View Full Version : How to introduce piggies to the kids?

04-09-06, 11:13 am
Hello- I'm new to this forum and piggies in general. My sons are 6 and 10 years old. I would like to adopt a pair of females for them. We are currently trying to contact Wee Companions about adoption. We are going to build a C&C style cage which will in our family room. I've been reading all the great tips on food, bedding, medical supplies, etc.. I did a search on the forum for my question, so I hope it's a new one . Basically, how do we introduce the piggies to the kids? Should I limit the time with the kids? Should the piggies be allowed to get used to use one person at a time? If the piggies are shy, how do you check the nails? Will vacuuming in the house scare the piggies? We're trying to educate ourselves before we adopt. Please help!!

04-09-06, 02:21 pm
Welcome to the forum. I'm a mom of three (10yr old son, 7yr old daughter & a 3yr old daughter). Ok first of all, when you get everything ready and adopt your pair, I would give them a few days to get used to their new surroundings including the sites and sounds of their new home. It's great that their cage will be in the family room. You could have the boys sit by the cage and talk in normal tones to the piggies. This will get them used to the boys' voices.

As far as vacuuming, maybe wait for a few days before springing that on them. My girls are used to it now but I still give them a head's up that I'm going to vacuum by hitting the on button for a brief second and then I'll start to vacuum.

I have a small hand vacuum that I use in their cage which has all fleece in it. Out of the seven girls, two will come up to the vacuum and not really pay it too much attention. The others scatter to other places.

My older two kids have free range of the girls now. When we first got them, they weren't allowed to pick them up and hold them unless I was around but they have gotten better.

I hope this answers some of your questions. Good luck.

04-09-06, 07:46 pm
Thank you for the information! I went to a Pet Expo today and met with the Wee Companions staff ( A non profit rescue/ adoption group) . They had brought several piggies for adoption. I explained that I had no prior experience with piggies and they provided a wealth of information. We have adopted 2 lovely ladies and are anxiously preparing for their homecoming this coming Tuesday. We were able to purchase the food, bedding and hay from the Wee Companions. I have the gridwork for the C&C set up. Tomorrow I purchase the coroplast and rest of the cage accessories. The Wee Companion staff doesn't use fleece, but I hope to convert to it. I'm thinking of providing a couple of pads( double fleece layer with cotton backing) in the cage to let my ladies get used to it. Thanks again for your reply.

04-10-06, 02:40 pm
Congradulations! I am sure your whole family are going to love the piggies!

I think it is a great thing you are doing for the boys, most children love pigs, and keeping them in the family room is fantastic, it really is best if they are an entire family pet!

Wee Companions probably does not use fleece because with a lot of pigs, it can be challenging to maintain, I use 1/2 fleece in my cage, I find using another type of bedding on the other half seems to work best for us with odour control. I can't afford Carefresh and shavings make a mess sticking to the fleece, so we use Yesterdays news or stove pellets and like it alot.

I think your girls will adjust to the fleece very quickly, I adopted 3 2 year old ladies last fall at different times, and they all immediately perfered the fleece!

Anyway, I can't wait to hear about the girls and see Pigtures!

04-10-06, 08:06 pm
Yeah, I don't think the girls will care what is under them as long as they get their food. That seems to be the most important thing on their minds. Haha! Congrats and we love pigtures.

Have you named them?

04-10-06, 10:10 pm
My little ladies were named at the shelter, Anastasia ( mom) and Higgins ( daughter). Higgins was named for the character on Magnum P.I. ! My younger son wants to rename Anastasia "Hannah". Then we would have Hannah and Higgins. Their pictures may still be up on the Wee Companions website. Most of today was spent in setting up their C&C and adding finishing touches to their living quarters. I'm amazed at the coroplast. I'm wondering- Does it leak at the corners? Should I reinforce the corner seams with a water-proof tape or caulk? Right now I'm taking a break and enjoying the wonderful smell of the hay. Do you get used to it and take it for granted after a while? It's almost as much fun as the Christmas tree at Christmas. The level of anticipation is at about that level tonight as well. The plan is to pick up our new family members before lunch tomorrow. It's about an hour and a quarter drive. Do guinea pigs become carsick? We have all sorts of veggie goodies waiting for them. In fact, I don't think my refrigerator has had such an abundance of healthy food in a long time! Makes you rethink that saying about eating like a pig!

04-10-06, 10:28 pm
That's so exciting! Make sure you tell us everything tomorrow :).

04-11-06, 06:15 am
If you pour water in it, then yes it will leak. However since you will just have bedding inside of it you will be fine.

04-11-06, 08:35 am
I'm amazed at the coroplast. I'm wondering- Does it leak at the corners? Should I reinforce the corner seams with a water-proof tape or caulk? It really does not. I don't have any tape on mine, so that I can scrub out the corners real well on occasion. You could tape them with duct tape, but I would not suggest Caulking them.

Their pigtures are still up! They look really sweet, I especially like Hannah!

