The main components of the health and longevity of a guinea pig are proper nutrition, decent maintenance and good care. It is believed that the largest percentage of deaths in pigs is caused by diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, and the reason for this is an improperly prepared diet, poor diet, and neglect of hygiene procedures, such as thorough washing of green and succulent feeds, feeding poor-quality hay, etc. So how should you feed a guinea pig, which foods should be on your pet's menu, and which ones are contraindicated?
The main component of the diet of guinea pigs are high-quality grain mixtures and hay, and juicy (fruits, vegetables, berries), as well as green fodder, are an important addition.
The main feed in the diet of guinea pig
Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and also water - these are the basic elements necessary for the life of a rodent.
Proteins are a very important nutrient. Mumps should receive both vegetable proteins and animals, but there should be significantly more vegetable ones.
Carbohydrates are a source of energy. Fiber is a carbohydrate and found in plant foods.
Fats are not only sources of energy, but also play an important role in the process of cell metabolism.
The diet should contain at least 20% of proteins of plant origin, 15% of coarse fibers and 4% of proteins of animal origin.
Vitamins and minerals are vital, have a great impact not only on the health of the animal, but also play an important role in reproductive processes.
Do not forget that the pet must have constant access to clean water. To avoid health problems, a guinea pig should not be given ordinary tap water, but it is best to use filtered water, in extreme cases, boiled chilled. Some experts are inclined to believe that water should also be settled.
Since pet stores today offer a wide range of ready-made grain mixtures for guinea pigs with different compositions, from several grades of grain and interesting additives (dried vegetables and fruits), as well as vitamins and minerals, picking a pet food is not difficult. However, the mixture for daily feeding of a pet is not difficult to make on its own, having bought the necessary components in the agricultural market.
A constant component in the finished feed is oats (if you make the mixture yourself, consider this). But you should not limit yourself to just one type of grain, barley, wheat, lentils, corn, millet, sunflower seeds, peas and soy are also quite suitable.
Keep in mind, if you give the rodent only cereal feed, it can lead to vitamin deficiency, obesity, problems with the reproductive system, and digestive system diseases. For a balanced diet, the content of grain feed in the diet should be approximately 30%.
The grain mixture is given 2 times a day - in the morning and in the evening, in such an amount that the animal ate it in a day without a trace. If the pet does not want to eat a certain type of grain from all the richness of the mixture, then perhaps the rest of the food is enough for him, or it's time to think about changing the food.
Fresh hay, like the grain mixture, is the basis of the rodent's menu. It contains a large number of useful substances. In addition, it is an excellent tool for grinding down constantly growing teeth and maintaining their health. In the cell, it must be constantly and it is very important that it is fresh.
Young individuals need more nutrients and vitamins. And for feeding young animals, and during the breeding season, it is best to give preference to the so-called vitamin hay.
When buying hay at a pet store, remember that a quality product should not have an unnatural color, a strange smell, not like the usual smell of hay. In the hay, the presence of dust is unacceptable, it should not be wet or rotten. And, of course, there can be no mold, larvae or insects in a quality product. Good hay has a pleasant smell, not musty, without debris and other impurities.
Sometimes rodents are offered self-assembled hay immediately after mowing, however, it should be remembered that such hay should be kept in a room that is well ventilated and collected at least 2 months after mowing. If all the conditions are not met, the pig may have health problems, so it is better to give preference to quality products from a specialized store.
Some experts recommend that in the winter it is mandatory to give the rodent hay, and in the spring, summer and early autumn to introduce green food (forbs) into the diet, while reducing the amount of hay. To find a balance between these two types of food will help monitoring a pet - his health status and behavior.
Guinea pigs will benefit from: medicinal dandelion leaves, plantain lanceolate and large, yarrow, nettle (young leaves), carrot tops, white and meadow clover, medium asterisk, alfalfa, heather, sedge (young), burdock, garden sow thistle, cowberry, wheatgrass , sage, sow thistle, oats, peas, melilot, winter rye.
In a limited amount, tarragon, bitter wormwood, parsley, dill can be given to a pet.
