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My Guinea Pig's Most Favorite Foods

Updated on May 28, 2016
Ms. Jessie - Guinea Pig
Ms. Jessie - Guinea Pig | Source

My Guinea Pigs Are Spoiled!

My Guinea Pigs are spoiled, rotten little creatures! I did it, yes, I am guilty.

I want my Guinea Pigs to be healthy and happy. I cave into my nurturing side and give them a nice little buffet of healthy foods on a twice a day routine. They get small portions of several nutritionally great foods that I will cover in this article. I even have foods in my garden for them.

As vegetarians, they require fresh vegetables and fruits. Guinea Pigs are really called herbivores but saying vegetarian is easier for people to relate to. Both terms mean the eating of plant materials for a food diet. The terms are similar except vegetarians don't eat hay and grasses. Unless of course you count wheat grass.

A Guinea Pig's main diet is pellets and hay, but what else do they eat? The great thing about the foods I give my Guinea Pigs is that they eat healthily and because they have a healthy diet, so do I. Their treats are my salad fixins!

Fresh greens and things like Baby Carrots are on their menu. One of my Guinea Pigs loves Broccoli stalks and tops and tosses them around when she eats. It is really cute to watch! She does a little happy dance when I drop in her goodies or crinkle their bag of Timothy Hay.

You will see some suggestions here along with tips about their feeding. What else do they like? Let's take a look at what I keep on hand for my spoiled little girls...


Ms. Sunny says "Wheak, wheak, wheak!" &

I hear "Leaves, leaves, leaves!"

She's a very vocal piggie.

What else do they eat?

Timothy Hay Flowers

This is what Ms. Jessie will root out and eat first with a new batch of hay.
This is what Ms. Jessie will root out and eat first with a new batch of hay. | Source
Kaytee Timothy Hay, 96-oz bag
Kaytee Timothy Hay, 96-oz bag

One of our Guinea Pig's favorite foods is Timothy Hay. Ms. Sunny goes nuts when she sees this bag coming her way! She popcorns for her Hay! (Popcorn is the hopping action Guinea Pigs make when they are happily excited!)

 

A Guinea Pig's Staple Diet - Includes Timothy Hay Pellets

Timothy Hay Pellets are the staple food for in a Guinea Pig's diet. These vital pellets provide much needed fiber, minerals, and vitamins that a Guinea Pig needs to be healthy. These nutrients help them maintain things like a good, shiny coat of fur and needed energy. My Piggies search through their "kibble" as I call it and pick out what they like. I do end up tossing a lot of it away but I haven't been able to figure out what it is they like the best. Such is the mystery surrounding a Guinea Pig pallet!

I mix a 5 pound bag of plain pellets and an 8 pound Guinea Pig mix with the extra goodies for their twice daily feedings and keep it in a sealed container. This helps stretch the Guinea Pig budget a bit and gives them enough food for about a week of feedings. I have two Piggies. This mixture would last a single animal about 2 weeks or more. Because I believe in long term food storage I will have several bags for back up.

Guinea Pig Food Pellets

Twice daily serving size
Twice daily serving size | Source

Timothy Hay

How Do They Make Those Food Pellets?

I am taking an educated guess here on how Guinea Pig (and other small mammals) food pellets are created.

Timothy Hay is picked fresh, washed, and shredded into a moist pulp. It is then compressed through a processing system that pushes the hay through a screen, squeezes the water out, and then allowed to dry. Once dried it is packaged. They must be produced in a machine similar to a pasta maker or those funny toys that made strings out of play dough. Hense the tube shapes of the pellets.

Timothy Hay is extremely important for a Guinea Pig diet. It is their substitute for grasses. I give mine a large handful every other day or so and I cover the cage bedding with it after they get a fresh cleaning. The treasured Timothy Hay flowers are picked out of the bunches by both of my piggies and they nibble on the rest of it. They use it for bedding, too. My girls love to stretch out in it after they get their clean cages back. Ahhh... fresh bedding!

