All you need to know about feeding forage to guinea pigs.
Forage - Simply Awesome!
For guinea pigs, forage is definitely the piggy porridge! It's simply mega for them! And for those not brave enough to go foraging for their own supplies, it's now much easier to get hold of ready-made portions in a variety of exciting flavours!
So what is forage? Well, put simply, it's all the foods that can be found naturally growing in the wild and that can be collected (or 'foraged') and fed to your guinea pigs. Studies are increasingly showing that a varied diet for your pigs, including foods closer to what they'd find in the wild, is great for their physical and emotional well-being. But not only that, it significantly increases the fibre in their diet (assisting their digestive system), helps keep their teeth worn down to a healthy length and provides them with stimulation and excitement as they rummage through the different foodstuffs.
All this makes forage a must have and if you're not already giving it to your pigs, we recommend that you check it out!
Where can we get it?
Well, the first and most obvious place is the wild! But it's very important that you know what you are doing as some of the plants you will come across are very dangerous and possibly deadly if eaten by your guinea pigs.
There are however, some easy winners; for example, apple tree leaves and branches are great (as long as they are clear of parasites and disease). Your pigs will eat the leaves and gnaw on the branches and get very excited about it!
Raspberry and strawberry leaves are also great and can be eaten in copious amounts!
Dandelion leaves (fresh and mould free) will have your piggies popcorning with joy, but go easy on the quantities - this one's a treat! Also make sure the leaves are washed first and not taken from an area where chemicals or pesticides have been used.
Another great way to get hold of forage is to simply buy it ready done. Most pet stores now appreciate how great it is for small animals and will stock a variety of forage types. Go check it out!
For more tips on foraging from the wild, check out our paw-tners at Guinea Pig Australia who have a really nice section on forage and also a list of those dangerous plants to be avoided.