Homemade guinea pig diets should focus on fresh whole foods. Guinea pigs, vegans by nature, thrive on a broad variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, along with grass, hay, fresh water, vitamin C supplements and love. They also enjoy munching on branches and twigs to wear down their always-growing teeth.
You can serve homemade guinea pig food as long as you serve it in proper ratios of required ingredients. The ASPCA recommends feeding commercial guinea pig pellets, made mostly from plant materials. A homemade version can incorporate similarly healthy plant materials in their fresh form. Along with vegetables and fruits, guinea pigs should have access to fresh grass and unlimited hay. Pick the hay from an area free of pesticides or animal droppings.
Like all of us, guinea pigs do well on a variety of foods. Offer a range of vegetables at each feeding. Include leafy greens like kale, spinach or chard at each feeding, along with other options like peas, carrots, cucumbers, celery, corn or sweet peppers. Allow him to eat what he wants, then remove uneaten foods to prevent spoilage. Serve fruit in smaller quantities, perhaps as dessert. Try a slice of an orange, apple, pear or other fruit.
Guinea pigs can't produce vitamin C, so they need it in their diet. Guinea Lynx, a guinea pig medical and care guide, recommends 10 to 30 milligrams of vitamin C per kilogram of body weight daily, so check vitamin C content of the produce your guinea pig is eating; if it's not enough, add a supplement. Don't add vitamin C to water, as you can't control the amount your guinea pig ingests; he may also drink less water than he needs if he doesn't like the flavor.
A transition to homemade foods should take place gradually, as guinea pigs have sensitive digestive tracts. Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue recommends adding one new vegetable at a time. Some foods that guinea pigs should never eat including chocolate, rhubarb and potatoes. Serve broccoli and cabbage in moderation due to potential bladder stone formation. Guinea pigs' teeth grow continuously, so offering twigs or branches fulfills their need to gnaw.
George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.