Baby guinea pigs necessarily need the mother’s milk like every other animal. If, by any chance, the mother’s milk could not be provided, the babies must be served with a healthy and nourishing alternative. But what would that be? Can baby guinea pigs drink cow milk?
Cow milk has traces of lactose, medication, and hormones in it. These elements make it unsuitable for our guinea pigs. Guinea pig’s digestive system cannot handle this well, and they might fall sick. Also, guinea pigs cannot throw up anything they have ingested; thus, it is best to avoid such foods.
Baby guinea pigs are susceptible to various health concerns. Thus, you must be cautious while choosing their food.
If you don’t have a choice, Goat milk will be a suitable choice, because it is better digestible than cow milk. You will only need it for the few initial days, and later they can shift into solid foods.
Also read: Do guinea pigs nurse their young?
Before you read further, Here are some of our popular books that provides you great value. You don't want to miss them out!Please note: Guinea pig 101 is reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made by our readers with no extra cost added to you all! Some links in the post are affiliate link and I get commission from purchases made through links in the post.
Can baby guinea pigs drink milk?
Like every other mammal, baby guinea pigs also need the milk of their mother for survival.
Although they do not require it as much as the other creatures, they would need it at least for the first week or so.
Within a week after feeding upon milk, they shift into solids and they can slowly transition to what other adult guinea pigs are eating.
Newborn babies need their mother’s milk for the first few days to get them adequate nutritional benefits and energy.
However, not all baby guinea pigs are lucky enough to get their mother’s milk after birth.
Some are abandoned soon after their birth. In such cases, you still need to give your baby guinea pig’s milk, and goat milk would be a decent choice due to its easily digestible properties.
Can baby guinea pigs drink cow milk?
Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant. Thus, cow milk should not be given to them as cow milt contains a high lactose content and other elements in it, which is unsuitable for our guinea pigs.
They have a sensitive stomach, so the ingredients that cow milk possesses could trigger a variety of health issues. Here are the elements present in cow milk that can harm our guinea pigs:-
- Antibiotics: Almost all cows are given medications to deal with various infections and hormonal issues. These medication traces can be found in the milk. Thus it should be avoided giving to your little fellows.
- Pus: The cow’s body often produces discharge from various infections in their bodies. And if it gets mixed with milk, then there is a potential threat of transferring bacterial infections.
- Blood: Since milking is a painful process. So, milking some of the cow’s blood could get along with the milk and thus into the guinea pigs bottle.
- Protein and fat: Cows milk is immensely enriched in these two macronutrients. But guinea pigs don’t require them in excess. They need them in a minimal quantity. Excessive consumption of these nutrients causes diarrhea in them.
- Hormones: Often times cows are medicated and injected with some hormones. It is done either to calm them down or to increase the production of milk. Milk produced based on any of the reasons is not healthy for guinea pigs.
Cow’s milk with any of the above-influenced components is not gut healthy and therefore, must be avoided.
Since we know, guinea pigs are incapable of throwing out any of the toxic they intake.
That will lead to your guinea pig’s serious health condition.
Can baby guinea pigs drink goats milk
Yes, as compared to cow’s milk, goat milk is much easier to digest and tolerate. However, it should not be taken as a completely safe drink to have. It could be used only in limits.
The considerable difference that sets apart the cow’s milk from the goat milk is their lactose and sucrose content. Relatively, cow’s milk contains more amount of sucrose and lactose than that of a goat.
That makes goat milk a safer choice than the cow’s milk.
Comparatively, goat milk has less fat and protein, and in addition to this, they also have less manipulation with their hormones. That makes it easier on the digestive system of our guinea pigs.
Goat milk thus could be fed during emergencies to baby guinea pigs. However, prioritize the mother’s milk if available or feed with products intended for them.
Can baby guinea pigs drink kitten milk?
No, they do not at all need kitten milk for survival.
Baby guinea pigs only need mother’s milk for the first few initial days, and in the absence of that, they can also survive and thrive on solid food.
