Sadly for new guinea pig owners, we do not have the ultimate ideal guinea pig diet yet! New insights will lead to new recommendations and trends. There is as yet not much research into guinea pigs, so things are bound to change as more is becoming known. Currently there is a lot of contradictory information around, which can be very confusing. We are trying to keep abreast of developments and also include our own long term experiences. This thread is aiming to help you develop your own diet that is based on your guinea pigs’ individual tastes and preferences and the availability/practicalities of what you can buy, grow, store and use up within reason. The recommended ratio of food groups: - ca. 80% hay - 10-15% veg and fresh herbs (ca. 1 cupful / 50g / nearly 2oz) - 5-10% pellets (amount depending on the age) - plenty of fresh water daily Hay Unlimited fresh hay should make the bulk of a guinea pig diet. It is vital for good gut and general health and to keep the all-important back teeth ground down evenly. Guinea pigs have evolved to live on a nutritionally rather poor diet; spoiling them with lots of fresh and rich treats is not doing them any favour! Whether you feed timothy or meadow (UK)/orchard (US) hay doesn’t make a lot of difference. Timothy hay is less high in calcium and is processed a little bit better in the guts, but it is harder and coarser in texture. Your piggies may like an occasional change or a mix of both, especially when the timothy hay is not looking very appetising! Soft meadow/orchard hay is generally preferable for bedding/digging into and timothy hay for being fed from a hay rack. Alfalfa hay: alfalfa/lucerne is a legume, not a grass. It is high in calcium and protein and should only be fed as a supplement to normal hay during a pregnancy and the following nursing period (one handful per day to compensate for limited pellets before birth; see our pregnancy diet information thread at the top of the pregnancy section). Young guinea pigs on plenty of alfalfa based pellets (which include most available brands) do NOT need any extra alfalfa hay. Please do not feed hay that smells mouldy or fusty when you open a bag! Please do not feed or bed on straw. It is too rough as fodder and too dangerous as a bedding (high risk of eye pokes and skin scratches that can become infected).