Devising a suitable food list for guinea pigs takes some time and research. In addition to hay, pellets and small animal muesli, you will also need to get some fresh greenery into your pocket pet’s diet. Fennel can be a great way to do this as it’s filled with goodness. You’ll just have to ensure that it’s palatable to a pocket pet.
What is Fennel?
Fennel a vegetable that comes from the same family as carrots, which are probably a regular addition to your guinea pig foods list. Despite this, fennel is not actually a root vegetable. It is not orange, either.
Fennel is a large, green vegetable. It looks closer to an oversized onion than a carrot. Unlike onions, however, fennel is safe to feed to guinea pigs.
Is Fennel a Good Food for Guinea Pigs?
So, should fennel be added to your approved list of guinea pig foods? We certainly think so. Fennel can be a great vegetable to feed a guinea pig, offering a wide array of beneficial vitamins.
However, as is so often the case, it all depends on whether your guinea pigs take to fennel. It can be something of an acquired taste and will not appeal to all small animals, no matter how good it may be for them.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Fennel?
The first thing your guinea pig will notice about fennel is the smell. The plant has a very strong, distinct aroma that may too much for a sensitive cavy nose to cope with.
If the guinea pig does get past the first impressions of the scent, we have the taste. Fennel has a, “love it or hate it” reputation among humans, and the same is likely to be true of guinea pigs. Fennel has a strong but sweet taste. Your cavy will need to get past the former to enjoy the latter.
Some guinea pigs take to fennel immediately. Others will spit it out and glare at you for daring to feed something so disgusting. Start with limited quantities when offering fennel to a guinea pig, and let your pocket pet decide how they feel about it.
Advantages of Feeding Fennel to Guinea Pigs
If a guinea pig does enjoy the taste of fennel, it is a treat all round. Fennel is among the healthiest vegetables that can be added to a guinea pig list of food. Just some of the benefits of fennel to a guinea pig include:
- High amounts of Vitamin C – always essential to a cavy
- Good for guinea pig digestion as it enhances the metabolism
- Presence of Vitamin A, which is a natural antioxidant
- Gives a boost to the iron absorption of a guinea pig
- Virtually no calories, and devoid of sugar – great for weight control
- Reduces inflammation, which will keep your guinea pig happy and pain-free
- Lowers blood pressure, improves heart and health and encourages bone growth and density
- Just the right amount of fiber to a keep a guinea pig regular without causing bloating or upset stomach
That’s a lot of reasons why fennel is a great food for guinea pigs! We certainly recommend that you bring this vegetable into your pet’s diet. The vitamin content alone is worthwhile, but fennel is good for so many reasons.
However, before you vow to feed your guinea pig nothing but fennel for the rest of its days, read on. As always, this cavy treat comes with caveats.
Risks of Feeding Fennel to Guinea Pigs
Like many vegetables, fennel is high in calcium. This needs to be managed carefully. While calcium in appropriate quantities is important to a guinea pig, it can have too much of a good thing. Excessive calcium will create bladder problems in your pet.
You’ll have to careful of fennel seeds, too. Really, a guinea pig should not contemplate eating any kind of seeds. The choking hazard is just too high. It isn’t as though the cavy will gain any vitamin-related benefits from the seeds, either.
Finally, be aware that fennel can play havoc with prescription mediation. If a vet has prescribed pills for your cavy, give fennel a break. All the Vitamin C in the world will be no help if urgent meds stop working.
Feeding Fennel to a Guinea Pig
By now, we should have convinced you to feed fennel to your guinea pig. There are still considerations to make, though. You’ll need to ensure that guinea pigs consume fennel in appropriate amounts, and avoid potentially dangerous elements of the vegetable.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel?
Guinea pigs should never consume anything but hay to excess. This means that fennel, just with any other fresh fruit or vegetable, needs to be served sparingly.
You can offer fennel a little more often than some alternatives. Two or three times a week is fine. Just be careful about portion size. The calcium content of fennel may start to cause issues beyond this.
Can a Guinea Pig Eat Fennel Tops and Greens?
You can feed the tops of fennel to your pocket pet. This part of the vegetable contains just as many vitamins and minerals as the rest of the ingredients. This includes fennel greens that grow from this aforementioned top. These are perfectly safe to feed a guinea pig.
Can a Guinea Pig Eat a Fennel Bulb and Fronds?
Guinea pigs will enjoy this oversized part of fennel. This part of the vegetable is tasty, large and chewy and contains fronds. Fennel fronds are the frilly green leaves attached to the bulb. Most guinea pigs find fronds the tastiest part of fennel.
Chop the bulb into smaller chunks before serving – never leave the whole thing in a guinea pig’s enclosure. Equally, take care to remove any seeds. These are a choking hazard for a guinea pig. Don’t give your pet a chance to search them out.
As you will see, fennel should race to the top of any guinea pig food list. The answer to, “can guinea pigs eat fennel” is a resounding yes. In fact, we’ll go one better and say that your guinea pigs should consume this vegetable – just as long as they like the taste.