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"Raw diet" for guinea pigs?

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Aimee415

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#1
Hello just wondering if any one feeds purely natural foods such as hay, fruit, veg and grasses? I currently have my guinea pigs on wagg or tesco own depending if they are getting bored of their current diet. But in all honesty i would never feed my dog on these as quite a lot of the ingredients are awful!

Anyone got any decent recommendations for food or ways to go about a fully natural diet.

Dry food that i don't want to feed are anything burgess, wagg, harringtons, supermarket own.

Thank you for any help
 

MerryPip

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#2
Just out of interest I can understand why you don't want to use some of the museli based foods as they have things in them that are not great for piggies and encourage selective feeding but other pellet base foods such as Burgess and Science Selective among others are very good and give a healthy balance of what a pig needs without added rubbish. They are popular with the piggies and I find them much better as they clear the bowl instead of picking out the bits they like and leaving the rest. My lads won't eat much apart from Science Selective and I've been really happy with it. Many of the UK rescues use Burgess or Science Selective and many users on here use Harringtons. Thre are some reviews at the top of the Food section of the Forum.

You can also get Burgess complete food cubes which are compacted hay and other natural ingredients designed, with the addition of veggies to be used as a a complete feeding system. My boys didn't like them but I know others have found them better.

It is possible to feed no pellets or museli at all, I know Furryfriends who runs a sanctuary uses hardly any pellet based food at all, using mainly hay and veg as staples. She deals with many poorly and special needs pigs, dealing with specialist dental pigs and find hay helps keep excellent dental health and has virtually no problem with bladder stones or other calcium related issues.

It's also dependant on what your piggies will eat, they can be fussy little sods!
 

Miyavi

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#3
I feed my Gps without pellets.

They have hay all time an get daily alot of fresh veggies, oh and they get dried herbs and they are fine.
And delicious grass :)

But it´s very important to give more than ~50g veggies per pig, because they get sick otherwise.
200g per Guinea Pig or more.

An example how my feeding for 3 pigs looks like in the evening:





 

Goth Mummy

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#4
That looks very tasty, Miyavi!

Aimee - is there a particular reason that you dont want to feed Burgess pellets? I chose the Excel pellets as they have a higher fibre content.

I would say that pellets (rather than museli) are a good back up a varied forage based diet but once pigs are full grown I would expect that hay and other fresh food should be the main source of food. But I would personally want to keep the pellets available as the nutritional value of hay cannot be assessed without forage testing (and I have had batches of hay tested for my horse in the past - Dodson and Horrell used to do it if you sent them a sample ) and obviously the nutrients in grass depends on the weather. I just like having the nutritional back up of the pellets.

x
 

Amanda1801

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#5
What is your reasoning for not wishing to feed Burgess? It's one of the good high quality foods that is generally well recommended.

If you're going to feed a pellet-less diet, there's some things you'll need to consider...

As Goth Mummy has mentioned, the nutritional value of hay varies from batch to batch depending on where/when it's harvested, time of year, geographical location etc. As a result, it'd be very important to feed a good quality hay as a staple, but add in other hays too - for example oat hay is higher in fat than some others, alfalfa has a higher calcium content, timothy hay can be higher in sugars...so variety is key for nutrition, but also for the enrichment of your pigs.

Veg wise, the recommendation as part of a pelleted diet is 80% hay, 15% veg and 5% pellets. The amount of veg recommended is approx. 50g per pig per day. If you're going to go along the lines of Miyavi's diet outlined above, it's important to decrease your dry food slowly, and increase the quantity of veg that you feed gradually too - too much veg all of a sudden is likely to result in diarrhoea or bloating.

My pigs get a mainly hay and veg based diet, but they do get some pellets - I feed these scattered amongst their hay, just a small amount every 2 or 3 days - they really enjoy their pellets and it encourages natural behaviours like foraging for food, and therefore provides an additional source of enrichment for them.
 

Julesie

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#6
I don't feed my boys pellets because I was advised not to with how two of them have problems. My only piggie - In my avatar who was against the whole no pellet deal so I would take him out and feed him has now passed away and so none of them eat it now.

