Guinea Pig Diet Requirementshe Guinea pig, like man, cannot produce vitamin C and therefore has to have it supplemented in it's diet. This is the most critical factor in the health of your pet. In addition, he must have a well balanced diet containing lots of fiber for his teeth to work on and his digestive system to process. So the basic requirements are:
Many people consider the addition of vitamin C essential to the guinea pigs diet. Given that all they need is between 10-20mg/kg daily (a kg is about 2 pounds - the size of many pigs), this is easily supplemented in their diet with fresh vegetables. A pregnant sow should have about double this dose, but again, she needs added feed to nourish the new babies, so it can be easily supplemented in the diet.
- Fresh guinea pig pellets, these contain alfalfa and other grasses, added nutrients, and vitamin C. A half cup pellets should be adequate for each animal. These should be replaced regularly, any uneaten, and especially any contaminated feed, should be disposed of and the bowl cleaned.
- Fresh water is necessary for the guinea pig to be able to digest his food and maintain other vital systems. Water should be changed at least every other day, preferably every day. A sipper tube bottle is preferred because the guinea pig will scatter bedding and feces into a bowl as he runs around his cage.
- Grass Hay is also important. Timothy or other grass hays (alfalfa is a legume) provide plenty of roughage and fiber for the little one's system. Timothy and grass hays have less protein and less calcium than alfalfa, in addition, properly cured hay will have some vitamin D in it that helps the pigs system process the available calcium properly. Hay also provides good grinding surfaces for the teeth, as well as entertainment for the pig. A large pile of hay is often used as a tunnel system, tossing toy (usually out of the cage!) and a cozy place to take a nap.
- Vegetables are important sources of vitamin C. Using fresh, dark vegetables as a source of vitamin C eliminates the need for other sources of vitamin C, such as drops in the water. Romaine and other dark green lettuces, carrots, bell peppers, and other vegetables will not only provide the needed nutrients, but also provide a rich variety to the animals diet. As they learn to eat new foods, they come to appreciate the variety.
Page maintained by Dale L. Sigler. Copyright © 1997. Updated: 12/15/98