Calcium requirement for junior pigs?

x3littlepiggies

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Hi. I have 3 girls who are 10 weeks old. I've been giving them 1 handful of alfalfa hay every other day in with their Timothy & meadow hay. Ive been feeding them veggies as you would an adult pig (not too many high calcium foods). Somebody told me not to worry about calcium content until they're 6 months old, so I've been more lax about green leaves etc recently. Yesterday I noticed some white grainy urine in their toilet tray. Is this OK for young pigs or should I give lower calcium veggies again? So confused! I've stopped the alfalfa hay and just given pepper and cucumber today. Any advice would be really appreciated!

Ps. I've read the informative post on Ca:p ratios. It's fantastic!
 

sport_billy

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Alfalfa isn't a grass based hay, it is a legume I understand that is much higher in calcium, protein and calories and that is often used in farm animal feed to ensure fast growing.
Alfalfa hay should not be fed to guinea pigs, except only in very small quantities (as recommended in our pregnancy diet https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/pregnancy-and-nursing-diet.109377/ (that @Wiebke wrote) to pregnant piggies and nursing babies as a supplement to their normal diet

@Wiebke when would you discontinue Alfalfa from a pups diet?
 

Wiebke

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Hi. I have 3 girls who are 10 weeks old. I've been giving them 1 handful of alfalfa hay every other day in with their Timothy & meadow hay. Ive been feeding them veggies as you would an adult pig (not too many high calcium foods). Somebody told me not to worry about calcium content until they're 6 months old, so I've been more lax about green leaves etc recently. Yesterday I noticed some white grainy urine in their toilet tray. Is this OK for young pigs or should I give lower calcium veggies again? So confused! I've stopped the alfalfa hay and just given pepper and cucumber today. Any advice would be really appreciated!

Ps. I've read the informative post on Ca:p ratios. It's fantastic!
Hi! Please keep them on an adult low calcium diet and also check their pellets; they don't need unlimited - tablespoons a day is plenty! Ypou will also want to filter your water - that is where a lot of calcium in the diet is actually coming from.
People tend to grossly overestimate the tiny extra amounts needed, which are already mostly covered by a balanced general diet. Guinea pigs are such small animals; they don't need lots of extras! It is more of a general concept that all species babies need a special diet.

My own babies don't get any extra (apart from me feeding a tiny bit more pellets to the group) and they still thrive. My surprise baby Tegan has just celebrated her 7th birthday together with the sister playmates pair I adopted for her and has never been ill all her life despite living on an adult diet since she's been 4 weaned and has joined the big group with her mommy at 4 weeks of age. The same goes for all the babies I have adopted in the meantime - they are all healthy on an adult only diet with an optimal weight/size ratio without any extras.

Please follow the tips in our diet guide. We have got an illustrated sample diet.
At least we can say that our long term members all practise a similar diet with their own individual variations, but that we have seen a marked increase in longevity and hardly any urinary tract problems in the intervening years. While I wouldn't go round and preach that it is the ultimate diet like far too many others do, I can say that something that has stood the test of time is not the worst starting point!
We have made our diet guide as precise and practical as possible. ;)
Because the hardness of water and the calcium content/amount of pellets are generally the two biggest factors, no diet will ever be perfect for everywhere as the calcium : phosphorus balance differs depending on your location. But as I know from my own experiments over the years, you can get stones very quickly if you happen to get that balance wrong! Our diet seems to be low enough in calcium without cutting it out completely (which is not good, either) to prevent the build up of diet based stones and bladder problems, though.
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets

The diet guide is part of our New Owners guide collection, which you may hopefully find interesting and helpful. We are addressing all the areas we get the most questions and concerns from new owners about. Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 
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