04-11-06, 09:35 am
I'm glad the pigtures are still up! It's a dangerous site to visit- there's so many lttle sweethearts needing a good home. I'll have to borrow a digital camera to put up some pigtures of my own when the ladies come home. Hannah and Higgins had a room mate " Cleopatra". We would have been willing to adopt all three, but Cleo had already been adopted. On the website you'll notice that there are no hours of operation listed. That's because Fenella ( the amazing woman in the lavender shirt in the photo on the home page) runs this rescue/ adoption center out of her own home. I have nothing but praise for her thoughtfulness and devotion to the furry friends. It's really been an eye opener. I had no idea how many animals need homes. It's funny, my little ladies haven't come home yet and already I'm trying to calculate if I have enough space to adopt or perhaps foster more!

04-11-06, 09:39 am
It's funny, my little ladies haven't come home yet and already I'm trying to calculate if I have enough space to adopt or perhaps foster more!

Uh-oh... you've caught the fever! ;)

04-11-06, 04:18 pm
With introducing them to the kids, (my 4 year old, nearly 5 year cousin was here recently, and this is how we did it) We sat her on the couch and put a pillow and then a towel over it, then got the the friendliest pig and sat him on the towel, with a piece of carrot so he wouldn't move. She was never allowed to be alone, and always had either myself or mum sitting next to her to corect her in how she was patting him, or in case Charlie (the pig) wanted to go for a wander.

I'd wait until they have been home for a day or so before you take them out and introduce them to the kids, just pick a nice quiet room, and stick some food in front of them, they will not want to move then. With your 6 year old, it would be best not to let him pick them up as he may squeeze or drop the pig (it can happen easily, especially if they wiggle a bit) I would let the 10 year pick them up, but only if they were supervised and having earnt your trust in their handling.

04-11-06, 07:02 pm
My younger son woke up today saying "Hurrah, the guinea pigs come home today!" After a busy start this morning, with some last minute vacuuming, I went to collect the piggies. When I placed them in their new home, both girls made a beeline for the far corner where I had placed a box and a hay rack. I then went to the kitchen to bring in the veggies I had prepared for their arrival. Anastasia certainly knows what a refrigerator is! She was back out like a flash. She grabbed a piece of lettuce to the corner and then Higgins popped out. It's so funny to watch them do lettuce speed eating races. One on either end of a leaf of romaine eating as fast as possible. They then started to explore the cage, talking to each other all the while. I wish I spoke cavy! It was funny to see them with the fleece. Higgins ran across it, then stopped and walked across it again, picking up her feet as though she were marching. Anastasia was intrigued by the fleece snuggle cup. She was tasting it and tugging it with her teeth. She finally decided it wasn't good to eat and decided to stretch out for a nap. Speaking of eating- how much veggies are you supposed to feed these guys? I don't think I'll call the girls "ladies" anymore after watching them chow down! Anastasia keeps insisting that she is starving . The hay and pellets don't count, I suppose. She munches them almost absent-mindedly, just killing time til her next veggie snack!

04-12-06, 01:32 am
Wow, sounds like you have very brave piggers! Congrats!

A cup a day of veggies each is good, but you'll find that a cup doesn't go a long way. I think I feed mine a lot more than that.

04-12-06, 07:46 am
Thanks for the info. I had read "1 cup a day" but wasn't sure if that was the maximum or minimum requirement. Currently I have extra grid panels set up alongside the 4 by 2 to form a pen or 'quiet' zone. It looks like 2 cages 4 by 2 with the long sides together. The cage has the coroplast bottom and a top. The open pen just has a carpet remnant as flooring. The pen area has rules- 1 You must wash your hands before entering the pen 2 No toys 3 Sitting only 4. 5 minutes only. With permission, my boys are allowed to sit quietly by the cage in the pen area. I've let them 'tidbit' with a litttle parsley and coriander. At one point my younger son and Anastasia were actually nose to nose along the side of the cage while he was promising to give her more treats later. Usually, the piggies will come up to the side of the cage when anyone sits in the pen. If you don't offer them anything they will sometimes go back to their hiding spots or back to playing. Last night they were running races. Higgins especially, was having great fun. She would zoom through the shoebox tunnel, do a hairpin turn and run full tilt through the paper bag tunnel . At one point she jumped ON the paper bag and scared herself a little. But a minute later she was back to running through it. Then, to our great joy, the piggies started to popcorn. Bouncing piggies!! The funniest moment was when Higgins popcorned inside the shoebox tunnel. Levitating shoebox!!

04-12-06, 12:48 pm
That's great! You know, if the pigs are that comfortable already, I'm sure you can allow your boys to start taking them out, etc. It sounds like they're already very settled in.

