As the number of people adding a pet guinea pig to their family continues to increase, the number of questions that we see people from the guinea pig keeping community asking about their pets also increases with each month that goes by.
Thankfully, unlike some of the other pets that are seeing a spike in their popularity right now, guinea pigs do tend to be low maintenance and very easy to care for in most cases.
This means that the majority of people are asking questions based around bedding or food options for their guinea pig rather than potentially serious issues with their pet.
One question about suitable food that we have seen people asking about recently is if guinea pigs can eat chicory or not so we wanted to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Now, depending on where you live and the time of year, chicory may not be easy to find in your local stores but it can make a great treat food for your pet guinea pig but we will go into more detail below.
What Is Chicory?
The first thing that we wanted to cover in this article is what chicory actually is as not everyone may be familiar with it.
Chicory is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the daisy family and it can be found growing naturally in Europe, Asia, and North America.
The leaves of the chicory plant are often used as a salad green or as a cooking herb while the roots are dried, roasted, and ground to be used as a coffee substitute or coffee flavoring agent.
Chicory is also sometimes known by its scientific name of Cichorium intybus but this is only usually used in herbal remedy stores, most stores selling chicory as a food source will label it as chicory.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chicory?
Now that we have answered the question of what chicory is, it is time for us to answer the main question that we have seen people asking about recently which is can guinea pigs eat chicory.
As we briefly mentioned above, chicory can make a great treat food for your pet guinea pig but it should only ever be given to them in small quantities.
This is due to the fact that chicory does contain a high level of calcium which can cause issues for your pet if they eat too much of it.
In most cases, a small amount of chicory will not cause any problems for your guinea pig but it is always best to offer them other greens and vegetables first and then offer them chicory as a treat food.
The reason that we recommend offering them other greens and vegetables first is that they will contain a much lower level of calcium than chicory does as well as other important nutrients that your pet needs to stay healthy.
As long as you only offer your guinea pig chicory in small quantities, it should not cause them any problems.
Nutritional Values Of Chicory For Guinea Pigs!
Now that we have answered the question of can guinea pigs eat chicory, it is time for us to take a more in-depth look at the nutritional values that chicory contains.
As we briefly mentioned above, one of the main reasons why you should only offer chicory to your guinea pig in small quantities is due to the fact that it contains a high level of calcium.
Chicory does contain a fair amount of other nutrients as well such as fiber, vitamin C, and potassium as well as good amounts of Folate and Phosphorus too.
We have also seen some people report that their guinea pig tended to have less issues with allergies if it was given chicory as a treat food on a regular basis too.
That said though, if your guinea pig is having issues with allergies then you should really be taking your pet to a vet for a check up rather than trying to use chicory in its diet to solve the issue.
How Much Chicory Should You Feed Guinea Pigs?
As we briefly mentioned above, one of the main reasons why chicory is often given to guinea pigs as a treat food is due to the fact that it contains a high level of calcium.
Because of this, you should only ever offer your guinea pig small amounts of chicory at any one time and it should not make up a large part of their diet.
In most cases, a few leaves of chicory or a small amount of the chopped root will be enough to provide your guinea pig with a treat without causing them any problems.
If you are unsure about how much chicory to give your guinea pig, it is always best to err on the side of caution and give them less rather than more.
When feeding your guinea pig chicory, you should also make sure that they have access to plenty of other greens and vegetables as well as their usual hay and pellets too.
Why Does My Guinea Pig Only Eat Certain Chicory Leaves?
The taste of the chicory leaves that you give to your guinea pig can drastically change the longer the chicory has been harvested.
In addition to that, the temperature and light intensity of where the chicory has been stored can end up tweaking the taste of the chicory too.
Due to this, some guinea pigs may only eat chicory in certain states due to how much the taste of the chicory can change in such a short period of time.
In many cases, the color of the edge of the chicory can give an idea on how much the taste will have changed and give you an idea of your guinea pigs’ taste preferences.
For example, chicory with a red tint on the edges will usually have a bitter taste to it rather than chicory without the tint.
Chicory with a yellow tint on the edges will usually be in the middle of the bitterness level between non-tinted chicory and chicory with a red tint on the edge of the leaves.
Some guinea pigs will happily eat all chicory that you give to them no matter its state through so keep that in mind too.