Guinea Pig experts, please could you answer some care related questions?(16 Posts)
1. Recently someone has told me that Guinea Pigs should only be given hay and that veg isn't good for them. I was a bit about this because everyone else has always said the opposite.
2. Is it ok to keep them on newspaper? The first time we ever had a pig pets at home told us to keep him on wood shavings which I think caused his death in the end. For our new guineas I used lots of newspapers on top of each other so the floor didn't feel hard but someone suggested this can cause sores on their feet. It certainly hasn't caused any problems for my guineas so far...
We've kept Guinea pigs in the past, and rabbits, and was always told that vag/fruit was essential to a Guinea Pig to supplement their dry food, but more of a treat, to be given in moderation for a rabbit. We give our rabbit 1 baby corn each morning and night (because he won't eat any other fruit/veg) but our Guinea Pigs used to eat loads without too much restriction. I'm not an expert though.
My piggies (aged 5 and 1) have done very well on a diet full of veg and hay. They need a lot of hay, but also veg is essential, not only because they love it but because pigs (like humans) are unable to generate their own vitamin C. All other mammals can apparently. So fresh veg and small amounts of fruit are required to provide vit c for them. Obviously pig nuggets are fortified with vitamins as well. There's lists on various websites (and on a few threads here - I'll find one and bump it for you) detailing what pigs can and can't eat.
As for newspaper, my boys have always had newspaper just cos it's easier for cleaning out. They've never had any foot problems because of it. You could possibly have problems if they're not cleaned out regularly as I'm sure walking on wee soaked paper won't do their feet much good. Mine are cleaned out most days.
Fresh hay and green veg every day. Guinea pigs like us can not store vitamin C and will get scurvy if Vit C is insufficient. Fruit in moderation as it can make their mouths sore.
Good quality dry nuggets such as Burgess Excel
Fresh water everyday. Vit C drops in water are not necessary as they should get it from their veg. Also Vit C drops deteriorates quickly.
Woodchips or sawdust should not be used as it can cause skin and respiratory problems. My piggies have a layer of newspaper and hay in their hutch.
Thanks for your replies - I give mine mostly green leafy stuff as it was their favourite and they also like peppers. My friend was criticising the way I keep them - she says you have to keep them on hay but I don't see any problem with what I've been doing. And actually putting hay down everywhere didn't seem to be the best thing for first pig we had.
She also says you should feed them rabbit food which I thought was a no no.
Yes mine have oxbow Timothy hay and burgess excel or oxbow cavy cuisine.
Timothy Hay (especially Oxbow) is very good quality, but it can be quite fattening and doesn't provide much variety in their diet. You might want to mix it with a cheaper brand of hay which contains a variety of grasses.
The important things to note about Guinea Pigs is that they need to eat for around 16+ hours a day no matter what their weight. If they become overweight you give less calorific food, if they become underweight you give more calorific food and take them to the vet for a checkup!
Newspaper and hay in all of the hutch and run is preferable - they find it more comfortable and it gives them a more interesting range of places to lie down comfortably.
Do not use rabbit food! Use Guinea pig food. Common sense?
Yes, you must supplement with fresh veg and fruit because vitamin C degrades too quickly in dried food or drops, as a poster above mentioned.
Why not go and buy a few GP care books?
Oh, and do get veterinary insurance! The costs can really add up otherwise!
Thank you - I do have some Guinea pig care books which say pretty much what you have. My friend seems adamant this is wrong through
Ignore your friend. She doesn't seem to have a clue really. Tell her she's wrong and should check the latest care advice herself. Rabbit food is a definite no-no. It's different to piggie food and caters for rabbits very different dietary requirements. They don't need keeping on hay - just access to a plentiful supply.
I agree to ignore your friend.
I would say that keeping on hay is essential for the bedding area and preferable for the run area - whenever I put down several piles of hay in the very large run the pigs would always choose to sit and nap on these.
As I said above, they must have constant access to hay to allow for the 16+ hours a day of eating which they need to wear down teeth and maintain adequate gut function.
Urgent - you have very well behaved piggies. I have one who much prefers to sit next to hay. I have newspaper in their cage and stuff their igloos with hay. Scruffypig goes right in and makes a nest. Gingerpig sits next to his igloo and eats what he can reach through the door.
My pigs live to eat ('tis their raisen d'etre - spelling probably way off)
Yes they have pellets/hay/water (which they ignore) so all their fluid comes from fresh food.
They will tear over to the salad plate with great gusto then start on the hay once it's done. A life without veg would be a dull life for a little piggie.
You need to monitor things like dark green veg, root veg and salady veg. Fruit too, all in moderation.
I give my hogs a mass of fresh hay daily (on newspaper, no problems) In summer when they don;t need warm bedding, they have about their own bodyweight each of hay. I tried a rack, a hay cube and stuffed into loo rolls to stop them overheating.
They like their hay on the floor.
I don't give Vit C unless I have an unwell piggie in which case I dissolve it and syringe it straight into their mouth.
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