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Thread: New 6 week old boars!

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    New 6 week old boars!

    Hello everyone!
    This is my first actual post, but I've lurked around the forums for a while now and they have been super helpful in my preparation.

    Yesterday evening I brought home my two new baby boars (named Micky and Milo). They're currently in a 2x4 C&C cage on fleece (with a combo of towels and a mattress pad underneath). They have Oxbow "young guinea pig" pellets, oaten hay (it's hard to get Timothy here in Australia), and have been offered cos lettuce and green bell pepper so far (seem to like the lettuce...not too keen on the pepper).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have heaps of extra grids so I'm planning on either extending the cage or building a loft, but they're so small right now I thought a 2x4 was probably big enough for the time being.

    I do have a couple questions, though...
    Right now they're in my spare bedroom, where they will most likely stay because I want to keep them seperate from my dog. Will this be okay, or will they feel too isolated in there? I'm planning on spending a lot of time in there talking and interacting with them (once they've settled in a bit more).

    Also, since yesterday evening, they've been hiding in either the fleece forest or the house. I moved all their food and water closer to the hides and they snuck out last night while I was sleeping and ate veggies and nibbled a little hay. This morning I moved the hay and food back, but left a small handful of both at/in the hides, and they've nibbled a bit, but not a lot. Poop seems fine, they're just extremely nervous. So my next question is, how long should I leave them completely alone before I spend some time in their room talking to them? And how long until I should try lap time? I don't want to rush anything, they seem pretty terrified as it is.

    It's silly but, since I didn't want to disturb them too much, but am still curious if they've come out of their hides, I set up a camera to kind of spy on them..
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    Anyway, any tips or suggestions would really be appreciated! I'm going to the store in an hour or so to buy a tunnel and a little ramp so they can get into the litter box more easily. Anything else I should pick up while I'm out? I'm hoping they'll feel a little more comfortable soon.

    Thanks!

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    Re: New 6 week old boars!

    Oh, one more question. The position of the cage right now is under a window. Never in direct sunlight, but they can look up and see sky. Could this be too scary for them? I thought all the natural light would be nice for them, but now I'm wondering if I should roll down the blinds. They seem too scared to even step out of their hides at all in the day light (they waited until 1am last night, then came out again about 4am).

    Thanks again!

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    Re: New 6 week old boars!

    Just a word of caution, Cos lettuce is what is called Romaine lettuce in the US. Some guinea pigs (for unknown reasons) can have issues with calcium in their urine when fed Cos lettuce (even though it is no higher in calcium then other lettuces). If your guinea pigs do have calcium issues you can switch the Cos lettuce out for Oakleaf or Butter lettuce (or that symphony lettuce head from coles which has Lolo lettuce and Oakleaf lettuce).

    Whether or not they are too isolated in the spare room really depends on how much time you can spend in the room long term. While you might start with spending a lot of time in the room, will this continue if you become busy? It is possible to make a dog proof cage (raise the cage up off the floor, have extra grids/closet shelving covering the bottom of the cage, reinforce with strong zip ties, install a closet shelving roof and use a strong carabiner clip to secure close the panel/s of closet shelving that you have able to be opened) if that is something you want to give some thought into.

    In my opinion there is no reason not to begin handling them now, yes they might be nervous but the faster they learn that the big looming creature (you) doesn't want to eat them and instead brings them food the better. You won't know how they react to lap time until you try, if they aren't too fond of it start off with only having them out for a few minutes for lap time and make sure that you give them food (such as a leaf of lettuce) they may not eat if they are too nervous but if they do eat it helps reinforce that you=food.

    They will adjust to the window given time, but you do want to make sure that they won't get too warm due their proximity to the window (obviously the risk of this depends on which direction the window faces), I know how strong the sun can be and how fast it can warm up a room here in Aus on a hot day. If you roll down the blinds and they adjust to that, and then put the blinds up again later you will just be back at the start, so you should really stick with how you intend for things to typically be long term from the beginning.