There are mixes that contain dried sweet potatoes and dried fruits. Try these out on your Guinea Pigs and see if they like any of them. My girls get the sweet potato treats now and then.

Source

Romaine Lettuce

The Next Staple In A Guinea Pig Diet

I used to live in a home that had a grass lawn on the property. From there it was easy to feed my Guinea Pig fresh grass on a daily basis. When I moved, I had to find a new way to feed greens to my little friend. Romaine Lettuce was a good substitute and my Guinea Pig took to it well.

I wash off the lettuce and place about 3 leaves on a cutting board and slice it in strips about as wide as my index finger. It is munched down quickly by the piggies! When I go near the refrigerator or rattle plastic, Ms. Sunny squeals, "Wheak, wheak, wheak!" and I hear "Leaves, leaves, leaves!" She is a very vocal piggie.

Romaine Lettuce is a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Both of which are important in a Guinea Pig diet. Minerals such as Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Zinc are also present in Romaine lettuce.

See the full nutrients list here for Romaine Lettuce

Source: USDA Link: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2986

Romaine Lettuce is a very healthy choice for a guinea pig diet and for us human creatures, too!

Important Notes:

Do not feed any of your animals Iceberg Lettuce or Celery. Both contain strings that will bind up your pet's digestive system and cause extreme difficulties. They do not contain enough important nutrients needed for their diet.

Keeping Lettuce Fresh

Romaine Lettuce Leaves In Container
Romaine Lettuce Leaves In Container | Source

Romaine Lettuce Tips

Keep It Crisp And Fresh

It is important that you wash and store fruits and vegetables properly before they are consumed. We use about 3 heads of Romaine a week but If I just put it in the fridge in the produce bag when I bring it home from the store it tends to wilt. I have a trick to keeping it fresh and crispy by letting it sit in water. I discovered this when I worked at a deli making sandwiches.

When you get leaf lettuce home they sometimes have dirt and other things in it so make sure you separate the leaves under the rinse water. I cut the stalk end off. I then stand it up in a tall container like a pitcher and add about 4" of water to the bottom. This is convenient for daily servings. Kept in this manner Romaine Lettuce is quickly prepared for salads and Guinea Pig feedings.

Mixed Salad Greens

Mixed Salad Greens - Red Leaf Lettuce
Mixed Salad Greens - Red Leaf Lettuce | Source

Baby Lettuce Mixes

Guinea Pigs Need To Graze

Store bought Baby Lettuce mixes are great for these little animals. All of these leafy greens have plenty of vitamins and munch power for a Guinea Pig's need to graze. Their ancestors combed fields and pastures looking for tender grasses, shoots, leaves, and flowers to satisfy their appetite needs. They are similar to horses, goats, and cows in that respect.

Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Raddichio, Red Cabbage, and Spinach found in these mixes can be fed to your piggies, too. These leaves are delicate and should be rinsed and used with in a couple of days or so. If they show any discoloration, do not feed these to your pet. Just like humans, feeding a Guinea Pig food that is spoiled will make them sick.

NOTE: When giving the piggies Spinach, take the stems off. They, too, have strings in them that might cause them discomfort.

When I first brought Ms. Jessie home from the shelter and placed lettuce in front of her she looked up at me with a very puzzled look on her face! I think she was being fed only Hay and Pellets during her other life. She now enjoys the darker leaves and the Red Cabbage in the salad mixes. The rest of it goes to Ms. Sunny.

Guinea Pig Videos - Munching Machines!

Guinea Pigs always act like they are starving as you can see in these videos. "Oh, weeak, weeak, weeak!!!" I love the way their nose bobs up and down when they eat. They get very busy and focused when they are chowing down.

The first video really made me laugh, the clowns.

I wish my girls were this friendly with each other...

Ms. Sunny And Ms. Jessie Each Have Their Own Apartments

Ms. Sunny And Ms. Jessie Each Have Their Own Apartments
Ms. Sunny And Ms. Jessie Each Have Their Own Apartments | Source

We Are Fans Of Sweet Red Peppers!

