I'd be surprised if there's a guinea pig out there who doesn't like carrots. Personally, I have yet to find one.
Guinea pigs love carrots like chocaholics love chocolate. A guinea pig will dive into a fresh carrot with the same gusto that a child dives into an Easter basket. It's a high point of their day. And when they finish what you give them, they'll stare up at you sweetly, as if telepathically trying to say to you, "May I have another, please?" It's hard to deny them and, thus, easy to help them over-indulge.
But carrots, as healthy as they are, require some moderation in a guinea pig's diet. Just as too much Vitamin A in a human's diet can be detrimental over time, so too can it be for guinea pigs. But there's an even more immediate concern. That sweet taste that carrots are known for means sugar (albeit natural) -- and too much sugar in a guinea pig's diet makes them as susceptible to diabetes as humans.
It's not uncommon for new guinea pig owners to overfeed carrots on a daily basis, offering a handful (five or more) of baby carrots or dropping a huge "regular" carrot into the cage. Even though our feeding recommendations (and those at Guinea Lynx) include a note about carrots, we often have to call special attention to "portion sizes" for carrots.
- 1 to 2 baby carrots OR
- equivalent-sized portion sliced off from a carefully cleaned "regular" carrot
Depending on how exacting you want to be, you can determine "equivalent-sized portions" by weighing, measuring, or eyeballing. Some owners who already buy large bags of carrots for their households, and aren't willing to buy a second bag just to have baby carrots, make a habit of cleaning a couple of carrots at a time and cutting them into pieces about the same size as baby carrots. If you have a budget you need to follow, this can be much more economical than buying bags of baby carrots.
If you've been overfeeding carrots to your guinea pigs, you'll need to cut back. Guinea pigs get comfortable in their routines, and most owners swear that their pigs can count carrots. Depending on how good your brood is at begging and mooching, coordinate with other family members about when carrots will be fed during the day and how much. You also might consider gradually cutting back over the course of a couple of days, putting something else into the daily salad (perhaps a piece of sweet bell pepper or a small chunk of cucumber), and making sure there's plenty of fresh hay in the cage.
What to do with the extra carrots left in your fridge? They make a great snack for us dipped into a little ranch dressing or hummus!