Food And Feeding
The feeding of Guinea Pigs is a very simple matter. Their main food is
good hay or dried grass. This should be before them all the time, as
they will not eat too much of it. Be sure, however, that it is not musty
In addition to hay, they should have at least once a day, a feeding of
green food. This is essential in keeping them from becoming constipated.
By green food we mean such things as law
clippings, green clover,
spinach, green corn stalks, lettuce, celery tops, plantain, dandelion,
grasses, etc., which is, of course, very plentiful in the summer. In the
winter when you cannot get these, carrots, beets, apples, cabbage,
mangle beets, yellow turnips, etc., will take their place.
The grains such as oats, wheat, corn, bran, chops, etc., should be fed
them, as it makes flesh and gives them strength. Oats is probably the
best of them all. Stale bread is also good, but it should not be greasy
or mouldy. A good plan is to feed in the morning hay and grain or a bran
or chops mash instead of the grain. At noon some green stuff or roots
and at night hay. Give them all the hay they can eat. Keep it before
them all of the time, but only feed as much green stuff as they can
clear up in a few hours. They are also not apt to overeat grain, which
should be fed in an earthen or wooden vessel. If you feed only twice a
day, give them the green food in the morning with the hay. Guinea Pigs
drink but little water when eating green food, but they should have a
vessel of fresh water in the hutch or pen every morning. It is also well
to keep a piece of rock salt in each hutch.
In the spring or summer you can feed more green stuff than in the
winter, in fact, we have raised them in the summer on an exclusive green
food diet by moving the hutches from place to place on the lawn. But in
the winter and fall, when greens are scarce and they are not used to
them, a sudden over-feeding might result in severe loss. Avoid a sudden
change of diet.
In the spring and summer there is but little food to buy for them. Even
the city raiser, by saving his own and his neighbors' lawn clippings,
can be well supplied. By curing these clippings a good grade of hay is
obtained. A little grain, especially for the pregnant mothers, is all
that need be bought.
Bread and milk is a good flesh producer and should be fed any weak ones,
also nursing mothers. In the winter it should be warmed.
The feeding of Cavies, you see, is a very simple matter, even for a city
man. The commission houses every day throw away enough lettuce, cabbage,
celery, etc., to feed a large number. Stale bread can always be bought
very cheaply from the bakeries. On the farm nothing whatever need be
bought at any time.
Breeders differ so as to doubtful foods that it is hard to advise what
not to use. We get good results from alfalfa, but some breeders say it
is too rich and gives them kidney trouble. We feed alfalfa hay in the
winter with good results, but have had but little experience with it
green. We would advise you to go light on it, however. Many breeders
feed cabbage, while others say not. All are agreed, however, that
potatoes, white turnips and parsnips are to be avoided. Of course, meat
or greasy food must not be fed.