Friday, October 7, 2011

Hand Feeding the Unwilling

Bertie is one of the few pigs I've had that is not crazy for Critical Care.  I have been hand feeding her lately, mostly in an attempt to get some probiotics into her.  She has been taking a high dose of Baytril and after several days it began to seriously upset her digestive tract.

Bertie often eats about 8ccs in a sitting before she starts making a fuss.  If I'm lucky, I can get about 12ccs into her.  It depends on her attitude of the day.  In contrast, I believe Willow has sucked down 15cc of critical care at one go.  I don't think she even came up for air.  Willow will try to pull the syringe out of my hand if I don't feed it to her fast enough.  She's more than happy to take any leftovers Bertie is unwilling to eat.

So many hand feeding videos on YouTube are of guinea pigs like Willow, happily slurping down Critical Care as fast as they can.  It makes it look so easy.  Hand feeding a problem pig can be a real challenge.  I finally got a decent video of Bertie demonstrating what it's like to feed an unwilling pig.  This is about half as bad as she can get.  Her worst attitude can be pretty funny, especially when she flat out says NO!

I use a 35cc syringe for hand feeding simply because it's easy to back load the pellet mash into it.  It is more common to use a 1cc or 3cc syringe to hand feed a guinea pig, just to make sure you don't put too much in their mouth at once.  It took me a bit of practice to use such a large syringe.  If you squirt in more than 1cc of food in at a time, they're going to spit it out or possibly choke on it. 
For those of you that are interested, there is a good video called Handfeeding your guinea pig that shows how to mix up the mash and fill up a set of 1cc syringes.  I normally just mix the Critical Care with water.  However, with Bertie, I've been experimenting mixing the Critical Care with squash or banana baby food - anything that will make her more willing to eat it!


  1. Thank you for posting this! I have this very problem right now with my Oliver, who - unlike his 'brother' - hates Critical Care. I was having such a tough time these past couple of days handfeeding, and your post has helped me so much already. Thank you most sincerely!

  2. I do not know if i can do this if it's happem to my two boys;( but thanks for posting this would help me in future

  3. Your Bertie reminds me of my Belle. She has to undergo anesthesia for her teeth trim every couple of months and it's always so traumatic for her. We have to feed her medication through syringe and she hates it. Luckily she's a good eater and I've only had to feed her Critical Care once, if that can be considered since I'm not sure how much of it actually ended up in her tummy. Neither of my pigs like Critical Care so I'm also envious of those in the videos that make it look so easy!


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