Saturday, June 28, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Gooseberries?

Those of you who have seen our new food list know that we have reviewed a lot of foods here at Cavy Savvy. However, there are still some foods out there that we know guinea pigs can eat, yet our humans haven't been able to locate for us. (For example, if anyone knows where the heck you can find feijoa, let us know!) Today, the humans came through for us and managed to track down a type of fruit we've had our eyes on for some time now: gooseberries. This one required a trip to the farmer's market, so if you're having trouble finding them, you may want to check there.

We can have gooseberries almost daily in 25 grams portions. Due to their low-sugar content, gooseberries can be a good choice for diabetic guinea pigs.
The humans gave us our usual blue plate, which has about 45 grams of gooseberries on it. (Remember, that's for three piggies!)
Yum! Hey, Lola! Why can't you share food and be nice for once!
Not sure if you decided to be nice and share, or if your foot just got tired from lifting up the plate, but either way, I'll take it! Can I just get in there? Please?
Thanks! I'm going to grab my gooseberry quickly before you two block the way again!
Gooseberries were pretty good! They had a somewhat intense flavor, kind of like cranberries, although not quite that intense. Because of this, we would have to take occasional breaks from eating gooseberries to cleanse our palettes with timothy hay, and then going back to eating them. We went through this cycle a few times, until we eventually left a few half-eaten berries for the humans to clean up. (They also have the option of eating our nibbled-on leftovers, but they never take advantage of it. What can I say? Humans are weird.) There weren't too many left behind, though. We'll give gooseberries 4/5 stars!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kabocha Squash?

Kabocha squash is sometimes called Japanese pumpkin. In Japan, it was once believed that eating kabocha squash on the winter solstice could prevent the common cold. Kabocha squash is said to be an aphrodisiac. Therefore, we're going to recommend upfront that it never be fed to naughty old Randy--he certainly doesn't need it! :-)

As a winter squash, we can have kabocha squash 2-4 times per week. Remember, like all veggies, kabocha squash should be fed to us raw, not cooked. Since this thing is pretty big, go ahead and share some with your human. (Remember, unlike us, humans generally eat their food cooked! You can find a recipe they can use here.)

The humans said they had a tough time cutting into this thing. Luckily, we don't have to worry about that.

At first, it's a struggle for dominance for control of the food plate with Lola. Then I get bored and start eating a shoe.

I thought kabocha squash was okay, but nothing special. Lola and Buffy seemed to love it, though. On their behalf, I guess I'll give kabocha squash 4/5 stars.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cavy Savvy's Guinea Pig Father's Day Giveaway!

You may have seen our recent post about Randy, the naughty guinea pig who impregnated 100 female guinea pigs. While we certainly don't condone this type of behavior since it contributes to overpopulation, it did get us thinking. Today is father's day for the humans, where they celebrate "fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society." According to The Guinea Pig Handbook by Sharon Lynn Vanderlip, "When it comes to parenting, cavies don't win any awards. They are not outstanding parents. The father doesn't participate in rearing the babies..." Guinea pig dads have even been known to show dominance behavior towards their offspring, like squirting and mounting. So maybe our dads weren't the best dads ever, but what are you going to do? We may not have much to celebrate in terms of "paternal bonds," but we can still celebrate "fatherhood!"

I'd make a good dad, I think. Well, as long as it doesn't involve sharing food or comfy spots, anyway!
To celebrate this father's day, we're having another contest! This time, we're giving away Oxbow Animal Health Harvest Stacks-Western Timothy Hay:


As you may recall, we reviewed Oxbow's stacks with chamomile and carrots, but not the timothy hay variety. Therefore, just like we did with the snuggle hut, we're going to give the winner the option of doing a guest review of this product if they want.

As usual, here are the rules:

Contest Rules:
  • You must be a resident of the continental United States.
  • You have to be a follower of this blog. To follow us, just click the "join this site" button on the right.
  • To enter, leave a comment on this blog post expressing your interest in participating in the contest. 
  • One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries and announced on this blog on July 1st. All entries must be received by June 30th at 12:00 pm (US Eastern time) to be eligible.
  • The winner will be instructed to email us to provide us with a mailing address to send the prize to. Winners must provide us with a mailing address within 30 days to receive their prize.
  • Winners have the option of writing a guest post for Cavy Savvy reviewing the product. Cavy Savvy reserves the right to edit or reject guest posts at our discretion.

Good luck!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Naughty Guinea Pig Impregnates 100 Females!

A guinea pig news item caught our attention recently, and we wanted to share it with our loyal readers:
Staff at Hatton Country World in Warwickshire couldn't understand why they suddenly had 100 pregnant guinea pigs on their hands - until they released one of the male rodents had managed to escape his enclosure and infiltrate the female-only enclosure.
They noticed that the exhausted father-to-be, now nicknamed Randy, had lost a little weight, but did not realise why until they discovered he was actually a male rodent being kept busy in the wrong pen.
The animal park, which already has 300 male and female guinea pigs, is now readying itself for a population boom in the next few weeks.
Manager Richard Craddock said: "One of our male guinea pigs managed to find his way into the female enclosure and had a very good time by the looks of it.
"We suspect a child may have placed him back in the wrong pen by accident after stroking him or Randy may have somehow broken out of his enclosure to get to the females. "
"Randy, centre, pictured alongside some of the female guinea pigs he mated with Credit: SWNS"
If there was ever a candidate for guinea pig shaming, this is it! That's a naughty Randy!

