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    Nibbling too hard

    Hi I?m new to guinea pigs. I recently got 2 young brother pigs (they?re about 2 months old now). They were handled a bunch before we got them. My problem is while holding them, they seek out fingers to nibble on. They nibble too hard and have drawn blood. My 5 year old was ?bit? by one today and is now terrified of them. My daughter is 12 and also won?t hold them anymore because of the nibbling. They?ve broken skin on me as well. I know they aren?t being handled too roughly, aren?t in pain etc.
    Any tips to stop this? Obviously we don?t put fingers in front of them but both seem to search for them when being handled.


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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    Do you wash your hands before handling them? There could be traces of food on your fingers. I know that my piggy, Michael, can and will break skin if I'm holding him and he wants to go back into his cage to pee or poo. He also bit me often during the first few weeks I owned him. Maybe they'll grow out of it?

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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    Cavies have very little dexterity with their front paws (unlike cats) and thus explore the world with the mouth. Especially when they are young, they often react with a bite to many different situations from fear to annoyance to anger to yes, wanting to return to the cage for toilet needs. They will probably grow out of it, but you need to help them.

    Cavies are like children in that they need consistency and predictability. As an example, I try to always handle them in a calm and reassuring manner. I rarely raise my voice to them......but when I do, they know to stop whatever they are doing. My Chip was a biter from the beginning with no apparent reason. I got him straight from his family at 5 weeks old and yet he was an aggressive biter. With biting, I would tap him on the nose and sharply and sternly say "NO....no bite". This has to be done at the very moment or they won't know why they are being disciplined. And do this action only for biting.......not just because you don't like what they're doing.

    There are others here who disagree with my methods, and that's fine. I will tell you however that my boys are happy, well-adjusted little souls and totally bonded to their hoomans. What once was frequent biting has transitioned to licking.......which gets his point across in a far more gentle manner. In the meantime, perhaps try wearing latex/vinyl/nitrile gloves when holding them and see if that helps the behavior. I still need to wear a glove when Chip gets his nails done as that is the time when he is most apt to bite. If I cut a nail too short and it causes pain, he simply reacts by biting. When he encounters the glove, he stops the behavior.

    Again, patience and consistency are the keys to happy piggies!

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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    Ditto the advice you've received. I'd also suggest teaching your children to move their hands if the pigs try to nibble. It's far easier to prevent a bad habit than it is to break one once it's established.

    Here's some recommended reading for new pig owners:

    https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...nea-pig-owners
    https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...ur-guinea-pigs!

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    Cavy Slave HollyG's Avatar
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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    Do your pigs bite during lap time, when being picked up, or all of the above? You've gotten some great advice from other members. Also, as I'm sure you are aware, you need to be very careful when letting children hold guinea pigs. They don't like instability and not having their feet on the ground. My guinea pig will bite if I try to take her out of the cage and I've had her for a while now. I've started to wear gloves while picking her up, both to protect my hands and teach her that biting will get her nowhere and she doesn't bite now when I pick her up with the glove. With my guinea pig, she doesn't bite during lap time, just when being picked up. I think in general, pigs know whether they are nibbling or biting with intention, although I'm not sure if yours are old enough to realize that yet.

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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    Quote Originally Posted by HollyG View Post
    Do your pigs bite during lap time, when being picked up, or all of the above? You've gotten some great advice from other members. Also, as I'm sure you are aware, you need to be very careful when letting children hold guinea pigs. They don't like instability and not having their feet on the ground. My guinea pig will bite if I try to take her out of the cage and I've had her for a while now. I've started to wear gloves while picking her up, both to protect my hands and teach her that biting will get her nowhere and she doesn't bite now when I pick her up with the glove. With my guinea pig, she doesn't bite during lap time, just when being picked up. I think in general, pigs know whether they are nibbling or biting with intention, although I'm not sure if yours are old enough to realize that yet.
    So I definitely think they are biting to be put down. My 5 year old sits on the floor when he holds them and one of us sets the pig in his lap. He holds it but it?s also sitting in his lap. My daughter holds them like I do, with hands under them for support. They both kinda sniff around and nibble but then bite. One bit my daughter this morning and drew blood after I told her to try washing her hands first. She washed really good but was bit anyways. I felt really bad.
    They will sit on a lap just fine without biting, or next to you on the couch. It?s just when being held that they get hungry for fingers 🤣
    I?m so torn on what to do. I?ve only had them 2 weeks and they?re really fun to watch jumping around but both kids are now afraid to do anything with them. They need a larger cage and I was going to order one but I feel like I may not be able to keep them because of the biting and don?t want to invest any more money into them.


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    Cavy Slave HollyG's Avatar
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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    I'm sorry you feel that way. I guess my advice would be to just give it time and hopefully the kids will want to try again. What about on your chest - I tend to hold my pig on my chest, usually I'm leaning a bit but I hold her up near my shoulder and she is fine there. I don't necessarily have to hold her there, but I will pet her. Maybe try taking small steps to make the kids more comfortable with the guinea pigs. Start by having them pet the pigs while the pigs have floor time. Also, maybe try hand feeding them? I know it sounds counterintuitive if they try to snack on your fingers but I usually hand feed my pig a slice or two of bell pepper and pet her while feeding and that has helped her get more comfortable with me. She's so busy with the food that she doesn't mind being petted or touched.
    Some guinea pigs just don't like being held, per se. Most don't like being picked up. Unfortunately it can take months for a guinea pig to build trust with you but in my opinion it is definitely worth it.
    Also, the larger cage might help things as well. Boars need more room and if they are in a small cage, especially a store bought one, that can cause its own issues and grumpiness. I know I wouldn't be in the best mood if I were trapped in a tiny room that I had to share for 23 hours a day. This site has a ton of information on cages and the size requirements for guinea pigs; it's much larger than you'd expect.
    Ultimately the decision is up to you, but I really think if you stuck it out, went with a bigger cage, and tried to bond with them that it would be worth it for you, your kids, and the piggies.
    Also, larger cages don't need to cost a ton. Check out the C&C cages on this site. Maybe your kids could help you build one and get them excited about the guinea pigs again!

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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    I think it's simpler than that. Most pigs will nibble when they're ready to go back in the cage. Try putting them back when they start nibbling and see if that solves the problem.

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    Re: Nibbling too hard

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    I think it's simpler than that. Most pigs will nibble when they're ready to go back in the cage. Try putting them back when they start nibbling and see if that solves the problem.
    Lol they do it as soon as they?re taken out.


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