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Guinea-Pigs Food "No-No" Thread:

(25 Posts)
70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 29-Oct-15 12:07:45

Guinea-pigs (love them grin ) are very spoiled, sensitive and exotic (mine assure me this is true)

Similar to horses, their guts are designed to "trickle feed" - pretty constant eating.
They need lots of fibre.
They eat their first passed poo (usually when they're resting of an evening) to get the full benefit. In their 'wild' state as prey, they'd be scoffing with one eye on the sky to make sure nothing swoops over to grab them. Then when they are 'safe' they digest their part digested poo at leisure (nice)
As an owner, you don't see these poohs, they are soft, and usually you see your pig ducking his head under the belly (they do a stand on tiptoe stance grin ) then glare at you like you want to steal it.

They can't vomit. So whatever goes down, goes through.

So- what they cannot eat:
potato/potato skins
any bulb/bulb plants (so things like daffodils in the garden)
iceberg (too watery)
seeds (choking)
stoned fruit (like peaches/plums/cherries. I have no idea why, unless it's the stone itself that is the issue. Mine like to 'help' if I'm eating a nectarine)
rhubarb / leaves

Things in moderation:
dark greens- cabbage(especially Savoy) , spinach, watercress,kale,sprouts. Can be an issue with bladder stones , high in oxilates (sp) .And wind . They can fart like you wouldn't believe !

high calcium veg like brocolli, parsley,dandelion leaves

clover is high in protein

Alfafa hay also high in calcium/protein so only for pg/nursing sows and tiny piglets, not regular adults

fruits- high in sugar. Apples and pears need "cutted up" otherwise they can get sores on their mouths

root veg also quite high in sugar - we fattened up little GP2 for winter with fresh beetroot but no leaves
they love carrots with leaves though

all veg has a high water content so potentially can make them loose bowelled if they eat too much. Things like cucumber and watermelon are lovely in summer to hydrate them.

rich fresh grass, especially if they gorge themselves in the spring can lead to bloating. Build up the time slowly.

We give hay all year. In winter (when they are indoors) we use the hay cookies (pressed discs of hay) mainly because they don't need the warmth as much, the hay cookies take longer to eat and so much tidier . But then I forget to buy them, give them loose hay. They're delighted and fling it everywhere , I'm "Oh FFS pigs"

They aren't meant to eat bread, but GP1 joined me for Mothers Day Breakfast and helped himself to a slice of toast wink

Or Strawberry Cornettos . GP1 believed in "Sharing is Caring"

Keep a close eye on their intake- if they stop eating, there's a reason. They don't starve themselves voluntarily
Water- if they suddenly reduce or increase their intake. (It might be warmer. The bottle might be blocked. They might be blocked from feed/drink by a bully cagemate. But it's a sign of diabetes and bladder issues)

Check their poo (not like that Dr on TV blush ) just is it a good shape, firm, and loads of it. Difficult if you have 2+ bottoms, but ours handily have their own Pooh Nest Sites

Check pee. Should be cloudy (dries white) but not too chalky.
Blood in urine is a warning (bladder/kidney/trauma)
Pee can colour with foods like beetroot

And - they are FUSSY.
They all like different things.
Mine are "You know we don't like turnip. Why d'you flipping well give it? Too lazy to put it in the bin. Oh, I'll give it to the guineas. Well, no"

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 29-Oct-15 12:13:44

And weigh the pigs regularly too.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 29-Oct-15 12:15:04

Oops forgot to add Dairy in the "No" list. They can't digest lactose.

FernieB Thu 29-Oct-15 12:19:18

Your pigs are doing hay cookies all wrong. They're supposed to wee on them a lot from all angles. Then they're really easy to mush up and spread about.blush

mintbiscuit Thu 29-Oct-15 12:19:49

I love guinea pigs!

Is it true that you shouldn't keep them in a room with a tv due to high pitched frequency noise that they (tvs) emit.

SplatterMustard Thu 29-Oct-15 12:23:09

mint I expect they would do their warning call or a high pitched shriek if they objected to the tv. Ours ignore the tv except when we are watching nature programmes and birds of prey can be heard, then they run into their house and do the warning call. Evidently they think the eagle is going to leave the television and fly through the lounge.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 29-Oct-15 12:52:44

Oh, they do the mushing the haycookies into a soggy heap, like when you find a bowl of half eaten Wheetabix <<glares at DD>>.
Like the HayRack (complete Epic Fail) I hoped they'd survive more than a day. But they sit on the hay cookies anyway.
I think hay in looroll tubes is a bit easier TBH

Ours don't react to the TV much though GP5 (my Himalayan) was watching an old episode of Dr Who, she moved her head side-to-side and glared at me (we were 15' from the telly), very wooo.

GP1 liked to purr along to the tune from Animal Crossing (DSi game)

Things like scented candles I'd be wary of with piggies.

FernieB Fri 30-Oct-15 16:31:07

Gingerpig enjoyed watching Strictly last week. He was excited by the jive and managed his own version. Scruffy watched but was rather unimpressed - I think he was channelling his inner Craig Revel Horwood. I listen to a lot of radio so they have to as well. They both seem to enjoy the News Quiz.

HSMMaCM Fri 13-Nov-15 08:57:25

Teenage DD's guinea pigs don't seem to be bothered by her TV, music or scented candles. I do make her open her window when she's using nail varnish remover. They've probably been inadvertently sprayed with hairspray too.

They can't be bothered with Brussel sprouts or broccoli florets, but love just about anything else they're given. If they find a food they don't like, they bury it under the hay. Grass is a luxury food to them.

