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GRASS Providing your guinea pig with a natural staple such as grass is an essential key to maintaining healthy gut mobility and should be offered as regularly as possible. Grass not only promotes healthy GI but is high in fibre and vitamin C which guinea pigs require daily. Fresh grass also contains a high composition of vitamins and minerals such as protein, chlorophyll, trace elements and vitamin D. Harvesting Grass Grass must be harvested carefully to ensure it is safe for consumption. Ensure the below guidelines are followed at all times: Herbicide and Pesticide Free: Never harvest grass from areas that have been sprayed with chemicals, as this can be potentially fatal if fed to your guinea pig. Areas must be free from herbicides and pesticides. Always check prior to harvesting if you are unsure. Roadside Free: Harvest grass away from roadsides to avoid contaminants from exhaust fumes. Contaminant Free: Grass which has been soiled by animals and livestock should be avoided. Grass must be fresh and unspoiled. Mold Free: Grass should be healthy, green and fresh. Do not feed plants which are suspect to mildew or fungi. Lawn Mower Clippings: Avoid harvesting grass which has been cut using a lawn mower as the heat and crushing motion can cause the grass to begin fermentation. If consumed this may upset the delicate balance of bacteria within the digestive system. Always offer freshly hand picked grass. Introducing Grass With all new foods always introduce grass gradually to ensure the balance of bacteria in the hind gut is kept in check. If consumed too quickly this bacteria can become unbalanced causing digestive upset which can lead to bloat and diarrhoea. Offer grass in small quantities at first mixing it with an existing staple such as hay. Over a period of 10-14 days gradually increase amounts accordingly. Grow you own One of the set backs for many cavy owners is the availability of clean, fresh grass. An easy alternative is to grow your own. Not only will it ensure that the grass is safe to eat, but you will always have a yearly supply. Grass seed is available in numerous varieties and can be purchased at DIY and Garden retailers. Follow our beginners guide to growing grass below: What you will need: Grass Seed Water Watering can/jug Seedling Mix Pots Plastic Wrap Spade