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Can I teach my Guinea Pig to eat Hay?

ishimercado

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I've had my 2 Mos old Guinea pig for almost 2 Mos now and I'm still struggling with feeding her Hay.
She eats pellets and Vegetables but doesn't seem to like Hay.
I've tried several, Meadow, Alfalfa and Stargrass and just a couple of days ago, Timothy Hay.
She seems to like Alfalfa but can't finish a bowl of it.
Now I've purchased Timothy Hay and tried to feed her but she doesn't seem to like it. She would only eat bits and pieces.
I'm wondering if I could teach her how to eat Hay by leaving her with hay only and water and nothing else. Do you think it's safe for her?
I'm scared that I might lose her trust on me. Help please. Thanks!
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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It can be hard to find hay they like, are you in the U.K? If so timothyhay.co.uk are fab, excellent hay and they’ll even send a sample for free if you email them. It’s the only hay that my pigs like really, it’s fresh and green with plenty of seed heads!

Is she on her own? Single pigs often don’t eat as well as they need a companion to keep them happy and healthy.

It depends how much veg and nuggets she has as well, I wouldn’t take it away completely as she needs it but limiting it can help. For example just one meal of veg a day :)
 

anyar.dris

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Are you giving the hay by the rack or just small bowl? I would encourage you to put a big amount of it in like a litter tray or just on a puppy pad where she can dug under it. My piggies have hay in hay rack but they have loads of hay lying around in their cage as well, where they can dig in or lie on top of it and this encourages them to eat hay while hiding under it or just lying on top of it.

See the photo below of my setup. They have hay on the floor and in the hay racks. Even in the wooden hutch, they have hay in the racks and on the floor beds.

IMG_20180524_213907_628.jpg
 

ishimercado

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It can be hard to find hay they like, are you in the U.K? If so timothyhay.co.uk are fab, excellent hay and they’ll even send a sample for free if you email them. It’s the only hay that my pigs like really, it’s fresh and green with plenty of seed heads!

Is she on her own? Single pigs often don’t eat as well as they need a companion to keep them happy and healthy.

It depends how much veg and nuggets she has as well, I wouldn’t take it away completely as she needs it but limiting it can help. For example just one meal of veg a day :)

Yeah she's on her own. I'm from the Philippines and we've very limited hay options here unfortunately.
 

ishimercado

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Are you giving the hay by the rack or just small bowl? I would encourage you to put a big amount of it in like a litter tray or just on a puppy pad where she can dug under it. My piggies have hay in hay rack but they have loads of hay lying around in their cage as well, where they can dig in or lie on top of it this encourages them to eat hay while hiding under it or just lying on top of it.

See the photo below of my setup. They have hay on the floor and in the hay racks. Even in the wooden hutch, they have hay in the racks and on the floor beds.

View attachment 109326
Thank you! I've a hay rack and a flat shallow serving plate with a pile of Hay. Also, I cut the strands coz I think she doesn't like it long. Do you think that's a good idea? Also, how often should I change the Hay?
 

anyar.dris

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Thank you! I've a hay rack and a flat shallow serving plate with a pile of Hay. Also, I cut the strands coz I think she doesn't like it long. Do you think that's a good idea? Also, how often should I change the Hay?
Cutting it is fine if it's too big. But with mine, I just leave it as it is. The one on the floor, I change it or refill it everyday depending on how wet and the amount of poo in there. The racks, I refill it when I see if it's half of what it was. I always make sure they are always full.
 

ishimercado

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Cutting it is fine if it's too big. But with mine, I just leave it as it is. The one on the floor, I change it or refill it everyday depending on how wet and the amount of poo in there. The racks, I refill it when I see if it's half of what it was. I always make sure they are always full.
Thank you. I tried to mix some of the Alfalfa Hay with the Timothy Hay now. She jumped into the plate. Hopefully she realizes she needs to eat more hay. She actually eats it when I hand feed her sometimes
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Yeah she's on her own. I'm from the Philippines and we've very limited hay options here unfortunately.
Oh that’s a shame! Sounds like you’re doing everything you can. I would look into getting her a friend, that will definitely help. They need the company will help her eat more and it’s also better for their health and mental health :)
 

piggieminder

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Guinea pigs learn what's safe to eat from their mothers and elders, your little girl was young when she left her mother so she probably hasn't picked up that she can eat hay. She really needs a friend to teach her what is good to eat. If you keep hand feeding her hay she should learn eventually, always leave piles around the cage for her to try. I find my piggies eat more hay if I top it up with a fresh handful regularly through out the day, although it's the same hay from the same bag it must smell stronger when just taken out of the bag, piggies are attracted to food by the smell. Good luck with her she is beautiful.
 

