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We spent a lot of time researching and doing trial runs with our guinea pigs to find out what they are most interested in and what they are not. If you have a guinea pig and you're curious on what to add to their diet, or you have just adopted one and need to know where to start, then you have arrived at the right place! If your reasoning is the second option, then congratulations on your newest family member(s)!
Research is key! But I decided to help my fellow pig-owners of world by simplifying all the research I have obtained from my food trial runs with my six guinea pigs. Now, I feel like my list is pretty accurate, because if you thought guinea pigs all have the same tastes and interests, you're wrong! They each have their own personality as well as their own taste buds—who knew! They may love to eat, but unfortunately they cannot eat just anything or everything. Some of my pigs love certain things while the others couldn't be interested.
First things first: Do not buy the pellets from the pet stores that are filled with all the "extras." You know what I mean by this, because they have all these colorful things inside the bag of pellets. You should be looking for just the plain old pellets. More preferably, you should look into a local farm that makes pellets for them that are all natural and healthy. We shop for our pellets from a local farm not far from us who make and sell their own pellets for guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs also need lots and lots of hay. You know they love hay, because the second you put it in the cage, they begin to frolic and jump around the hay like the happiest pigs alive! Hay is so much more affordable and healthier if bought from a farm. We also buy ours from the same local farm and we get a massive bail that fits in our car trunk, at a whopping low price of just $10! That's right! They should have hay available at all times. Hay available 24-7 makes for happy, healthy pigs 24-7.
Now to the good stuff! Basically a quick run-down of how we do things:
A.M. Change out all water bottles with fresh water, refill bowls with pellets, and refill hay supply if needed.
A.M. Small snack for each pig. (I'll list good snack options soon)
P.M. Change out all water bottles with fresh water a second time, refill bowls with pellets as needed, refill hay supply if needed, *serve a salad.
P.M. Small snack for each pig.
You should always make sure there is fresh, clean, cold water available at all times for your pigs. We generally always check them in the morning before we go to work, when we arrive home, and before we go to bed. This rule follows for the pellets refill as well as the hay.
Now the safe guide to a salad. We feed our pigs a giant salad every night. We promptly serve that at 8 PM every night. Our pigs have their own built-in dinner alarm clock, because the second it gets close to the feeding hour, they all come out of their hammocks and start to squeak. Their salad can consist of many different things, but here are what I find that my pigs enjoy the most in their salads!
- Fresh Romaine Lettuce
- Fresh Red-Leaf Lettuce
- Fresh Green-Leaf Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
We try to switch it up every night or at least mix two of the above options as the base for their salad. Some nights they just receive greens, but there are others things they enjoy in their salad—they just cannot have these every night! I like to mix one of these things in occasionally to spice it up!
- Sweet Peppers
- Dandelion Greens
Snacks, snacks, snacks! If there's one important piece of information you need to know about pigs, it is that they are always willing to eat! They love snacks, and cannot resist them. We generally provide our pigs with healthy snacks with the exception of one item: Lovelies. These can be purchased online or in your local pet store, but they are small flavored hearts and my pigs love to get these every once in a great while! We have them in a treat can, and the second our pig hears the rattling of it, every hair on their body stands up and it becomes a race on which pig gets to the edge of the cage first to get their snack! Other than this, we also provide them with much healthier snacks.
- Apple slices
- Fresh Green Beans
I hope this guide helps you with your Guinea pigs' diet and you can add a few new things to their menu! Watch for signs from your pigs—if they are sniffing it and turning their head to a certain food, this most likely means they just don't like it! Don't ever force your pigs to eat something if they are not interested. If they happily take it and gobble it up, then it's safe to say it's a hit!