Guinea pigs are tiny animals, they are natural herbivores, grass grazers, and eat grass and hay for an extensive period in a day. Grass grazing is their behavioral need and is further good for their digestion and overall health. The fiber present in the grass is very necessary for these tiny animals’ dental and gastric health. They must be provided with fresh and grass, trimmed grass or hay should never be given to these tiny animals to eat; trimmed grass can cause discomfort and diarrhea to the guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat gerbils food?
Often mistaken to be the same thing, gerbil and guinea pigs are two different animals, both tend to have few similarities but this certainly does not put them under the same category. The simple answer to this question is a big NO! The guinea pigs are never supposed to be fed anything other than their food, their food is rich in vitamin C which they cannot produce themselves. The pellets of guinea pigs are high in vitamin C content and supplements which the food of a gerbil lacks significantly. If a guinea pig does not get enough content of vitamin C, it becomes scurvy and dies eventually. Moreover, the gerbil’s food has many other ingredients in it which can be harmful or dangerous for the guinea pig, it can be fatal to their health. Both guinea pigs and a gerbil have different dietary requirements so they should only be eating the food specifically formulated for each of them.
How the diet of a guinea pig is different from that of a gerbil?
Guinea pigs and gerbils might look similar but in fact, they are not, and both cannot be classified under one category. However, both have certain similarities but even then they cannot be given the same diet. The regular diet of a guinea pig and a gerbil is very different from each other; hence the same food cannot be given to both of these tiny animals. Gerbils need fresh and clean water available to them at all times, they need their bottles filled to the brim so that they can drink out of it. The same is the case with the guinea pigs, they also need clean and fresh water outside while they are grass grazing out under the sky. Gerbils require a balanced diet containing several nutrients and minerals; their pellets include a mixture of different seeds. Gerbils eat different types of leaves, herbs, bulbs, and grasses and that is where a gerbil’s diet differs from a guinea pig’s diet; the piggies diet consists mainly of fresh green hay and no seeds or bulbs, whereas the gerbil does not eat hay at all. The 80-90 percent of the diet of a guinea pig is green hay; the vitamin C content is taken from the fresh fruits and vegetables, however. Guinea pigs eat anything they see but the gerbils have a habit of hoarding food in large quantities. Even though both the gerbil and guinea pig require a continuous supply of fresh and clean water, the gerbil needs seeds and grains whereas the guinea pigs can do easily without those because they have completely different tastes in food. Additionally, the guinea pigs eat fresh green hay but gerbil does not eat hay at all. So, there is an evident difference between the diet of a gerbil and a guinea pig.
What foods guinea pigs should be given to eat?
Guinea pigs require a vitamin C rich diet to live a healthy life, to keep their dental and gastric health in harmony it is important to feed them according to their needs.
Your tiny guinea pig needs a good amount of vegetable intake in its regular diet, vegetables such as broccoli, green vegetables, lettuce, and kale are great for these tiny creatures. Vegetables and fruits are very nutritious for the health of a guinea pig, both fruits and veggies can be given to them as a tasty treat. Moreover, the roots of either fruits or veggies should never be given to them, the roots are not part of their regular diet. Green leaves are very important in a guinea pig’s diet, their regular diet must consist of the following veggies: spring greens, mint, parsley, basil, foraged plants, dandelion leaves, sow thistle leaves, carrots, cucumber, corn on the cob, tomatoes, carrots, and celery. All these vegetables and leaves are the favorite of the piggies!
Water is as important for the guinea pigs as it is for human beings, they must be provided with fresh water all the time. Since most of their time is spent outside, you need to make sure that their water containers are clean and water is not frozen in winters, of course. Check and clean the water bottles regularly to provide them with fresh and clean water to drink every day. If your tiny animal seems to drink more or less water than usual, you might want to contact your local vet.
Guinea Pig Pellets
The Pellets specifically designed/ formulated for the guinea pigs have all that your tiny animal needs in its diet, the pellets are nutritionally great for the guinea pigs. Since the guinea pigs need a high vitamin C diet, the pellets are formulated accordingly; hence, no deficiency of vitamin C occurs in the tiny animals. The pellets you feed to the guinea pigs must be fresh so that the conduct of vitamin C is fresh and not degraded, fresh pellets must be fed every day to the pigs. Furthermore, the vitamin C or citrus supplements are not at all recommended for the guinea pigs, these supplements can never replace the fresh pellets and they are not even half as good. The number of pellets to be fed has to be decided by your vet since the guinea pig’s need for the pellet depends entirely on their health status. The pellets are high in energy so they should not be given in bulk or as a main part of the diet to the guinea pig, do not forget to take a piece of advice from your local vet regarding this.
Vitamin C rich foods
Guinea pigs cannot make vitamin C on their own, so there is a dire need for vitamin C in their regular diet to combat the risk of vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is a very significant part of their diet which is fulfilled by the ingestion of veggies and fruits. The piggies do not need vitamin C supplements but in case they are not eating enough fruits or vegetables, it may be necessary to give them the supplements.
A Quick guide to feeding fruits and vegetables to the piggies
Guinea pigs can consume a variety of fresh fruits and veggies but not all. Further, they should not be fed in bulk and too often, so certain things are to be considered while feeding the piggies fruits and vegetables.
- One to two cups of fresh fruits and veggies must be given to the guinea pigs.
- The fruits and veggies must be cut into small parts.
- Wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly to wash out the pesticides and toxins.
- Fresh food should be given in small quantities and not too often (with gaps in between).
- Guinea pigs are fussy with new tastes, so give them the food accordingly.
- Do not give them iceberg lettuce as it has little to no nutritional value for them.
- Don’t feed them rotten or old fruits and veggies.
- Feed them only to save fresh foods.
- You must feed them a good nutritionally balanced diet.
- Never feed them trimmed grass.
Although your guinea pig can eat a gerbil’s food to some extent, not all meals, but still we would recommend feeding your small animal the food that has been specifically formulated for it. Guinea pig requires foods that are high in vitamin C, the deficiency can make them scurvy after all and the gerbils need a high fiber-rich diet. So, it is better to feed your guinea pig the food that has been formulated according to the right nutritious value for your tiny animal, only a specially formulated food for a specific animal can provide all valuable and chief nutritions after all. Significantly, guinea pigs should be introduced to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from a very young age because they are a little fussy about the new tastes and might not accept new foods later in life. An important thing to note is that it is very normal for a guinea pig to eat its soft feces; their feces are rich in nitrogen and are safe for them. This act does not direct any sort of deformity or dietary deficit, so they should be very much allowed to do this.
Guinea pigs are very sensitive animals and they require a lot of time, commitment, and care. If you do not have proper information regarding them then even a small step can be fatal to their health and they can easily.