ishimercado

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Oh that’s a shame! Sounds like you’re doing everything you can. I would look into getting her a friend, that will definitely help. They need the company will help her eat more and it’s also better for their health and mental health :)
I'm looking into it. I'm just scared that the new piggie won't eat Hay too 😔. Hay isn't the staple food breeders here in the Philippines feed their piggies. They usually feed them pellets and Banana leaves.
 

ishimercado

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Guinea pigs learn what's safe to eat from their mothers and elders, your little girl was young when she left her mother so she probably hasn't picked up that she can eat hay. She really needs a friend to teach her what is good to eat. If you keep hand feeding her hay she should learn eventually, always leave piles around the cage for her to try. I find my piggies eat more hay if I top it up with a fresh handful regularly through out the day, although it's the same hay from the same bag it must smell stronger when just taken out of the bag, piggies are attracted to food by the smell. Good luck with her she is beautiful.
Thank you. I noticed that she likes Alfalfa Hay but I'm scared it isn't healthy for her. What if the new piggies don't know how to eat Hay too as breeders here in the Philippines don't feed their piggies with Hay but with banana leaves 😔
 

ishimercado

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I've had my 2 Mos old Guinea pig for almost 2 Mos now and I'm still struggling with feeding her Hay.
She eats pellets and Vegetables but doesn't seem to like Hay.
I've tried several, Meadow, Alfalfa and Stargrass and just a couple of days ago, Timothy Hay.
She seems to like Alfalfa but can't finish a bowl of it.
Now I've purchased Timothy Hay and tried to feed her but she doesn't seem to like it. She would only eat bits and pieces.
I'm wondering if I could teach her how to eat Hay by leaving her with hay only and water and nothing else. Do you think it's safe for her?
I'm scared that I might lose her trust on me. Help please. Thanks!
Here's my cage set up IMG_20190321_200740.jpg
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Looks like a fabulous set up! It’s alarming that they don’t feed hay as it’s 80%+ of their diet. To be honest, the more pigs you have the more competitive their feeding gets so chances are they’ll learn very quickly! I have 5 so they’re like little vegan piranhas at feeding time :))
 

ishimercado

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Looks like a fabulous set up! It’s alarming that they don’t feed hay as it’s 80%+ of their diet. To be honest, the more pigs you have the more competitive their feeding gets so chances are they’ll learn very quickly! I have 5 so they’re like little vegan piranhas at feeding time :))
I'm sourcing for a sister for her so she won't be sad when I'm at work.
I'll try to get her a piggie same as her age. She now eats on the Hay! I'm hoping this continues hehehe
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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I'm sourcing for a sister for her so she won't be sad when I'm at work.
I'll try to get her a piggie same as her age. She now eats on the Hay! I'm hoping this continues hehehe
What a clever girl! Idk if it really helps or not but when my pigs try a new food I praise them softly haha long may it continue!

Good luck finding her a sister, she’ll be so happy! :)
 

Seven7

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Are you giving the hay by the rack or just small bowl? I would encourage you to put a big amount of it in like a litter tray or just on a puppy pad where she can dug under it. My piggies have hay in hay rack but they have loads of hay lying around in their cage as well, where they can dig in or lie on top of it and this encourages them to eat hay while hiding under it or just lying on top of it.

See the photo below of my setup. They have hay on the floor and in the hay racks. Even in the wooden hutch, they have hay in the racks and on the floor beds.

View attachment 109326
Love your set up, :tu:. Definitely big enough. How many are living in there?
 

anyar.dris

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Love your set up, :tu:. Definitely big enough. How many are living in there?
Thanks! I have 3, neutered boar Prince and two sows, Cookie & Sierra. I used to have just the hutch when I had my first 2 pigs in 2012, but decided to expand their place so they have a bigger area whenever we go out. They also run freely in our living room apart from sleeping time at night.
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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It can be hard to find hay they like, are you in the U.K? If so timothyhay.co.uk are fab, excellent hay and they’ll even send a sample for free if you email them. It’s the only hay that my pigs like really, it’s fresh and green with plenty of seed heads!

Is she on her own? Single pigs often don’t eat as well as they need a companion to keep them happy and healthy.

It depends how much veg and nuggets she has as well, I wouldn’t take it away completely as she needs it but limiting it can help. For example just one meal of veg a day :)
I agree, as soon as i paired up my pigs, they both started eating alot more hay, they copy one another, like sheep following the herd
 

Allie0078

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Lots of good advice here already. Guinea pigs are selective eaters - so even if there’s lots of hay left - I’d change it for fresh daily. Mine eat loads when I first change the hay; but seem to eat less and less as the day goes on (probably because they’ve already picked out their favourite bits!). I put fresh in - and they dive on it. Picky piggies!
Good luck!
 
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