Whilst many people think a muesli feed is all a guinea pig needs, this is not the case. Guinea Pigs require a range of foods to remain healthy and happy. As well as a muesli or pellet feed, Guinea Pigs should always have access to forage hay and their diet should be supplemented with fresh greens. You can also feed guinea pig treats in small quantities, to add a more variety to their diet.
Guinea Pig Foods typically come in muesli or pellet/nugget form. Whilst muesli is the traditional choice, and looks appealing with its range of colours and shapes, they are not suitable for all guinea pigs. When fed a muesli style feed, many guinea pigs will pick out the bits they like best and leave others - usually the more healthy, fibre rich pellets which are essential for health. This is known as selective feeding. If your guinea pig is selective feeding it may be best to feed a pellet or nugget instead. These pellets contain a full range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in every pellet, so your guinea pig cannot pick out the 'best bits'.
Guinea Pigs should also have access to forage, in the form of hay or grass, not only during the day, but overnight too. Hay can also be used as a bedding material, however it is often more economical to use straw. Straw, however (which is made from wheat, barley or other cereal crops), is not suitable to be provided as a forage for guinea pigs to eat. There are a number of special feeding hays available, many with added herbs for additional nutritional benefits. Dried grass, such as Readigrass is also an ideal forage for small animals such as Guinea Pigs.
As Guinea Pigs cannot synthesise Vitamin C, they have a high requirement for Vitamin C from their diet. Guinea Pig Feeds typically contain extra vitamin C in a protected form. However, as rabbits do not have the same requirement Vitamin C is not usually included in rabbit foods, so these should not be fed to Guinea Pigs as it can lead to a Vitamin C deficiency. If you have rabbits and guinea pigs living together and need to feed them the same food, you should always feed a Guinea Pig Food.
Guinea Pigs should be given approximately one teacup full of fresh fruit and veg every day. This should mostly be made up of vegetables, as fruit is rich in sugar and is bad for guinea pigs in larger quantities. Common vegetables that are safe to feed guinea pigs include; Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn-on-the-cob, Cucumber, Kale, Peas, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas and Swede. Fruits that can be fed in small quantities as an occasional treat include; Apples, Bananas, Seedless Grapes, Strawberries, Kiwi fruit, Melon, Oranges and Pears.
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