Okay so into my second Forage for Guinea Pigs installment. In this post I will be looking at plants and herbs commonly or easily cultivated in gardens.
I am just going to use “herb” as a blanket term here for any culinary herb that you may be growing yourself. Guinea pigs absolutely love their herbs. However some limitations should apply. Any self respecting Guinea would live on Parsley, Dill or Basil I suspect, but herbs pack a lot of calcium, and although essential to guineas they are also terrible at processing it. Resulting in bladder stones and sludge. Along with those deposits along the rim of the iris which are in fact new bone growth as the calcium has no where else to can form (you can read about heterotopic bone formation here ).
So please feed herbs as a treat only, especially to adult or Guinea Pigs with known calcium issues.
I’ve pictured 4 favorite’s herbs here. Pepper mint, flat and curly leaf parsley and some lemon thyme. Dill, Basil and lemon balm also tend to go down well too.
Lavender and Rosemary
I’ve placed Lavender separately from the other herbs for two reasons. They are certainly not favoured by all Guinea pigs as these two plants have such strong flavour. Also as these plants are evergreen they take a lot of digesting, so are a plant that again they really do not need much of. Just a few leaves here and there.
Roses can be a really good little Forage, they dry really well and the leaves and the flowers are edible. Guinea Pigs actually seem to prefer roses dried, crunched and crumpled into their hay. They can eat both domestic varieties and wild roses. Rose hips can also be dried and fed as a winter treat.
Buddleia leaves can be tasty, but I like Rabbits, Guineas only really like the soft new leaves, so certainly not a plant worth planting with feeding in mind … as it is gets so big and you won’t use it much. But the flowers are beautiful and the wildlife love them!
Strawberry and Raspberry
These are the ultimate must grow plants as Forage for Guinea Pigs. The leaves, stems or canes are edible, the fruit is tasty. They grow so very easily and can be easily contained. They both dry well so can also be saved for later and the plants are perennial so once you have them you have them. And apart from the fruit being a bit sugary so not to be overfed there is no limitations on the feeding of the plants.