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.
Foods Guinea Pigs Can Eat
The guinea pig is a vegetarian in the strictest sense. Their preferences include almost all vegetables and they will eat virtually any of them that we put in front of them.
Even if you can live with a diet consisting of tips of grass from the mowing of a lawn, it is convenient to provide a variety of food to preserve your health and maintain your good physical condition.
A well-balanced diet should consist of fresh vegetables, hay, water and salt, all complemented with croquettes or commercial food
#1 Fresh food
The only vegetables that guinea pigs do not like are onions, peppers and potatoes. This leaves us with an immense number of foods for which he feels inclined. The following is a list of fresh foods that please him and are good for him:
- Alfalfa (green)
- Celery tips
- Clover (green)
- Corn (green)
- Grass clippings
- Sugar beet spinach tomatoes
Many breeders claim that it is not good to provide cabbage while an equal number argues that it is a healthy food. The best rule in this situation is to supply a small amount to our guinea pig and, if you like it, then perfect; We can continue giving cabbage. If instead you show that you are not pleased, just do not give it more. This is a good policy to follow when providing new food is about. Apart from that, the quantity supplied each time must be reduced until they get used to them. It is also important to experiment with different kinds of food in order to determine what they like and what is good for their health.
The fact that the majority of fresh foods mentioned above are moderately priced and easy to buy, makes feeding our guinea pig a simple task. Apart from this circumstance, many of these foods are also used by us in our diet, which makes it possible for us to share them with our companion animal.
#2 Dry food
Hay, oats, corn, bran, barley and dried bread are common foods that are provided to guinea pigs . The supply must take place, especially during the winter months when getting vegetables is somewhat difficult.
Hay is, by far, the most important of all because it can be used first as food and, after the seeds and leaves have been consumed by the animal, the stems are recommended to be used as a component of their bed.
Oatmeal, bran and corn can be supplied either mixed or separately with very positive results. And at least one of them has to be part of the daily diet. Dry bread soaked with milk is a desirable food for mothers in breeding season as it helps to have more milk to breastfeed their litters.
#3 Commercial food
This kind of food, whether in the form of mincemeat or special croquettes for guinea pigs , can be found as a problem in pet establishments. It is therefore appropriate to include them in your diet following the instructions given on all the packages.
Another point to consider is the convenience of providing water when making use of this kind of food, since its humidity level is zero.
We also stress that they are extremely important during the winter season, since they are usually reinforced with vitamin C, which is generally provided by vegetables and vegetables, especially carrots and lettuce. In order to guarantee the concurrent potential in vitamin C content, these prepared foods should be stored in a dry place and, in addition, in a closed container.
The guinea pigs can live without tasting water or liquid of any kind as long as their diet consists entirely of vegetables.
Water, as we have just seen, is necessary when using prepared foods to supplement your meal. Let us also emphasize that they should always have a small block of gem salt.
Food methods suitable
Containers intended to contain food as well as bottles that operate by gravity, must be fixed in a suspended position on the sides of the cage in order to prevent them from being contaminated by urine or stool.
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 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.
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.
Be sure to avoid feeding your guinea pig:
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.
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.