Recently, they've gotten where they will sort of pull out the longer strands of hay and leave them on the ground while they eat the pieces that they want. They seem to only pick and choose which pieces of hay they will eat. A lot of times, the hay bin will be 3/4 full and they will whine and act like they're starving. When I fill it back up, they attack it as if they've been begging me for hours for food!
Is this normal for them to only eat 1/4 or so of the available hay or am I just spoiling them?
Also, a quick question about fresh veggies, how much should they eat in a day? I usually feed them veggies twice a day. Before I go to bed (midnight or so) and before I leave for work (8 AM or so). They NEVER let a veggie that they like go to waste but I wonder if I'm over feeding them.
These are two pretty decent sized boars. I'd say they go through an entire pack of celery (1 pound?) and 3-4 green bell peppers in a 10-14 days. Is that too much?
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They need about a cup of veggies per pig per day. They need some green leafy stuff (red or green leaf lettuce, for example), a sizable chunk of bell pepper because it supplies the vitamin C their bodies can't produce, and a few other things. See http://www.guinealynx.info/fave.html for some suggestions.
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They don't always eat everything I give them, but they eat most of the veggies and snack on the hay throughout the day. I police up the uneaten pieces of veggies in the morning when I give them fresh stuff and again in the afternoon when I add hay.
The 2 tablespoons of pellets they get last them a few days. I dump them out and put in fresh ones every two days or if they poop, pee or get otherwise contaminated.
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As far as veggies, I feed a.m. and p.m. Each pig gets roughly 1/2 cup of veggies at each feeding, but it's not an exact science. Green leaf and Boston lettuces are the staples, and then I rotate "grape" tomatoes (they're smaller than cherry tomatoes and supposedly less acidic), bell pepper, zucchini, cilantro, celery, cucumber, carrot, a few other veggies. Rarely any fruit. They get corn husks when they're in season. They also get roughly 1/8 cup of pellets twice a day, with the exception of our little stone-prone pig who gets maybe half that and gets a little more in the way of veggies.
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Veggies are about a cup each day. I feed some in the morning before work. Sometimes my husband is home and then he feeds a random carrot or pepper slice during the day. Then I feed a few veggies a couple of times in the evening. I figure she needs the extra attention and needs something to wheek about.
Okay it sounds like everything is normal with them then. I don't mind the wasted hay or anything. It's not like it's expensive or anything. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't supposed to like force them to finish their plates before giving them more LOL! I know they're supposed to have unlimited hay so I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong.
It also sounds like I'm giving them about the right amount of fresh veggies. I can't imagine that I'm giving them more than 1 cup per day. But my boys are extremely picky. They really like celery (which I cut up and mix up so the "leafy" parts and the stalks are evenly distributed), bell peppers (any color really), and parsley (oh and carrots but I've severely limited their intake of carrots once I read how they're not great for the piggies). I've given them cilantro which they didn't mind but also didn't seem to really like either. Things that I've tried that they didn't seem to care of include: tomatoes (both cut "normal" ones and cherry ones), cucumber, radicchio, radish leaves/stems, chard, etc.
They're also not a huge fan of the fruits I've tried to give them. They'll eat apple and blueberries but no grapes, strawberries, or raspberries.
Where I live, we only have a couple of choices for fresh veggies: Walmart and Publix. There was that recent romaine lettuce scare so I have not tried romaine yet but I think I'm going to try some soon. Any other suggestions for "leafy greens"?
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I switched them from timothy hay to orchard grass hay because we have allergies in the household. It took them a little while to adjust, but they eat all of it now. I find that there is some incidental litter in the form of yanked hay on the floor of the cage, but they pretty much clean up what's in their hay rack. There are no seed heads in the hay I get them (Oxbow).
For veggies, I get those baggies of mini sweet peppers and give them each one every day. They also get the cucumber peels from when I prepare my daughter's lunch and a few berries of some kind for a treat. I try to switch it up every day so they don't get bored with it. They each get a cup in the morning and then I sometimes toss in some clean kitchen scraps - like when I'm cutting up broccoli and I tear the leaves off the stalk. They love those because - again - bitter.
They also eat the smaller strands too, but yeah, that’s normal