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How much lawn grass is okay to eat?


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jul 12, 2005
Hi all,

I have been reading all the back threads and don't find this question. How much lawn is okay to eat?

We have two wonderful pigs, Hoover and Einstein. They're about eight months to a year old (we think.) We took them out yesterday to play with us on the lawn. This is a small patch of grass in my fenced yard. I do not spray anything or have any fertilizer or products on it, but I can't guarantee that local cats haven't peed on it.

Einie just nibbled and explored, but Hoove had hit pig heaven and I think he meant to chow his way across the yard. I was not sure this was safe this, so we took them back in.

I have never seen these guys STOP eating fresh food, by the way. The common advice, "remove uneaten vegetables" is pretty useless in our house. ;) Unless they don't like something, like citrus fruit, they eat all the greens you give them. So I expect Hoover* will eat grass as long as we let him. Can pigs get colic from overeating? Will they stop when they need to? And is lawn grass harmful to them?

They normally have unlimited timothy, a supply of Kaytee pellets, and a big plate of fresh varied greens at least twice a day, plus hand-fed fresh treats (a spinach leaf, a small piece of nectarine, strawberry tops - whatever we're eating.)

Thanks for any help you can give. If grass is good for them, we will take them out and let them eat it!

*The name came from his eating habits.
What kind of Kaytee pellets are you feeding? How old are your boys?

Grass is fine. You can let them graze for say, a half an hour, or you can give them a few handfulls in their cage. Grazing seems to be more pleasurable to mine.

A good page to read would be https://guinealynx.com/nutrition.html if you havn't already.
Thanks! Guinealynx had a good page on forage and grasses, too. I had certainly been to the site but did not find that section before.

I was wrong - it's not a Kaytee product, it's Nutriphase Guinea Pig Formula pellets. They have no seeds or other stuff in them.

I think the boys are about eight months to a year old. We got them at PetSmart (I know, but I know, but I didn't know THEN.) Einie, the Texel (I think) may be a bit older. He was at the shop for a few months. They said people didn't want him because he was too big and different-looking. Hoove is an American Crested and may be a bit younger, but they were cage-mates in the shop and so we got them together. They are good friends and have the whole thing worked out with an occasional I-can-get-my-head-higher-than-you type thing.

We don't have a coroplast/cube cage yet. They live on a giant drip pan (it was not used as one!) which I cover with paper and CareFresh mixed with some aspen. The edges are made from a couple of pet-corral type things that I put together with cable ties. It gives them a fair amount of space, although I know they could use more, and it's a little problem that the bedding leaks out constantly. They have plenty of room to run in big circles which of course kicks out more bedding! So a new home is on the list of things to do.
I have to strongly warn you against Nutriphase. It contains Ethoxyquin which is a preservative that causes cancer. The best food to get is called Oxbow. ((broken link removed)). Since they are over six months feeding 1/8-1/4 cup of the Cavy Cuisine each is best. They have a product locator on their page, or you can order it cheaper from (broken link removed).

Looking at your pics Einie is a Broken Texel (a very cute one!).
Thanks, I passed on the compliment. We think he's gorgeous. :) The coat requires some care, I didn't know that it wouldn't stop growing and must be trimmed, and he tends to matt on his nether regions (and of course doesn't like them messed with!) Hoove, for all his smooth coat, also grows a very long "tail" in the back, so with his crest he ends up looking like he has a mullet and must be trimmed too. We wonder what they must think of us, for all the attention their hind ends get sometimes.

I didn't know about the Nutriphase. The OxBow looks quite affordable and easy to order. I will have to read up on how to do diet changes, I assume they ought to be done gradually. Thanks again!
I have been told that guinea pigs should only be left on the grass for 15 mins. I'll look for the info to see why when I can. I don't really agree with it.. but I guess we all should be cautious.
I have wondered - maybe the Texel is only a product of domestic breeding, but guinea pigs are a wild animal as well, and what happens when those coats overgrow? It's not a matter of looks, he gets his little back feets stuck in his hair, and I can't imagine that uncontrolled matting would be good for the skin underneath. What does a wild pig do?

Is that where the barbering thing comes from? Hoove has, on occasion, "styled" a little bit of Einstein's coat. Doesn't seem to bother either of them, although I am sure if it went on a lot it would be a problem. I don't find any hair in the enclosure so I figure he swallowed it, which can't be too healthy. But he doesn't do it often, and never when we're around. I just figure it's Hoove because it's up on Einie's forequarters where I don't think he can reach himself.
Grass is basiaclly fresh hay, so I would say a lot/unlimited would probably be ok.
Yes, a texel is product of domestic breeding. You only find the short smooth haired variety in the wild and in farms in Peru I believe.

Barbering is partially normal and unless it is causing harm to the other pig it normally isn't a worry. Not sure if the actually swallow the hair or not. Some people curb this behavior by offering unlimited piles of hay for them to play in and chew on.

I know Piglet leaves her pigs on the grass most of the day in nice weather. So the 15 minute claim is false. They won't eat more than they can hold.
Smudgee loves to eat grass, I sit him on my leg, and feed him grass till he wont eat anymore, then I bring him in, cause he doesn't move in his run at all.
Heh? My boys are on the grass all day - I wouldn't think there would be a time limit. Most people in Britain keep their pigs in hutches and runs, thus meaning they're out all day.

p.s. Hoover is such a perfect name for these animals!
Yeah, he's like a little DustBuster with the food. Einie likes to yank his food so I have been thinking of getting him a hay rack, but we will still need a hay pile because Hoove likes that total body experience. He's happiest when he's munching with a few pieces draped artistically over his head.

I was reading at guinealynx this morning as well as here, trying to decide if towels would be viable bedding for us, and was comforted to know that there are other people out there who feed their pigs on the same salad plates the family uses, and who pick up pig beans off the floor with their fingers. ;)
Aww, mine too eat hay with half their head covered in it. I use towels as a bedding and I gladly pick up the poops with my fingers!
I liked the idea, and Lord knows I have a hundred rag towels around here (I never throw anything away), but my washer is kinda finicky and the pump jams if it gets ANY junk in it. The towels'd have to be changed daily...so that's either an extra load a day, or you're storing up urine-soaked towels somewhere. How do you manage this? How do you keep timothy out of your washer pump?
I don't know if the pigs would like towels, but I do know that when you pick Einie up, half the bedding comes with him in that coat. There's carefresh ALL OVER this house, everywhere he's ever been, and we sweep constantly.
That was the reason I stopped using loose bedding. With the pigs, my whole house (sofa, clothes, floor) was covered in bedding. I hand wash the towels because I don't want the washing machine to get clogged up. My pigs are out most of the day so I don't have to change the towels that frequently (every 4-6 days?) I like them because it's SO easy to spot clean - just get a hand vac or dustpan and brush.
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