Cavy Tips - Diet
Hay & Pellets
Contributed by Ji Lean Ong
While pellets are convenient and less messy to feed, they are not a substitute for hay! Be sure to provide high quality grass (Timothy,Orchard etc) hay 24/7 for all your guinea pigs.
A good guinea pig’s diet should consist of about 70% good quality hay, 20% healthy pellets and 10% vegetables/healthy snacks eg. herbs, supplements etc. Pregnant/young guinea pigs (up to 6 months old) can be fed alfalfa hay but it should not be given as a staple diet for adult guinea pigs as it is high in calcium. Timothy hay and orchard grass hay are favourites for adult guinea pigs. Ensure that hay is always available 24/7 for your guinea pigs in the cage.
Good quality hay available locally:
- Oxbow Timothy Hay/Orchard Grass Hay
- Small Pet Select (lesser fibre so best to mix with stemmier hay if feeding)
- Alfalfa King Barley, Wheat and Oat Hay
- Momi Hay
Ensure that hay is always available 24/7 for your guinea pigs in the cage.
Alfalfa pellets are suitable for young, growing and pregnant cavies. After your cavy is about 6 months old and fully developed, a timothy-based pellet, which provides less calcium, may be a good choice.
Tips on pellet selection:
- Be sure to select pellets specifically formulated with Vitamin C for guinea pigs
- Purchase pellets in small quantities and store in a dry cool dark place to preserve the potency of the vitamin C (look for pellets with an expiration date to check for freshness)
- Avoid feeding rabbit pellets – get guinea pig specific pellets as rabbit pellets may not contain Vit C and/or contain antibiotics which are deadly to cavies
- If you have both young and older pigs, you do not need to buy two different pellets. Both pigs can eat the Timothy-based pellets but do feed your younger pig separately with more calcium-rich vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce or even kale
- You can also mix Timothy-based pellets with alfalfa-based pellets from 3rd month onwards for mother pig who is living together with baby guinea pig
- Good quality pellets should be free from sweeteners, colourings and preservatives
- Pellets should also be free from corn products, seeds and nuts as guinea pigs are unable to digest these well and they contain minimal to no nutritional value to them
- Pellets should be free from animal products as guinea pigs are strictly herbivores
- Do not give free-flow pellets as this can cause obesity and guinea pigs refusing to eat hay, which should be a major part of their diet
- Serve pellets in a bowl that is heavy enough not to be tipped over
Good quality pellet choices available locally:
KMS Hayloft pellets - currently the pellets with the lowest contest of calcium - suitable for all ages
- Oxbow Cavy Performance (Alfalfa based pellet for pigs younger than 6 months old)
- Oxbow Cavy Cuisine (Timothy based pellet for guines pigs 6 months or older)
- Burgess Excel Tasty Nuggets (Mint & Blackcurrant/Oregano) – suitable for all ages