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    Re: New 6 week old boars!

    Quote Originally Posted by Katie779 View Post
    I'm going to the store in an hour or so to buy a tunnel and a little ramp so they can get into the litter box more easily.
    Hello, and welcome to the Forum!

    First of all it appears that you have done a great job of setting up their cage. It's obvious that you did your research before acquiring your boys. Unless the pan under the hay rack is far deeper than it appears, they are perfectly capable of jumping into the pan without a ramp. You will be surprised how far/high the little buggers can jump!

    Please don't get caught up in buying things for their cage until you have had them for a while and start to see their personalities develop. My cavies have rarely used anything I bought for them, and are perfectly happy with homemade items. You can make tunnels and hideys out of cardboard boxes; a bent wire grid with a jumbo book cover stretched over it makes a great tunnel. My boys are obsessed with cardboard and I've learned not to painstakingly create hideys for them as they will immediately pounce on it and begin to remodel it. When I can't stand the chewing noise or I feel that they have consumed enough cardboard, I remove the item and return it at another time to let them have a go at it again.

    Start to pick them up and cuddle them now. They need to get accustomed to your smell, your voice, and your touch right away. It never hurts to have a bit of veggie to offer them so that they associate you with bringing yummy things. After they begin to be easier to handle, I discontinue the veggie at lap time and save it for their dinner time so that they aren't always begging for a treat.

    For instance, my boys are fed a salad once a day at around 5pm. Usually somewhere around 2pm, they have awakened from their midday nap and want a snack. They each get one carrot......and one only. They don't hang around and beg for more because they have learned that it's "one and done". I could set my watch by their inner clock at dinnertime. They will become quite restless and whiny starting about 4:30pm and begin looking for signs that their dinner is about to arrive. If I get busy and don't hear the dinner bell ringing, Sparky will come over to the side of the cage and stand up with his paws on the side and talk to me. Chip, who is the more shy one, always puts Sparky up to doing the asking. I can just hear him saying to Sparky, "you go ask her.......you're her favorite and she will bring our treat/dinner/snack if you ask her".

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    Re: New 6 week old boars!

    Just a word of caution, Cos lettuce is what is called Romaine lettuce in the US. Some guinea pigs (for unknown reasons) can have issues with calcium in their urine when fed Cos lettuce (even though it is no higher in calcium then other lettuces). If your guinea pigs do have calcium issues you can switch the Cos lettuce out for Oakleaf or Butter lettuce (or that symphony lettuce head from coles which has Lolo lettuce and Oakleaf lettuce).
    Have replaced my cos lettuce with oakleaf just to be safe! Thanks for the tip!

    Start to pick them up and cuddle them now. They need to get accustomed to your smell, your voice, and your touch right away. It never hurts to have a bit of veggie to offer them so that they associate you with bringing yummy things.
    Came home from the store (decided to buy a small bag of orchard grass to mix in with their oaten hay to entice them to eat a bit more) and held them for a couple minutes each. They're both fairly easy to pick up. They kind of freeze in place rather than run away. I offered them each a sprig of parsley while on my lap but neither was interested. Right now I'm just sitting their room reading out loud as I type to try to get them used to my voice. Both are poking their heads out and looking at me once in a while which seems like a good sign. Did see on the camera while I was gone that they both came out of the hides an ran around a bit and ate a little more, which I was really happy to see!

    One more question...
    They haven't eaten any pellets yet, I'm thinking because they're not used to Oxbow. Will they start eating it on their own eventually or is there anything I can do to get them to try it? I put some on top of their lettuce but they just eat around it. A little concerned because the pellets are their only source of alfalfa hay.

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    Re: New 6 week old boars!

    The pellets are really the least important part of their diet, and so as long as their eating some hay and veggies, they'll be fine for a while. My girls took a while to get used to eating the pellets, but they did eventually eat some thoughout the day.

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