can guinea pigs eat milk thistle

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Milk Thistle?

Silybum marianum has other common names include cardus marianus, milk thistle, blessed milk thistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary’s thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle and Scotch thistle.

This species is an annual or biennial plant of the Asteraceae family.

This fairly typical thistle has red to purple flowers and shiny pale green leaves with white veins.

Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world. (source)

Can guinea pigs eat milk thistle?

Some owners say that they can be eaten and profess to feed them to their piggies

However, milk thistle should be treated with caution as the plant has been found to be toxic to cattle and sheep, which is why we can’t reccomend it.

Here’s an expanation from wikipedia, quoting this article on nitrate poisoning in livestock.

It’s not to say that it has the same effect on guinea pigs, but it is definately something to be aware of.

This is because when potassium nitrate is eaten by ruminants, the bacteria in the animal’s stomach breaks the chemical down, producing nitrite ions. Nitrite ions then combine with hemoglobin to produce methaemoglobin, blocking the transport of oxygen. The result is a form of oxygen deprivation. (source)

If you are going to feed it to them, make sure it is washed thoroughly and you know whether or not it has been sprayed with anything before you feed it to them.

If it’s picked from your property then this is better as you know whether it has been sprayed with pesticides or not.

There are better plants and even weeds to feed your piggie, so if in doubt don’t feed it to them and try something else.

For more foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat, check out our guinea pig food list

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