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Nutrition READ ME- Cavy Nutrition Charts & Poisonous Plants List


Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator
Cavy Slave
Dec 5, 2004
I am currently working on a chart revision as I have free time but as with all good things, it will take time to do.

Hopefully these charts will help members to better figure out what foods are safe and how often something can be fed. Hopefully it will cut down on the amount of questions asked if something can be fed, etc. If it's not on the list or in the pdf, don't feed it. The pdf contains some additional info on safe forages that can be fed in addition to the veggie-fruit charts.

Do NOT take these copyrighted images or the copyrighted pdf document and post them anywhere else on the web.
The keys to a good diet for your guinea pigs are to use a wide range of vegetables and a bit of fruit. Keep fruits and vegetables low in calcium, low in oxalic acids and to aim for a good balance of Calcium:phosphorus (Ca:p) between 1.5:1 and 2:1. There is a great Ca:p ratio calculator on the nutrition page at GuineaLynx- https://guinealynx.info/calculator.xls.

All foods in 100 gram portions *except where noted
100 grams = approximately 3.6 ounces, measurements are in g-grams, mg-milligrams and mcg-micrograms.
All foods raw *except where noted, n/a= no data available

IMPORTANT NOTE on Swiss Chard: It is listed as an "almost daily" food on my charts but it should be fed as a once or twice a week food due to very high levels of oxalic acid (OA can bind with calcium to form oxalate stones). When I put together the charts, I did not have the OA info on this particular veggie.

On Fruits: Fruits are best fed only once or twice a week in small quantities such as 1/8 of an apple, 1/4 of a kiwi, 1/8 of an orange, 1-2 grapes, 1 strawberry, etc. as they are high in sugars. I know some are listed as ok for daily use but they really aren't. Keeping the diet low in sugars helps prevent things in the long run like diabetes.

The pdf document can be opened here:
Diet and Nutrition Charts

You may save a copy for personal use.

There will be an accompanying thread for discussion found here:
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Re: Cavy Nutrition Charts

I am going to add to this thread with a list of Do's and Don'ts along with a list of foods that are poisonous/and or toxic to pigs.

If your pigs have never had veggies, start slowly with lettuce (no iceburg) and bell pepper. Leave small amounts in the cage all throughout the day. Remove when wilted. Sometimes it takes a while to get a pig to eat veggies, it can take several weeks in some cases. Be patient and persistant.

For Better Cavy Health DO
  • Feed a minimum of 1 cup of veggies per pig per day (side note- see last item in this list also)
  • Feed a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • Feed 2 servings of leafy greens daily.
  • Feed 1 serving of veggies daily (non-leafy green vegetables).
  • Fruits can be given twice per week in moderation. (don't go overboard with fruits as they are high in sugars).
  • Feed forages daily when available.
  • Feed unlimited grass hay. Hay helps assist with digestion and is essential to wearing down molars. (Grass hays include timothy, meadow, orchard, bermuda, bluegrass and others). Alfalfa hay can be used as a supplemental hay in addition to the grass hay if your cavies are under 6 months, are pregnant or are nursing. If you feed calcium enriched veggies an additional two-three times per week instead, alfalfa hay isn't really needed. Or if you are feeding an alfalfa based pellet, alfalfa hay isn't really needed.
  • Feed a good quality plain pellet with stabilized Vitamin C. The best brands are Oxbow and Kleenmama's.
  • Provide vegetables/fruits low in calcium (calcium can cause bladder sludge/ stones).
  • Provide vegetables/fruits low in oxalic acid (can bind with calcium and form oxalate stones).
  • Supplement cavies with Vitamin C if they will not eat good quality vegetables/fruits or if they are ill. Use a plain Vitamin C tablet with very little to no sugar added. Give approximately 25-50mg per day. You also may use a liquid Vitamin C that you can dose using a syringe.
  • Two meals, morning and evening, are superior to one large meal a day. Cavies are foragers and prefer to eat throughout the day (and evening to an extent).

