
More likely parsley than carrots. Carrots aren't terribly high in calcium -- the problem with them is the relatively high vitamin A and oxalates.
Definitely not pellets, we feed KM pellets and hay. Hmmm...maybe I'll stay away from parsley for a bit and see if that stops it. They get the least of that, which would make sense that it's just a few spots. Thanks!
Also, with Romaine, it causes A LOT less stress just to switch to Red and Green Leaf lettuces-- You won't have to be checking their pee spots to see if it is white or not. It is so easy to prevent calcium problems, that you should just do it. It would be easier than waiting until something is wrong with your Piggies pee to switch. Just prevent it in the first place.

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