In spring, herbs (especially clover and alfalfa) are rich in protein, but poor in fiber, and therefore they are given in limited quantities.
In the spring-summer period it is not difficult to collect herbs, unlike winter, when the way out of the situation may be to independently grow greenery on the windowsill. Or even simpler, purchase at the pet store ready-made special grass grown for cats.
You can not collect grass near the tracks and highways, in the yard, in areas of dog walking, near fields that are treated with special pest control agents.
In no case should a pet be given: belladonna, poppy, celandine, lily of the valley, hemlock, elderberry, bindweed, wolfberry, iris, parsnip, wrestler, hawthorn, horse chestnut, laurel, godson, buttercup, euphorbia, digitalis red or purple, ivan Yes, Marya, woods, oak, yew, broom, larkspur, dope.
In autumn and winter, juicy feeds - vegetables and fruits - play a large role in the diet. These are not just tasty and varied foods, but also very healthy, rich in vitamins. But do not give any succulent feed indiscriminately, because not all of them fit the rodent. So which vegetables, fruits and berries can be given to mumps, and which ones not?
Useful for shoizun are: tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, turnips, pumpkin, celery, green salad, apples, kiwi, raspberries, cherries (seedless). Cucumbers are an important dietary product, especially for obese animals.
Of juicy feed contraindicated: red and white cabbage, radishes, beets (raw), bananas, plums. These products can lead to gastrointestinal problems (bloating, colic, diarrhea).
Particularly loved by guinea pigs are apples, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, parsley, carrots. Of all the varieties of cabbage, broccoli is best given, it contains more vitamin C and the stomach practically does not swell from the animal. Pears are given to pets only occasionally, as a treat. It is very important that apples and pears are fully ripe.
It is undesirable to give watermelon and melon. Without fear, they can be offered only if you are 100% sure that they do not contain nitrates, which can lead to severe poisoning and even death of the animal.
Before giving green or succulent food, it should be thoroughly washed with warm water and dried. Fruits and vegetables give only ripe and not spoiled.
Mumps are very fond of succulent food, but you can not give them in excess. These foods are dosed, approximately 100 grams per day, so that the animal does not overeat. Juicy food is recommended to be given 2 times a day, respectively dividing the norm, for example, 2 times 50 grams each.
It is very important to introduce green and succulent feed into the pet’s diet gradually, observing how the body reacts to a particular feed. This will help to avoid digestive problems - gas formation in the intestines, constipation or diarrhea. Some vegetables or fruits may well be suitable for one individual and be an absolutely inappropriate product for another.
What vitamins are needed for mumps?
The rodent's need for vitamins depends on:
- conditions of detention
- feeding ration
- physiological features
- animal health.
In the summer, pigs receive all the necessary vitamins, which are in sufficient quantities contained in green feed, vegetables, fruits and berries. In winter, the body of a rodent may lack vitamins and minerals. Special vitamin-mineral complexes developed for guinea pigs will help to fill this shortage. Often, such additives are part of treats for animals. However, it should be remembered that both a lack of vitamins and minerals, and their overabundance can cause a number of diseases.
One of the most important vitamins for a rodent is vitamin C, which an adult animal should receive at the rate of 16 mg per 1 kg of body weight. For pregnant females, the need for vitamin C is much higher - up to 30 mg, this also applies to animals prone to stress or having weak immunity.
Vitamin C is found in many vegetables and fruits, as well as in green succulent feed. Parsley (160 mg / 100 g), bell pepper (110 mg / 100 g) and spinach (49 mg / 100 g) are especially rich in it. Vitamin C is also found in apples (11 mg / 100 g), cucumbers (5 mg / 100 g) and carrots (4 mg / 100 g).
Other important vitamins
Vitamin A is important for vision, the normal functioning of the reproductive and nervous system. Sources - fish oil, herbs, carrots.
B vitamins regulate the general metabolism, provide normal protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, are important for the health of the coat and skin. Sources - grain feed, green feed, hay, young shoots of plants, sprouted grain, fish oil.
