This client education handout reviews the nutritional requirements of guinea pigs. Providing guinea pigs the correct diet is an essential part of keeping these fun, loving creatures happy and healthy. Two extremely important nutrients that play a vital role in maintaining the health of guinea pigs are calcium and vitamin C.
The following chart shows the calcium content in 1 cup of selected foods. Select treats for adult rabbits and rodents that are high in fiber, low in calcium, and low in carbohydrates and sugars.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and the majority of total body calcium is found within bones and teeth. Most mammals make only one or two sets of teeth in a lifetime, however rabbit teeth continually grow throughout their lifetime. This continual tooth eruption plays an important role in the rabbit’s long-term calcium needs.
The most widespread mineral in the body, calcium is required for normal metabolism and bone mineralization.
Calcium homeostasis is under the control of calcitonin, which is produced by the ultimobranchial gland, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone. In laying hens, most dietary calcium is used for egg production. Rising estrogen levels promote increased intake of calcium supplements like cuttlefish bone and calcium-rich foods, however the quantity of calcium ingested daily is insufficient for the massive deposition of calcium required for eggshell calcification.
Created with a focus on the bird, LafeberVet’s Nutrition Glossary is an extensive list of vocabulary terms. Listed terms range from nutrients like vitamins and minerals, nutritional strategies ranging from frugivore to fungivore, and related anatomy or physiologic terms like crop and coprodeum, and even nutrition-related diseases like goiter and gout.
Little is known about the nutritional requirements of companion bird species. Dietary recommendations for pet birds are extrapolated from domestic poultry nutritional requirements; however these parameters are generally calculated to minimize cost while maximizing meat and egg production.