Yam is a type of tuber vegetable that’s grown mostly in the tropical region of the world. These tubers are highly nutritious, versatile, and very tasty. If you own guinea pigs, you may be wondering if you can let them eat yam.
So, can guinea pigs eat yam? Yes, guinea pigs can eat yam, including the skin. This root vegetable is nutritious and healthy for the cavies to eat. However, it’s high in sugar, which is bad for them if they are fed too much of it. It’s recommended to feed yams to guinea pigs in moderation to prevent any health issues.
Health Benefits of Yams for Guinea Pigs
Yam has many vitamins and minerals that the guinea pigs need. Also, it’s a good source of fiber, potassium, and manganese.
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 data is according to the USDA
Below are some of the health benefits your guinea pigs will get from eating yam:
Guinea pigs that are kept in captivity are prone to having scurvy. Scurvy is a disease when there’s a deficiency in vitamin C.
Unfortunately, guinea pigs are not able to create or store vitamin C in their body. They will need this vitamin every day to maintain good health.
Yam is a good source of antioxidants. The antioxidant is a compound that prevents free radicals from causing damage to the cells in the body.
When there are too many free radicals in the body, cells will start to get damaged. This will lead to disease and illness in guinea pigs.
Yam has plenty of dietary fiber. Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body cannot be broken down and absorb by the body.
Instead, it is used to help with digestion. Fiber will help regulate bowel movement, which will move the food that the guinea pig consumes to move smoothly.
Also, fiber helps bulk up the stool and prevent constipation.
Risks To Consider When Feeding Yams To Guinea Pigs
Yam is a very nutritious food to give your guinea pigs. However, there are some risks to their health when yam is fed to them.
Usually, when guinea pigs eat too much yam, they will start to have health issues.
Below are some risks you should consider when feeding yams to your guinea pigs:
Calcium is one of the nutrients found in yam. Calcium in moderate amounts is safe and essential for their growth and development.
When guinea pigs eat too much yam, it can lead to many health issues for them. Some problems will be bladder and kidney stones, blood in the urine, painful urinating, and urinary infections.
Yams have a very high amount of sugar in them. Excessive feeding of yam will lead to obesity in guinea pigs. When they are fed food high in sugar, they tend to gain weight very quickly.
Guinea pigs that are obese will have a hard time moving around. Also, it will cause their organs such as their heart to work harder.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Yam?
It depends on how old they are. For guinea pigs under 3 weeks, you should avoid feeding them any yam. Their digestive system is still developing and won’t be able to digest the yam properly.
Instead, baby guinea pigs should be put on a diet of only hay and their mother’s milk. This provides them all the nutrition they need to grow strong and healthy.
Once the baby guinea pigs are about 3 weeks old, you can start to introduce yam to them. Give them just a tiny piece of jam and wait 24 hours.
Within the 24-hour timeframe, keep a close eye on them to see if they have any allergic reactions. If they do, they will have diarrhea or an upset stomach. Discontinue feeding them yam if you notice this.
If the baby guinea pigs don’t seem to have any allergic reaction to the yam, you can continue to feed them. Only give them a small piece of yam, once a week until they are an adult.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yam Skin?
Yam skin doesn’t contain any toxin naturally, so it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat it.
If you’ve bought yam from the grocery stores, avoid feeding them the skin. Most of the time, yams are grown with the use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. The skin of the yam will contain traces of chemicals, which is harmful to the guinea pigs.
How To Feed Yam To Guinea Pigs
When feeding yam, you have a couple of options to feed them. Yam can be fed to them fresh or mixed with other foods.
Whether you’re feeding them fresh yam or mixing it with other food, never give them cooked yam. Their body won’t be able to process it.
Feeding Fresh Yam
Start by washing the yam thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris from it. Since the skin of the yam is thin, you can feed them with the flesh as well. Simply slice off a thin piece of the yam and give them to your guinea pigs.
However, if you’ve bought the yam from the grocery store or from an unknown source, it’s recommended to peel the skin off. Commercially grown yam will contain a small trace of chemicals in the skin. These yams are usually grown with the help of fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals are very harmful to guinea pigs.
Mixing Yam With Other Foods
You can mix yam with other vegetables, fruits, and even pellets. This is a great way to give the guinea pig a boost in nutrition.
If mixing with fruits, make sure to cut a small piece of each fruit. Most fruits are high in sugar and too much of it can harm them. Once you’ve cut all the fruits, mix them in with the yam, and feed them to your guinea pigs.
For vegetables, you can mix them with as many vegetables as you want. Spinach, lettuce, and kale are veggies you can feed them daily.
How Many Yam To Feed Guinea Pigs?
Yam should be given to your guinea pigs in small amounts. This means a slice of yam for each guinea pig.
This root vegetable contains a very high amount of sugar. Sugar is very harmful to guinea pigs when it’s in large amounts. This means giving a whole yam to a guinea pig will cause them health issues.
How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Yam?
Yam should be fed to your guinea pigs in moderation. This root vegetable doesn’t have enough nutrients in it to meet the guinea pig’s dietary needs.
Yam should only make 10% of their diet. While it’s a vegetable, it’s not one of the staple vegetables. The rest of their diet should consist of quality pellets, hay, and vegetables.
You can give them 1/8 cup of pellets, followed by vegetables such as kale, spinach, and lettuce. Provide unlimited hay for them throughout the day.
For a healthy guinea pig and to prevent any health issue, give them yam, once or twice per week.
Other Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Beetroot is another root crop that’s great for guinea pigs. These contain a good amount of folate, fiber, potassium, vitamins, and minerals. All of these nutrients are essential for their growth and health.
Celery is nutrient-rich, yet low in calories. This makes celery an excellent treat for them. You can feed all parts of the celery to them, which includes the stalk and leaves. Make sure to remove the fiber from the stalk and cut it into smaller pieces first. This will make sure it easier for them to digest it.
Lettuce is high in nutrition but low in calories. For that reason, lettuce can be fed to them daily. There are many varieties of lettuce available. The best lettuce variety to feed them is romaine lettuce. The one to avoid is iceberg lettuce as it doesn’t contain any nutrition and high in water.
Yam is a root vegetable that makes a great treat for your guinea pigs. It’s packed with nutrition, especially vitamin C. To prevent any health issues, make sure to feed yam to your cavies in moderation.