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Ani joins the family

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Long, fretting, unnecessary rant ahead. Proceed with caution.

On Sunday I adopted a spayed female, Antheia, as my boy Fred's cagemate. The way the rescue works, they quarantine their pigs and have introductions done at the rescue for the best possible matches. Fred picked Antheia and they get along reasonably well.

I was warned that she was a timid pig, but this is beyond my expectations. She hardly ever leaves the tunnel hidey she has grown to love, and I have to put veggies in to make sure Fred doesn't scarf them all down before she gets a chance. I know that she goes out and about while I'm not around, but as soon as I enter the room that's where she goes and it's where she stays. I have my hands in the cage a lot and she's improving. It's painfully slow but she's improving.

My concern is just that she's not getting enough food and water, since I hardly ever see her eat and I never see her drink. I've been offering wet veggies, but all she ever gets are a few leaves of lettuce and then the ones I put in that Fred won't touch. Thankfully, he doesn't like tomatoes or bell peppers, which are pretty wet.

I've seen her nip at Fred a few times when it's been long overdue, but usually she's content to hide and let him take all the food. I hope this changes as she gets used to me, because it seems like I'm the problem, not Fred. When I leave the room, she instantly comes out of the tunnel and runs and plays while I'm asleep. I'm starting to think that in Fred I got a pig that was a lot more outgoing than I originally thought. After about a week he was pretty calm with me, and now after three months if I move slowly he'll let me pet him in the cage (though he's still vehemently opposed to lap time).

Long story short I'm a little concerned about Ani getting enough food and water. I know she'll get used to me to some extent eventually, I just want to be sure that in the mean time, she gets what she needs. Taking Fred out for lap time to let her have a chance at the food doesn't help at all because then she's horrified that some awful human will swoop down and grab her next, so there's no way she'll come out of her tunnel then.

The only sign of dehydration I'm aware of is sunken eyes. Their poos look distinctly different so I know that's happening, but I can't really keep an eye on whether or not she's peeing because well, they both do that.

I'm just hoping what I assume will be a very long adjustment period won't be detrimental to her health. She's such a cute, sweet little girl and I'm hoping she'll come out of her shell.

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  1. Toadies's Avatar
    At the risk of upsetting her, you may want to weigh her and try to get some water down her with a syringe. If worse comes to worse, your vet can give her some sub-q fluids to keep her hydrated. They, or any living thing, can survive longer without food than without water. I hope that she is fooling you and getting more down her than you see. How about pellets, hay? Is she consuming any? She has alot to deal with - a new cagemate and a new family. I hope that she relaxes soon so that she is not such a source of worry for you and she can begin to enjoy the good fortune of her new forever home.
  2. Holly&Fred's Avatar
    Yeah I've been considering syringing her some water, but I wasn't sure if it was necessary. I've been giving her plenty of wet veggies though, peppers and tomatoes in particular (both because they have a lot of water in them and because Fred won't touch them).

    She's eating plenty of hay and some pellets as well (neither of my pigs have been eating many pellets since I put them together, it's kind of strange). She's definitely getting plenty to eat.

    Every day she's getting a little bit better. I think in a couple weeks she'll be a friendly little piggy. It's just this water thing that's got me perplexed. I wish I knew of more signs of dehydration to look for so I'd know how she's doing.
  3. Shawnee's Avatar
    I think that maybe you should try separating them during veggie time. Maybe give Fred his veggies on the floor so that she can get moisture rich lettuce as well. Or you could try hand feeding her all her veggies while Fred eats in the cage, that is if she will eat from your hand.

    I don't know if this is the best idea but maybe you could split their cage so you can keep track of how much water she is actually drinking.
  4. Holly&Fred's Avatar
    .....well that was an easy solution. She was hiding while I was cleaning the cage and I just took the water bottle out of its holder and I held it so that the metal part was inside the opening of the hidey and she drank right up. It's not exactly a permanent solution, but I'm less concerned about her for the time being.

    As for veggie time, I've started splitting the veggie pile in two and feeding them on opposite sides of the cages. It's helping to an extent.

    I've found that separating them when they're being fed doesn't really work, because Fred whines and kicks and fights with me and Ani gets too freaked out to eat anything. Temporarily dividing the cage could be an option, but now that they're finally used to each other I'd hate to do that to them.
  5. Shawnee's Avatar
    OKay well, at least she is drinking now. I'm sure you won't have to do that as soon as she gets more accustomed to you and her home.