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The Neverending Battle

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My pigs have a routine that doesn't vary much from day to day. In the morning, they get their salad and a refresher of hay. Around lunchtime, they go into their playpen, where they remain until the evening (with a huge hay pile and various snacks handed out throughout the day). The playpen is their home away from home, made from a kids' swimming pool and fuilly outfitted with hideys, tunnels, water, and other necessities of happy piggy life. Meanwhile, I spot clean their cages, so they're returned to nice, clean habitats where they get their evening veggies and maybe just one more treat before bedtime.

You'd think they'd be used to this by now and succumb at least halfway willingly to being transported between cage and playpen. Nope, they both act like I'm catching them to give to a representative of Acme Animal Torture Labs Incorporated.

Quinn is very skittish, although I can usually catch her pretty quickly. Her fear is somewhat understandable, since I know she was owned before by a kid. I don't know the exact circumstances, other than the old "lost interest" story, but I often imagine a "Darla" banging on the glass of her aquarium and yelling a shrill, "Piggy! Piggeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Amy, on the other hand, lived in a place with older kids, and at one time she had a mis-sexed cage mate and the resulting two babies for company. I don't think she was mishandled. If anything, she was probably left to her own devices toward the end, when they'd already given away the other piggies.

You'd never guess that from the way she acts when it's transport time. She chatters like a little bomb that's about to explode into a frenzy of teeth and fury. If you don't watch out, your finger will be on the receiving end of those teeth. She nailed my husband good, but so far she's only managed to scrape me with her sharp little choppies.

The battle begins in the kitchen side of her quarters. She lives in two connected cages, and the kitchen side as two shelves, under which she likes to hide. I've learned to remove them at chase time; otherwise, it's too easy for her to whip around and bite a groping hand.

Once the shelves are gone, she clambers through the tube and over the ramp into her "living room." For some reason, she thinks that if she makes it into her pigloo, it's a "no guinea pig catching zoo."

I always quickly disabuse her of that idea by removing the pigloo and resuming the chase. Alas, that space is designed for piggy zoomies, so she always leads me on a merry chase before I finally corner, gingerly pick her up, and transport her to the playpen. Once she gets there, she acts like nothing happened and like she's the happiest, sweetest, would-never-bite-anyone piggy in the world.

The return to the cage goes about the same way, except that Amy has even more room to run in the swimming pool. It's so big that I have to step inside, and I inevitably I step in pee or poo. Ugh.

Someday, perhaps, the piggies will settle willingly into their routine. Or maybe not...despite the fact that I know they're skittish prey animals who aren't too keen on giant hands grabbing them, I sometimes wonder if they know what they're doing. I can just imagine Amy telling Quinn, "I set a new world's record! It took her 20 minutes to catch me today. Now, if I'm just a little quicker next time, I'll have a bit more flesh to add to my trophy case."

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  1. ellisa's Avatar
    Thankfully my Sheldon is very easy to catch. Penny, however, does the same thing as your girls! It's like a big, horrid surprise that everyday Mommy comes in to give cuddles and clean the cage. Once she's in my arms she's happy and content. Maybe it's a female thing?
  2. LifeAsItMayBe's Avatar
    Ouch, I'm glad mine don't bite. And I've only ever heard teeth-chattering once. Sometimes I wonder how Zelda was living before she got to the shelter. When I first got her she would run and try to dig under the bedding to get away from me, and even now she puts on a pretty impressive gymnastics display for a bit before being captured. Then she sits still as a statue on my lap with her eyes bugged out. I think she and the babies are getting better about it, though. Maybe yours will too.
  3. mufasa's Avatar
    I suspect Amy's always going to be a bitey little wild woman. Strange thing is, she sometimes sits in the cage and lets me pet her, and every now and then she lets me just grab her and take her out. But then it's always back to her crazy Abby ways. I don't know what's up with the biting. I don't think her former owners abused her, but who knows. Or maybe she's just a crank. Fortunately, I've had a feral cat for 16 years, so she's really nothing compared to him in the vicious pet department.
  4. Dahlia's Avatar
    it sounds like your pigs have a great life! @ellisa yeah i think its a female thing. i have no problems with Patches. when i walk over, he runs to the cage door and squeaks as loud as he cans. Sweetpea is a different story though she runs away. she is getting better about letting me catch her though. she probably thinks its a "fun" game now
  5. Piggypogs's Avatar
    My Nibbles is really hard to catch she seems to jump out of my hand when i try to grab her on the other hand maggie is super easy just to pick up and plop her down on your lap
  6. Dahlia's Avatar
    @Piggypogs same story here