We Are Fans Of Sweet Red Peppers!
We Are Fans Of Sweet Red Peppers! | Source

Sliced Sweet Red Peppers

Great Source Of Vitamin C

Sweet Red Peppers sliced in sections are on the breakfast and dinner plate for my Guinea Pigs. They get about a tablespoon sized serving of these twice a day. The bright Red Peppers disappear quickly when I feed my girls. They go for them first. My piggies will not eat oranges so I have to feed them Peppers and other goodies. This is their main source of Vitamin C.

These Peppers are packed with other great nutrients and are easier on their stomachs than Green Peppers would be. For a full list of mineral and vitamin content see the USDA link here: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3421

It is important that Guinea Pigs get plenty of Vitamin C a day as they do not hold it long in their system. Red Peppers are our main source of Vitamin C. A dose of Vitamin C only lasts about 8 hours in their little bodies and it helps them ward off stress.

My Guinea Pig breeder friend told me if they don't get enough of this vital nutrient it could harm them. She used to transport her new piggies from California to Nevada on a bed of oranges. Travel is traumatic on Guinea Pigs. Sometimes they didn't all make it home with her.

We Love Strawberries!

We Love Strawberries!
We Love Strawberries! | Source

Homegrown Strawberries

Homegrown Strawberries
Homegrown Strawberries | Source

Guinea Pigs Love Strawberries

Berry, Berry Much!

I feed Strawberries to my Guinea Pigs when they are in season and affordable. Ms. Jesse will eat the berry part but Ms. Sunny will eat only the green leafy tops on them. I like the combination they give me. If I top a few berries then I know that Ms. Sunny will get her treats and I don't have to toss the Strawberry tops in the trashcan.

Piggies are like that. Ms. Jesse doesn't care for lettuce too much either but she loves fruit and her pellets. Guinea Pigs can be a little finicky.

Strawberries are another great food that is high in Vitamin C. For the list of nutrients in Strawberries see the USDA link here: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2401


A Guinea Pig's Favorite Food Menu - Includes Healthy Fruits And Vegetables!

Guinea Pig's Favorite Foods Plate
Guinea Pig's Favorite Foods Plate | Source

Guinea Pig Food Plate

This is a typical morning serving for BOTH Guinea Pigs. The vegetables and fruits on our Guinea Pig menu are a fantastic way to keep healthy items on hand. And it's an important part of giving them a good home.

We have a fussy diet here. Ms. Sunny, the light colored Guinea Pig, loves her red peppers and broccoli but will not eat things like bananas or selected fruits while Ms. Jessie likes her kibble and fruity things. Ms. Jessie doesn't care for the lettuce greens, either. See, spoiled critters...

If you have a Guinea Pig, what is their name(s)? What do they like to eat?

Let's see what our common favorite food is among our piggies!

Add an item to the list if it is not here!


What is your Guinea Pig's Favorite Foods?

See results

Guinea Pigs Eat Healthy Foods

The Guinea Pigs in my home are healthy little eaters and because we share some of the same foods, my garden and fridge have an abundance of good things in them. The piggies give me hours of smiles and keep me in line as I wake each morning to tend to their needs and rush home after work to their squeaky greetings.

I hope you enjoyed my Guinea Pig's favorite foods. I am off to make a salad! =)

Thank you for visiting!

Guestbook Comments & Review - My Guinea Pig's Favorite Foods

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    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 2 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Good luck to you and your furry friend! Thank you for dropping by.

    • profile image

      shaes 2 years ago

      Thank you for the info. We just got our guinea pig and its helpfull to have help knowing what she needs.

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @ThreeQuarters2Day: That is nice to know. I was taking an educated guess on the pellet process.

      Life with guinea pigs helps one pick up the different noises they make. Your radio spot sounded fun. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us! (A Guinea pig would make the brrrt brrrt brrrt purring sound for you at this point!)

