After many years of feeding my pigs rubbishy food in good faith - full of coloured bits, seeds, squashed peas and all the other piggy junk food they love - we found a source of Oxbow products and splashed out far more than we can really afford on a bag of Cavy Performance and a big bag of Cavy Cuisine (it's really expensive here, and the shipping is dear, which is why we ordered a big heap of the stuff at one time).
They don't like it. Won't touch it. To avoid changing their diet all at once, for maybe three days we mixed the Cavy Performance with their previous junk food (they are all under a year old). Well, they just picked out the junk and left the good pellets. So I gave up on that, reasoning that the junk food was junk anyway and they shouldn't be eating it.
So I threw away the bag of junky food and now I give them bowls of just Cavy Performance. They run to them squeaking, and ignoring the pellets just set to licking the sides of the bowls (the bowls are glass! They prefer glass to the top-notch piggy cuisine!?) Even if I hand them a pellet, they take it, crunch it and drop it, the way my dog used to do with pears (she hated pears). By the end of the day as far as I can see they have eaten none of the pellets , just pigged out on hay and veggies and kicked the bowls full of shavings and poop. So every day I have to throw out about 100g of Cavy Performance, untouched. I don't know what to do. Has anyone else had this problem? We just can't afford to be wasting this stuff! I thought they'd love it.
- With a Touch of Insanity
If you are using deep bowls then try switching to a shallow bowl so that you don't waste as much until they start to eat them. I found square heavy plastic dishes for cat food that have sides that slant out so they can't tip them. They are not very deep and you could put just a single layer of pellets in the bowl without impairing their ability to reach them.
I have never figured out how to keep poop from ending up in the pellets. I went out and bought the self-filling feeders that hang on the cage because one of my pigs had taken to peeing in the bowl daily. The side is up higher than their bum can reach and they can't pee in the food anymore but they still manage to get poop in the dishes in both cages! I think they must get them stuck on their feet and then knock them in when they put their feet on the sides. I have gotten to where I just pick out the poops and the pellets directly around the poops.
Radar was on junk food when I rescued him. I did the same thing - threw it out and gave him good pellets. He immediately went on pellet strike. I believe it lasted 2 or 3 weeks. He continued to eat enough hay and veggies that he gained wait consistently and he eventually gave in and started to eat them. Now he eats more of them than 3 of my other pigs. Mushy Momma is the only one who eats more of them.
Give it time. They will see the light! Eventually! You may even want to count how many pellets you put in the bowl and then count again at the end of the day to see if any are missing. If you put only a few in - say 30 or so - you might find they are actually trying them some! Putting the dish on a cardboard or coroplast tray can help keep bedding out.
I use glass ashtrays (New! Unused!) for pig bowls - the kind that are just round with straight sides, about 2-3cm high. They work very well, as they are low enough that the pigs can reach in them easily, and the glass is very thick and too heavy for them to tip up and throw around. Not that they couldn't do it if they were determined, but the ashtrays are heavy enough that they don't bother.
I suppose the licking might be just because the cool glass bowls feel nice and are still a novelty to them - they've only had them a week or so.
As for the poop, I think poop kicking ("poopla"?) is just a popular guinea-pig sport - with points for accuracy and range. It's amazing where the poop can get to!
- Hopelessly Addicted
This idea mightn't go down very well but you could try rationing their hay just for a couple of days so that there isn't constantly hay in the cage. Say give them a pile in the morning and a pile in the evening but in-between times just give them the Oxbow? If they only have pellets to eat (just for a very short time) they might decide they aren't so bad after all.
As for bowls - I have a neat one. My pigs like to pull their bowls over so the pellets scatter everywhere and get soiled but I found this one and it stops them tipping it over and also getting crap in it. It attaches to the side of the cage:
It's pretty small but the pigs don't get that many pellets anyway. Gets (almost) filled up twice a day.
As for the old food, it was nearly finished anyway, and I'm almost nearly sure I saw a bug in it, so it was definitely going out. That's what I get for keeping pig food in paper bags.
Their previous bowls were a motley assortment of containers (saucers, presentation tins from fancy watches, half a gerbil house etc.) which were variously too light, too flat, too tall and completely unsuitable. They were constantly getting tipped over and kicked around, so as far as I'm concerned they can use their nice new blue ashtrays or kick the pellets out and eat them off the floor, I don't care - they're not getting their bowls changed again!
I suppose I'll just have to stick it out.
- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
I use both pellets for when the Oxbow is hard to come by, at least the Excel will not be a 'new' experience! Neither of mine really eat the full portions but they get plenty veggies and hay. Since getting the Oxbow timmy hay, the fussy sods won't eat the local meadow hay any longer.
The bonus is once they get used to the pellets (mine at any rate) won't touch the old stuff again!