View Full Version : New piggy parent

01-01-15, 08:22 pm
Hey guys. I got my two beautiful girls yesterday along with cage, hay, wood toys, water bottle, paper bedding, treats, food, igloo & grooming kit. I will post pictures if they let me.

But first, a couple of questions.

I know it will take a while for them to warm up to me, but I was really surprised by how shy they actually are, being that they came from a pet store I thought they might be used to being handled. But when I try to pick up either one they squeak and the whole ordeal stresses me out so I stopped trying for now. Anything I can do besides waiting it out?

Also, I don't know if they can figure out the top level of their cage. We've had to pick them up and put them up there and put them back down. I don't know if they can figure out the slope that goes up, or if its too steep for them, or what.

So far they eat well. They really like the hay, they have had carrots we put in there, and tonight we tried apple slices and they seem to like them. I got the yogurt drop treat things but they haven't eaten them so I don't think they like them. :(

But how do I know they are getting water from the water bottle? I've seen bubbles go up when they drink (or bite at it), but being the worrywart that I am, I'm always concerned they aren't getting any. Just in case I put a bowl of water on the top platform too.

Last night they were fighting. Well, not fighting. The bigger one was chasing the other one and jumping on her. I don't think she was hurting her, but she was squeaking. It was stressful for me to just let it happen. But I let them duke it out and now they seem to get along. Is that normal?

01-01-15, 08:29 pm

01-01-15, 08:40 pm
That cage is NOT suitable for guinea pigs. It's not large enough for one pig, much less two. If I were you, I'd clean it up, return it and get my money back. See the Main tab at the top of this page for the recommended cage sizes for guinea pigs, and there are instructions there for building your own cubes & coroplast (C&C) cage, or you can order one from www.guineapigcagesstore.com.

Throw the yogurt drops away -- guinea pigs are lactose intolerant and shouldn't have anything at all with dairy in it. Pet stores will sell you a ton of stuff that's bad for your pigs, including the guinea pig food in your picture. They need a plain hay pellet with no seeds, nuts, or colored bits. Oxbow makes good pellets, as does KMS Hayloft (online sales only).

Guinea pigs don't tolerate sugar well (there's NO sugar in their natural environment), so they should only have fruit occasionally as a treat. They MUST have a source of vitamin C, as they can't manufacture it themselves. Bell pepper is a very good way to give them vitamin C. They also need lettuce, red or green leaf lettuce is great for them. See http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/22156-READ-ME-Cavy-Nutrition-Charts-amp-Poisonous-Plants-List for other things they can eat, and how often.

They need a long strand grass hay ALL the time (timothy, orchard, meadow, blue, brome) -- it's what keeps their teeth ground down and their guts moving properly. Guinea pigs must eat all the time -- they don't get served meals like dogs and cats.

01-01-15, 08:52 pm
Welcome to the world of piggies! :)

Guinea pigs are always very shy. Try to pet them in their cage before anything.

They may figure out the top level eventually, but I would just take it out for now.

Guinea pigs are strictly herbivores, so yogurt drops aren't good for them. They also don't like them very much at all.

To make sure they are getting water out, push on the ball in the nozzle so the water will come out on your hand. To avoid worries that it may be broken or blocked off, maybe you should get two.

That is called mounting. Yes, it is perfectly normal. They are just establishing dominance.

I'd also like to point out that your cage is a bit too small. AIt is not your fault at all, pet stores are often misleading and will try to get you to buy something that you don't really need. I would consider getting a large C&C cage for your guinea pigs. Please, no offense.

01-01-15, 08:52 pm
It would pay to double and triple check that they are indeed both girls. If they are both girls then what you are seeing is dominance behaviour, if one is acutally a boy then you could have a pregnant guinea pig to care for.

Guinea pigs should not be fed yoghurt treats as they are lactose intolerant. Heck most pet store treats are unhealthy for them and only serve the purpose of making money for the store, your guinea pigs will be much happier with some fresh fruit or veg as treats. Be careful of pet store pellets as most contain either seeds or coloured bits making them unsuitable for guinea pigs. Also be careful how much and how often you feed carrot and apple as they are both high in sugar which can cause gas and bloat in guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs should be fed one cup of vegetables per pig per day, along with unlimited hay. Pellets should be limited to 1/8 cup per pig per day if they are older then 6 months. Some vegetables can be fed everyday, others should be fed less often here is a link to read http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/22156-READ-ME-Cavy-Nutrition-Charts-amp-Poisonous-Plants-List

Also your cage is way too small for even one guinea pig, let alone two which can cause a ton of issues. http://www.guineapigcages.com has the minimum cage size recommendations.

