Your guinea pig needs;
- A daily vitamin C supplement in his water. The flavoured, effervescent vitamin C tablets available from chemists are best. He needs ¼ of a 500mg tablet made up in his water bottle fresh every day. Excess vitamin C is excreted in the urine so you cannot overdose him on this vitamin.
- A tablespoon of a proprietary guinea pig food daily. Do not feed more dry food than this. The pelleted varieties e.g. Supa Guinea Excel from Burgess Petfoods are best as this will prevent your guinea pig from picking out an unbalanced diet. Buy only small quantities at a time and buy sealed bags rather than scoops from open bins to preserve the vitamin C content, which degrades quickly.
- Ad-lib good quality grass hay or dried grass. It is best to purchase a bale from a stables for better quality at a cheaper price than the packaged hay from pet shops.
- Ad-lib grass, either grazed from the lawn or hand picked. Never give mower clippings.
- Leafy green vegetables e.g. cabbage, spinach, parsley, broccoli, carrot tops etc. Always introduce new foods slowly, in small quantities.
- Occasional treats of small pieces of apple, pear or carrot 2-3 times weekly.
If you have a rabbit and guinea pig housed together, which is not generally advised, you should feed both according to the guinea pig so that there is adequate vitamin C for your guinea pig in the diet.
We generally recommend that guinea pigs are housed in groups, or herds: these can consist of males and females, but if there is more than one male in a group, all males should be castrated to avoid fighting. Equally, if males are housed with unneutered females, then the male should be castrated as it is dangerous for a female over the age of one to become pregnant for the first time due to fusing of the pelvic bones. It is not recommended to house guinea pigs and rabbits together: a rabbit can kill a guinea pig with one kick of their hindlimbs, and guinea pigs carry bacteria in their nostrils which can cause fatal snuffles in rabbits.