Dried feed made especially for guinea pigs should contain Vitamin C (as guinea pigs can’t produce their own) and provide a good source of fibre (an essential part of the herbivore diet). Dried rabbit mix does not contain Vitamin C and is unsuitable for guinea pigs (with the exception of Chudleys Rabbit Royale, however it doesn’t contain Vitamin C, so extra care should be taken to ensure that Vitamin C appears elsewhere in the diet). A bowl of dried feed should always be available in the hutch or cage and topped up where necessary – they will pick at it throughout the day.
Choosing a brand of muesli mix or pellet feed largely depends on your local availability (however, I personally recommend feeding a pellet/nugget feed rather than a muesli mix, as pellets/nuggets offer a more balanced diet). The larger brands such as Burgess, Wagg, and Supreme Petfoods are commonly stocked in pet shops and garden centres up and down the country, while others may need to be sourced online. Pets At Home have their own brand of muesli mix and pellet feed, while Pets Corner (“Great&Small;”) have their own brand of muesli mixes, available both online and in their stores.
Please note: If your guinea pig suffers from bladder stones or grit in the urine (caused by too much calcium in the diet) I recommend feeding Wagg Guinea Pig Crunch as it has a low calcium content compared to other brands.
There are two categories of dried feed:
These bags contain a combination of seeds, biscuit, dried corn, alfalfa, and various other ingredients, not all of which are essential in the daily diet. The variety of ingredients encourages picky eaters to eat only the bits they like best (“selective feeding”), however a muesli mix can be advantageous to guinea pigs who become easily bored with a pellet feed.
The brightly coloured parts of the mix can contain artificial colours so read the bag carefully to check – if in doubt, pick it out! One colouring in particular called “Sunset Yellow” (E110) is suspected of contributing to bladder stones and cystitis in guinea pigs, so use great care when choosing a feed with artificial colours in it.
Here are some UK brands:
- Beaphar XtraVital Guinea Pig
- Charnwoods “Hi C” Guinea Pig Mix
- Chudleys Rabbit Royale (no, this isn’t a printing error!)
- Marsdens Harvest Crunch
- My Pet Foods Mr Johnson’s Gloria Guinea Pig Mix
- My Pet Foods Mr Johnson’s Supreme Guinea Pig
- Pets At Home Muesli
- Pets Corner Great&Small; Guinea Pig Feast
- Pets Corner Great&Small; Guinea Pig Feast with Fruit & Veg
- Supreme Petfoods Gertie Guinea Pig Original
- Supreme Petfoods Gertie Guinea Pig – Carrot & Cranberry
- Wagg Guinea Pig Crunch
This is a bag containing one type of feed – usually referred to as biscuit, nuggets or pellets. A pellet feed like this stops picky eaters from taking the bits they like and leaving the rest (“selective feeding”). With this type of feed guinea pigs get a balanced level of nutrition in every piece they eat. There are usually no artificial colours or additives in these bags, although it always pays to check the ingredients on the bag to make sure.
Here are some UK brands:
- Burgess Supa Guinea Excel
- Burgess Supa Guinea Excel – Blackcurrent & Oregano
- Charnwoods “Hi C” Guinea Pig Pellets
- Marsdens Guinea Crunch Pellets
- My Pet Foods Mr Johnson’s Everyday Advanced Guinea Pig
- Oxbow Cavy Cuisine
- Oxbow Cavy Performance – Young Guinea Pig Food
- Pets At Home Nuggets
- Supreme Petfoods Science Selective Guinea Pig
- Wagg Optimum
Changing over from one feed to another
This should be done over time, preferably over one to two weeks, to allow the guinea pig to adjust to the new feed and reduce instances of stomach upsets. My timeline suggestion for changing over your feed is as follows:
- Days 1-3: 1 part new feed to 3 parts old feed
- Days 4-6: 2 parts new feed to 2 parts old feed
- Days 7-9: 3 parts new feed to 1 part old feed
- Day ten onwards: You should be using the new feed