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 3 years ago from Nebraska

      I worked as the nutritional consultant for Oxbow Pet Products for over 10 years (97-2008) and actually imitated the wheek, wheekk wheek of a guinea pig on national radio one time. I know the exact process on how timothy pellets are made, the hay is not washed, but comes in just as dried hay where it is ground and compressed into pellets at a temperature of about 160-180F with steam to add just enough moisture to keep it moving. Then those pellets are ground again and mixed with grains, vitamins and minerals to make the complete pellets. Boy, been a long time since I used that part of my brain.

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @SimonJay: The recommended amounts of fruits and veggies is one cup a day. Give them a variety of items. My Ms. Jessie loves her tomatoes, but Sunny likes the broccoli which I have to give her sparingly. They will both eat apples and carrots. I give them very small amounts of at least 3 items per feeding. If you listened to them in between meals you would think they were starving! =) I would love to hear about your piggies! Thank you for stopping in, SimonJay!

    • SimonJay profile image

      SimonJay 3 years ago

      I have 2 guinea pigs so really appreciate your tips as i was worried i wasn't giving them enough variety of food your their diet.

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @Meganhere: They are wonderful critters to spend time with. It is a shame they only have a few years with us. My first action when I wake each day is the fruit and veggie cups and the lettuce. Sunny is relentless until she is fed. It is a chore of gratitude as they add a smile to my every day. Thank you for sharing about your friend Bilbo! Love it! =)

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      My guinea pig, Bilbo (long gone to that salad patch in the sky) would 'wheak' like mad when I was making fruit salad. I'd hand feed him the scraps and he'd have juice running down his front, and then he'd spend ages cleaning himself and licking his lips. Strawberries were his favourite. Cute lens.

    • HomeArtist1 profile image

      Wendy Hughes 4 years ago from Charlotte

      My mom had a Guinea pig and you'd of thought it was a toddler. Every time we opened the fridge Woo~die would squeak VERY loudly! It was a wonderful companion for a long time.

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @ArtByLinda: Thank you Linda! Appreciate your comments and visit!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 4 years ago from Idaho

      I don't have a guinea pig now but did when I was young, great lens! Blessed!

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @ladyyummy: Thanks ladyyummy for sharing about your piggie and for your visit!

    • ladyyummy profile image

      ladyyummy 4 years ago

      My guinea pig, Cookie loves Oranges! He gobbles them up so fast. Its so cute to watch him eat a slice of Orange. Cute lens. I love guinea pigs! They are the sweetest and lovely pets. Easy to take care of and they bring me so much happiness. :)

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @anitabreeze: Thanks for the comment!

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      anitabreeze 4 years ago

      Very cute, I used to have guinea pigs when I was a kid!

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @katiecolette: Thanks Ms. Katie! Appreciate your visit and comment!

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 4 years ago

      Great photos and excellent advice on what to feed guinea pigs. Well done!

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @ConnieGreen LM: Did he get loose or did you get to keep him? I would love to hear that story!

    • ConnieGreen LM profile image

      ConnieGreen LM 4 years ago

      I had a class pet guinea pig - when he came home with me for the summer he decided to stay at my house for good

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 4 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Lovely to meet another guinea pig owner! I love our pets much. They're such a breeze to have around. ^_^

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @anonymous: You would not be sorry taking on one of these furry little friends! Thanks for stopping by, Tipi! =)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Having read some of your other lenses on hamsters, I am starting to feel like adopting some of these little cute critters. :)

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @delia-delia: I have tried different foods trying to give them a healthier diet. If I bring home a new veggie or fruit they will get a sample. These foods were accepted by them so I try to keep them on hand. Thanks d-artist for stopping by and for your comments!

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @webmavern: Thanks, webmavern! They get a lot of TLC! I appreciate you taking time out to comment!

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @poldepc lm: Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your comment! =)

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Very sweet and informative lens...I never knew 'not to feed Iceberg Lettuce or Celery because they both contain strings that bind them up' also I didn't know guinea pigs like strawberries.

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      webmavern 4 years ago

      Great information for anyone who already has a guinea pig or for someone thinking of getting one. You obviously love your girls, they are lucky little piggies!

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      lovely lens