Goingtobeawesome Fri 13-Nov-15 09:02:10

Place marking as I'm worried I'm over feeding mine. They've grown quite big.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 13-Nov-15 09:57:25

if you give them the basics of water, pellets (between 30g-50g per pig) and as a guide their own body weight in hay.
Then add the veg. A lot of veg has negitive calories (takes more to digest than the calories it provides) like celery.
I give a variety of 5-6 veg, easy on the fruit, root veg is higher calories.
Ours like a selection of things to pick at and when they get to the kale they know they've reached rockbottom grin

Our Rex weighed 3lb , they are like rabbits in build, huge claws and feet.
The Teddy is slimmer (he's also neutered)
The ladies are ex breeders so are (IME) more likely to run to lardiness.

Ours have tunnels and playthings so they can pootle about and Ive noticed the sows are more mobile and interested in Life In General since we got our new boar.

We weigh ours regularly ( every week/two weeks) and DH keeps a spreadsheet (computer techie type).
I 'feel' when they are a bit lighter or heavier, by their body condition too.

If I want to fatten them, sweetcorn, beetroot, naice hay , fresh cut dandelions will tempt them.

They do lose weight if there's any change to their routine (like when GP2 died and we got GP3. Our GP1 lost weight but regained some). GP1 was nearly 4yo when he died and was looking that scrawny but baggy rat faced way that old animals get but still eating and pootling to the end.

Mine panic if they can see their own feet.

nobodyknowsimhere Sat 21-Nov-15 18:08:40

Ours won't eat courgette even when I spiralized it for them

I've heard mixed things about runner beans, does anyone know if they're ok?

Wrt grass, I know you're not meant to give them cuttings from the lawnmower but is it possible to pull it up by hand and give it to them? Or do I need to start growing it in trays?

I am their devoted slave. There's no point even denying it any more.

4yoniD Sat 21-Nov-15 18:26:44

my 2 are indoors all yr round, and always get hand picked grass. Haven't killed them yet.

FrancesOldhamKelsey Sat 21-Nov-15 18:30:11

Is it dandelion flowers they like or leaves?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 21-Nov-15 20:47:12

Grass from the mower risks contamination from oil , and if it's left lieing it ferments.

We hand cut grass when they can't go out (then the grass will regrow, if you pull up the roots it'll take longer )

Dandelions - leaves,stalks , flowers . All good. And if they eat a flower stalk first they look really cute with the flower in their mouths grin

Like most foods, give in moderation. (Laxative)

InternationalHouseofToast Mon 30-Nov-15 14:13:21

Glad I've found this thread, we now have 3 guineas so we're also 3 new owners trying to work out what they can / can't eat. The "my pet eats these foods" blogs on the internet seem to differ from the published books - I was going to give ours a slice of plum this morning as I'm sure I've read somewhere that they can eat plum. Glad I didn't.

Ours love carrot and brocolli, but we're limiting the brocolli, and they also hate courgette (damned if I'm spiralizing anything for them) but we're persisting as it seems to be a food they can eat every day. They also love dandelions but we're a bit short on them in November.

Ours love green beans, the little ones you can snap in half rather than the thicker runner beans. And kale - that's also disappearing.

They hated most fruit though - we tried banana and tangerine but both got ignored. Will stick to occasional pear and apple.

I need to investigate more what foods have enough vitamin C.

FernieB Mon 30-Nov-15 19:07:16

Peppers are good for vitamin c.

regenerationfez Tue 01-Dec-15 12:47:11

Ours love lettuce, but they absolutely love Cavolo Nero! I gave it to them because id bought some for us, but the kids turned their nose up! Its a bit more expensive than lettuce though so they dont have it often! We have 2 brothers, but one is much fatter than the other! Im not sure why that is? I havent tried any fruit at all, as I was worried it owuld be too sugary. They seem to prefer the guinea pig museli rather than the pellets.

The DS's have them in the front room watching telly. They happily sit on a cushion being stroked. I didnt considert it might be harmful to them!

987flowers Tue 01-Dec-15 22:06:30

I'm still confused as to what to give them daily and feel I need to have a spreadsheet saying what they've had and when they can have it again.

Are there veg you give everyday or do you mix it about? If I gave 5-6 different veg daily I can't think what I'd give and what I need to rotate. I'm obviously not thinking enough about different types of veg! I could do with a meal planner for them!

AtSea1979 Tue 01-Dec-15 22:12:30

Mine just get whatever I have in. DC Apple core, carrot peelings, celery today. I try to rotate it as much as possible. When I go shopping I always buy a loose tomato for them, half cucumber, carrots.
Then I buy fruit for DC and them to share! Bananas, apples, melon usually.
In winter I buy kale as they are not on the grass. That's about it.

987flowers Fri 04-Dec-15 22:28:21

Just been googling and it's really interesting the discrepancies. Some sites are saying they can have a veg every day and another chart says rarely. Why is it so difficult?

millimat Mon 04-Jan-16 16:28:04

Runner beans - I've bought some today. Some sites say guinea pigs can eat them. Others say not. Help!!confused

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 04-Jan-16 17:04:46

You need to be careful, too much can make them bloaty and you need to make sure they don't choke on the beans themselves.
One of our igs liked a green bean (but only if we held it ) but none of the others do,

Mine don't like Pak choi/ Bok choi but love chichory.

clippityclop Mon 11-Jan-16 07:20:54

Our girlies like a fine green bean or three, cutted up in one inch lengths in their bowl. During cuddle time they tackle 'em whole from our fingers with all the subtlty of a Christmas tree shredder. What's the deal with iceberg lettuce please? I read somewhere it's a no no but not sure why?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 06-Mar-16 11:43:57

Bumping for new piggies grin

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