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. Let’s find out if lamb’s lettuce is good food for the cavy.
Can guinea pigs eat lamb’s lettuce? Guinea pigs can eat lamb’s lettuce, but only in moderation. This type of lettuce contains calcium, which is a mineral for healthy bones. However, it is a health risk for the guinea pig when consumed in excess. The calcium content in this lettuce can cause both gastric and renal complications, urinary infections that can lead to cystitis along bladder stones.
Now, let’s see the pros and cons, as well as some facts about lamb’s lettuce.
Is Lamb’s Lettuce Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
One of the benefits of lamb’s lettuce is that it has healing properties. It cleanses the blood, and regulates the bowel movements, Also, it can prevents them from infections and springtime fatigue.
Also, this lettuce is filled with beneficial vitamins like A, C, and B6. These vitamins create healthy bone tissues, and keep the immunity in great shape.
They also cleanse internal organs from toxins, and keep the blood healthy. 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
Here are the nutrients listed for a serving of 100 g (3 oz) lamb’s lettuce:
- Total of 21 calories- It means it’s not fattening.
- 4 g fat – This low amount of fat will not damage the blood vessels.
- 0 mg cholesterol – Zero cholesterol is great because the cardiovascular system will stay healthy and all blood vessels will be unclogged.
- 4 mg sodium – This healthy amount of salt can contributes to good electrolyte balance in the body.
- 459 mg potassium – This is for regulation of blood sugar, enhancing bone strength, lowering high pressure, and balancing water and electrolytes. It also keep nerves and nervous system healthy.
- 6 g carbs – These 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. It is 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 – This 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 – This is for healthy skin, detox of the liver, healthier and stronger blood vessels and for curing anemia.
- 3% magnesium – For healthy bone formations, preventing diabetes, keeping the heart healthy, and for preventing aches all over the body.
Is Lamb’s Lettuce Bad for Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks
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.
Serving and Frequency of Lamb’s Lettuce for Guinea Pigs
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.
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 due to the perishable and delicate nature.
- There is a symbolic meaning from ancient times. 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.
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.
List of Sources
Vitamin C Requirements of the Guinea-Pig
Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Editio
A Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig (Cavia Porcellus)