04-12-06, 05:50 pm
It really makes me happy to see somebody doing so well right from the start, like you researched and asked questions before you got the piggies, put the cage in the family room, not tucked away in a kid's bedroom, you adopted, etc. Continue keeping us updated and good luck with the pigs! = ) lol

04-13-06, 12:13 pm
The girls were more subdued yesterday. Still the occasional popcorn, but less abandoned full scale racing. I think Higgins is having some adolescent issues with her mom. Higgins was born January 19, so shouldn't she be considered a teenager? There is some rumblestrutting and charging. They are fighting over the pigloo. I don't really want to add a second one, since they do take up quite a bit of space. There are 2 other hide a ways - a box and a tunnel. I tried re -arranging things when I cleaned their cage. I added a little box ( like a miniature milk crate) with hay woven through the grid- an edible hide a way. Higgins seems willing to accept this as a second choice, She still will sneak into the pigloo when Anastasia leaves, only to be chased out when her mom returns. They will disappear for up to an hour then come out to forage, beg food, drink, stretch and play for up to 20 minutes. Then it's back to hiding out. They will come out any time the crisper is opened in the fridge or they hear the snapping of a lettuce leaf. Does this sound like they are settling in? Or is the hiding an indication of stress?

04-13-06, 12:51 pm
It sounds like they're quite settled in already. What size of pigloo do you have? If it's the small kind maybe you can get two to prevent fighting?

04-13-06, 05:47 pm
First pigture !

04-13-06, 06:24 pm
Few more pigtures.
Higgin and Anastasia http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h285/Djakarta/?action=view&current=IMG_0080.jpg

Anastasia ready for her close up http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h285/Djakarta/?action=view&current=IMG_0086.jpg

Higgins doing her impersonation of a sheep. http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h285/Djakarta/?action=view&current=IMG_0094.jpg

04-13-06, 07:57 pm
Aww. They're really cute. I love the all white one.

04-13-06, 11:15 pm
They're so beautiful, I LOVE the piggie kiss picture!

04-23-06, 01:30 am
We've started allowing my sons to hold the piggies in their laps . I have the boys sit in the pen alongside the cage and I drape their laps with soft material- fleece or towels. The boys have treats for the piggies, usually grass, the current favorite. I then place the piggies in the boy's laps ( neither of my sons is allowed to pick the piggies up yet). The way the fabric is draped, the piggies are free to leave the lap and to return. When the piggies are in their laps, the boys may pet them, but not restrain them if they want to leave. The boys will coax Higgins and Anastasia back and forth. Anastasia will often come to investigate what is being offered to Higgins. If Higgins can't see Anastasia, she will become agitated and cry for her and/or leave the lap to look for her. They love the treats, but look more like they are merely tolerating the contact, they don't yet enjoy petting. Anastasia is the friendlier and more dominant. Poor Higgins is more timid. Fortunately, my sons have decided that Anastasia belongs to my younger son, and Higgins to my older son. My older son is more patient and less in a hurry to be able to pet and handle Higgins. How should we proceed? Since Higgins is more shy, should she be handled more frequently or less? Should we attempt lap time every day ? Is it best to stick to a regular schedule --same sequence of events, same time of day?

04-23-06, 02:10 am
The more you handle a pig, the better they get at being handled. Keep it to short sharp sessions, say 10 minutes, and always give her a treat. If she starts enjoying it, and knowing that she will get back into her cage quickly it becomes easier, and you will be able to lengthen the amount of time you bring her out. And yeah, I'd keep it to around the same time of day.

Below is the picture my aunt took of my cousin, feeding Charlie some Parsley during their introduction. It sounds like you are doing something similar to what we did.

05-09-06, 11:08 am
It's the 1 month anniversary of Anastasia and Higgins' homecoming!! The girls are settling in well. They have gotten used to the laptime routine. We usually prepare by putting a piece of fleece down next to the cage. I've been using one of the boxes in their cage to lift them out into the petting pen. My boys call this box "the piggy elevator". Yesterday , we were setting up for lap time, and found Higgins waiting patiently in the elevator, ready for transport ! Here are some more pictures. The initial 2 by 4 cage, the new configuration with the second story loft, Anastasia enjoying the fleece, cute piggy feet, Anastasia and Higgins from the first week, the girls now (Hasn't Higgins grown!!) and my younger son with Anastasia.

My son has told me that Anastasia's name should remain Anastasia, "Hannah" is just his special nickname for her.

05-09-06, 05:25 pm
They're so cute! Your son looks so happy in that last picture.

I really like the second story, how did you make those support posts?

05-09-06, 07:31 pm
Thanks. I used 3/4 inch PVC pipe for the supports. Each piece is capped off with a 90 degree coupling that is smooth on one side to join the post and threaded on the other end. The threaded end is screwed into another 90 degree coupling which is secured to the under side of the top level with a zip tie. This allows me to swing the post supports to the side when I'm changing the fleece. I used wire shelving for the floor since it seemed to sag less than the cubes did. This was my second attempt at a second level. With my first try, the girls wouldn't go near the ramp, and I didn't like the way the second level was sagging. This time I covered the end of the ramp with a shoebox to form a tunnel and the girls zoomed right on through. I caught Anastasia contemplating the top of the shoebox later on. I swear she was thinking about sliding down the top of it, the same way a child contemplates sliding down a banister. Needless to say, The shoebox was removed.