Feeding

Guinea pigs should be fed a diet of fresh Meadow Hay.  Hay should be 80% of their daily diet.  As grazing animals they need to eat all day and enough should be provided to satisfy their needs.  It is vital for good gut and general health and to keep the all-important grinding back teeth ground down evenly.  What most people are not aware of is that fresh growing grass is actually high in vitamin C and that even hay contains it, if not in high concentrations.  Too much fresh feed can cause digestive problems however hay is the one food group you really can't do without and even in unlimited amounts!

Fresh vegetables and good quality pellets (I personally recommend ones with Vitamin C, we use Topflite Super Premium Rabbit and Guinea Pig Nuggets) should make up the remaining 20% of the daily diet. Fresh wet grass that had not been sprayed with chemicals is one of the best green foods for guinea pigs and counts as a vege.  Fresh grass varies in quality over the course of a year, especially in its water and nutrient content.  Introduce fresh grass gradually on an unaccustomed gut and do not feed clippings from the lawn.  Clean water should be available at all times usually from a water bottle otherwise heavy water bowl, about 100-300mls.  Veges, fruit and grass needs to be discarded if it has been sitting around for a few hours.

It is ideal for you to limit their intake of veg. Just because they can have up to 1 cup doesn’t mean they need it.  Please remember that your guinea pig’s food supply should NOT be mainly vegetables.  Foods high in calcium can lead to the formation of bladder stones.  Good veges and herbs in a quick short list are: Carrots, Cabbage, Celery, Capsicums, Cucumber, Coriander, kale.  Research and find what is best for you to give your Guinea Pigs and how much.


Facts

Guinea pigs are social companion animals that require daily interaction.  They communicate by making various sounds that have different meanings and "popcorn," or jump in the air, when happy.

Average lifespan is 4 - 7 years but is not unheard of they can live longer.  We had one female live to 12 years old and she was never bred with.

Chew on objects to maintain all their teeth, which grow continuously.

Guinea pigs need their nails clipped approximately every three months.

Guinea Pigs could start being sexually mature about the age of 2 months, so it is a good idea to separate male and female babies before then.  We take baby boars away when fully weaned at 4 weeks old, with no problems.  

Breeding Guinea Pigs should start at 6 months old and be over 600g in body weight.  Female Guinea Pigs should have her first litter before she is 1 year old for health reasons, otherwise she should not be mated with at all.

The average breeding life of a sow is usually 3 years, depending upon how frequently she is bred, and how fat she is allowed to become or how small of a cavy she is.  Sows who are bred constantly will not have a long reproductive life.

The guidance on this page is what we follow and have learned over many years in this fancy.  We recommend the following websites.

Topflite foods for Guinea Pigs.  As mentioned above we use their nuggets (pellets).

Happy Cavy from overseas but has a food list that you could follow.  One of the sites we use as a guide.

Independent NZ Cavy Clubs has a good Cavy Care section to read and more useful facts.

Tintola Bettie was a guinea pig that lived to be over 12 years old.

Tintola Bettie was a beautiful sow who lived to be over 12 years old, which is very rare for a Guinea Pig to live that long.  She was from our own breeding.

She was never bred with and went to cavy shows as a pet.  She won Best Pet In Show at an Independent Cavy Club.

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