Feeding our guinea pigs isn’t really that complicated, but the more you know about why and what to feed your piggy, the easier it is to make the right nutritional choices for your pet. And being as most of us feed pelleted food to our pets, then it’s important to know the difference between alfalfa hay pellets for guinea pigs, and those made from timothy hay.
The thing is, exactly the same as with humans, a guinea pig’s nutritional needs change throughout his life. And there are periods when feeding alfalfa hay and pellets might be necessary.
But what exactly are alfalfa hay pellets for guinea pigs? Why would you feed them and how should you go about selecting the best brand of pellets for your pet?
Okay, so let’s first understand exactly what they are. Now, there are no prizes for guessing that alfalfa hay pellets for guinea pigs are made from alfalfa hay! But along with this high fiber food, they also contain other essential nutrition that your piggy needs to remain in good health. And this includes, in most good quality pellets, being fortified with vitamin C.
But the main difference with pellets that are produced from alfalfa, as opposed to timothy hay, is that they have a higher calorie and protein content. This means that you would feed them at times of a guinea pig’s life when he has a need for food with a greater energy content.
Because they contain a large proportion of alfalfa hay, which is high in fiber, then pelleted food is a great way of helping give your pet the essential fiber he needs on a daily basis. But in addition to this, alfalfa hay pellets for guinea pigs contain carefully balanced proportions of vitamins and minerals he needs to stay in good health. And this includes the essential vitamin C your piggy needs to ingest on a daily basis.
You see, just like humans, guinea pigs can’t synthesize vitamin C within their body. This means that they need to gain it from an outside source every day. Good quality guinea pig pellets are therefore fortified with this essential ingredient.
As with food for humans, all guinea pig pellets need to be labeled with an ingredient list by law. And the same as with our food, this list begins with the ingredient of the greatest proportion. Then the ones below are listed in descending order.
So, when selecting alfalfa hay pellets for guinea pigs, you need to ensure that alfalfa hay is at the very top of the list. If it’s not, then steer clear and choose another brand.
Alfalfa hay and pellets are likely to be fed when a piggy needs a higher source of energy. At these times of life he needs a food that provides him with more protein and calories. Of course, if you’re not an expert then you should always consult with a guinea pig savvy veterinarian before changing or tweaking your pig’s diet. But the following are generally when you might feed alfalfa products as opposed to timothy hay ones.
- Pregnant and nursing mothers
- Baby and growing guinea pigs
- Guinea pigs recovering from injury or illness
- In the later stages of a piggy’s life when he may have issues with keeping on weight or a diminished appetite.