We all make mistakes to begin with so don't feel too bad, just try to learn from them. It is especially hard when pet stores are so misleading.

01-01-15, 09:02 pm
I was concerned the cage was too small, but I wasn't sure. I tried to do as much reading as possible, but considering we had originally planned on getting rats but ended up with guinea pigs there wasn't much time to plan. I will try to fix all of these issues as quickly as possible.

01-01-15, 10:15 pm
Such shy cuties! What are their names?

A lot of us start with petstore guinea pigs in petstore cages, myself included. They will be so much happier in a bigger cage and it gives the space for them to show off their personalities (so fun to watch for us piggie parents too!) This forum is such a fantastic resource for all piggie care: cage building, diet, sexing, bedding options, etc.

My experience from the first month with my boys:

On Gender, I agree with the above, double check their sexes.
On Handling, give them time to settle in, but it’s normal for them to bolt when you try to pick them up, no matter how long you’ve had them. For me, wrapping them in a towel and bribing them with veggies was the key. They still bolt, but they’re okay when they’re in my arms now (and checking my pockets for carrots and cucumber!)
On Second Floors, they’ll probably figure it out eventually. I think Hermes took 1 1/2 weeks and Icarus almost 3 weeks? Yeah, I originally thought the second floor was a waste, but now I can’t imagine my cage without them. (As I type this, they’re snuggling over hay on the second floor.) Just put yummy stuff up there, and they’ll find the motivation! But some pigs never like second floors, depending on personality.
On Water Bottles, I thought mine weren’t drinking enough my first week too. At noted above, tap the mouth piece with your finger and if the water flowed very freely, you’re probably ok. They seem to eat way more than they drink!
On Behavior, mounting, rumblestrutting, and all similar dominance behavior is very normal. It will happen no matter what, but it’s less intense in a larger cage. I’m currently in the end of boar puberty, so much rumbling! But they sleep using the same fleece bed as a pillow, nose-to-nose, so I know they’re good.

01-02-15, 02:14 am
I just noticed as well that there is a plastic store container in the cage which I presume you are using as a bowl. You should get a small ceramic bowl, not the plastic as it could be a potential chew toy and plastic isn't good for piggies. Welcome to the forum! Your pigs are cute!

01-02-15, 09:44 am
Welcome to the forums! Everyone has already pointed out a lot of the misinformation that the pet store has given you so I won't repeat that. It'll be quite overwhelming to get your head around all this stuff but I promise it'll be worth it when you can see how much happier and healthier it'll make your pigs.

A lot of us here have been in the same position as you are. So I hope you don't feel too bad because obviously you would expect a pet store to know what is required, sadly this is not the case.

I would highly recommend you read the following guide and browse the forums thoroughly. If you have any questions do ask we're happy to help :o


01-02-15, 10:10 am
Thanks for all the info. We let them run around in the living room for a little while today and got them used to being touched.

Bella (the Queen) is on the left & Rosa is on the right


01-02-15, 12:32 pm
Aww! They're adorable! Since everyone else has pretty much addressed the misinformation that you were given by that pet store, I just wanted to say hi, and welcome to the forum! I'm Sofia, and I hope you like it here!

01-02-15, 02:54 pm
Welcome! Pigs commonly do dominance dances like what you describe, even if they already know each other well. It's best just to let them work it out.

On the bright side, it looks like you got them at Petsmart (your cage and all of your supplies are the Petsmart store brand). It's policy that each Petsmart store sells only one sex so you've almost certainly got two females despite all the humping!

To answer your questions:

1. Guinea pigs don't usually know what to do with ramps. Some learn to use them and others just don't. If your girls don't seem interested in the ramp, I'd remove that part and move the shelf down lower so they can use it as a hide.

2. Hand feeding them veggies through the cage bars is a nice way to get them to feel more comfortable with you. Also, many pigs hate being picked up from the cage but are okay once they're actually out.

3. As long as the water level is going down in the bottle, it's almost certainly making it into the pigs!

Good luck with the newbies, they are adorable!

01-02-15, 03:05 pm
Welcome to the forum! This may seem odd, but when I first got both of my boys I would just sit by their cages and read to them to get them used to my voice and talking. I personally think it's helped a lot. One of my boys isn't shy at all, and the other is slowing becoming more comfortable with me.

01-04-15, 11:18 am
Welcome! I know you know what you should do from all the other posts. Your piggies are adorable! Give them lots of love. :) let us know when you manage to bond better.