Vitamin D is involved in the growth process, provides normal bone development. Sources - fish oil. Vitamin is synthesized by the body under the influence of ultraviolet rays.
Vitamin E ensures the normal functioning of the reproductive system.
Treats can be given to a mumps, but in limited quantities and given the state of her health. In the pet store you can buy finished products for rodents, the labels of which indicate the dosage and frequency of feeding treats.
As for conventional products, a delicious treat for a pet will be a delicious fruit or berries. Those products that we consider tidbits - chocolate, sweets, cookies, are strictly prohibited for animals, including rodents.
Milk, as well as low-fat cottage cheese, periodically, but not often, can be given to a pet. It is useful to give dairy products to females during lactation, but they should not be abused. As for milk, it should be pasteurized or boiled, low-fat cottage cheese must be fresh. Sour milk products are not allowed for pets. If after dairy products the rodent has an intestinal upset, then they should be completely abandoned.
From baking, you can offer only rye or wheat bread, again, not often and very little. And most importantly, the bread should be stale, not fresh. Fresh is hard to digest and can lead to gas formation in the intestines and constipation.
What is useful to chew on a mumps?
If you want to please your pet, it is best to do it for the benefit of him. Considering the pig’s great desire to gnaw something and the need for turning constantly growing teeth, she can be offered a fresh twig of fruit tree - pear or apple tree, you can also give branches of birch, linden, acacia, willow. The most valuable are tree branches, torn in June or July, it is during this period that you can make harvesting of branches for the winter, after washing them and drying them. An excellent delicacy will be a sprig of mountain ash, plucked along with berries and leaves.
What can not feed a pig?
Do not give a pet:
- sweets (sweets, cookies, etc.),
- salted, smoked and spicy foods,
- meat products,
- dairy products,
- canned berries, fruits and vegetables,
- raw potatoes
- white cabbage
- nuts and seeds
- the eggs.
Not only his health, but also his life depends on compliance with the pet’s feeding regimen. For guinea pigs, two meals a day (sometimes three meals a day) are recommended - in the morning and evening at the same hours. If she is pregnant, her food should be three or four times a day.
The amount of feed should be sufficient so that the pet does not feel hunger, but also does not overeat. The rest of the food, except for hay, is removed from the cage after feeding after 2-3 hours.
Each owner of a guinea pig over time will independently determine the set of products that is most suitable for his pet, and in which the animal will feel good, look healthy and active.
The guinea pig quickly gets used to the person who carries her goodies, greets him with a welcoming whistle. The animal understands well where exactly all the goodies come from, which then turn out to be in the owner's hands, and connects the rustling of the bag or slamming the door with the appearance of a favorite vegetable in front of the nose. A demanding whistle may be heard right there. The pig is very observant. You can give her favorite juicy food at a strictly defined time every day for several weeks in a row, but once you break the established rule once, and at the appointed time you will again hear the demanding draft-call whistle. How animals determine feeding time is a mystery.
The pet needs to be fed correctly so that its health remains normal, the teeth are strong, and the coat looks well-groomed. Your pet’s daily menu should include:
- 50% hay
- 20% dry feed
- 20% juicy food
- 10% greenery.
An important question for the owners is how many times a day to give food to guinea pigs. Feeding is carried out 3 times a day. It is impossible to take out the feeder from the cage, food should always be available for the animal. Also, hay should always be in the cage.
If there is no dry food in the animal’s diet, then it is necessarily replaced by a similar amount of greens and raw vegetables. The menu should be varied, a rodent should be offered at least three different vegetables per day and certainly grass. It is forbidden to give the pet grass collected on the curbs of highways and in industrial areas.
The optimal menu is vegetables and fruits before noon, dry food in the afternoon.
A guinea pig must eat at least 20% of the grain per day. Grain food for rodents is sold in any pet store. The finished product usually includes:
- sunflower seeds,
- corn grains.
In addition to grain, the composition of the finished feed may include vegetable granules and vitamin supplements.
