Advice for a new cavy owner?


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:18 am

It sounds like you are doing a great job so far! Something I learned relatively recently was that I was not getting enough vitamin C to my piggies on a similar diet to what you are feeding yours. I've been told by a ton of helpful people on this site (thanks again!!!) that red and green bell pepper are something you should give your piggies everyday to get them the vitamin C they need. (1/8th of a red or 1/4th of a green bell pepper per day). Green leaf lettuce, carrots and cucumber are great for piggies, but don't have much vitamin C in them, I've been told.

I think most piggies LOVE bell peppers, so I'd definitely recommend adding them to the diet to avoid scurvy. If you have trouble getting them to eat them though (One of my pigs refuses to eat them for example) the oxbow vitamin C treats are great!

Also, a lot of people have trouble with romaine lettuce (i believe causing bladder stones?), so I would recommend switching to red or green lettuce!

^ This is all stuff I've learned in the last couple months lol, so if I'm wrong about anything someone please correct me :)

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Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:45 am

If you don’t have a second level in your cage, a quick solution is to make a platform they can hop on. I use the covers from cases of copier paper boxes. They’re about 12” x 17”. Then I take paper towel rolls and cut four of them to about 5” lengths. These are legs and I glue one in each corner with nontoxic glue. Then cut arches in the sides of the platform. On top I use a piece of shelf grip or carpet grip covered with a towel or fabric. These are tall enough to hide under, short enough to hop on, and add a little something to explore. Make sure your cage has a cover - so there’s no peaking over the edge.


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:30 am

Right now I don't have a cover, would it be ok if I made one of those platforms in the middle of the cage, away from any walls. Two of my three hideouts are short enough to hop on.


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:32 am

I thought iceberg was the one that was bad for them? Should I switch from giving them romaine?

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:52 pm

You shouldn't feed either iceberg or romaine. Iceberg has almost zero nutritional value. Romaine, while not high in calcium itself, causes increased urinary calcium in some pigs, although not in others. Red or green leaf lettuces are the safest choices.


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:58 pm

^Green leaf lettuce is different from iceberg. I've heard escarole is good too!


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:06 pm

We get Escarole and Red Leaf lettuce for our 3 on a regular basis

We then supplement it with Radicchio, Dandelion, Kale, Parsley, Cilantro and when we can get them Endives. Plus Cherry Tomatoes and Red pepper. They also occasionally get Blueberries, Apple and Watermelon. Occasionally they may get "Spring Mix"

They weren't too keen on Chard or Collard Greens.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:24 pm

Just as an FYI, dandelion, kale, and parsley are all high in calcium. Cilantro acts the same as romaine on some pigs -- excess urinary calcium.

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Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:29 pm

You can check out (sort) lots of info on a variety of vegetables on this page:

You can see at a glance why fruits are only recommended as treats (high in sugar) and find what vegetables will provide (on average) the most vitamin C per calorie (if vegetables are fresh).

By the way, does anyone feed their guinea pig purslane? I did not know what it was until I looked it up and found out what a nutritious weed it is. And I also noticed this was a weed I was trying to get out of of the garden! (p.s. the chickens don't seem to eat it - it is okay though). And imagine my surprise to see I had included it on the chart page (!) [google told me].

It is fairly tasty, has a perfect calcium/phosphorous ratio, and is high in many other vitamins and minerals - and has a decent amount of vitamin C.

One of my new, favorite sites:
Eat The Invaders!
(this page may have slightly different data on purslane - I am probably using an older USDA dataset than they are. I also use 10 calorie amounts rather than 100 gm amounts).


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:11 pm


Yep I had picked up on that based on yours and others comments in other threads.

Will have to rethink some of their diet based on what the local store has available.

We are already avoiding Romaine, so need something else we can add to the Escarole and Red Lettuce as the staples.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:35 pm

Bell pepper needs to be a staple.


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:32 pm

Yep they get that on a regular basis, I was thinking more of another leafy veggie they can have, if there is one that doesn't cause issues..


Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:52 pm

Can they have green bell pepper, red leaf lettuce, and escarole every day?

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:50 am



Post   » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:01 am

Ok, thank you.

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Post   » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:36 am

I wouldn’t use a platform in the cage without a cover. I don’t know about other piggies but mine seems to be able to move just about everything she has in the cage. So she could give it a shove and end up too close to the sides of the cage. Just makes me nervous.


Post   » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:45 pm

That's a good point, Mine tend to move things as well, but less so now that they've settled in to their new cage.

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Post   » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:41 am

Belle, my youngest, seems to want to climb out of the cage, especially when I get the Vit C tabs out. She can almost get her whole head over the top. Good thing I have a lid for the cage!

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Post   » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:47 am

Lynx, I feed purslane to my pigs, and also horses.

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Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:49 pm

I've been eating some of the purslane myself. lol

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