Guinea pigs are interesting animals with unique characteristics. They have different personalities that make them like different things.
These differences may extend to their food. You may notice that your guinea pig has a preference for some foods compared to others.
But why is that? Let’s find out.
Why is my guinea pig so picky?
Guinea pig is picky naturally, they are choosy animals. It’s natural for them to eat foods they enjoy while leaving behind what they don’t. Guinea pigs are herbivores. When out in nature, they usually graze through vegetation while eating.
This very reason makes them picky while eating the food that you give them. They will nibble through their food as they would in the wild trying to find foods with a taste they enjoy.
Things that contribute to pickiness in guinea pigs
Guinea pigs will be naturally choosy when you feed them. Apart from their natural characters, some things that may make them picky are:
Previous Owners Diet
When you adopt a new guinea pig, they usually have a diet before they come to live with you. Whether they lived in a pet store, a shelter, or with a different owner, their diets are usually different from what you may begin giving them.
They could be used to a certain type of hay or some veggies and not others. This will make them single out only the foods that they are used to and leave the new foods.
A good sign of knowing if your guinea pig is not okay is through their eating habits. It’s always advised to keep a keen eye on your pet to notice any changes in their normal character.
If you notice that your pet is nibbling on food unusually, that could mean things are not okay. A sick guinea pig will lose their appetite and be really fussy with their food. Get a vet to check it up.
Will a guinea pig always be picky?
A guinea pig being picky is based on different reasons. If the reasons behind them being picky can be dealt with, then the piggy can stop all the fuss.
For instance, if it was caused by an infection, when it’s cured all may be well in paradise.
Generally, though, guinea pigs are always changing as they age, just like humans. They will change their sleeping areas and their favorite foods & treats.
Is it okay for my guinea pig to be picky?
A fussy pet may eat some fruits and leave veggies. Others will be picky with hay too.
They can instead spread it all around the cage and eat very little of it. Is that okay?
No. It’s not okay. This is because this type of picky eating will make it miss out on the nutrients provided by the foods it leaves behind.
If it only eats the sweet foods, that’s like a human eating only junk. This will deprive it of the nutrients it needs to stay strong, energetic, and healthy.
Nutrients ensure that it’s fur is smooth, it’s digestive system is working correctly and its general health is great to prevent diseases.
The following are things you can do for your picky guinea pig.
If you just brought home your guinea pig, it will take time adapting to you and it’s surroundings, so be patient with it. Let it familiarize itself with all the newness at its own pace.
Be patient as you get to learn more about what it likes eating and what it doesn’t. If some foods don’t go well with its digestive system, they could give it effects like diarrhoea. Avoid those.
Let it guide you to know what it prefers and you can move on from there as it gets comfortable in its new home.
Feed new foods one at a time
Like with doing new things, starting to give your guinea pig new foods should be done one food at a time. Moderation is always key. After all, slow and sure always wins the race.
Begin with foods it could easily start to enjoy like foods that most guinea pigs may prefer. It’s also great to give it foods that don’t have a strong smell or taste e.g. carrots.
Start with small amounts of the foods and gradually increase the amount if they love them. Feed them more frequently to increase familiarity with the food.
Slice, dice, or shred foods.
Throwing in whole bell peppers or cucumbers while dealing with a picky eater will not work. Try to make the food as small as possible.
This is immensely useful if you will be mixing the food with other foods it enjoys. For example, if it loves carrots, shred the carrots all over its veggies as this will make it eat both together however much it tries to be picky.
Ensure Vitamin C intake
Guinea pigs don’t have the ability to make their own Vitamin C. It is very vital to ensure that you give them foods rich in the vitamin.
If the foods they won’t eat are those containing Vitamin C, you can give them supplements. Supplement tablets can be given as treats.
If they won’t eat the tablets, crush them, and sprinkle on the foods they are eating. If both methods don’t work, put the tablet in their water although it may lose its potency fast using this method.
Be careful with what you feed them
Feeding a guinea pig pellets mixed with foods like seeds is not a good idea. Seeds affect the pet’s delicate digestive system.
Try to give your guinea pig plain pellets and hay if they are extremely picky. Most pellets come fully packed with enough nutrients for your pet.
You can soak the pellets in water to soften them if your pet is unwell. You could also mix the pellets with sliced foods.
Keep in mind that young guinea pets are easier to teach new foods than older ones. Teaching them how to eat some foods may take time and older ones may never get used to them.
Never feed your guinea pigs food meant for other pets like rabbits. Give them their specified foods which usually have added Vitamin C.
Sometimes it’s okay to bring your pet another guinea pig. This will not only cheer it up but increase its appetite for foods it was even picky about. It could start eating foods it sees being eaten by its cage mate.
If all else fails, see a veterinarian.