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View Full Version : I have just discovered the wonderful world of Piggies! Advice is always welcome.



Lord Pigwidgeon
08-18-14, 12:37 am
So, I must say that I'm incredibly new at this. I recently purchased my guinea pig at a Petsmart a week or so ago, and when I bought what I thought were essentials, I went home and discovered the exact opposite: I'd done everything all wrong! Not only was the cage smaller than what was recommended, I'd bought only one cavy instead of buying a pair, the food was low quality, and one of the toys they'd said was a popular one was actually unsafe! As I read more and more, I realized that I had fallen into the same mistakes that others had, and I couldn't stand it. The poor small guy can't be more than 2 and a half months old right now, and he's so small that I worried that I'd ruined him. So, I began to fix it. I bought the essential supplies for a C&C cage, only deviating enough to put down laminate instead of coraplast. I made sure to go to a family owned pet store that specialized in nicer quality equipment and food for him, and I washed the fleece at least 3 times before putting it down. I'm actually working on litter box training him, which is going along pretty well, comparing it to stories I've read online. I wanted to keep making it better though, so I read and watched videos on how to bring in a new cavy to avoid trouble with males fighting. I was able to introduce him today, which went very well! Sir Pig, the first guinea pig, wasn't too keen at first, but he's been warming up to the unnamed one fairly easily. The unnamed male was immediately friendly and has been whistling and trying to snuggle him all day.

One thing that I've noticed is that the new guy is very skittish around me. Granted, I know that they're anxious, excitable creatures, but when I attempted to move him from the meeting set-up to his new cage, every time my hands went around him he'd begin wheeking in an almost panicked way. He kept moving away, so I tried to make sure not to give chase and scare him. I waited for him to run past my leg, and I stopped him with my hand to pick him up. Once I had him, he kept twisting and moving, clearly scared and not okay with the situation. Whenever I move close, Sir Pig comes to me and sniffs me and then goes about his business, but this newcomer runs and hides for quite some time. I know that changes are difficult for them, but I kept thinking about the house that I'd adopted him from. When I pulled up, dogs were going nuts, there were cats in the window, and she had him and a couple of others in a plastic tub with nothing on the bottom to cushion their feet. Even when she put her hand in the tub, they ran from her and weren't settled. I'm worried that while he was living with her that he may have suffered either neglect or major terror, and I'm wondering about different ways to help him be more comfortable around me. He seems to be perfectly fine with Sir Pig, but I also want him to be comfortable or at least not too frightened of me. Now, I know this takes time, and I've only had him a day, but I'm also thinking of the next couple of weeks after he's been settled in. What sort of tips can I keep in mind for when he's ready to even consider me? Currently, Sir Pig will allow me to pick him up long enough to settle him on my chest or shoulder, and he sniffs and nibbles my fingers and dances around when I sing for him. I hope that one day this new companion for Sir Pig will be able to enjoy those sort of things too. If not, then at least be less frightened of me. :) Anything anyone has to add would be wonderful. I'm still very new, so I have much to learn.

Thank you!

kanojochan
08-18-14, 12:57 am
Welcome! So glad that you were able to improve your piggy's living arrangements immediately~ :D Sounds like you've already made quite a few improvements already.

My piggies took several weeks to really settle down. At first, they'd hide most of the time and they'd panic and scatter at the slightest movements in the house. But slowly, they got braver and more comfortable. Now they run laps while I watch, they only go into their hiding spaces when they nap, and they come up to the sides of the cage when I come around! :] It just takes time.

Piggies are prey animals so their instinct is to run at any sign of danger. Running away from you when you try to pick them up is normal. Mine still panic and squeal when I go to pick them up, but once I have a good hold on them they're actually quite good. I would offer some favorite snacks when you take them out for lap time so they associate it with a good thing.

Some people use a box to pick up their piggies to make it less stressful. Get a box and cut a hole in the side, put some veggies in the box and set it in the cage. Then let the piggy wander in at its own will. Pick up the box and once it's safe in your lap or in the pen, you can pet your piggy and pick it up from inside the box to make it easier.

Lord Pigwidgeon
08-18-14, 01:23 am
I really like the idea with the cut-out box and vegetables! Should I try to pick the new one up like that now, or should I let him settle in for a week or so before attempting to hold him?

With Sir Pigwidgeon I would feed him pellets or hay from my hand and he warmed right up. I didn't even have to wait a day or so before holding him! From what I've read that's not always normal, so I think he spoiled me with his eagerness to be cuddled.

Starthecavy123
08-18-14, 08:42 am
I just have one question are you sure both are males. Pet stores are notorious for miss-sexing their small animals. If your not sure I'd check here http://www.guinealynx.info/sexing.html or post a pic so we could try and help if you have trouble.

Guinea pigs also need unlimited hay. Long strand hay helps with their teeth. If they are younger than 6 months they need alfalfa hay and alfalfa based pellets.

As far as picking them up its kind of a must. They may squeak and act like it's the end of the world but its not. They will learn to deal with it. Yes you can try the piggy elevator some say it works like a charm. One of my pigs Cinna doesn't like being touched at all while in his cage. So it can be quite difficult to pick him up but sometimes you just have to. Plus they are prey animals so they will naturally run and hide.

Lord Pigwidgeon
08-18-14, 09:15 am
I just have one question are you sure both are males. Pet stores are notorious for miss-sexing their small animals. If your not sure I'd check here http://www.guinealynx.info/sexing.html or post a pic so we could try and help if you have trouble.

Guinea pigs also need unlimited hay. Long strand hay helps with their teeth. If they are younger than 6 months they need alfalfa hay and alfalfa based pellets.

As far as picking them up its kind of a must. They may squeak and act like it's the end of the world but its not. They will learn to deal with it. Yes you can try the piggy elevator some say it works like a charm. One of my pigs Cinna doesn't like being touched at all while in his cage. So it can be quite difficult to pick him up but sometimes you just have to. Plus they are prey animals so they will naturally run and hide.


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pigger123
08-18-14, 09:20 am
Definitely male. Is that two pics of the same pig?

Lord Pigwidgeon
08-18-14, 09:36 am
Definitely male. Is that two pics of the same pig?

Yes, I tried to get two as close as possible to him so that you could compare to check! The other guy is for sure male, when he was rumblestrutting yesterday I definitely saw the bulge on top. It's so good that you say that, I thought Sir Pig was a female and was freaking out and getting the other cage set up to separate them! The pet store said all of theirs were males, but I've heard horror stories, so thank you for checking!! Now that I know that, it's a weight off.

Starthecavy123
08-18-14, 09:51 am
Yea pet stores are notorious for miss-sexing their pigs. My first pig thought was a female because thats what the pet store said. Then 5 years later found out they were wrong. Turned out I was calling him a her for 5 years.

Lord Pigwidgeon
08-18-14, 09:59 am
Yea pet stores are notorious for miss-sexing their pigs. My first pig thought was a female because thats what the pet store said. Then 5 years later found out they were wrong. Turned out I was calling him a her for 5 years.

Yeah, as I was grabbing the alternate cage until I could get to the store for more cubes, I was just chatting to Sir Pigwidgeon, trying to determine what sort of name change I can twist around to make it more of a "Lady Pigwidgeon" or something...haha. Guess I can put the other cage back now, thankfully. My next step was to wonder if I should find another female for Sir Pig and another male for the unnamed guy...that was going to get potentially crowded!