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How to reduce calcium in diet?

Popps&Dais

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Hi,
Please can you help as I’m becoming a bit calcium obsessed. Our guinea pigs have white pee at the moment. They’re not in pain it’s just white and this is a bit of a new thing. I’m pretty sure the hay isn’t alfalfa but am checking. I’m trying to reduce the green leafy veg that is high in calcium (dandelion, spinach, kale) but know they still need it. At the moment they’re getting mainly lettuce plus their normal peppers, carrots and occasional celery. Is there something I’m missing? If not then what fresh veg is fine to give in abundance?
Thank you so much,
Cris, Poppy & Daisy
 

Claire W

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Hello and welcome. It is advised that you filter the drinking water, I use a Brita filter jug. Also, a lot of calcium comes in the pellets. Guinea pigs only require one tablespoon of pellets per piggy per day.
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and parsley should only be fed in moderation but they can eat pepper, cucumber, coriander, green beans and lettuce daily. That’s what I feed
 

PigglePuggle

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Great advice there from @Claire W :)
Its quite normal for piggy pee to have some white calcium in it, its only if this is gritty it is a cause for concern- but all the same its good to limit calcium in the diet to avoid bladder and kidney issues in the long term, and the steps Claire has mentioned are things that most of us do to keep a sensible calcium balance!
 

Popps&Dais

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Thank you so much for your replies. it doesn't look gritty - the things we do for our piggies - but I'll keep an eye on it. Will reduce their pellets and up their coriander which they will not complain about. We give them tonnes of fresh grass daily, just whatever is in the garden, that isn't a calcium concern is it?
 

Siikibam

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Coriander is fine to be fed daily - a sprig a day - it’s a good source of vitamin c. Ignore that, just re-read it.
Grass is fine as long as they’re used to eating it.
 

Scooter Pie

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Thank you so much for your replies. it doesn't look gritty - the things we do for our piggies - but I'll keep an eye on it. Will reduce their pellets and up their coriander which they will not complain about. We give them tonnes of fresh grass daily, just whatever is in the garden, that isn't a calcium concern is it?
Reading along because we have one pig on stone watch. I wondered about the grass from the garden too.
 

Wiebke

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Hi,
Please can you help as I’m becoming a bit calcium obsessed. Our guinea pigs have white pee at the moment. They’re not in pain it’s just white and this is a bit of a new thing. I’m pretty sure the hay isn’t alfalfa but am checking. I’m trying to reduce the green leafy veg that is high in calcium (dandelion, spinach, kale) but know they still need it. At the moment they’re getting mainly lettuce plus their normal peppers, carrots and occasional celery. Is there something I’m missing? If not then what fresh veg is fine to give in abundance?
Thank you so much,
Cris, Poppy & Daisy
Hi!

Please take the time to read our comprehensive diet guide, which looks at all food groups in detail. You can't cut out all calcium out of the diet because that is in the long term as damaging as as too much calcium. Too low a calcium content in the diet can also result in calcium pees, which is something not many people are aware of.
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
Instead of treats, use enrichment ideas to turn normal feeding time into fun time to allow your piggies to work for their food: Enrichment Ideas for Guinea Pigs

Most of the calcium in the diet comes by water and pellets. Even no added calcium pellets still contain more calcium than the same amount of kale, which is the highest calcium veg (but also high in vitamin C and trace elements). Filtering water and limiting the pellet intake are the biggest and most effective measures to take.
With your veg you try to strike a balance with between veg high in fluids (fresh growing dog pee-free grass, cucumber, lettuce and celery) to encourage urination and regular flushing of the bladder, especially in piggies that are not naturally good drinkers on the one side and the intake of vitamin C and trace elements that complement the diet (fresh herbs, a slice of pepper or greens (a milder UK version of kale) or even a little kale every now and then) on the other. Please be aware that fresh growing grass is high in vitamin C and that unlimited hay also contains it; it is the reason why guinea pigs have never had the need to make their own in the first place. But because it is not part of our human diet, it has been treated as a dietary non-entity for too long. Piggies that are on a mainly good quality grass hay based diet won't suffer from scurvy.

The calcium balance in your diet is dependent on local factors so there is not a one size fits all. The UK is mainly a hard/high mineral content water country while the US is mostly soft water country, so conditions can vary massively. Not everybody around the world has access to the same foods, not to mention pellets (please stay off dry mixes if possible; it leads to selective feeding). So it is down to you to find work out what works for you and how much you can vary safely within the band between too much and too little calcium.

You know when you have hit the right balance when the frequent calcium pees stop. Ideally you want to stick to a diet that is fairly close to the natural diet that guinea pigs have evolved on, which is hay/fresh grass with some added herbal forage and the very odd little bit of fruit or rich veg like carrot or sweet corn more as a special treat for enrichment.
 
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