Hand Feeding - Daisymay's Tips

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Post   » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:51 pm


Daisymay has hand fed her guinea pig, Jessie, for over a year.

Her tips include:
  • Feed enough food. Weigh before and after feeding so you know how much you were able to get into your pet. Frequent weighing will let you know if you are feeding enough to maintain weight.
  • See if another family member can help with the feeding. If your pig needs 'round the clock feeding, you will need some sleep.
  • "When you find a mix your piggy likes don’t be surprised if further down the track s/he decides they want a change." Try new foods every once and a while.
  • If your guinea pig is not as active, try lots of tummy massages to help encourage motility.
  • A 1cc or 3cc syringe with the tip cut off works best (we recommend the 1cc size).
Making a mash:
  • Grind pellets and timothy hay in a coffee grinder.
  • Mix 2 teaspoons of Critical Care with 5 teaspoons of the hay/pellet powder.
  • Blend into this powdered mix favorite foods like rockmellon (cantaloupe), red capsicum (red pepper), and a bit of red delicious apple.
  • Add hot water. Jessie liked a thin paste. Add less water for a thicker paste. Hot water may affect vitamin content but Daisymay if you use warm or cold water, it does not mix properly.
  • Always offer extra water between bites.
Refrigerate mash during day. Discard after 24 hours.


At the time of my writing this I have been syringe feeding Jessie for 16 months full time and 8 months as a supplement before that.

I have found I am very lucky as Jessie is so easy to syringe feed; we put her on her little bed in the kitchen and just offer her the syringe. But some piggies are harder to feed, you might find it easier to wrap these piggies in a towel and feed that way. My situation with Jessie is that the Critical care is her only source of food as due to a tooth root abscess and then a tooth removal Jessie is unable to eat by herself.

Now at first when we fed Jessie we were only giving her around 16 syringes a sitting and this was no way enough to maintain weight. As time went on we learnt to give her more, also Jessie was not moving around as much as she use to so we have to give a lot of tummy massages to help with tummy movement and to avoid motility issues. We found just because Jessie was not able to eat for herself she should miss out on any of her favourite foods so we added this in a juicer or blender and poured this into the critical care mixture. When you find a mix your piggy likes don't be surprised if further down the track s/he decides they want a change.

I also put pellets and Timothy hay into a coffee grinder and grind them to a fine powder and when I make the Critical care I add 2 teaspoons of Critical care and 5 teaspoons of the timothy hay/pellet powder mixture, I then blend or juice Jessie’s veggies, her favourite is Rockmelon, Capsicum (red) and then some red delicious apple and once this is mixed I add this to the dry powder and stir, I then add hot water and stir. I make a thin paste as Jessie finds it hard to chew with her misaligned mouth, but if you want to make a thicker paste then add less water.

Whenever you syringe feed a piggy always offer water as the Critical care is very dry and can make piggy thirsty. I always warm the water and the Critical care mix in the Microwave and stir with a spoon to distribute the heat and check the temperature. I use either a 1ml or 3ml syringe and I cut the tip of so it easier to suck up the critical care.

I have always found when you get a piggy start offering a couple of times a week the syringe, it may have some water in it or pellets who have been in a grinder. By doing this you are getting the piggy use to being fed by the syringe so if ever the need arises that your piggy needs to be syringe fed your piggy is used to the syringe and the ordeal will be less stressful for you both.

An important thing when syringe feeding is it is easier when there are two people doing it especially when piggy has to be fed around the clock. I always weigh Jessie before and after the feed to make sure she is getting the food and I also know how much to give her to maintain weight. Because critical Care is more or less a liquid when mixed be on the watch for tummy issues and try to have a Probiotic on hard in case of piggy having soft or no poops at all.

When you feed piggy try to be relaxed and make it an enjoyable time for you and your piggy and observe piggy whilst feeding so you can see if there is anything unusual about them. Good luck and persist as hand feeding a piggy can at times be the difference between life and death for your piggy.

The made up mixture is only good for 24 hours after this any unused mixture should be discarded and fresh made up.

This is Jessie happily taking the syringe. December 2009.

This was Zoe who liked the towel method.

Veggies you can add for your piggies are anything a piggy will eat. Some I have added are:
  • Capsicum.
  • Spinach.
  • Silverbeet.
  • Grass (to help soften poops).
  • Cucumber (also to soften poops).
  • Watermelon.
  • Lettuce.
  • Pumpkin.
  • Apple.
  • Rockmelon.
  • Sweetcorn (removing it from the cob first).
  • Rocket.
  • Kale.
  • Snow peas.
These are the fruit and veggies I have tried but being in the UK and USA you have a better range of veggies and fruits you can add. Experiment and you will find one your piggy likes.
Happy Hand feeding!

* Note from Lynx: Vegetables are a better choice than fruits. Corn is not very nutritious and should be used sparingly or not at all.

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