My Guinea Pig's Most Favorite Foods
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
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
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.
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!
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 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
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
We Are Fans Of Sweet Red Peppers!
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!
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 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?
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!