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Fresh Food Introducing Fresh Food to New Pigs

mgrey

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Apr 1, 2012
Messages
43
My wife and I yesterday became owners of two young guinea pigs which we purchased from Pet Smart. One is approximately 2 months old, and the other is slightly larger at around 3 months.

Both eat lots and lots (the smaller seems to chow-down more often) of Tropical Carnival food, along with timothy hay and plenty of water.

We are trying to introduce them to fresh vegetables and fruits. So far we have tried red bell pepper, broccoli, apple and seedless grapes.

They seem to ignore the fresh stuff for the Tropical Carnival. They nibbled at the grapes and apple, but really didn't seem to eat at them. We gave them some bit of corn husk and they seemed to like that.

I figure, being from the pet store, they aren't use to that sort of stuff. Any ideas on how to get them eating fresh?
 
I'll spare you the lecture on buying pigs at pet stores, but just FYI, this is a rescue-oriented, anti-store forum, so just be prepared to catch lots of heat. ;) That said, my little one, Kwee, came from Petsmart. I won't get into details now, but she's healthy and happy to be in a good home.

As for nutrition, avoid broccoli (and other cruciferous veggies, i.e. cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, etc.) as they tend to cause gas. Also, don't feed them too much fruit; fruits have lots of sugar and should be a treat for once or twice a week. Their vegetable diet should primarily consist of leafy greens. Romaine lettuce (not iceberg), kale, and cilantro are good, as are bell peppers. Carrots are also okay for every few days.

Also, ditch those Tropical Carnival pellets. It's half crap and half colored crap. Get a bag of good nutritious hay-based pellets like KMS.

Given how young your pigs are, you may want to consider alfalfa hay and/or pellets, as they're a good source of calcium. Just keep in mind that alfalfa is generally not recommended for pigs after 6 months of age, as it has a lot of calcium and can cause stones. KMS Hayloft is a good source of both hay and hay-based pellets, and they have both alfalfa and timothy hay products.

Keep in mind I'm not scolding you; just trying to educate you on how to take better care of your pigs, which will be better for both them and you in the long run. :)
 
This is a heavily covered topic, so you are bound to find some helpful advice on this forum. When I first got my girls they were being fed red bell pepper and never any green, so I had the same problem for a little while. I've read that you can grate bell pepper over top their pellets or cut them into small chunks. I found that when I hand-feed them in my lap they will eat whatever I put in front of them(Even my fingers if we aren't careful:O ). When you start laptime, try feeding them a veggie or fruit you know they like and then move on to other things from there.

I also think the pellets themselves might be causing a problem.While they may like it a lot food that comes with nuts and dyes and other assortments are generally bad for guinea pigs. This might be a wrong comparison but I compare it to junkfood for humans. Most people on this forum suggest stand alone pellets Oxbow or KMS. You have babies so they should have alfalfa based pellets instead of timothy hay based.

Sorry for the massive amounts of information, hope I helped a little!
 
Appreciate the replies!

We went with Pet Smart because they were the only ones with young, healthy-looking guinea pigs in the area. There are no rescue shelters for pigs around me.

I went with the tropical carnival because the base of it, the pellets, are timothy hay. There are other things mixed in there, mostly dried fruit, veggies, and what not. Every review I have read of it (elsewhere on the web) has been genuinely positive. The other reason I bought it is because it is advertised as providing a good most of the nutrients and vitamins that our pigs need. I'm sure it doesn't, but I am certain it does provide a enough to lower the risk of any deficiencies while we try and get em eating fresh stuff.

tomorrow, when I give them more pepper, I am going to try and mince it up and put it with their normal food.
 
Its really amazing how often on this forum I learn new things that the web, even some vets suggest that are bad, if not dangerous advice. My Guinea loves broccoli, but thanks to this forum, I now know that a tiny bit is enough. I also know know the iceburg isn't the best choice. And to cut back on fruit, avoid any "treats" that contain dried fruits, and esp and dairy. I started my pig out on lettuce and celery. Later introducing tomatoes, and bits of fruit. Carrots too...lots of advice on here to get you started!
 
https://www.guinealynx.info/pellets.html
If you would like to research some more about pellets. Guinea Lynx is a pretty good go to guide for quick references if you ever find yourself needing some basic care help. Most advice given in this forum, while it can seem a bit harsh sometimes, is generally for the health of your piggies. I don't know much about your chosen pellets, I just know that the pellets shouldn't be the most important in their diet. I think of pellets
more as a supplement. Please don't consider me an expert, I'm merely surviving off of the advice I have received from this forum, which has been amazing, and has kept my girls happy and healthy.

I hope you enjoy your piggies, I'm certainly crazy about mine. I would love to see pictures! Introduce yourself soon please!
 
Appreciate the replies!

We went with Pet Smart because they were the only ones with young, healthy-looking guinea pigs in the area. There are no rescue shelters for pigs around me.

I went with the tropical carnival because the base of it, the pellets, are timothy hay. There are other things mixed in there, mostly dried fruit, veggies, and what not. Every review I have read of it (elsewhere on the web) has been genuinely positive. The other reason I bought it is because it is advertised as providing a good most of the nutrients and vitamins that our pigs need. I'm sure it doesn't, but I am certain it does provide a enough to lower the risk of any deficiencies while we try and get em eating fresh stuff.

tomorrow, when I give them more pepper, I am going to try and mince it up and put it with their normal food.
I know how you feel. We got little Kwee at Petsmart because there literally wasn't a rescue with guinea pigs within two state lines of us. As much as I sympathize with the cause of rescue adoption, I can't just couldn't afford the time and money to drive a good 6 or 7 hours each way to adopt from a rescue.

As for the food, unfortunately you really can't rely on the advice of most of the internet, and even some less experienced vets. And certainly not the packaging of the product itself! A general rule of thumb is to avoid any pellets that have anything but pellets, i.e. colored bits, treats, fruit, and so on. A pure hay-based pellet with vitamin C is best. I would personally get KMS alfalfa pellets for now while your piggies are young, and once they reach 6 months or so, switch them over to timothy pellets.

Your pigs aren't going to complain about food that isn't nutritious; hell, they love the colored treats in pellets like that. But it'll be better for them in the long run to get the good stuff. Also, that 5 pound bag of Tropical Carnival was $11...you can get a 10 pound bag of top-notch KMS pellets, either timothy or alfalfa, for the same price, so you'll be doing your pigs a favor and literally saving 50% on cost.
 
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