PDA

View Full Version : Intro and a question about skittish guineas and cage cleaning



rebrandynora
07-18-14, 07:03 am
Hello there! I am the new owner to 3 adopted guinea pig girls. We were hounding our local shelter for two guinea pig girls, but they had a trio of girls they wanted to keep together, so I am now the mama to 3. We have named them after saints, so the older (1.5 year olds) are named Fran (a black and white abby), and Claire (black, white, and orange). The younger one is 6 months and she is all brown with a white paw (pictured) named Gertie. My question pertains to Fran. We have had them about 2 weeks and they've warmed up to us nicely, taking food from our hands and wheeking when they see us. Claire and Gertie let us hold and snuggle them but Fran is a different story. Although Fran is the first to whistle at us and take food from our hands, she absolutely does not want to be picked up and when I did last week so I could clean the cage, she ran like mad and then SCREAMED and wiggled like crazy when caught. Then I felt like I had to win her over again. So, I've just been continuing to chat with her frequently and hand feed her, but I don't take her out for exercise or snuggle time like I do with Claire and Gertie. But now, how am I supposed to clean the cage? I've read advice on taming timid guineas, but it seems like some say not to pick up a guinea pig but let it warm up to you, and others say to hold them everyday so they get used to you. Anyone else have experience dealing with a skittish piggy? Did they come around? and what did you do about cage cleaning?

pigger123
07-18-14, 07:20 am
Welcome! You can use the piggy elevator method to get her out of the cage. Cut a hole in a cardboard box, lure the pig in, and lift the box with the hole covered. It's normal for her to be skittish, especially since she's new. Also, in my experience, younger pigs tend to be squirmy when you hold them. It will take time and patience for her to get used to you, many people say it took 6 months to a year for their pig. She still might never willingly let you pick her up, but she should become more open to snuggling. Hand feeding her and talking to her will help, but, once she seems a little more okay with it, you should try holding her often to get her used to it.

bpatters
07-18-14, 08:23 am
She may never love to be held, but you do need to catch and hold her for nail trimmings, check-ups, etc. Do you see her scratching a lot? Maybe she has mites? They can make a pig very cranky about being touched.

I clean my cage with the pigs in it. They're very nosy and interested in the goings on.

rebrandynora
07-18-14, 12:50 pm
Well, they're all happy for me to scoop up the poop and hay and all, but I do need to take out the fleece and towels completely to wash them once a week, and I like to take the girls out. I did have success today though with the elevator method! Fran seemed to go right along with it and didn't get too freaked out! I may try to use this method to get her out to hold her, and just wrap her in a towel for snuggle time. I think the feeling of being pursued for her was just terrifying. She's not scratching, and the shelter had an excellent guinea pig vet and she treats all guinea pigs for mites, so I'm pretty sure she's all right. I would love to know though if anyone out there has won over a timid pig. She's adorable, but so skittish.

pigger123
07-18-14, 02:18 pm
Another thing you could try is picking her up and holding her in a snuggle sack. Piggies tend to be less timid in a cozy fleece burrow, so it might help with holding her. Plus, it would make an even easier pick-up if she ran and hid in her snuggle sack and you could just lift out the whole thing with her in it. I think Rywen trained her pigs to go in their snuggle sack when she wanted to pick them up.

Rywen
07-18-14, 10:16 pm
Ferb was trained to go into his cuddle sack when I told him to but he seems to have untrained since I got Penny. Penny is very skittish but she's getting a lot better over time. She watches what Ferb does so she's getting to the point where I can sometimes pet her while she's in the cage. Once she's out for lap time she's mostly fine, she still startles easily but she doesn't try and crawl under the sofa cushions anymore. I lift both piggies out in the cuddle sacks, it's so much less stressful for everyone (you just have to make sure they don't try to jump).

ThePigAlchemist
07-18-14, 10:19 pm
For cage cleanings, I put a towel in the bathtub and put the pigs in there while I take out the fleece and towels and wipe everything down. With my setup, it would be impossible to do a cage clean with the pigs still inside. I do my twice-a-day scooping with the pigs still in the cage, though, and they don't care.

rebrandynora
07-19-14, 09:24 am
How do you get them to go in the snuggle sack? I think that would be good for Fran, and the others like it, but I have to actually put them in there. Maybe it's that my snuggle sacks are too small, if I tried to lure them in there with food, they'd just grab the food and scram. Or, I'd wind up picking them up with the bag over their head.

Rywen
07-19-14, 03:23 pm
I have them as hideys in their cage, and I put the entrances facing the back of the cage so they don't see me coming. I have lured them in by putting cilantro in the very back of the cuddle sack. And if I'm in a hurry to catch them sometimes I'll clap and it startles them and they run into the only hideys which are the cuddle sack (but they don't fall for that trick if I try it too often).

thechubbyfour
07-19-14, 03:55 pm
Some guinea pigs will come around while for others, that's just their personality.

I am an owner to four boys and two of them initially had this problem. From the moment I had both guinea pigs, Dakota and Calvin, they were extremely skittish. They would chatter when I went to pick him up and ran around the cage as fast as they could to avoid it. Once I would catch them they would continue to squirm in attempt to be let go!

After about two years, I've had him for three, Dakota finally came around and will let me hold him often, though he is not as social as my other two.

Calvin who would always come out when I sat by the cage and would be completely fine until I would try and pick him up, is still the same way. It really just depends on how the guinea pig is and only time will tell!

rebrandynora
07-19-14, 04:47 pm
Okay, well this week we're upping the bonding time ante, and have a big pet pen set on the floor. So now for veggie treat time, instead of sitting beside their cage and handing them veggies, we're sitting in the big pet pen with them and so they're coming into our lap for treats and scrambling under our legs and brushing up against us. Even Fran does it. I managed to shoo Fran into her sack to get her from the cage to the pen, and she did fine with that. I thought we'd do this for a week or so and then next week I'll catch her in her bag and work on snuggle time. I also am putting Fran outside in the garden run in the mornings, so I think she's finally getting used to being transferred in total, 4 times a day. She hasn't been squealing at all guys, so thank you all so much for the advice. I'm just hoping we can get her to do a nice snuggle in the evenings too. She's so adorable with her crazy tufty hair, it would be hard to never be able to cuddle her. I'm glad to hear that people have had guinea pigs who came around.