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Guinea Pigs/My best friend Buddy..


I have had Buddy for about six months and he is doing wonderful.. He is one of the best things I ever did for myself other than marrying my husband. I would like to know how you can be sure that our piggies are getting enough vitamin C in their diet? I give Buddy several times a week red bell peppers, lots of Kale daily and plenty of pellets and Timothy Hay. I also put vitamin drops in his water and change it daily. Is this to much or am I doing the right things to keep him healthy?

 Vit C chart
Vit C chart  
Congratulations Deanna, Buddy is beautiful. In case you didn't know what his breed is he is an Abyssinian, and his color is called broken. Aby's are high energy pigs, more so than all the other breeds. When you brush him you want to use a toothbrush and brush each little rosette individually from the center out.

Okay, now onto the question:  The difference between guinea pig food and rabbit food which is less expensive, is that guinea pig pellets have added Vit C. They do not produce their own Vit C as rabbits do so it has to be supplemented. The problem with depending only on the addition that is in their feed is that it begins to degrade quickly and you don't always know what the milling date is. So you give just what you are giving.

Of all the different fruits and veggies it is always assumed that oranges contain more Vit C than any other. That's a misconception. Parsley and turnip greens contain more Vit C per ounce that any fruit or veggie.

I have a food chart of comparisons of most fruits and vegetables that have the amount per oz of each of them. I am attaching it here, but in case you cannot read it,if you'd like to send me your email privately I will be happy to send it to you. I've found that multivitamins added to water are unnecessary, but if you have a Trader Joe's in your area you can buy Vit C crystals to add to the water.

My pigs would not drink water that had vitamins added, but the Vit C crystals are tasteless and odorless and the pigs had no problem with it. You do however need to change the water daily as the Vit C degrades within 24 hours after being diluted. It takes very little, actually only 1/4 tsp per gallon. If you keep the container of crystals in the refrigerator it extends the life of the vitamin. Don't mix the water ahead and try to store it otherwise you may lose the value of the crystals.

You're doing all the right things now and I'll bet Buddy squeals when he hears the refrigerator door open. They quickly learn where the goodies come from. As for your pellets don't buy the brands that have all the little colored fruit loops in them. That's just eye candy for the owner and has no nutritional value at all. Buy a brand that is just green pellets, period.

Hope this helps. And thank you for the picture. Buddy is adorable.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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