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Pellets for Young Guineas

Mikknu

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Hey there!

So I'm getting much younger guinea pigs than anticipated. Thus, I'm a bit thrown off the rails for what pellets I was originally planning to get. I know pellets based on alfalfa negate the need for offering the guinea pigs alfalfa hay, but there are multiple options for young guinea pig pellets out there, all with different ingredients!

I was planning on getting Oxbow pellets no matter what, but there are three different kinds. Essentials, Simple Harvest, and Garden Select!

This is the Simple Harvest: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/oxbow-animal-health-simple-harvest-young-guinea-pig

This is the Garden Select: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/oxbow-garden-select-young-guinea-pig-food

This is the Essentials: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/oxbow-essentials-young-guinea-pig-food

They all have slightly different ingredients, but I am just not sure what exactly I'm looking for in a really good pellet, let alone what shouldn't be there! I'm all tied up in knots over their food again, worried that they won't be able to eat it. Can young(8 week) guineas eat any type of hay, or should they only eat timothy until they get a bit older?

And if none of these pellets are good, where could I get some that are?
 

Siikibam

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Any hay is fine. What I would do is to speak to the rescue shortly before you pick them up , and find out what hay and pellets they’re eating at that time. Once you’re ready to change the pellets you have to do a gradual swap rather than all or nothing.
 

Mikknu

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That's excellent about the hay!

I have asked them about pellets, but they said they have a local store's blend and the closest on the market where I live is Oxbow. Which circles right back to the original issue- Which Oxbow pellets are the best?
 

Siikibam

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I don’t know which is best, it depends on the ingredients. The best pellets are grass based ones - Timothy, oxbow, meadow. To be honest I don’t know if I would bother with anything that has alfalfa (or alfalfa hay itself). I got the boys when they were 2 months old and never bothered with alfalfa pellets or hay. They are absolutely fine.

I would also make sure to get the pellets they will be on so you can do a gradual change over once they’re home.
 

Mikknu

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They are all grass based is the issue. The Essentials is alfalfa, the Garden Select is timothy and alfalfa, and the Simple Harvest is timothy and alfalfa. At least, that's the best way I can tell them apart. I was hoping someone with knowledge of minerals/trace vitamins that guineas need could give me a bit more insight into what I'm looking for in a list of ingredients/nutritional chart.

Thank you for the food suggestion though. I'll make sure to get some of their food to transition with.
 

Wiebke

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That's excellent about the hay!

I have asked them about pellets, but they said they have a local store's blend and the closest on the market where I live is Oxbow. Which circles right back to the original issue- Which Oxbow pellets are the best?
They are all grass based is the issue. The Essentials is alfalfa, the Garden Select is timothy and alfalfa, and the Simple Harvest is timothy and alfalfa. At least, that's the best way I can tell them apart. I was hoping someone with knowledge of minerals/trace vitamins that guineas need could give me a bit more insight into what I'm looking for in a list of ingredients/nutritional chart.

Thank you for the food suggestion though. I'll make sure to get some of their food to transition with.
Hi!

Don't overdo the alfalfa and don't get fixated on the 'young' guinea pig label. To be honest, any decent pellets whether that is young or adult piggies will do because most nutrients are already present in any good diet and the extra amounts needed a truly minute quantities. The young guinea pig labels are there because their is a buyer demand and not because they are essential.

My own babies or baby adoptees have done perfectly fine on a good normal adult diet. Tegan (the baby in my avatar) was a kilo by 6 months despite living in a large group of piggies of all ages. She and her two adopted playmates all lived to around their 8th birthday and never had any major health issues until very old age - and that despite her playmates having been born into desperate cricumstances.

What I would recommend is to ask your rescue lady whether you take home a small bag of pellets and mix them with your own pellets.

Hay is whatever you serve as piggies will generally eat what is there but you can wipe the carrier and the cage with some used hay of theirs so it smells more familiar. That goes a long way towards calming them down.
Because our sense of smell is much weaker and we are tending to live in sterile surroundings, we tend to completely overlook just how vital scent, especially group scent is for guinea pigs. The more new surroundings smell like 'home'/'family', the more secure your youngsters will feel. this has to come before cleanliness during the transition period.
 

Lady Kelly

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What age are the pigs you are getting? I've taken them in from as young as 6 weeks and they have always gone on to the same pellets the adults have
 

Mikknu

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Thank you very much @Siikibam @Wiebke and @Lady Kelly for your help and advice!

I'll make sure to get some pellets that they've been on, and I'll try to get some of their home hay as well to put in their carrier and new home. I will also stick to the pellets I had chosen for adults. Thank you for your advice , Wiebke, and thank you very much for helping me Siikibam. :D

Lady Kelly- They will be 8 weeks old. A big jump from what I was expecting, but if they'll be okay on adult pellets, I won't worry about it.
 

Merab's Slave

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Bit late coming to this question but Micah was 12 weeks when I got him and he ate the same Science Selective grain free pellets the girls have.
He’s thriving
 

PigglePuggle

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Yes I'm a bit late here too but all my piggies have only ever have Science Selective grain free pellets. When we first got our first 2 piggies age 11 and 12 weeks I just bought those because they looked the most healthy and unflavoured option, and never thought any more about it! Even Tallulah skinny pig who came to us at 9 weeks old and according to her foster carer needed a "specialist high fat pellet costing £15 per kilo" (erm... I dont think so!) has only ever had the SS grain free pellets like everypig else. They are all healthy adults now. Baby piggies are much more well developed than most mammal babies, all ready to eat and run a few hours after birth, not much in need for any special treatment after they are weaned at about 3 weeks, but a taste of what they had in their old home will be appreciated until they adjust x
 

Mikknu

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@PigglePuggle @Merab's Slave Thank you for your input nonetheless! I went and looked at the Science Selective you both mentioned, and compared it to the options for pellets I had until I found the closest. I really appreciate any responses I get.
 
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