I give them a mix of hays, vegetables twice a day and some readigrass. They seem happy enough on it. =)
 
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#7
i feed my guinea-pigs on Oxbow Cavy Cuisine High Fibre Feed which i buy from Animed as i cant get it else where in the UK it is pricey but its great quality food, my bowls are always empty & the base of the mix is Timothy hay and not Alfalfa/Lucerne (Alfalfa/Lucerne shouldnt be fed to guinea-pigs over 7months old) They also get 1 bowl of Fruit/Veg a day, 1 bowl of pellets, Unlimited hay (i top their hay up thoughout the day) & Water in their water bottles Hope this helps :) --> Link - http://www.animeddirect.co.uk/oxbow-cavy-cuisine-guinea-pig-food-45kg.html
 

Abi_nurse

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#8
Piggies dont need pellets per say, so long as they receive their 10mg/kg dose of vitamin C a day which will usually be in a small handful of fresh veg/fruit. So long as they have unlimited amounts of hays (and the vit C) then you need not worry too much about the pellets.

I do however feed Excel pellets myself.

x.
 

flintstones

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#9
Piggies dont need pellets per say, so long as they receive their 10mg/kg dose of vitamin C a day which will usually be in a small handful of fresh veg/fruit. So long as they have unlimited amounts of hays (and the vit C) then you need not worry too much about the pellets.

I do however feed Excel pellets myself.

x.
Hi Abi,

I was just wondering how you would subsidise Vitamin D (Especially indoor piggies), although they get out in the Summer I do believe if indoor's they need vitamin D. I did look into Vitamin D substitutes but decided to stick with pellets as without the correct balance it can have negative effects.

Jo x
 

Abi_nurse

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#10
I'm no expert in it all. You could invest in a UV lamp (you do still get some UV even in the winter through clouds though not as good), but it is a good question, I'm not sure on the vitamin D content of vegetables.

Obviously vitamin D3 is important in regulating the calcium in the body, and the only way to get it is through diet or through synthasis with UV light. It helps the guts absorb calcium into the bloodstream, however, rabbits and guinea pigs have less of a problem with this and especially in rabbits the calcium absorbed is directly related to the amount in the diet, and the only way to extreat excess calcium is in the urine hence the problems with stones etc. I also know D3 helps with the absorption into the bones, but too much can cause calcification, and posphorus effects it all too as well as the parathyroid hormone. After then it gets too complicated for me. I can't see it being a huge problem (unless the poor piggie really doesn't see the light of day at all) as they'll be getting enough calcium etc in their diet especially in calcium rich veg such as broccoli etc. I haven't as of yet seen any piggies with metabolic bone disease or malabsorption of calcium.

Haha, even I'm confusing myself. lol. It hurts my brain too much.

x.
 

flintstones

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#11
Thanks Abi, for clearing that up. My piggies only get the natural light that comes through the window in the winter, I can't imagine they get vitamin D3 from that, as I'm sure it can't be absorbed though a glass window.

I certainly think if your piggies outdoor's it's possible to remove pellets all together, certainly in summer I'm able to cut there pellets out as they get more outdoor's time.

X
 

Amanda1801

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#13
Thanks Abi, for clearing that up. My piggies only get the natural light that comes through the window in the winter, I can't imagine they get vitamin D3 from that, as I'm sure it can't be absorbed though a glass window.

I certainly think if your piggies outdoor's it's possible to remove pellets all together, certainly in summer I'm able to cut there pellets out as they get more outdoor's time.

X
Correct me if I'm wrong, but vitamin D production requires UV-B rays... which cannot pass through glass! (I learned something having a sickly chameleon it'd seem!)
 

ProudPiggies

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#14
Hi:) I used to feed my guinea pigs on burgess but i swapped them onto harringtons because of the high alfalfa and calcium content. Ever since they have been eating harringtons their fur has become a better quality and shinier and they absolutely love it! I honestly reccomend feeding some type of pellet as it gives great variety for your piggies!
 
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