Alfalfa, also known as Lucerne, is a leguminous plant mainly grown for livestock grazing. As guinea pigs’ owners, you might be wondering if your little pets can also eat alfalfa. To find out all you need to know, keep reading this article.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Alfalfa?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat alfalfa. However, we strongly discourage feeding it to guinea pigs older than six months, except if they are pregnant or lactating.
Alfalfa is an ornamental plant that is rich in calcium, an essential nutrient for healthy growth. Nevertheless, too much calcium can cause bladder and kidney stones in guinea pigs, especially older ones.
Not just that, but alfalfa has high-calorie content, making it pretty easy for your guinea pigs to add excessive weight quickly. Consequently, this can lead to obesity which is detrimental to your pets’ health.
Nonetheless, alfalfa can be beneficial for the right guinea pigs. You only need to know when and how to feed them with it.
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When To Feed Guinea Pigs Alfalfa?
Alfalfa, or Medicago sativa as it is scientifically called, is a great treat you can add to your cavies menu. However, you can’t feed this plant to all your cavies except the pregnant, lactating, and young ones.
According to research lactating and pregnant cavies need high protein, and calcium contents and alfalfa can provide them with that. Specifically, a large quantity of alfalfa can be fed to your cavies when they are pregnant.
Also, when your cavies deliver their babies, feed the pups fresh alfalfa until they are six months old. This will enable the pups to grow faster.
How Much Alfalfa Should You Feed Your Guinea Pigs?
You can feed your pups a large quantity of fresh alfalfa. As a matter of fact, you can feed them in quantities as large as their size. Fresh alfalfa has high water content, which can keep your pups hydrated during the day.
Meanwhile, the pregnant and lactating sows can be fed with a quantity half their size or one-third of their size.
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Nutritional Contents Of Alfalfa
Alfalfa is a natural plant that is widely grown for pasture. It is heavily packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which makes it a good choice for livestock feed.
One of its nutritional contents that caught our attention during research is its presence of bioactive compounds. Bioactive compounds are antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory. Hence, they fight against diseases in humans and animals.
That is not all, alfalfa is also rich in fiber which aids digestion.
See the nutritional contents and benefits of alfalfa in the table below.
|For healthy blood regulation
|Boost mineral absorption
|For healthy growth
|For wound healing and healthy skin
|For good vision
|Support immune function
|For proper thyroid functioning
|Repair cells and tissues
|Promote heart health
|For proper growth and development
|Formation of bones and teeth
|Regulates healthy blood flow
|For hydration and improved digestion
|Build and repair body tissues
|Help absorb fat-soluble vitamins
Alfafa is a nutritious food for guinea pigs, it can be served fresh or as hay. However, not all guinea pigs should eat it. Alfalfa can be fed to the pups as it helps them grow faster. Also, it provides essential nutrients for pregnant and lactating sows. For other categories of guinea pigs not mentioned, we strongly advise against feeding them with alfalfa.
I am a huge animal lover and have four dogs, a Labrador, Jack Russell, Pug, and Teacup Yorkie. I also have a cat and a Cockatiel. I have had pets since I was a toddler, and there was not a day when there wasn’t an animal in my house.