It’s easy to prepare dry pet food yourself, you just need to buy different types of grain on the market, and then mix them. But you need to consider that the main ingredient is oats, its guinea pigs are eaten more readily than other cereals. Solid cereal should always be present in the diet of rodents.It is necessary for animals to grind continuously growing teeth. If the rodent eats only raw and soft food, then its incisors are unnaturally lengthened and interfere with the absorption of food. As a result, the animal dies of hunger.
Such food for guinea pigs is most useful and natural. The pet should eat fresh herbs, saturated in fiber and nutrients, to maintain the normal functioning of the intestinal tract. The following is a list of herbs recommended for guinea pigs:
- cereal seedlings
- lettuce leaves
- carrot tops
- beet tops
- dill, parsley, cilantro,
- dandelion leaves.
Collect grass for the pet must be extremely careful. Among the beneficial plants may be poisonous. Therefore, you can not put a herbal bundle in a cage, before carefully scrutinizing it. Fresh greens for guinea pig must be thoroughly washed.
The most important food for guinea pigs. Hay not only normalizes the intestinal tract, but also is a wonderful tool for grinding incisors in rodents. Like grain, hay is sold in any pet store. When buying, it is important to carefully watch so that the dried grass is not affected by mold. Fresh and moldy hay can harm the body of the pet. If the owner is independently engaged in haymaking, then he must carefully inspect the collected grass for the presence of prickly, weedy, poisonous plants.
Juicy Vegetable Products
These foods include fruits and vegetables. The diet should include mainly vegetables, fruit pulp for guinea pigs - just a treat. Do not give your pet too much fruit. Their flesh is saturated with sugars, which are in excess harmful to the body of a small animal. Periodically, guinea pigs are allowed to treat with a small amount of cherries, apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots, pears, bananas.
From vegetables and berries, the rodent eats with pleasure:
- white and cauliflower,
- bell pepper
- seedless grapes
- green peas.
It is useful to treat the animal with berries rich in ascorbic acid once a week: strawberries, currants, raspberries, strawberries. You can also periodically offer the animal leaves and twigs of cherries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, mint.
Eggplant and green tomatoes cannot be included in the diet; these vegetables contain solanine, a toxic compound present in green potatoes. It is strictly forbidden to give a pet leek, onions and green onions. Bulbous cultures for rodents are poisonous.
Many owners are interested in whether it is possible to treat a guinea pig with melon and watermelon. The animal eagerly feasts on such a treat, eats even watermelon peels with pleasure. But you need to keep in mind that melon and watermelon are very sweet foods, so you should not often include them in your diet.
You can diversify your pet's menu with fresh peas, soy, lentils, green beans. It is helpful to give the rodent juicy pea pods rich in vitamins and nutrients.
Seeds and nuts
Young and active animals are advised to include high-calorie foods in their diet. Rodents can be given nuts, wheat bran, flaxseeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. But if the animal is inactive and prone to obesity, then these products in the menu are unacceptable. It is occasionally allowed to treat your pet with dried fruits. In large quantities, dried fruits are harmful because they are saturated with sugars.
Additional sources of vitamins and minerals
Most of all, guinea pig needs vitamin C. In the body of rodents of this species, ascorbic acid is not synthesized at all. Therefore, animals must daily absorb a significant amount of food saturated with vitamin C. Phylloquinone and B vitamins are able to be absorbed in the body of a guinea pig only after repeated use, that is, after the animals eat their own feces. Therefore, the rodent eating the litter must not be stopped.
Of the minerals for guinea pigs, salt and calcium are especially important. Therefore, it is recommended to buy mineral sticks for a pet in a pet store. It is also permissible to treat a rodent with fish oil and bone meal from useful additives.
A drinker with fresh water must be in the cage of the pet. An adult animal needs 250 ml of fluid per day, but a pregnant female needs a little more. It is recommended to buy a car drink for your pet. In such a device, the water will not be contaminated, it will not spill.
It is advisable to drink the rodent not with boiled, but with bottled or filtered water. The owner should carefully monitor that dirt and debris do not get into the drinker. By drinking contaminated drink, guinea pig can catch an infection.
