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Behavior Questions About Diet

  • Thread starter CanadianPiggies
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CanadianPiggies

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Cavy Slave
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Aug 6, 2021
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Hello all, I've recently adopted two piggies that are about two years old, and I have some concerns, hoping you all can provide some info.

I feed them each one leaf of romaine lettuce three times a day. Is that too much?

They spend a lot of time lounging, though I assume that's normal. They us3ed to hide away, but at least they come out a bit now. I've only had them a few days.

But they don't seem to be drinking any water. I have a water bottle on the side of their enclosure, but I've never seen them use it, and the amount in it doesn't seem to change. What's more, they refuse to eat pellets.
 
Hello! Three leaves of lettuce each day is the right amount. About the water, make sure to check if the water bottles are working. Romaine lettuce has lots of water in it already, so your guinea pigs probably are getting most of their water from the food. Maybe you could draw a line on the water bottle or stick a piece of tape at the water line and track how much they drink.

About refusing to eat pellets, pellets are not essential to adult guinea pigs diet, so it should be fine. Some guinea pigs don’t even have pellets in their diet. As long as you give them plenty of hay and vegetables they should be fine. I would probably just offer them pellets every morning before giving them veggies. Usually guinea pigs are really hungry in the morning. :) but if they don’t want it then don’t force them.
 
Three leaves of lettuce per day per pig is way too much. Hay is by far the most important thing in a pig's diet, and if they get too many veggies, they may not eat enough hay. That can result in overgrown molars and expensive dental bills.

Besides that, some pigs excrete excess calcium when eating romaine. It's no higher in calcium than the other lettuces, but some pigs have trouble with it. To avoid future problems with bladder stones, it's probably better to avoid romaine altogether and feed one of the other green leafy lettuces. Not iceberg, though, as it has almost no nutritional value.

Here's some recommended reading for new pig owners: https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/113176-Information-for-new-guinea-pig-owners
 
Oops sorry! I thought that it was three leaves of lettuce for both the piggies! Like bpatters mentioned, romaine lettuce can cause some guinea pigs to pee out calcium deposits. I would watch them really carefully for calcium in their pee. So feed with caution! instead of romaine, you can feed them kale, Parsley, red or green leafed lettuce, and other leafy greens. Red or green peppers are awesome to feed guinea pigs as they have lots of vitamin C in it!
 
One of them will eat green peppers, somewhat warily. The other won't have anything to do with them.

That one will eat cucumber, the other will only eat cucumber if she can steal it away.
 
Oops sorry! I thought that it was three leaves of lettuce for both the piggies! Like bpatters mentioned, romaine lettuce can cause some guinea pigs to pee out calcium deposits. I would watch them really carefully for calcium in their pee. So feed with caution! instead of romaine, you can feed them kale, Parsley, red or green leafed lettuce, and other leafy greens. Red or green peppers are awesome to feed guinea pigs as they have lots of vitamin C in it!

If a guinea pig is having issues with calcium in their urine from romaine I wouldn't recommend replacing the romaine with kale or parsley, as those vegetables are both quite high in calcium. The red/green leaf lettuce is the ideal replacement, other options are butterhead lettuce or radicchio.
 
Ditto to @Soecara. Neither kale nor parsley should be given except as an occasional treat.
 
I appreciate your feedback, and I'll have to keep an eye on them. I have seen them have a few pellets now, but the water doesn't seem to change.

It would be nice if there was a treat I could give them at any time but that's asking too much :)
 
Here is a table of plants and other treats, and how often you can give them.

https://www.guineapigcages.com/foru...vy-Nutrition-Charts-amp-Poisonous-Plants-List

Just bear in mind, that if they are given treats on a constant basis they will come to prefer the treats over their hay. That in turn will lead to painful, costly, and sometimes even fatal dental problems.

They can have as much hay and water as they want. Everything else in moderation :)

If they haven't been drinking, try the occasional slice of seedless english cucumbers. Most pigs love them and they are FULL of water.
 
You could give fresh grass as a treat, provided you have a good source of clean chemical free grass. Technically they can have as much as they want, but not immediately. You do need to slowly work them up to having larger amounts of fresh grass or they can develop digestive issues or bloat, but once they are used to it they can eat as much as they want as grass does the same thing for their teeth as hay.
 
You could also try fresh corn husks. Take the outside husks off and use the softer husks on the inside. I wash them and tear them in about 1/2 inch strips. They add some fiber to the diet.
 
They really like the lettuce, I'm cutting back on the amount I feed them. If three leaves a day is too much, would two a day be okay?
 
The max veggies for an adult pig is one cup. If you're feeding two leaves of lettuce, there's nothing left for any other veggies.
 
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