A guinea pig needs to eat a good quality pellet food everyday as well unlimited hay, vitamin c vegetables and of course, a constant supply of fresh water.
My Guinea Pig Pellets
My guinea pigs eat Oxbow's Cavy Cuisine, which is a timothy hay-based pellet food for adult guinea pigs. If your guinea pig is under 10 months, they will need an alfalfa hay-based pellet food. Oxbow's alfalfa hay-based food is called Cavy Performance. It has a higher protein and calcium content for the younger guinea pig. Its suitable for young guinea pigs, mothers-to-be and nursing mothers. Oxbow pellets contain added vitamin C, are high in fibre and are plain, so no artificial colours. My guinea pigs used to eat Gerty Guinea Pig food, but I wasn't
happy with the artificial colours. A mixed feed can also encourage your guinea pig to become fastidious, so they just choose their favourite bits. Some mixed feeds also contains nuts and seeds which are high in fat, so aren't healthy for guinea pigs. Here are pictures of two different types of guinea pig food.
Oxbow Cavy Cuisine Pellets
Gerty Guinea Pig Food Mix
Purchasing Guinea Pigs Pellets
I buy my piggies pellets on-line from Bunny Bazaar UK If you live in the USA, you can buy Cavy Cuisine directly from the Oxbow Hay Company, they may give you details about where your nearest stockist is in the USA. They also distribute to other countries as well as the UK. Visit this link to see if there's a stockist near you Oxbow International Always check the sell by date on the packets. Never buy loose guinea pig food that some pet stores sell. Its always best to buy the pre-packed so you know its fresh. Never buy rabbit/hamster food for your guinea pig. Every species of animal require different dietary needs. Guinea Pigs especially need the added Vitamin C in their food. So ignore any super market pellets that say its suitable for both rabbits and guinea pigs.
Other pellet Food
Of course, Oxbow's isn't the only good quality pellet food, although I would recommend it. I've heard good reports about Burgess Supa Guinea Excel For more detailed information about guinea pig pellets and what they contain, visit this excellent page Brands of Guinea Pig Feed
Always use a heavy ceramic food bowl so it can't be tipped over. These days, there are many lovely guinea pig bowls for sale. Now its not only cats and dogs who have posh bowls, but guinea pigs, rabbits and other smaller pets too. Although I think guinea pigs are more interested in what the bowl contains :) Remember everyday to wash the bowl, rinse and dry well before adding fresh pellets.
Quantity of Pellets
Between 3 guinea pigs, I give roughly 2 handfuls of pellets. Most days there's just a few pellets leftover, occasionally all the pellets have vanished. Just go off your guinea pigs appetite, if there's too many pellets left, just decrease the amount. If you are constantly seeing an empty bowl by morning, increase the amount. Remember, guinea pig food is only part of your guinea pigs diet. Guinea pigs under 10 months need a constant supply of pellets as they are still growing. They need extra calcium and protein.
If you find your guinea pig is becoming too overweight, they could be eating too many pellets, either because they are bored or they aren't getting enough exercise. Just decrease the amount of pellets a little, weigh the amount to give you an exact figure. You'll find your guinea pig will fill up on hay and on their daily vegetables, which aren't fattening, but are very healthy. Also, try and increase your guinea pigs exercise time. Always weigh your guinea pig every week and keep a record. If your worried about your guinea pigs weight, either loosing or gaining excessive amounts, seek advice from your vet.
Its best not to buy in large quantities of guinea pig food. Just enough to last you a few weeks. I tend to buy 2 x 4 kg of Cavy Cuisine for my 6 guinea pigs.
Introducing a New Food
When introducing a new guinea pig food for your piggy, make the change gradual if you can. Just add a small amount of the new food to their present food. Guinea pigs can be susceptible to sudden dietary changes, which may give them an upset tum. Having said that, I tried adding Oxbow pellets to their Gerty mix and they left quite a lot of the Oxbow pellets. After the first few days, I gradually increased the Oxbow and only added a small amount of Gerty. Two weeks later, I decided to leave out the Gerty completely.
As you'll see from the photo's below, Clover wasn't very impressed, she actually kept coming back and forth. I think she was hoping her old Gerty mix would magically appear :) As you'll also see, Peachy was asking Clover if she was going to eat more than a morsel :) Eventually though, realising that no Gerty was on the menu, all my piggies started eating lots of Cavy Cuisine.
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