It is a very inaccurate and somewhat harsh stereotype to conclude that pigs will eat anything.
This is especially true when it comes to guinea pigs, and whether you are keeping them as pets or keeping them as livestock, you need to understand what exactly they need for optimal nutrition.
Feed a guinea pig whatever you think it can eat, and you will experience problems. What these problems are will vary, but you need to understand that these problems will be encountered in some aspect if you feed a guinea pig anything you want.
You can prevent this by making sure you give your guinea pigs the proper food.
Do this, and your guinea pigs will enjoy good health which is important in any aspect.
Before learning about the kinds of foods that guinea pigs should eat, it is important to understand what kinds of nutrients guinea pigs need the most to enjoy optimized health.
What kinds of nutrients do guinea pigs need?
There is one nutrient that guinea pigs need more than anything, and that nutrient is vitamin C.
Just like humans, guinea pigs cannot synthesize vitamin C from any given food substances. Thus, guinea pigs need to acquire their vitamin C sources from food that contains a lot of vitamin C.
Why is vitamin C so important for guinea pigs? It is because guinea pigs are very small animals with small bodies that are very sensitive to outside forces that could cause them to develop illnesses.
While guinea pigs also need other nutrients, vitamin C is the most significant. When feeding your guinea pigs, make sure that you are feeding them something that is rich in vitamin C daily.
Now that you know what nutrient guinea pigs need the most, it is time to explore what kinds of things you should not feed your guinea pig.
If you find that you have been feeding your guinea pigs these things, stop immediately if you value the life of your guinea pig.
What you should not feed guinea pigs
One thing you should know about guinea pigs is that they are strict herbivores.
This means that they cannot consume anything that contains too much protein or calcium in it.
While this does not mean they should not consume any form of protein or calcium, it does mean that if a guinea pig consumes too much protein or calcium, it will encounter very serious problems.
Because of this, foods that contain too much protein or calcium is not suitable for guinea pigs.
Hay is something that is commonly fed to guinea pigs, and many guinea pig owners make the mistake of feeding their guinea pigs hay made by either alfalfa or clover sprouts. These forms of hay contain too much protein and calcium and is harmful.
Another thing that guinea pigs should not be fed are anything that has been sprayed by chemicals.
While this is harmless for bigger herbivores such as rabbits, it will be harmful to guinea pigs. Remember that guinea pigs are smaller animals and they need to be protected from things that might be harmless to other animals, sprayed down vegetation being one of them.
The final thing that you should not feed guinea pigs are food that is not fresh. While it may seem tedious, the kinds of vegetation that you should feed your guinea pigs can run out of vitamin C content quickly. If you feed your guinea pig these kinds of foods, they will not get the vitamin C content that they need to be in perfect health.
Make sure you are feeding your guinea pigs vegetation that is fresh.
Now that you know what not to feed your guinea pigs, it is now time to learn about what you can give your guinea pig to make sure that it is in peak health all the time.
What should your guinea pig eat?
Because guinea pigs are strict herbivores, and this means that your general food selection for them is rather simple: About 80% of what you will feed your guinea pig will consist of vegetation.
For the purposes of this discussion, vegetation consists of leafy green vegetables, grass and hay, herbs, and other vegetables that require them to chew for a long time.
Why should a guinea pig be fed things that require them to chew for a long time?
Because their teeth are always growing.
A guinea pig’s teeth grows at alarming rates. In fact, they grow at rates so quick that if they are not busy chewing on things, they will develop dental problems pretty quickly.
These dental problems tend to produce a snowball effect, as well. Once a guinea pig experiences any kind of dental pain, they will not feel like eating. Their teeth will continue to grow and all of a sudden its life is threatened.
Prevent this by making sure your guinea pig is fed things that require a lot of chewing. This is why leafy green vegetables are far and away the most useful thing that you can feed your guinea pig: They are full of vitamin C and they require a lot of chewing in order to be consumed properly. This ensures that the teeth of your guinea pigs do not grow too much.
Leafy green vegetables, grass, hay, and capiscum-based vegetables should be fed to your guinea pigs daily. These three kinds of vegetation are what you should feed your guinea pig, if nothing else.
Now guinea pigs develop a natural tendency to get bored with what they are eating. You will need to eventually feed them a different kind of these three kinds of vegetation, and there is a specific way to do this.
How to introduce new foods to your guinea pig
Guinea pigs can and will get bored with eating the same things over and over.
This is natural and nothing that should alarm you, and you don’t need to get frustrated when you see your guinea pigs turn away from the vegetation that you are feeding them.
There is a way to introduce new foods to your guinea pig, and it is easier than you think.
To do this, you need to plan to get your guinea pig to transition to its new food completely within a few weeks.
If you introduce the new food to your guinea pig immediately, it will negatively affect their digestive system. It will not adjust to the new food, and it will get sick.
What you should do instead is to introduce the new food slowly. Do not forget that when it comes to guinea pigs, you do have an advantage. That advantage is that they need to be constantly chewing something in order to micromanage the growth of their teeth.
You can use this to introduce new food to your guinea pig. When you feed it, start by giving it a small quantity of the new food. After it is finished, give it a little less than your regular quantity of what it is used to.
Introduce more and more of the new food and feed it less and less of the previous food, and within a few weeks, your guinea pig will be able to eat the new food without experiencing any negative reactions.
The importance of grazing
One thing that a guinea pig will never get bored of is grazing on grass.
No matter how old a guinea pig is, it has a natural instinct to graze on grass, knowing that doing this will prevent their teeth from growing too quickly.
Because of this, you need to always have grass available for your guinea pig to graze on, but there are a couple of things about this that you should consider.
First, the grass cannot be sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. These chemicals will harm your guinea pig.
Another thing that will harm a guinea pig is if you give it lawn trimmings for it to graze on. Cutting and especially mowing a lawn will not only eliminate much of the nutrients of the grass but it will also introduce chemicals to the grass that is harmful to guinea pigs.
The best way to get your guinea pigs to graze on grass is to take them outside and have them graze on the grass in your lawn. Doing this will require to keep a watchful eye on them, but it is the most effective method.
The question “what do guinea pigs eat” can be answered with one word: Vegetation.
If anyone wants a general answer to the question, that is it.
However, the real answer to the question is much more complicated than that.
While vegetation in the form of leafy green vegetables, capiscum-based vegetables, and grass are the three major parts of a guinea pig’s diet, there is much more that goes into what a guinea pig should eat.
Indeed, guinea pigs should eat those kinds of vegetation. But they need to be free of being sprayed down by chemicals that preserve them.
Guinea pigs also need to be grazing on grass as much as they can. This prevents their teeth from growing too much and will address any dental issues they could encounter.
Now that you know all of this, you’ll be able to feed your guinea pigs properly and ensure that they will micromanage their teeth growth and be provided with all the nutrients that they need to survive and live.