I would like to mention here that guinea pigs were domesticated in south america for thousands of years before specialised pellets were invented, and thrived on kitchen scraps and grass clippings. I’m going to keep an eye out for oxbow, but I buy my pet feed at the local farm store, and their guinea pig feed in in a gravity fed chute they use to fill bags. almost no one around here keeps guinea pigs, and a ton of people keep rabbits. As far as freshness and feed quality go, do the math.
Our local pet stores have bags of feed ludicrously overpriced, I’m in Canada in the Maritimes so for comparison a bag of good, green hay from co-op is like 2$, and a pack containing half the hay at the pet store was 10$ last time I checked. I want to take good care of my pets, without breaking the bank because my husband will not allow me to keep them at pet store prices.
I’m a Canada too. Oxbow Cavy Cuisine (the one for pigs 6 months and up) is $11 for a 5 pound bag and since the pigs are only supposed to have 1/8 cup of grains per pig a day. It’s lasts a while. The oxbow orchard grass is $5 for a 425g bag. That’s unfortunate about the price gouging in the Maritimes. I personally believe in getting the best for my guinea pigs and price is no object.
I do not personally agree that they thrived on scraps and such. They may have survived... but thriving is completely different in my books. Thriving, is guinea pigs in a big cage preferably on fleece bedding (now considered the best option for their comfort) , with the best food, lots of attention and care. Guinea pig care has changed and there are higher standards now. For example cage size. Pet store cages are just glorified litter boxes and it’s cruel for them to live in one.
Current cage size and info found here https://guineapigcages.com/
I know some feed stores that can great for hay and such, as long as it’s timothy or orchard grass. Alfalfa hay can cause health problems like cysts if fed after 6 months of age.
I’ve also heard numerous accounts of hay mites from those big bales of hay, especially if they aren’t kept in the best condition, so it depends on where you buy. So I buy the hay I know won’t give them mites. Because if they get mites, that requires vet treatment. And guinea pigs need exotic vet care. Here’s it’s $80 for a checkup and then the cost of medicine as well.