This case also highlights the importance of neutering your guinea pig. There are already so many guinea pigs out there in need of good homes that there is really no reason to add to the population. Don't let your guinea pig be a Randy!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Product Review: Oxbow Timothy Hay Cakes

Today we're reviewing Oxbow Timothy Hay Cakes.
Hay cakes? What's that?
Like Oxbow's Harvest Stacks, this product is hay compressed into a solid shape, except these are much smaller than the stacks.

Something strange we noticed about this product is the feeding directions. On the package, it says: "Offer your animal 1-3 cubes per day in addition to or in place of loose hay." On their website, however, it says: "Offer your animals 1 cube per pound of body weight in addition to, or in place of, loose hay." We weigh about 1,000 grams each (a little less for Buffy, and a little more for Lola and myself), which converts to about 2.2 pounds. Does this mean we should only have two each (like the website says), or can we have up to three (like the package says)? And since guinea pigs can and should have unlimited timothy hay, why is there a restriction on the amount of hay cakes we can have, anyway? The only other ingredient listed besides timothy hay is sodium bentonite, a binder, which is a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) ingredient by the FDA.

This product bills itself as having the following advantages:
  • "offer[s] less mess for pet owners" 
  • "Great for travel!"
  • "Good for people with allergies; keeps dust and pollen at a manageable level."
These sound like they could be advantages, but the real question is: Will we like it?

Nibble, nibble... It's okay. Can we just have regular hay, though?
Thanks, humans!
So it's not bad, but we prefer real hay. We've let these things sit in our cage for a couple days now. We'll nibble occasionally, but this definitely is not our favorite Oxbow product. It's strange, because we're big fans of the hay stacks, and these don't seem like they'd be that different. We're wondering if we got a not-so-fresh batch of hay cakes when the humans ordered them online. We're going to have to give Oxbow Timothy Hay Cakes 3/5 stars for now, although perhaps we'll revisit that score in the future.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Product Review: Prevue Hendryx Nature's Hideaway Grass Tunnel

Today we're reviewing Prevue Hendryx's Nature's Hideaway Grass Tunnel. This is a company I don't believe we've ever tried products from before, which always makes us a little nervous. We generally trust Oxbow products; we tend to like them, and even on the rare occasion we're not crazy about an Oxbow product, we at least trust them not to put anything in their products that guinea pigs obviously shouldn't have (like peanuts). But who the heck is Prevue Hendryx? We've only seen them on, never in pet stores. According to their website, however, "Prevue Pet Products, Inc. is the largest and oldest manufacturer of pet cages, toys and accessories in the world today, dating back to 1869." But does being around for a long time mean they know how to make good guinea pig products? Let's find out!

The description on the front of this product says: "A natural woven grass activity center for your small animal. Satisfies their natural instincts to burrow, explore and nest." As we've mentioned before, it always makes us a little nervous when products are not guinea pig-specific. It doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with a product that's designed for "small animals", but it does raise red flags that it might not be appropriate in terms of size, nutrition, and so on.

The size of the product is approximately 13.5"L by 6" diameter, which should be enough for us to fit through.

Looks like we've got a new product to review.
Do we want to chew on it?
No, let's crawl through it instead!
We had fun crawling through this product, and we were just about to give it a positive review, when we decided we should double-check the materials, just to be on the safe side. The materials listed in this product are: "couch grass 98%; plant cane 1%; burlap 5%; sisal rope 5%." Couch grass seems to be finePlant cane appears to be "A stalk or shoot of sugar cane," and while you shouldn't feed sugar cane by itself to guinea pigs (too much sugar, as you might expect), we're guessing this might be okay in this product since it's only 1%. Some people have expressed concern about sisal rope as well, saying it could unravel after chewing, although we're not clear why that's a concern. (Perhaps because we might eat it afterwards?) Burlap, however, turns out to be bad news: "The danger is that it will wad up in their digestive tracts and cause a blockage." (This is probably also why the sisal rope unraveling was a concern.) The humans quickly took this thing away from us, considering themselves lucky that we didn't eat any burlap. Just to be on the safe side, they're going to watch us to make sure we're eating and pooping normally.

Although the humans clearly should have done more research before letting us try this thing, I think they feel bad enough as it is, so we'll let them off the hook. Prevue Hendryx, on the other hand, should be ashamed of themselves. You've been in business since 1869, and still don't know what's safe to put in guinea pig products? We give Prevue Hendryx's Nature's Hideaway Grass Tunnel 1/5 stars.