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FEEDING ADVICE

Feeding

Feeding can be split into several sections. There is the general food to give them, hay and then additionally any supplementary food and treats. Firstly we will start with a subtle warning:

--- DO NOT USE RABBIT FOOD --- DO NOT USE RABBIT FOOD --- DO NOT USE RABBIT FOOD ---

The reason for this is that rabbit food doesn't contain vitamin C which is vital in the health of a guinea pig.

Hay

Why are we talking about hay first? This is because it is probably the most important part of the diet for guinea pigs, along with grass when available. Hay is a great source of natural vitamins and elements, helps keep their teeth in good order and is essential to aid their digestive system. Some people will recommend using only Timothy Hay but we have always used fresh meadow hay, which is unprocessed and as nature intended. Pet shops, along with Timothy Hay, will also stock regular hay which is usually cultivated hay and isn't as good.

Hay is essential and must always be available.

General Food

There are two types of food you can buy, pellets or muesli mix. We're going to upset the fanatics by saying both types are perfectly suitable for guinea pigs.

Pellets: These are often preferred as there is no chance of the animal picking out what it likes and therefore obtaining all the nutritional value from the food. However if the guinea pig doesn't like them, it therefore won't eat them and so are getting zero nutrition from them.

Muesli Mix: This type is often chosen as it looks more appealing to US. It does give the guinea pig more variety though does give them the opportunity to be picky about what they eat. However, with sensible feeding they soon learn to eat it all.

What we recommend is listen to the breeder when you buy your guinea pigs and they will advise you as to what they have been eating and how to switch them to another food. Either way don't buy a huge sack of food until you are sure your pigs will eat it. Buy a small quantity and try them on it. If they leave a lot then wean them over to another type and try them on that. You need to ensure that they eat all the food you put in so they're getting all the nutrients they need.

Overfeeding: Unfortunately this is common amongst guinea pigs and rabbits especially. They need a surprisingly small amount of dried food each day. Usually it approximates to an adult palm full per animal per day. Please read the packaging and listen to the breeder and you shouldn't have a problem. The dry food is actually a supplement to the hay and not the other way round.

Supplementary Food

In addition to their general food, guinea pigs LOVE lots of fruit and vegetables and it is an important part of a healthy guinea pigs diet. There are a large amount that you can feed them but we'll just highlight a few that we often give to ours:

Peppers, dandelions, carrot, broccoli, corn on the cob, kale, cabbage and cucumber but only SMALL amounts of lettuce as it contains a sedative.

Here is a short list of items that are harmful to guinea pigs:

Onions, leeks, red cabbage or any flowers grown from bulbs. Potato skin is also not advised as it is high in starch which is not good for guinea pigs.

Water

May seem obvious but people often don't take any notice of water. Make sure the water is clean and fresh. you wouldn't drink dirty water so why should your guinea pigs?

Important Reminder

Hay and fresh water should always be available and their food given daily. Listen to the breeder and check the food packaging for the right amount to feed. Treats are given on occasion and not necessarily every day. One last thing to mention again is:

--- DO NOT USE RABBIT FOOD --- DO NOT USE RABBIT FOOD --- DO NOT USE RABBIT FOOD ---