Yam is a root vegetable that is known for its sweet and tender flesh. This vegetable has over 100 different varieties that grow in different parts of the world. If you love the taste of yam, you may wonder if you can give this vegetable to your guinea pigs as well.
Can guinea pigs eat yam? Yes, guinea pigs can eat yams, including the peels and leaves. These root vegetables are a good source of vitamin C, which the guinea pigs in order to survive. However, due to their high content of sugar, it should be fed to them in moderation.
Is It Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat Yam?
Yams don’t contain and toxins that can harm the guinea so it’s safe to feed them. However, yam contains calcium and it’s rich in carbohydrates. Both of these can be dangerous for guinea pigs.
As for calcium, for young guinea pigs that are still growing, the calcium is fine for them. They need calcium for growth and bone development.
However, for adult guinea pigs, calcium can become a problem. If they are fed with food high in calcium, they are prone to bladder and kidney stones, blood in the urine, and urinary tract infection. Not treated in time, it can be fatal for the guinea pigs.
As for carbohydrates, it’s can both hurt the young and adult guinea pigs. When yams are fed to the guinea pigs in large amounts and too often, it can cause them to become overweight and lead to high blood pressure.
Health Benefits of Yam for Guinea Pigs
Yam is full of nutrition that the guinea pigs can benefit from. It is a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamin C.
One cup (136 grams) of baked yams provides:
- Calories: 158
- Carbs: 37 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Vitamin C: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B5: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 22% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
- Potassium: 19% of the DV
- Thiamine: 11% of the DV
- Copper: 23% of the DV
- Folate: 6% of the DV
The above is data from the USDA
Below are some of the health benefits of feeding yams to your guinea pigs:
Yams are packed with vitamin A which will boost the overall immunity. This vitamin is also an antioxidant.
Antioxidants help prevent free radicals from damaging the cells in the guinea pig’s body. Too many free radicals can cause them to become sick and even death can occur.
Free radicals are molecules caused by different things. It can be from the food that the guinea pigs eat, cigarette smoke, and radiation. All of this contribute to free radicals building up in the body.
Due to the high amount of vitamin C that yam has, it can help protect them from the scurvy disease.
This disease is common among guinea pigs, especially those in captivity. If the disease is not treated, it will lead to loss of appetite, weight loss, rough coat, bleeding, and weight loss.
To prevent the scurvy disease from affecting your guinea pigs, they’ll need a lot of vitamin C like those found in yams.
Yams contain a good amount of iron and vitamin K. This helps contribute to healthier blood in the guinea pigs. The result will be the guinea pigs feeling less fatigue and a stronger immune system.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Yam?
Baby guinea can eat yam, but you should wait until at least 3 weeks. However, they are known to start eating vegetables at 3 days old. This will depend largely on their mother.
Try placing tiny pieces of yam by the baby guinea pigs. If their mother approves of it, she will show them how to eat it.
Once they are at least 3 weeks old, they will not depend on their mother’s milk and will start to eat other food. Try giving them a small piece of yam at first. This will test to see if they have any negative reaction to the yam. The most common reaction will be diarrhea and vomiting. If they do, stop feeding them yam.
On the other hand, if the baby guinea pigs enjoy eating it and have no negative reaction, you can continue to feed them. Give them a small piece of yam, once a week until they are an adult.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yam Peels?
Guinea pigs should not eat yam peels as they contain harmful compounds. This can be from chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers that may be used in the soil.
When yam starts to grow, most of the chemicals in the soil will get absorbed into the peels. For that reason, it’s best to remove the peel before feeding yams to them.
Can Guinea Pigs Yam Leaves?
Yam leaves are very nutritious and contain vitamins A and C, riboflavin, fiber, and iron. For that reason, yam leaves can be fed to the guinea pigs.
Since it’s a leafy green, you can give them on a regular basis.
How To Feed Yam To Guinea Pigs
Feeding yam to your guinea pigs is simply. Below are the steps to preparing and feeding yam to them:
- Wash the yams thoroughly with clean water. This will remove dirt and other debris from the root vegetable.
- Peel the skin of the yam.
- Cut or dice them into small chunks. This will make it easier for them to eat and digest it.
When feeding them yam, be sure to give them just a small amount to see if they have any negative reaction to it. If you notice them having diarrhea or vomiting, it’s best to stop feeding them yam.
How Many Yam To Feed Guinea Pigs
You should only feed yam to your guinea pigs in moderation. While it’s very nutritious, it’s also high in calcium and starch, which both dangerous in high amounts for them.
Yams should only make up 10% of the guinea pig’s overall diet. The rest should come from hay and leafy greens which is their staple food. These should make up the bulk of their diet. Hay should be provided and available to them at all times.
To make sure your guinea pigs don’t have any health issues from eating yam, you should give a handful of yam, once or twice per week.
Other Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Lettuce is a vegetable that’s high in nutrition. It can be fed to the guinea pigs on a daily basis due to it being a leafy green. Since there are many different varieties of lettuce, you will want to feed them only Romaine lettuce or Butterhead lettuce. Avoid iceberg lettuce as it has no nutritional value and too much water content.
Spinach is known as a superfood, which means they are great for guinea pigs. These leafy greens are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrition. Guinea pigs will enjoy eating them and you can give spinach to them daily.
Jicama is packed full of nutrition that makes a great treat for guinea pigs. However, due to their high content of sugar, jicama should be fed to them in moderation. When feeding jicama, avoid feeding them the skin as it contains toxins. The flesh of the jicama is the only part of the plant to feed them.
Yam is a great vegetable to feed your guinea pigs. It’s full of nutrition that they can benefit from. However, it’s also high in starch and calcium. Both of these can cause guinea pigs to have health issues. To avoid having any health problems, while letting them enjoy this delicious vegetable is to feed them in moderation.