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Amethysta

In over my head?

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I have really tried to do the best I can with my herd. It's been a real challenge for me to not get very attached to "All" the pigs. I am not a breeder, and I am really concerned for how I will begin to re-home a ton of babies that I took the responsibility of when I brought their Moms here. From the beginning, when I brought Pepper home, I knew how to care for them. There were things I learned here. The thing I really didn't know about, was that they shouldn't be bred when they are over a certain age. My intention was not to become a breeder.. but one for me usually ends up with 2....3.... 6. So, when I read that she could die, that was something that just wasn't acceptable to me to risk. Pepper is an adult pig - she was over a year when I acquired her from Craigslist. So, when I bought Paprika from a local pet store, she was sexed correctly as female. Her and Pepper were brought together into a somewhat love hate relationship. Pepper is very dominate and tends to pick on specific females.

Velvet, Sparkplug and Nibbler... I am so glad I didn't bring ALL this woman's pigs home. I don't know if Nibbler got pregnant here, or back where her previous owner had her entire herd of males and females free ranging (and not in a safe way). She had asked me a few weeks after I had this trio home if guineas can eat potatoes. . . potatoes. I suggested that she take a look at this site, I also guided her to the guinealynx site for dietary info. I don't think any of this group ever actually had veggies. You could feel their spines, especially on the youngest, Nibbler. I think that I have been very lucky that none of them have been sick considering.

Now here's my dilemma. We had 5 females that were pregnant. Two of which were my fault for mis-sexing. I've gone from, what most of my friends, family feel was an insane amount... to me being excessively stressed about how many babies this produced, and feeling extremely panicked about the re-homing. I can't HAVE almost 30 guinea pigs.. not that I don't WANT to, it's just too much. In the end, I can only put the blame on myself, because I was stupid enough to rescue them from Craigslist. I know they are better off here than where they were. But now I am seeing the huge picture.

WHAT WAS I THINKING ?

The babies are all, cute, fuzzy little nubblets. I love them all. But yikes... I went from having 9. To having 27.. in 2 months. It's sad to say that I am not positive about the amount either. I stopped counting after Phoebe had hers. I think it's denial that I've hit. I actually saw Apollymi give birth to her second baby.. which was just awesome, yet depressing at the same time. I called to my husband "Babies."

And his reply, "Again, can't you stick a cork in them?" Where I know he was joking, it just really hit me that we were beyond over our head. Or I should say that I was over MY head.

Now, I'm at the point where I know we have to start finding homes. It's going to be hard because I want them to have the same level of care they have here, and I know that even adoption leaves no guarantee that they will not become food or sold into piggy slavery.

If anyone reads this, if you have suggestions ... please let me know.

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  1. MissJean's Avatar
    You can list adoptables on this site, that way you know the people adopting are aware of this site.

    If you list them on petfinder or somewhere, you can request the people interested show pictures of a proper cage set-up. You can also require them to look over care information on guinealynx: http://www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html

    If they're serious about giving them a good home, they will cooperate with your requests.
  2. Wildcavy's Avatar
    Agh, it does sound like you're in it a bit deep! It's a challenge keeping up with 4 or 5, for me. I can't imagine close to 30.

    I'm sorry if I've missed background elsewhere. My first thought would be to do everything to stop it from getting worse. IE, are all the piggies spayed/neutered or separated so that there can be no risk for them getting pregnant?

    Then I'd try to sort out the next steps, even writing it down. Hard as it is, you have to assess what you have -- sort of inventory the piggies (I don't mean to sound like they are items!!). How many piggies of what sex, if they are neutered, approx ages, any health issues that you can see, whether any are bonded pairs and such.

    This will set you up to be able to adopt some of them out and also, in my experience, give you some control back. Once you slip past a certain point, you can freeze, and it becomes that much harder. At least it has been for me, when I've let an issue go and not addressed it head-on.

    I can't imagine how much it is costing you in money and time with that many piggies. And I know you want the best for them. An up-front crunch on getting info together and planning will pay off for all of you, including getting the piggies a good home.

    Is there an animal welfare or rescue group near you that can give you a lead on adopting out in your area? Is there a good vet that would give you a "group" discount, so to speak, on getting them seen to or snipped or such? Would your husband be willing to help you research some stuff in your area?

    I know it's a risk putting the piggies up for adoption, but it's also a risk trying to keep them all if you cannot manage it.
  3. lissie's Avatar
    It's sad to say that I am not positive about the amount either. I stopped counting after Phoebe had hers.
    You need a list of all of them and when they were born. You'll need to separate the males from the females at 3 weeks old. They can get the females pregnant again.

    How are they being housed right now?

    Ditto the above comments on how to find homes for them.
  4. MissJean's Avatar
    In 2-3 months I'll be looking for two new male piggies. I just noticed you're in Auburn. 20 minute drive away! You might rehome them all by then,though.
  5. Amethysta's Avatar
    Sorry it's taken so long to respond, I've been dealing with issues with my oldest daughter that doesn't live with me.

    @lissie: I have them all listed by birthdate, mother and such now in my spiral notebook. Males are being separated as they hit 3 weeks old, I have four enclosures right now. One is a c&c cage that is 2x4. Right now that's in the living room. In our spare bedroom I have 3 - 3x2 stackables. The underside is used for storage. I currently have males housed there that are over 3 weeks old. Top cage is Sparkplug and Zoom (Zoom just turned 4 weeks on Sunday). Middle is Smudge. And Bottom is Odin and Archeron (Arch is 3 months old).

    The Mothers and babies are in a 5x3 c&c cage. I plan on making it a 4x5 - and then adding a bit more length along the wall. At least for now. Like 2x4 or 2x5.

    I have been answering ads on Craigslist, and I have already placed a trio with a very nice family.

    Right now we have 24. I am hopeful that I can get down to under 12. With the help of my family, 12 doesn't seem as impossible to care for.

    @MissJean - Feel free to message when you are ready. I am sure I will still have males in a few months.

    @Wildcavy: The issues with the babies (with the exception of Nibbler) did not stem from an issue here. They are separated by gender, because I was trying to avoid this situation. Spaying and neutering isn't really an option for us right now, it's by far cheaper to just keep them separated by gender.
  6. Wildcavy's Avatar
    Totally makes sense if you have the room -- I couldn't imagine having all of those cages, as we have a small house, which is the fault of my imagination and not your arrangements. Sounds like you are really trying to do right by them. I really don't know how you do it -- our four pigs wear me out. They're lucky to have you.
  7. Amethysta's Avatar
    I'm not as freaked out by the amount as I was. The kids have taken on the roll of helping Mom water and give hay.... my 8 year old is special needs, and he really has taken the initiative to help me care for them. Shocking because nothing usually seems to move him to do anything. He's talking about having his own "piggy" and naming it and taking care of it. We'll see how that goes.

    I have two more families interested, including our in home case manager. She is so wildly impressed on how well I keep up with them, she watched us go from our original 9 to... 27. She took about 2 dozen pictures to show her other "client" and her kids.. somehow I see her taking a pair before Easter.