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Guinea Pigs/young guinea pig doesn't eat much


I'm a member of a small animal rescue. I have just started fostering a young female guinea pig. We estimate her to be 9 weeks old. I have fostered 2 adult guinea pigs, but never one so young.
I'm concerned that she may not be eating enough. She eats about as much as the 1 year old a fostered did. She scarfs down veggies, but only eats ⅛ of a cup of pellets (oxbow baby guinea pig formula) and a tiny handful of hay. Is this normal?
I think she's too thin. Is there something else I can give her to put a little weight on her? Is oatmeal OK?

At 9 weeks she's still a junior. It sounds like she's eating what she needs. Her basic diet should be pellets and hay. Cut down the amount of veggies she's getting as they're basically treats. She should be able to each whatever the rest of the pigs are eating as far as pellets. So unless you just feel compelled to do so you don't need to buy special pellets for her.

She will put on weight as she grows. She should be about 12 oz give or take a couple of oz. If she was a runt you wouldn't expect her to be much heavier. As long as she's eating and drinking she is doing well.

Yes, oatmeal is okay. Just don't use the instant kind, give the regular oatmeal and mix it in with the pellets. I use rolled barley, but oatmeal is fine.

Most babies are completely weaned by their mothers by 6 weeks. They will have been eating out of the pellet bowls since two weeks of age. They're very precocious in their development and mature quickly. There isn't any need to treat her differently from the others. She will learn from them what is good to eat and will eat accordingly.

The best veggies and greens to give are parsley and kale. They have the highest content of Vit C. But remember that her little belly isn't very big yet, so she will eat until it's full and that may not take very much.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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