ashleemelda

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Since getting my girls back in late May/early June they have always been on the petite side. I have since gotten them up to approximately 840g. After a discussion with my vet and looking at several forums on here, I began slowly introducing small amounts of dry, old-fashioned oats and grated sweet potato into their diet as a weight gain/maintenance supplement. However, Moira will not take to either. Is there anything you all suggest I could do to make these more appealing to her? Or other foods I could try? If so, how often can these be featured in/alongside her existing diet?

Also, I have recently moved my girls into a new, larger cage, and since then, they have preferred to eat their hay in piles on the floor rather than eat out of their hay bins. My concern here is that with their bodies being so closed to the ground, them eating from hay piles (especially overnight when I am not available for cleaning or replenishment) that have been pooped in, walked on, and slept on could pave the way toward potential bacterial or fungal infections down the line. Do you think I have anything to worry about, or that several hay piles scattered throughout the cage floor would do just fine?
 

Piggies&buns

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It’s absolutely fine to just use hay piles - pooped on hay often tastes nicer if you’re a piggy! 🤔
My two live in a shed so are bedded on a thick layer of hay, which they also eat. They also have hay in racks and while they do eat the hay from the rack, they tend to go for the piles first and do prefer to lay in the hay they are eating rather than going to the hay in the rack.
 

ashleemelda

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It’s absolutely fine to just use hay piles - pooped on hay often tastes nicer if you’re a piggy! 🤔
My two live in a shed so are bedded on a thick layer of hay, which they also eat. They also have hay in racks and while they do eat the hay from the rack, they tend to go for the piles first and do prefer to lay in the hay they are eating rather than going to the hay in the rack.
Thank you so much! That’s such a huge reassurance. ☺
 

PigglePuggle

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Yes I agree, big hay piles on the floor are the most natural and enjoyable way for puggies to eat hay, and as they eat their own poops (and their friends' poops!) anyway eating some extra poop bacteria will be beneficial if anything, as long as their hay is well topped up at least daily and the cage is fully cleaned out at least once ideally twice a week x
 

Siikibam

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How old are your girls? And have you checked their heft? That is a better indicator rather than weight. There’s no set weight due to the variety in piggies’ bodies.

I wouldn’t force her to eat the oats and sweet potato. Maybe just cut chunks of the sweet potato, but only if she really does need it.
 

ashleemelda

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How old are your girls? And have you checked their heft? That is a better indicator rather than weight. There’s no set weight due to the variety in piggies’ bodies.

I wouldn’t force her to eat the oats and sweet potato. Maybe just cut chunks of the sweet potato, but only if she really does need it.
Due to the recent uptick in dominance behavior (and in posting about it on here), I have come to suspect that I am dealing with teenagers. 😅 However, I unfortunately cannot be entirely sure as they were an early birthday gift from my father and sister from the pet store, despite my disdain for chains like PetSmart and PetCo due to their notorious lack of care for the animals.

I check their heft semi-regularly and, to me, can feel each individual rib on both, but I know that weight can take awhile to put on. My vet doesn’t seem too concerned right now as they are holding their weight, therefore indicating they are getting enough hay, veggies, and pellets. She said they are on the smaller side but not dangerously so, and confirmed that they can certainly benefit from putting on additional weight. It’s just been worrisome seeing Moira not take to oats or sweet potatoes and feeling that sense of helplessness.
 

Siikibam

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I think if they’re below a year then that weight is fine. One of my girls is on the smaller side (the dominant one in fact!) At nine months they were 994 and 899g. I wouldn’t worry to be honest.
 

PigglePuggle

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Yes please dont worry if they wont eat the high calorie weight gain foods, it is much healthier in the long run if they prefer to eat big piles of hay instead! The weight gain foods are only very short term measures to try to tempt piggies who arent eating properly, hay is always the best food for piggies :)
 

ashleemelda

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@PigglePuggle @Siikibam Thank you both. Their weight has been a bit more of a concern for me as of late, as at the end of November I noticed that neither of them were pooping much despite holding their weight and eating their hay, pellets, and veggies with as much eagerness as always. Nothing about their routine or diet had changed.

The vet checked their vitals and said they appeared to be in tip-top shape and prescribed Bactrim in case it was the start of an infection and Bene-Bac Plus Microbial Gel to hopefully regulate their bowel movements. After 10 days (the length of each medicine) of no improvements to the frequency of their poops, I went back to the vet yesterday and she checked for and once again ruled out distention of the stomach, bloat, impaction, dehydration, dental issues, genital area issues, etc. So it’s been hard for me not having a concrete answer and path forward.

I started cutting back on the amount of lettuce I give them, and will do the same with their other vegetables (when this all started I had been feeding them only three vegetables due to limited resources on my end from being in-between jobs; a rotating slice of red, orange, and yellow sweet pepper; a slice of cucumber; 1-2 slices of green leaf lettuce) to see if that’s been causing any digestive upset. I have since begun slowly introducing 1-2 sprigs of cilantro, one full green bean, and a chunk of celery per the diet guide on here, but this did not occur until after the frequency of the poops started to decrease. Perhaps it could be the higher amount of sugar in red peppers?

I mentioned to the vet that since administering the medication I have begun seeing powdery calcium deposits around the cage, which was never the case prior, but she seemed uncertain whether the medication was the direct cause. I had not yet introduced cilantro, celery, or green bean when the spots began appearing.
 
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