Natural Feeding for Healthy Guinea Pig Pets
Guinea pigs love to eat and will ‘wheek’ for food. Unlike most rodents which are omnivores, guinea pigs are strict vegetarians. Hence, good nutrition and plays a vital part in ensuring their overall good health and wellbeing. The ‘Hay and Veggie Diet’ for guinea pigs consists of predominantly hay and a large varied selection of leafy greens and vegetables every day. This diet is high in fibre for optimal digestive tract function, as well as to help in wearing down of their teeth. Following this guinea pig diet is the most natural way to feed your guinea pig.
Do you know the five key things guinea pigs need to be happy and healthy?
Guinea pigs’ well-being can be observed though their expression of normal behaviour; including being active and inquisitive, having a good appetite, toileting lots and lots daily, being a good companion to their guinea pig mate and being sociable with their human friend (once you have bonded with your cute guinea pig pets). Guinea pigs mostly express their emotions through vocalisations, such as ‘wheeking’ for treats or ‘purring’ when pleased to be held. Guinea pigs will also ‘popcorn’ (excited bounce) when happy. Guinea pigs can also exhibit behaviours like eating its own poo – this is an entirely normal and healthy behaviour! Any changes to feeding and routines should be introduced slowly as guinea pigs are creatures of habit.
In general, there are three main types of bedding for guinea pigs: wood based, paper based or hemp based. For a more luxurious feel, fleece or Vetbed (made from high quality double strength polyester with a woollen feel) can be used for play areas. Straw and hay is also commonly used for bedding. For our guinea pigs’ sleeping and kitchen areas, we used the more traditional bedding materials.
Once you have decided on whether you will house your guinea pigs indoors or outdoors, the next exciting thing is planning out your setup. We wanted our guinea pigs cage to be comfortable and roomy enough to allow us to introduce a range of toys and hidey holes for our cute guinea pigs. We also wanted the cage to be practical for us as well.
We built a three-level C&C cage. The base level is designed for storage (food, treats, bedding, guinea pig care and grooming products. The second level is the guinea pigs main roaming area, which includes their play area, tunnel, hidey holes and their sleeping quarters, which also features a water bottle and food bowl. The third level is the loft area and has been set up as the guinea pigs kitchen area, their main feeding place. This level features a water bottle, hay rack, veggie lifter, food bowl and hidey hole.
What can guinea pigs eat? Lots, but there are lots of foods that are not safe for guinea pigs. There are a range of foods that at best have no nutritional value and cause diarrhoea in your guinea pigs, to potentially being very gassy and messing with their digestive systems, to being choking hazards or are just downright poisonous for your cute guinea pigs.