To Avoid the Vet--DON'T
  • Do NOT feed large portions of vegetables or fruits high in sugars and starches.
  • Do NOT feed pet store "treats" such as yoghurt drops, seed sticks, etc.
  • Do NOT feed meat or dairy products as cavies are strict herbivores
  • Do NOT feed bread or cereal or other grains. Cavies should not have any processed 'human' food. Grains are not well digested by cavies. Grain hays can be used as occasional treats but not for everyday use.
  • Do NOT use Vitamin C drops or multi-vitamin drops that you put in water. Vitamin C degrades quickly in water and light and may distort the taste of the water making your cavy drink less. Do not ever put Tang in your guinea pig's water.
  • Do NOT limit the hay to one small hay rack. Provide your cavy with a lot of appropriate hay in multiple locations in the cage. A good quality hay is important.
  • Do NOT allow your cavy to graze on a lawn outdoors unless you are 100% certain that it has NOT been treated with fertilizers or pesticides.
  • Do NOT feed pellet mixes with seeds, nuts, dried vegetables or other bits mixed in. These types of feeds can cause your cavy to choke and can cause your cavy to become overweight.
  • Do NOT feed avocados, coconut (both too high in fats), iceburg lettuce (low nutrition, high in nitrites, high water), tomato stems or leaves, potatoes, rhubarb, taro, mushrooms, peanut butter, hot peppers, hot herbs and spices, dry beans and peas, nuts, jams, jellies, fruit preserves, sweetened fruit juices, pickled vegetables, coffee, cola, tea, milk or dairy products to include yogurt, cake, cookies, baked goods, fried, frozen, canned or cooked foods.
Poisonous Plants list:
- Apple Seeds- Contain Arsenic. Please remove seeds and core from apples before feeding!
- Aconite
- Amaryllis
- American Holly
- American Nightshade
- Anemone
- Angel's Trumpet
- Antirrhinums
- Azalea
- Baby's Breath
- Bachelor Buttons
- Bird of Paradise
- Birdseye Primrose
- Birdsfoot Trefoil
- Bittersweet
- Bleeding Heart
- Blue Cardinal (Lobelia)
- Bluebells
- Boxwood
- Bryony
- Buck Thorn
- Bulbs-(any plants grown from bulbs)
- Burning Bush
- Buttercup (Ranunculus)
- Caladium
- Calla Lily
- Carnations
- Century Plant
- Cherry leaves (contain cyanide and are most potent when they are wilting)
and leaves of other stone fruits (fruits with pits)
- Chrysanthemum
- Clematis
- Coffee Bean plant
- Columbine
- Corn cockle (type of grassy plant with a rather large lacey grain head)
- Crinum
- Crocus
- Crotons
- Crown of Thorns
- Crown Vetch
- Cyclamen
- Daffodil
- Dahlias
- Daily
- Daisy
- Datura
- Delphinium
- Dianthus
- Dog mercury
- Dumbcane
- Dracaena
- Easter Lily
- English Ivy
- Evergreen trees
- Figwort
- Fools parsley
- Foxglove (Digitalis)
- Gladiolus
- Golden Chain tree
- Hellebore
- Hemlock
- Holly
- Hyacinth
- Hydrangea
- Impatiens
- Iris
- Ivy
- Jerusalem cherry
- Juniper
- Kingcup
- Laburnum
- Larkspur
- Leyland cypress
- Lilacs
- Lily (All species)
- Lily of the Valley
- Lobelia
- Lords and Ladies
- Lupine
- Lupins
- Marsh marigold
- Meadow saffron
- Mistletoe
- Monkshood
- Morning glory
- Mountain Laurel
- Narcissus
- Nicotina
- Nightshade (deadly and woody)
- Oleander
- Orchid
- Philodendron
- Pigweed (amaranth - certain North American varieties may be toxic)
- Poinsetta
- Poppies
- Potatoes (poisonous if green or sprouted)
- Primrose
- Privet
- Ragwort
- Red maple leaves
- Rhododendron
- Rhubarb
- Salvia[FONT=Arial, Verdana, sans-serif] reflexa[/FONT] aka sage (high in nitrates)
- Spurges
- St Johns wort
- Tulip
- Tomatillo leaves & stalks
- Tomato leaves & stalks
- Verbana
- Vetch (seeds and moldy parts) can cause photosensitization.
- Walnut or Black Walnut
- Wisteria
- Wolfsbane
- Yew

- Cherry/Peach/Plum and other pitted fruit tree leaves and limbs/twigs contain Cyanide. Do not feed.
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