Pigs harmful to guinea pigs
The following is a list of products that can seriously harm the rodent:
- white and black bread, pasta,
- meat and dairy products,
- sweet pastries, sweets,
- cereals, dry legumes,
- fruit and berry seeds,
- radish, radish,
- sorrel, rhubarb,
- juice, tea, jelly and other drinks besides water,
- leaves of indoor plants poisonous to rodents,
- canned food, spices, cheese and other delicacies,
- waste from the human table.
Guinea pigs like to nibble young tree branches. You can not give the oak, willow, pine, spruce, mountain ash, hornbeam, elm branches. But you can safely put cherry, hazel, plum, apple, pear branches into the feeder.
Feeding pregnant pigs and newborn piglets
Pregnant pets necessarily eat well and with high quality. The diet of fluffy mothers should be saturated with proteins and vitamins. It is useful to give pregnant females carrots, beets, wheat seedlings. You can periodically add some milk to the water. Great benefit to the body of a pregnant mumps is the infusion of rose hips.
If the mother who gave birth does not have milk, then the owner will have to feed the young with the help of a syringe. Artificial foods for small piglets include low fat cream and Linex probiotic. Cream is absorbed into the syringe, a tenth of a probiotic capsule is added to them. The resulting solution is nutritious and beneficial for the digestive system of babies. The food in the syringe is warmed to room temperature. Piglets eat 1 ml each hour. Two-week-old babies can be transferred to cereal cereals without milk. Piglets sit on porridge until they are accustomed to "adult" food.
Guinea pigs are herbivores. In nature, they eat mainly fresh vegetation and dry grass - hay (necessary to maintain the digestion process). Less commonly, berries and fruits. Almost never - nuts and grains. In this they are very different from other domestic rodents that can be fed a cereal mixture.
Just buy dry food for rodents and feed only they will not succeed. It contains too many cereals (read - carbohydrates). From an excess of carbohydrates, the pet quickly gains weight, loses mobility. In especially difficult cases, the gastrointestinal tract stops or diabetes develops.
Among professional cavy breeders, there are two approaches to feeding guinea pigs: feed exclusively with fresh food or with the addition of dry mixes. In the latter case, the ratio of products in the diet will look something like this:
- Hay (better from legumes) - 50%
- Dry food (store-bought or cooked at home) - 20%
- Juicy food (fresh vegetables and fruits) - 20%
- Fresh grass - 10%
If you decide to stay on cereal-free nutrition, feed succulent instead of dry food (replace dry food with succulent one on the list). True, keep in mind that fresh vegetables and greens will have to be given to the rodent even in harsh winters.
To facilitate your task of creating a menu for guinea pigs, we have compiled a nutrition table (located below), which indicates how you can feed guinea pigs at home and what you can not give. But if you want to know why Cavi eat one and don’t eat another, when and how to feed them, how to choose food - be sure to read the article to the end.
The right balance of nutrition is the key to health and long life.
Explanations for the table
The column “sometimes a little” means that you can feed guinea pigs with these products only as a treat - give once every couple of days, in portions of no more than 15 g (if a little more, then nothing, but do not get carried away). With the columns “can” and “not” everything should be clear. Prohibited foods should not be fed even as an experiment, if you do not want to destroy the pet.
All products must be fresh (except for hay, of course). If there are even slight doubts about the quality, it is better not to feed such food. Get food from suppliers whose products you are sure of. For example, the amount of pesticides that can be contained in an apple is safe for humans, but will lead to serious consequences in a small rodent.
Products must be environmentally friendly.
When and how much to give food
How many times a day can a guinea pig be fed? 2 or 3 times. This does not apply to hay - it must be available all the time, because the pet chews it constantly. Try to give juicy, fresh food in the first half of the day, and dry cereal food (if used) in the second.
If Cavy does not eat all at once, you should not worry - eat up during the day. In no case do not remove half-eaten food: unlike many rodents, guinea pigs do not have the instinct to stock up (the climate in the homeland is very favorable). Therefore, food should always be in the bowl.