Though cats are so much similar to guinea pigs in their behavior, attitude, and responsiveness, this nowhere means that guinea pigs could be fed with kitten’s milk.
The nutritional needs of baby guinea pigs are different from those of young kittens.
What kind of milk do baby guinea pigs drink?
Goat milk is preferable to milk to give to your guinea pig. Since it is low in protein and fat, it makes an easy way into their gut. Also, its low sucrose and lactose property make it more digestible and tolerable.
Secondly, prepare a mixture of half water and half evaporated milk and try giving it to them with the help of small syringes.
Digesting solids are not a problem in baby guinea pigs, so small broken pieces of bread could also be given with milk or water.
What can you feed baby guinea pigs?
Baby guinea pigs will feed mother’s milk for the first few weeks, and later they eventually will lose interest and shift into solid foods imitating their adults.
Young guinea pigs could be given hay pellets, which is a good source of extra calcium essential for their growing bones; fiber is an integral part of their diet.
Fresh, lush green grass and carrots will do good to their gut. However, avoid giving too much of everything. Seek veterinarian advice to provide your guinea with a proper healthy diet.
Baby guinea pig milk substitute?
If you are planning to keep a or is already holding a young guinea pig without a motherly presence, then following are the few ingredients you will require as a substitute for mother guinea pig’s milk:-
- Take approximately a cup of full-fat goat milk and add some milk powder to make it dense.
- You can also take half evaporated milk and mix it with an equal quantity of water.
- Add some bread into the mixture to make it dense. (If powdered milk is not added)
- Use a spoon to feed it to the baby guinea pig. Feed it slowly to prevent air passage blockage as sometimes the food can enter their air passage.
The above recipe would be a suitable replacement for the mother’s milk.
However, if unable to make it or follow it, purchase ready-made milk replacement for guinea pigs from the market.
How long do baby guinea pigs drink milk?
Quantity of milk is as important as the quality of milk. Overfeeding or less feeding could both be equally harmful.
You should begin with feeding 3-5ml every 1-2 hours. If they adjust to it you can increase the quantity to 7-10ml/feeding.
If the above guidelines are followed, then your guinea pig will be nurtured well. The maximum amount of time required is 2-3 weeks. Though your guinea pig might wean earlier if so, then prevail them in doing so.
Young guinea pigs start eating solid within the first few days of their birth. The sooner they start eating fiber-rich hay or grass, the better. However, everything should be given at the proper time and in moderation.
Bottle feeding baby guinea pigs?
You can get a pet feeding bottle from a pet store. Alternatively use a syringe or spoon to feed your baby guinea pigs. Sterile it before you use it to feed your little ones.
- Hold your guinea pig gently and wrap them up gently into a soft towel.
- Let them sit upright so that the food doesn’t enter their windpipe.
- Do not let them turn around onto their back
- You can then use a syringe or spoon or bottle to feed them. Simply place it onto their mouth in a corner, avoid inserting it into the center.
- Gently support their neck while they are busy drinking their milk.
- Remove the bottle/syringe if they start chewing the nipple.
- It will take some time to develop the habit of drinking milk via a bottle.
- Once they get used to the pattern of drinking milk with milk, then kindly feed them slowly and never rush to feed them as it can be terrible for their health.
- Do not squeeze the bottle while feeding.
- Releasing milk in excess might choke them and put their life at risk.
Repeat this until they get to learn things.
Remember, never feed cow’s milk to your guinea risk as we already know the fat and protein in it is very difficult to digest and is very intolerable for your little fellows.
Guinea pigs do not purge out, and it also contains a lot of toxic substances, which is difficult for them to throw out and would further cause ill health in them.
Comparatively, goat milk is very less in lactose and sucrose; thus, it makes it a more suitable choice for guinea pig over cow milk.
Source: Anaphylactic sensitivity of guinea-pigs drinking different preparations of cows’ milk and infant formulae, Social attachment of the infant guinea pig to its parents, A healthy diet for guinea pigs, Guinea pig’s diet