The blackcurrant is the small, round, dark-color fruit that resembles a berry, except it is smoother and perfectly round. In fact, it belongs to the family of berry fruits! The blackcurrant is incredibly tasty and healthy too. The taste is mild, earthy, and a mix of acidic and sweet at the same time. We consume the blackcurrants for the health benefits they offer, like getting enough vitamins, slowing down the process of aging, and keeping our skin elastic and healthy. And, we consume them in jams, fresh, in desserts, or smoothies and juices.
If you keep guinea pigs as pets, you might want to give them a try of this small and tasty fruit – but just like with every food, you need to check with us if they can consume blackcurrant safely without any risks.
Can guinea pigs eat blackcurrants? Yes, guinea pigs can eat blackcurrants. This fruit is packed with many vitamins and minerals, and these nutrients are needed for optimal health of any living organism. The blackcurrant has a lot of vitamin C too, and this vitamin is the only one that guinea pigs cannot live without.
This fruit also has natural sugar, calcium, and phosphorus, so it must be given in moderation to the guinea pigs. The blackcurrant is a fruit that is used in many ways, and all of its nutrients make it a good addition to the guinea pig’s diet. It is one of those fruits that are good to consume on a daily basis. Of course, this rule doesn’t apply to the guinea pigs because they can’t ingest too much calcium, sugar, or phosphorus – and definitely not every day!
In any case, the blackcurrant has a very specific, earthy taste, so if this is a new food for your guinea pig, it will need to adjust to it slowly. Let’s see more information about guinea pigs and the blackcurrant below.
Main Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Blackcurrants
- Prevention from scurvy – the blackcurrants are rich in vitamin C. This is of course great news for the guinea pigs. Sadly, they cannot produce this vitamin naturally in their bodies. Also, when they receive it, they can’t store it, and instead use it up immediately. This means every food packed with vitamin C does wonder for the health of the guinea pig. The whole immunity will be better, and this means they won’t get the dangerous scurvy. The scurvy disease is a result of vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs, and it manifests with a rough coat, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, discharge, internal bleeding, fatigue, or even small wounds that won’t heal.
- Antioxidant protection – antioxidants are nutrients that are crucial for the health and survival of humans and animals too. They protect the immune system from dangerous free radicals. The free radicals are the main cause of all chronic illnesses and various health problems, and they also age the organism fast. Blackcurrants have a lot of vitamin A, and manganese too – both of these are strong antioxidants.
- Healthy blood – the guinea pig will have strong and healthy blood, which will contribute to a healthier organism and better immunity overall. With healthy blood, the organism is not at risk from most diseases caused by anemia. Blackcurrants have pantothenic acid, copper, and iron which strengthens the blood. The pantothenic acid makes new blood cells, the copper creates the red blood cells, and the iron is found in those red blood cells (iron prevents from fatigue and anemia).
Nutrition Facts of Blackcurrants
For 100 g (3 oz) of blackcurrants, these are the nutrients:
- Low in calories – 63
- High in carbs – 15.4g
- Fat – 0.4g
- Vitamin A – 5%
- Vitamin C – 302%
- Thiamin – 3%
- Vitamin E – 5%
- Riboflavin – 3%
- Niacin – 1%
- Vitamin B6 – 3%
- Pantothenic acid – 4%
- Calcium – 55mg
- Iron – 1.5mg
- Magnesium – 6%
- Phosphorus – 6%
- Potassium – 9%
- Zinc – 2%
- Copper – 4%
- Manganese – 13%
Risks to Consider When Feeding Blackcurrants to Guinea Pigs
- Urinary problems – the blackcurrants have a lot of calcium and phosphorus. These two nutrients are generally healthy because they form strong bone tissues for any organism that is still developing. With this said, the guinea pigs benefit from these nutrients only for a short time, when they are young and still growing. Once the guinea pigs are fully grown, calcium and phosphorus will only harm their urinary systems. The calcium binds with the phosphorus, and both of these can pile up as excess in the urinary system of cavies. When that happens, the poor little guinea pigs are at risk of kidney stones, bladder stones, painful and frequent urination, blood in the urine, and even urinary infections.
- Digestive problems – the blackcurrants have natural sugars, and they are acidic too. For us, they are still healthy, and very tasty, and surely it is the same for the guinea pigs. The only difference is that guinea pigs will have painful or unpleasant digestion if they consume too many blackcurrants. The combination of acidity and sweetness could cause some cramps in their bellies or even diarrhea – so serve only in moderation.
Blackcurrants: Serving Size, Frequency, and Preparation
The blackcurrants are refreshing and delicious to the guinea pig, but you have to set some limits to how often or how much you give them to your lovely cavy. It is much better to avoid risks than simply risk the health of the guinea pig just because this fruit is so tasty!
So, the best serving size would be just a few blackcurrants, not more. And as far as the frequency goes, most guinea pig owners say that they give blackcurrants to their guinea pigs 2-3 times per week, but it is much safer to follow the golden rule of only once-weekly!
The preparation is simple. Just rinse the blackcurrants with water several times, separate the leaves and stems from the fruit, and serve this delicious treat to your beloved guinea pig!
Can the Guinea Pigs Consume Other Types of Blackcurrants?
The blackcurrants come in other colors too, such as white, red, and pink. The taste of all types is similar. The white currants are basically just an ‘albino’ version of blackcurrant and redcurrant, and this white type is the sweetest of them all. The pink ones are also very sweet, but they lack the most nutrients. So, if you have all types at home, stick with blackcurrant because it is the least sweet.
Can the Guinea Pigs Consume the Leafy Parts of Blackcurrants?
The leaves of blackcurrants are fine for the guinea pig only in one case – if you have this plant in your own garden/yard, and you never use chemicals for spraying. Otherwise, the leaves are not safe for the cavy.
Quick Facts on Blackcurrants
- The blackcurrant has a bushy plant with many stems, and it can reach a height of 6 feet.
- The leaves of this plant have a sweet taste and pleasant aroma.
- The bush of blackcurrant also has flowers in the color blue-pink.
- The blackcurrant berries contain a dozen seeds inside, but they are edible, chewy, and soft.
- There are also pink currants, but they have the least nutrients of all currant types.
- Birds in the wild depend mostly on blackcurrants!
- This fruit is native to the regions of North Asia, and Europe.
- During the 11th century, blackcurrant was cultivated largely in Russia – in monastery gardens mostly.
- In Europe, the blackcurrant became popular in the 17th century.
- In the 1900s, blackcurrants were ‘banned’ in the USA because this plant had fungi which spread to pine trees and destroyed them!
- This fruit has a nickname too, it is ‘quinsy berry’ and it came from the usage of curing tonsils inflammation. This health condition was called ‘quinsy’.
- Vodka is often sweetened with blackcurrants, and it is infused with the blackcurrant leaves for the specific earthy aroma.
- In the cosmetic industry, blackcurrant oil is used for skin care.
- Blackcurrants have more vitamin C than oranges!
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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