Feed the guinea pig so that the daily diet is approximately 30% of the weight of the pet. For example, your Piggy weighs 1 kg, so for the day you need to provide her with 300 g of food. Distribute these grams between types of food, as we described above.
Juicy foods need to be diversified as much as possible. The daily list of foods should include at least 3, and preferably 5 types of vegetables. Feed greens varied too - just given parsley, the next - basil or dill. Guinea pig should not starve. After 18 hours of lack of food, her intestines may refuse, and the pet will die.
Guinea pig should not starve. After 18 hours of lack of food, her intestines may refuse, and the pet will die.
Irreversible changes in the body of a rodent occur after 15-24 hours without food. In Western countries, in such cases it is customary to euthanize pets, because "Start" digestion is again impossible. You need to feed your pet regularly.
Feed your pet regularly - starvation is deadly for him.
What vitamins and minerals are needed
The nutrition of guinea pigs must necessarily contain vitamin C in an amount of 5-25 mg per day. In nature, they get it from herbs, but it’s not the fact that vitamin products will be contained in the right quantities in store products. Therefore, we buy separately and feed with vitamin, adding it to food or drip from the dispenser into the mouth.
Vitamins B and K, also necessary for the pet, the body of the rodent does not immediately absorb. That is why they often eat their excrement - useful substances are extracted during repeated passage of the intestinal tract. If you see this - do not worry, everything is in order with your animal. It is not necessary to feed these vitamins separately.
Another essential substance is salt. On average, about 5 g is required per adult per day. You can “kill two birds with one stone” at once and buy a mineral stone for grinding teeth with salt content (grinding is still necessary, teeth at Cavy grow all their lives).
If you decide to stay on branches instead of stones, be sure to add salt to your diet. What branches can be given to guinea pigs? Most preferred are apple or pear. Also suitable currants, maple, birch. Never give your pet oak branches (due to tannins) and conifers (too many resins).
Get branches of fruit trees - you need to grind your teeth.
How to choose a feed
Most rodent feeds for guinea pigs simply will not work - they are solid cereals and there is nothing useful for your pet. Of course, the animal will not object and will eat what it is fed. But this is not an indicator of utility - problems in the form of obesity and gastrointestinal disorders will come later.
Nevertheless, you can give quality food, and many veterinarians and breeders say that you even need to. The best specialized food for guinea pigs is not cheap, but the cost of succulent food (which should be varied) in winter can even exceed this amount - feeding vegetables exclusively is also expensive.
The composition of the granules of the mixture should be close to what they love to eat kevi in nature. They like dried herbs and vegetables, while there should be a minimum (or better, so that there are no) dried fruits. Ideally, if the manufacturer adds vitamins and minerals to the food for guinea pigs. The presence of vitamin C is especially important (if it is present in the mixture, it is not necessary to give vitamin C additionally).
You can prepare "feed" for guinea pigs yourself. What cereals can I feed these animals? Oats and barley are allowed, to a lesser extent corn. Add some legumes (e.g. chickpeas or peas) to the mixture.
Below is an interesting video about making herbal dry food with your own hands.
How much water do you need
In the natural environment, guinea pigs rarely drink water, and they are generally afraid of open water. By the way, the more interesting is the origin of the name “marine”, which you can read about here. Rodents get almost all the necessary moisture from plant foods.
But at home, it is unlikely that it will be possible to provide the amount of water in the feed necessary for a guinea pig. So just put a drinker in the cage. It is advisable not to boil, filtered water is perfect. Do not forget to change the water daily, even if it still remains.
Nutrition for pregnant females
For pregnant and lactating females, exceptions to the general rules of nutrition should be made. First of all, this concerns animal protein - be sure to give the expectant mother some milk daily. You can also feed boiled egg protein (let's go along with the feed).
For pregnant and young mothers, be sure to add protein to the menu.
What else would you like to know?
Perhaps we did not highlight a question, and you would like to know whether a particular product can be loved by your favorite guinea pig or not. Write in the comments - we will definitely add the answer to the article, is it possible to feed cavy with this? And in order not to miss a lot of interesting things about your pet, subscribe to us on social networks.