Guinea pig owners, pay attention – today we will talk about lamb’s lettuce. Our cavies are vegetarians and herbivores, so by common logic, we think they can eat all types of salads, fruits, veggies, roots, and flowers too. Basically, your cavy needs only fresh produce and pellets for good health. However, not every salad or fruit is suitable for the stomach of the guinea pig. This is because every food item is digested differently and has different amounts of nutrients too. Let’s find out below if this type of lettuce is good food for the cavy.
Can guinea pigs eat lamb’s lettuce? Yes, guinea pigs can eat lamb’s lettuce, but only in moderation. This type of lettuce contains calcium, which is a mineral for healthy bones – but it is a health risk for the guinea pig when consumed in excess. Lamb’s lettuce belongs in the group of veggies that are eaten in moderation, such as spinach, parsley, carrot tops, leaves of dandelion, as well as kale. The calcium content in this lettuce (and the other mentioned veggies) can cause both gastric and renal complications; the guinea pig will urinate often, the urinary infections will be more frequent and can even lead to cystitis along bladder stones. Luckily, this lettuce is safe when fed to cavies in moderation.
The lamb’s lettuce is fine as food for the guinea pig and can be fed a few times per week. For example, you can mix this with any other salad or meal you prepare for the cavy. The guinea pigs love this lettuce and they will eat it up in just seconds! Some owners even say they give this to their cavies daily, but in very small amounts, due to the calcium content. Of all other types of lettuce out there, the iceberg lettuce is the only one that shouldn’t be fed at all. Other lettuce types can be consumed by the guinea pig – daily or few times per week, and in the suitable amounts. If you want to incorporate the lamb’s lettuce into the guinea pig’s diet, simply switch between this and other lettuce types, like the red little gem lettuce or other approved veggies you feed the guinea pig. Now, let’s see the pros and cons, as well as some facts about lamb’s lettuce.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Lamb’s Lettuce
One of the benefits of lamb’s lettuce is that it has healing properties; it cleanses the blood, regulates the bowel movements, prevents from infections and it even prevents from springtime fatigue.
Also, this lettuce is filled with beneficial vitamins like A, C, B6 – these vitamins create healthy bone tissues, they keep the immunity in great shape, they cleanse internal organs from toxins, and keep the blood healthy too. The vitamin C is the most beneficial for cavies because, with enough vitamin C, they don’t get scurvy.
Nutrition Facts of Lamb’s Lettuce
To keep this lettuce fresh, just get the leaves and put them in a plastic or ziplock bag, then store it in the fridge. When you take out the bag out of the fridge, just rinse the leaves with water and they are ready for consuming. This lettuce can be consumed plain, or mixed with other veggies. Usually, it pairs well with almost any other salad, so it’s versatile and you can be creative when you prepare a meal for the cavy. Here are the nutrients listed for a serving of 100 g (3 oz) lamb’s lettuce:
- Total of 21 calories (which means it’s not fattening)
- 4 g fat (a low amount of fat that will not damage the blood vessels)
- 0 mg cholesterol (zero cholesterol is amazing because the cardiovascular system will stay healthy and all blood vessels will be unclogged)
- 4 mg sodium (a healthy amount of salt that contributes to good electrolyte balance in the body)
- 459 mg potassium (for regulation of blood sugar, enhancing bone strength, lowering high pressure, balancing water and electrolytes too, keeping nerves and nervous system healthy)
- 6 g carbs (carbs are needed for instant energy)
- 2 g protein (the proteins are used for slower releasing of energy after the digestion)
- 141% vitamin A (this vitamin is good for the formation of bone tissue and teeth, also for maintenance of white blood cells count and good immunity)
- 3% calcium (calcium is needed for the creation of bones. However, an excess of this mineral causes urinary stones in cavies)
- 63% vitamin C (a good amount of the crucial vitamin for cavies. Without vitamin C, cavies are prone to scurvy)
- 12% iron (for healthy blood and for curing anemia)
- 15% vitamin B6 (for healthy skin, detox of the liver, healthier and stronger blood vessels and for curing anemia too)
- 3% magnesium (for healthy bone formations, preventing diabetes, keeping the heart healthy, and for preventing aches all over the body)
Risks to Consider When Feeding Lamb’s Lettuce to Guinea Pigs
The only risk with lamb’s lettuce is the calcium. Guinea pigs cannot consume the calcium in large amounts, because that will create an excess of this mineral in their urinary tracts. When this happens, the cavies get bladder or kidney stones over time, and the urination becomes painful. This must be treated urgently, otherwise, it leads to renal failure and is fatal too.
Quick Facts on Lamb’s Lettuce
- This lettuce is also known as corn salad, mache, field lettuce, vineyard lettuce, and little valerian
- It originates as weed primarily, because it grew between the cereal crops all across Europe, but also in West Asia and North Africa
- The flavor is very delicate and mild with a nutty aroma
- The greatest European manufacturer of this lettuce is France; lamb’s lettuce is a major crop of Nantes (a city in Western France)
- It is called ‘lamb’s lettuce’ because the leaves have a shape that resembles a lamb’s tongue
- This lettuce blooms during April and May and the best blooms are picked from May to November
- The leaves are velvety and waxy and they contain most of the vitamins and minerals (A, C, B-vitamins, as well as potassium and iron)
- The American president Thomas Jefferson liked this lettuce so much, he even cultivated it in his home garden in Virginia, back in the 19th century
- Lamb’s lettuce is expensive too, due to the perishable and delicate nature
- There is a symbolic meaning from ancient times too. This lettuce was praised for its nice green color which signified life energy and strength against the cold winters, so it was an attribute of the goddesses Freya (goddess of fertility among other things), Persephone (goddess of vegetation) and Brigid (goddess of healers and childbirth)
- The famous artist Leonardo da Vinci was the first artist to paint a salad in his artwork. In the painting ‘Leda’, 1504, the goddess of fertility is the central figure, and next to her there is a child that holds lamb’s lettuce as a bouquet.
- This lettuce was foraged by the Europeans until the gardener of King Louis XIV (Jean Baptiste de La Quintinie) introduced this veggie to the world
- The commercial cultivation of lamb’s lettuce started in the 18th century in London, and it was sold commercially on markets in 1980.
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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