Guinea Pig Feeding
Guinea Pigs are like humans in the sense that they need to get their vitamin C from their diet. Rabbits and many other animals can make their own vitamin C. Fresh grasses, fruits and vegetables generally have plenty of Vitamin C in them, but most of them lose most of it quickly after harvest.
The wild ancestors of Guinea Pigs were grazing animals, living mainly on low growing grasses and other green plants. Guinea Pigs are not good at climbing trees, but if a piece of fruit fell, they were likely to eat it if it smelled good. They also do not dig, but if a nice tuber or other underground edible root was exposed, they would eat it.
Guinea pigs have good senses of smell and taste. They are also cautious in trying new things until they’ve tried as bit and found it edible. If given plenty of choice, they are very good at balancing their own diet.
There are two basic ways of feeding pet Guinea Pigs. One way is to do your best to imitate the diet of wild cavies, and give, as their main food, a good choice of fresh grasses, herbs and vegetables, perhaps, with a good guinea pig food as a standby. This way works well in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia where I live because it’s normally possible to find fresh grasses etc. all year round.
The other way is to use good quality grass hay as the
main food, supplementing it with fresh foods, and using a vitamin supplement.
In some countries, where fresh grasses are not always available, the second way
needs to be used, at least for part of the year.
These two basic ways of feeding your pet guinea pigs are similar to the two basic ways of feeding yourself. One way is to eat a wide variety of fresh foods of types good for people. The other way is to eat junk food with expensive vitamin and mineral supplements. In both cases, big companies, as well as some local shops, would prefer that you buy expensive processed food, rather than growing natural food yourself.
Your Guinea Pig should have clean, fresh water all the time. Although Guinea Pigs eating mainly fresh watery food may not drink much, they still need to have water available. Guinea pigs eating mainly dry foods drink a lot more water, and nearly all animals drink more in hot weather.
Guinea Pigs Foods
Man-made foods intended for Guinea Pigs should always have a Vitamin C supplement included. The main one I use is the Laucke brand of Rabbit and Guinea Pig mix, but different brands will be available in different places.
Clover is an important high protein food that adds variety to their diet, but clover and other legumes should not be given in very large amounts.
Vegetables and Fruit
Most vegetables and fruit intended for human consumption are also suitable for Guinea Pigs. Whether it is for you, or for your pet, the food needs to be fresh. Unfortunately, some of the fruit and vegetables sold in supermarkets are not really fresh enough either for us or our pets. If there is any doubt about it being fit for human consumption, it shouldn’t be fed to your Guinea Pig.
Guinea Pigs shouldn’t be fed anything that is known to be poisonous to humans, or to other animals. A few foods that are good for us are dangerous to some of our pets. Chocolate, onions and avocados are good human foods, but are dangerous for some types of animal. Avoid giving them to your Guinea Pig.