Do you know how difficult it is to weigh 20g of hay without spreading it all over the western world?
I do know this because I have been doing some controlled feeding, to discover why Wolfgang was suddenly a loose-skinned hairy bag of bones. And when I weighed what was left at the end of the day, it was obvious: not eating the hay. At all.
It’s suicidal behaviour for a guinea pig. What I don’t know is why; he has been eating similar hay for four and a half years and has been a thumping great piggy for most of it, and the vet could see nothing wrong with his teeth. He still had an appetite, eating nuggets and fresh food freely. What’s more, nothing seems to have gone wrong with the hay, since Alnitak is still as fat as butter. The point was academic, since hay is crucial for their teeth and bowels.
My cue to go to the pet shop and buy the stupidly overpriced hays for spoiled rotten guinea pigs. I bought the chopped meadow hay; the green timothy hay; and the marigold and dandelion herbage mix. Then I did the 8 out of 10 cats scenario with samples for the pigs to try.
Alnitak was indifferent; he went right on eating the same old hay and ignored the new feeds. Wolfgang rushed up to the bowls with faint cries of “At last! At last!”, sank his face into the most expensive brand, and ate for an hour without stopping.
Sigh. Would you believe marigold and dandelion comes in at £6 a kilo?
Wolfgang’s tummy is coming back, though he is still distressingly bony over the hips and withers. The return visit to the vet confirmed weight gain and he could still see no other problems. But I’ll be keeping an eye on the avoirdupois; there’s a lot of catching up to do.