Monday, 18 March 2019

How to Give Your Guinea Pig a Balanced Diet

Crude Percentages

The first thing I like to look at is crude percentages.  It is important to make sure the fat percentage is as low as possible.  While looking at hay & nuggets, I would never buy anything that is over 3% crude fat (crude fat is sometimes called crude oil), who wants a fat guinea pig?  No one!  I personally like to find nuggets with 2% or lower fat.  

Next, I look at the crude protein, Guinea pigs don't need a high amount of protein so look for 15-16% of crude protein.  

Lastly, is the fibre which I like to find nuggets with 20%+ of crude fibre.  If you can't find any this high, don't worry too much as the main diet of hay will provide most of the fibre that your guinea pig needs.  

Three guinea pigs eating a stalk on grass

Amount of food

Guinea pigs need to eat mostly hay.  In fact, I try to feed hay for at least 80% of the total diet (which is just as much as they want to eat).  This is SO important because chewing on hay keeps their teeth from getting too long.  

I like to feed my guinea pigs around 10% of their diet in nuggets.  Nuggets are great for giving your guinea pigs the vitamins and minerals that they need and they avoid selective eating.  However, you do need to find good quality food as some nuggets are high in fat or don't provide the correct crude percentages.  
If you cannot find a good brand of nuggets you can mix multiple different brands together and calculate the percentages of your new mix to make sure they are correct.  

Example of how to calculate your mixes of nuggets.  

Brand 1 - 

Crude protein 14% 

Crude fibre 20%

Crude Fat 4%

Brand 2 - 

Crude protein 18%

Crude Fibre 14%

Crude Fat 2%

Brand 3 - 

Crude protein 14%

Crude fibre 26%  

Crude fat 3%

Your Mix - 

Crude Protein 15.3%

Crude Fibre 20%

Crude Fat 3%

So, brand 1 has too much fat and a lower protein and brand 2 has too much protein.  Adding these two brands together sorts the fat and protein out but makes the fibre too low so we add brand 3 to get the fibre back up.  

To work out the new percentage of the mix, you add the percentage numbers together and then divide by the number of brands you are using.  

So here is how I worked out the new mix's protein - 

14 + 18 + 14= 46

46/ 3 = 15.3% Crude Protein

A tan and white guinea pig standing in the grass

Fruit and Veg

Lastly, we have fresh fruit and veg.  I like to give around 10% of the guinea pig's diet in fruit in veg.  Getting even more into the diet, I feed about 8-9% of leafy greens healthy veg and only 1-2% Fruit or less healthy veg.  

You can find a chart online for which fruit and vegetable guinea pigs can have and how often they can eat them.  I choose an array of different veg and 1 type of fruit.  

You can choose whatever you think is best but here is a quick example of what you could feed your guinea pig for a week.  

Monday - 

Romaine lettuce 
Baby corn 

Tuesday - 

Yellow Sweet Pepper

Wednesday - 


Thursday - 

Green Sweet Pepper 

Friday - 

Romaine lettuce 

Saturday - 

Green Beans 
Red Sweet Pepper 

Sunday - 

Sweet Snap Peas
Six small guinea pigs eating vegetables on a straw bed


I am not any type of animal expert but instead only an animal lover who wants to share her tips.  Please consult relevant animal specialists and do not only take my advice.

 The Rider's Pets


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