If you’re a newer piggy parent, you may have observed some behaviors that aren’t too common in other pets that you may have experience with. Guinea pigs are a bit different from regular pets like dogs and cats! Because of this, you may have some questions.
You may be wondering to yourself: why is my guinea pig eating their poop?
There’s a perfectly logical explanation for this!
There are 2 types of poop
If you didn’t know, cows do a similar thing to guinea pigs! They first chew their food and swallow it, then spit it back up. They then eat that for a second round of vitamins and nutrients that they didn’t get the first time.
It’s a similar idea for guinea pigs. The first round of poop for piggies are called caecotrophs. These are pellets of nutrients that are good for your guinea pig! The piggies know this, and that is why they will eat them.
You as the human will rarely ever see the caecotrophs yourself, as the guinea pigs eat them almost immediately! However, if you do see them, then you should check on your piggy, because malnourishment can be likely if they’re not eating enough of the caecotrophs.
The second round of poop is the dry poop that we all know and clean from their cages!
Rabbits are another animal aside from cows and guinea pigs that have this eating habit, and it’s perfectly normal.
RU and MI eat their poops too!
Recently, we went to do a photoshoot at GuineaDad’s home while he was gone on a trip, and when we took a look around the piggies’ cage, there were plenty of dried poop pellets laying around! (Especially in this one corner of the cage, which seems to be their favorite spot!) This is a good thing, as we've previously discussed, and that tells us that RU and MI have been eating very well even in GuineaDad’s absence.
This is why it’s important not to just feed your guinea pigs well, but to keep a close eye on their urine and poop output! You can learn so much from staying observant and attentive.
Your guinea pigs aren't eating their poop?
This can be cause for some concern, as a good portion of the nutrients they get from their food need to be consumed through eating the caecotrophs! This might be the time to consult your vet if it goes on for a while.
Some older guinea pigs, especially the boars (males) lose strength in their butts, which makes it difficult for them to pass caecotrophs. You may need your vet to help to ease it out of them.
If this occurs with your piggy, you may need to supplement their diet with vitamins to prevent malnutrition!
Let them eat their poop!
Your piggies are super smart, and they know which of their poops they can eat and which ones not to.
They know that they need nutrients from these little pellets, so let them do their thing and have peace of mind knowing that they’re just being healthy!