Vegetables for rabbits and guinea pigs

Seeds in hand image copyright istockphoto.comAfter good quality hay and fresh grass, fresh vegetables are the most important part of the diet of rabbits and guinea pigs. It was only when I started researching the nutrient levels in various vegetables when designing the cookie mixes for Galen’s that I discovered a few interesting things about the calcium and phosphorous levels in the various vegetables.

When a food is described as ‘rich in calcium’ in terms of human nutrition, rarely is any regard paid to the ratio of calcium to phosphorous which is so important in the diet of rabbits and guinea pigs. Nor can we use the Ca:P ratio alone when trying to balance the diet of the rabbits or guinea pigs in our care. For those of you who don’t like doing the maths on this I am working on a scaled down version of the spread sheet I use to formulate the mixes. Meanwhile you’ll have to get the calculator and scales out and figure it out for yourselves!

One huge advantage of growing your own vegetables for rabbits and guinea pigs is the ‘thinnings and the trimmings’. The tops of carrots, celery and beetroot are a valuable addition to the diet. The outside leaves of vegetables that I haven’t listed in the seed store, including cauliflower leaves and Brussels sprout leaves are much enjoyed and good foods.  In return, the rabbit and guinea pig droppings can be composted to enrich the soil for the next crop of home grown vegetables.