Guinea pigs: food and feed for rodents

Guinea pigs: food and feed for rodents

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The diet of tame guinea pigs should differ as little as possible from their habits in the wild. Hay is ideal as the main feed for guinea pigs, and green feed, juice feed and twigs are also suitable for rodents. Unfortunately, snacks and dry food from the trade rarely serve as a guinea pig nutrition. Guinea pigs like to eat fresh grass and meadow herbs - Shutterstock / Miroslav Hlavko

Guinea pigs' healthy diets take their peculiarities into account when it comes to digestion. The intestines of the small rodents have no muscles and they have a so-called stomach, so that the food does not have to pass through the digestive tract on its own, but has to be "pushed" on. This happens through so-called raw fibers, which are found in hay, among other things. It is important that Meerlis do not take breaks to eat, otherwise their digestion comes to a standstill and the food cannot be used. Caution! If your guinea pig refuses to eat at breakfast, go to the vet with him - it is most likely sick.

Fresh hay is essential for healthy eating

You can recognize good hay by the fact that it smells pleasant, is still a little greenish and dry. You should definitely keep your hands off musty or moldy hay, as this can make the pigs sick. Cheap and good sources of hay are the farm around the corner or horse farms. There you get whole bales that you can keep cool, dry and protected from light in a wooden box or an old cloth sheet. Throughout the day, guinea pigs should always have fresh hay available in a hay rack and on the floor. Replace the leftovers with each feeding so that they do not start to mold.

Hay is not only essential for digestion, but also for guinea pig teeth. As is common with rodents, the teeth grow continuously and therefore have to be ground continuously. If they eat Meerli's hay, they rub it with their teeth by moving them back and forth. They file about two millimeters a week from their teeth in this way.

Green feed and juice feed for guinea pigs

In their natural habitat, wild guinea pigs eat grasses that have a fairly high percentage of vitamin C. With hay alone, the demand cannot be met, so Meerlis still have to get fresh feed. Guinea pigs have to get at least 10% of their body weight daily on green and juice feed for a healthy diet, although it can also be more. Divide the food into several meals, such as breakfast, lunch, an afternoon meal, and an evening meal. Green fodder is grass, meadow flowers and meadow herbs. This includes:

  • ● Dandelions
  • ● Chickweed
  • ● daisies
  • ● Milk thistle
  • ● Chamomile
  • ● Melissa and lemon balm
  • ● Plantain
  • ● thyme
  • ● rosemary
  • ● Marigold flowers
  • ● lavender
  • ● Coltsfoot
  • ● Giersch
  • Mugwort

You can also let nettles dry and then feed them, the leaves are rich in vitamin C. It is ideal if you offer a large selection of different meadow flowers, meadow herbs and grasses so that the Meerlis can choose what they need and like. You can pick them in the forest or on meadows, but not near fields that are fertilized and not on the roadside. You should carefully feed unfamiliar food, first add only small amounts and gradually increase the proportions. Both green fodder and juice fodder must not be wet, as this is not good for the guinea pig diet. The food then easily travels in the belly and causes bloating.

Fruit and vegetables are called juice food. Fruit generally contains a relatively high amount of sugar and is therefore rarely on the menu. One slice of fruit a week is enough. Vegetables can help meet the guinea pig's vitamin requirements if the green food is not sufficient. Potatoes, onions, too much cabbage, legumes and avocados are not part of the rodent's menu. However, what you can give without hesitation - possibly after a phase of careful feeding, fruit rarely - are the following types of fruit and vegetables:

  • ● Jerusalem artichoke
  • ● Turnip
  • ● Celery and peeled celeriac with green
  • ● Parsley roots
  • ● Ripe peppers without stalk
  • ● Parsnips
  • ● May turnip
  • ● Endive salad
  • ● Chinese cabbage
  • ● Strawberries with green
  • ● Rose hips, both fresh and dried
  • ● Apples (except for so-called lip grind, because the fruit acid irritates the broken skin)

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Twigs as food for nibbling and gnawing

For dental care, digestion and employment, branches are also a great addition to guinea pig nutrition. The branches of the following trees and shrubs usually pose no problems:

  • ● apple tree
  • ● pear tree
  • ● hazelnut
  • ● Currant bush
  • ● basswood
  • ● pasture

Beware of unhealthy snacks from the trade!

If you take these tips for guinea pig nutrition into account, you basically do not need any additional ready-mixed feed from the trade. Most snacks and mixes on the market contain too many substances that your Meerlis cannot use, which can even harm them in the worst case. Yogurt drops, for example, have an appetizing effect on customers - us humans - and they are also offered explicitly for guinea pigs. The animals are vegan and there is far too much sugar in the drops. But also colorful pellets, colorful nibbling sticks and the like are often filled with inferior ingredients and visually prettified with artificial colors for people. A small piece of fruit a week is much better for the pigs as an occasional treat in addition to the normal diet.

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