(2) Wacky or Wise: Cooked Vegs?

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:38 pm

This is the second of a number of discussion topics. A book I've read recently suggests that we should feed cooked vegetables to our guinea pigs. Specifically, cooked spinach, beet greens, chinese cabbage, turnip greens, mustard greens, collards, rutabags, and turnips.

When you cook foods, you lose some of the nutrients, especially vitamin C. It also changes the structure of the food so it is digested differently - I am going to guess the carbohydrates are more available.

I checked over spinach, normalizing for calories, comparing cooked and raw vegs. Cooking results in a loss of calcium, iron, phosophorus, potasium, several minerals, vitamin A, B vitamins, Folate (a dramatic loss), and vitamin C (also a dramatic loss). I failed to remember how to use Excel to do this the easy way and just used my calculator for comparison. Losses vary from perhaps 5-10% to 40% or more.

I have never fed cooked vegs to my guinea pigs.

And what are your thoughts and experiences? Has anyone fed cooked vegs?
Last edited by Lynx on Sat May 09, 2009 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:17 pm

I'm pretty sure my pigs would turn their noses up to cooked veggies. I can try it for scientific purposes. Use my guinea pigs as guinea pigs!

Knee Deep

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:28 pm

I have never offered cooked vegetables. I wouldn't think my pigs would be interested unless it were a carrot, maybe.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:12 pm

I think it's wacky! It seems like they'd be very unappealing to guinea pigs and that they'd much prefer them raw.

User avatar
Remembering Nemo

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:19 pm

I see no benefit in feeding them cooked veggies: the vitamin C gets destroyed, the long fiber gets broken down ... Why in this world would anybody do something like that, let alone advise people?

Is there an address or an email we can write the author? It's upsetting me to see such poor advice and would like to express my concern to the author.


Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:21 pm

Huh. That's an odd suggestion. Usually we cook really green vegetables (Turnip greens, mustard greens, etc) to break down the cellulose in order to make the nutrients more available to human digestion. But then it's clear that a lot of the Vitamin C is going to get lost that way. But at least the human is EATING them, so some vitamin loss is acceptable -- better to get a little than none.

However, since guinea pigs NEED cellulose in their diet (fiber) and they are grazing animals who are better able to grind up food on their broad molars and who digest cellulose in their cecum *and* who reingest the cecal pellets for greater nutrition extraction, this recommendation to feed cooked vegetables makes no sense.

I have offered up cooked pumpkin my guinea pigs, and I once gave my guinea pigs a solidified lump of frozen peas to nibble at when it was quite hot, but other than that I can't think of any other time I've given canned or cooked food.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:21 pm

You can write Animal Planet. It's their wacky book.

Actually, much of the info is not too bad but it hurts to find stuff like this (and a few other pieces of poor advice).

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:39 pm

I haven't tried cooked veggies. But what does everyone think of vegetable juice, as a treat of course? I give it to my piggies as a treat, after a trusted vet reccommend it. I was concerned about spoilage because they don't drink it very fast, so now I freeze it in an ice cube tray and serve a single cube. They really love it. But are there additives in it that aren't good for them? Has anyone else tried this?

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:46 pm

I think the idea of cooking vegetables for guinea pigs is just bizarre. When I think about food for my piggies, I consider what they would have been eating in the wild. So, when someone suggests giving them something with animal protein, that of course sets off a red flag. The same goes for cooked veggies. Why cook them when in the wild they eat them fresh?

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:48 pm

I have given little bits (like, 2-3ml) of my blendered fruit drink. But I know what went in there (fruit ONLY) because I made it, so I don't have to worry.

They are obsessed with strawberry/grape smoothies. I do it so that they are used to syringes and associate them with tasty things. Then, when they are sick it's not a new scarry thing.

Aside from training, it's pretty much not worse the hassle of cleaning the blender, syringe, and pig faces as a regular treat.

User avatar
Bugs Mom

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:20 pm

My little one gets a very very tiny amount of baby food peas twice a day with one of her meds in it. Beyond that I can't see any point of cooking her food. I'm afraid she doesn't understand the concept of "Pot Likker"so she wouldn't be drinking any vitamins left in the cooking water.

User avatar
Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:29 pm

The closest I've come to cooked food for my pig is baby food for a sick pig to help the meds/CC go down. Otherwise, it just sounds unnatural to me. And time-consuming.

User avatar
Perpetual Pig Slave

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:46 pm

Maybe it would help digestion of some gas producing vegetables and alter the calcium phosphorus ratio in a favorable way?

Since the main benefit of veggies is Vitamins ,especially Vitamin C, I can't see where cooking would be a good thing.

User avatar
Supporter 2004-2018

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:17 pm

Frozen peas are not cooked.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:42 pm

Yes, I was thinking about possible foods with meds or with Critical Care. But as a normal part of their diet, I agree with the "bizarre" comment.

User avatar
E's Moriarity

Post   » Sat May 02, 2009 3:59 pm

Ack. I'll add my 2 cents. Cooked veggies wouldn't be of use at all (except for special feeding circumstances). Fiber and vitamins destroyed.

User avatar

Post   » Sat May 02, 2009 9:19 pm

They were neatly listed in a sidebar with a bunch of other vegs. Only the cooked form was listed! I could not believe it!

User avatar

Post   » Sat May 02, 2009 10:09 pm

Wacky all the way. My pigs probably wouldn't touch them.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:13 am

I sometimes give my pigs frozen veggies (I always have a few bags in the freezer, and I snack on them myself all the time!), but not so much for their nutritional value as to help cool them off on a hot summer day. They love them. Frozen veggies are blanched before they're frozen, so they are cooked, if briefly. They retain more nutrients than vegetables that are cooked by other methods, but still less than raw.

They absolutely adore them, and so do I. I've been eating frozen veggies right from the freezer since I was a toddler (we called them "shiverin's" in my house). But I don't feed them too often, since frozen veggies tend to be higher in sugar (sweet peas, carrots, corn, etc.)


Post   » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:34 am

I don't know tons about guinea pigs or anything, but here's my opinion. My guinea pig loves fresh, uncooked fruits and veggies. If there's even a chance of the veggies losing any of their nutritional value or whatever, why wouldn't I just leave well enough alone and continue to give her fruits and veggies that are uncooked?
Cooking the veggies would only be more work, and wouldn't help anything, and who knows if she'd even eat them cooked anyway, which is why I just don't see the point in it.
That's my opinion.

Post Reply
36 posts