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Thread: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

  1. #1

    Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Hi I've had two girls from a PET STORE (yes sorry there are no local piggies around here) and they are scared of me. They have lived with me for maybe a month and I try to hand feed and check them for signs of sickness every day. My schedule is very busy so I do what I can but there is not lap time every day and I have not yet had floortime because I have nothing to stop them from going everywhere in the room. They come up to me and week every time I open the door. Today I also checked their nails but I don't know if they need to be cut?? I continue to worry about them day and night and currently have a liner and a 2x4 cage on the way to replace my 2x3.5 dumb All Living Things cage. Hate hate hate it. I have fed them yogurt treats for a while but am going to throw them away and stick to veggies instead. WILL THEY BE OKAY EVEN AFTER EATING THESE TREATS???????

    Any advice on how to make them trust me better? I'm terrified to cut their nails. When I checked my smaller girl's back feet, Oreo, she would not stop screaming and kicking and idk what to do

  2. #2
    Moderator CavyMama's Avatar
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    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Guinea pigs are prey animals by nature so they can take weeks or months to get used to their caretaker. Associate yourself with good things like yummy food. Talk to them, even if they are hiding, so they get used to your voice. Don't be afraid to pick them up or to cut their nails. Their wheeking and squirming is normal. It's that whole prey animal thing again.

    The yogurt treats are garbage so good on you for not feeding them anymore. Treats can be natural like a handful of blueberries or some strawberry slices or maybe a chunk of melon. Just make sure their pellets are plain (no colorful bits) and that they only get 1/8 cup each. Veggies should be their main source of nutrition.

  3. #3

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    If the yogurt treats haven't hurt them yet and you've already decided not to feed them anymore, I think they'll be fine. Just throw them away and don't worry about it anymore.

    For a floortime pen, I went out and bought an extra set of the wire grid organizational shelving that a C&C cage uses. I just zip-tied the grids together in a row to make an accordion-fold style pen that I could open up. I used a couple of giant cotton-backed vinyl tablecloths that you can get at WalMart, BigLots, etc to cover the carpet and just opened up the playpen on top of it. Viola! I was even able to re-use the tablecloths when they would get nasty by taking them out into the garden, hanging them opened across my fence, and hosing them down with the garden hose. I probably didn't even buy half a dozen of those $4 tablecloths in 6 years. The only downside is that a pen made of grids can be extremely heavy when folded up, depending on how many grids you use. Keep in mind, however, that even though should offer floortime, some pigs will enjoy it more than others. Some would just prefer to be in their nice, safe cage, but the earlier you can introduce them to floortime, they more likely they are to learn to like it.

    CavyMama is right. Because guinea pigs are prey animals, it can take a long time for them to learn to trust anything new: environment, caretaker, etc. If you've had them one month and they already are coming up to you, then you're right on track, I'd say. If you can give them a little more time to get used to regular handling before you start trimming nails, it may help. But honestly, a lot of pigs will just squirm and fight for nail trims, and they can't really be convinced to cooperate. If this is the case and you're afraid to trim nails or the nails are already too long and you feel like you shouldn't wait any longer, you can get them trimmed at any vet's office for a small fee. Just make sure that the vet or tech who trims the nails knows how to safely restrain a squirmy guinea pig.

  4. #4

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Thank you guys for the replies!! I am glad I am going in the right direction. Too bad they won’t accept banana or strawberrys from me so far, but I’m hoping to keep trying more fruit to find what they like. I assumed I would buy the grids online. I’ll go out to Walmart or Lowe’s and look for them. I know my piggies would appreciate some exploration. The tablecloth is such a fantastic idea!! I will definitely be using that one ty.

    Does anyone know an average fee for getting the nails trimmed? We have two exotic pet vets locally so I’ll contact them.

  5. #5

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Nail trimming prices really depends! They generally float around $10-$20 dollars a pig where I live. I find that vets charge way more than a groomer or pet store would charge though. I've even received a free trim once at a pet store because they thought my pigs were cute!

  6. #6

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    I will have to look into what Petsmart would say for trimming nails. I do shop there frequently and so it would be convienent for me. Not that I support the things Petstores do or source their animals from. I don't think the amount of protest or stopping shopping there from a number of people will stop their business. Many people go there for dog and cat stuff only, but I can use the things they have for sale when needed as a quick add-on to the cage or my soon to be floortime cage.

    Also is it alright to just put their old cage on the floor underneath the table instead of buying grids for the moment? I don't have the money for all the materials but would like them to have playtime outside the cage (into the old cage replaced by a 2x4) Thx for the info not trying to start a heated discussion on pet stores

  7. #7

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Hi I keep appearing on this forum lately but oh well.. I got a new 2x4 gridded cage with no cover and their previous cage had a cover. They are very afraid of the new environment but they will soon aclimate. I have moved the cage around so now they are coming out more than before. All today and last night they were hiding in the same tree trunk and wouldn't come out, not even for their morning salad and so I fed them their food myself and made sure they ate.

    When they would hide in the same hidey together, Oreo would get nipped at and they would run in circles inside it. I could hear squeaks from her because Mocha was trying to kick her out. There wasn't any fighting. Now they are finally in different hideys for the time being...

    I'm scared they won't eat when I'm in a time crunch and I don't want that. I love my piggies. All in all, is this normal behavior to constantly hide? I am keeping a close eye on them as theyre in my study and Im in there most of the time I'm home. I'm thinking in a few days or weeks they will be okay.

  8. #8

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Many pigs are scared of coming out into the open. They think there are hawks in your room. Try rearranging the cage so that there are more areas to hide under: towels draped over the corners and across the width of the cage, fleece forests, foot stools, more hides, etc. You are correct that they should acclimate to their new cage eventually, and over time you can start slowly removing some of the excess coverage.

    I had a sow whom I affectionately referred to as my "turtle-pig" because she always wanted to be in a hidey. When I first brought her home, I had to rearrange the cage so that there was extra coverage so she could navigate the full space of the cage and get to food, water, and sleeping areas without having to come out into the open. It was a pain to clean, but as she acclimated to her new home, I was able to remove one thing at a time until she felt safe coming out into the open when she needed to. But she still preferred to be under a hidey, and would stretch out as far as she could towards my hand without actually coming out from underneath the hidey -- hence, she was a turtle-pig!

    Just make sure that all hides have AT LEAST 2 entrances/exits. This prevents one pig from trapping another, which can lead to a fight.

  9. #9

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    There is one hidey that they both keep trying to go in and then Mocha will start nipping and Oreo will start squeaking but she wont leave so I manually have been removing her and putting her in another hidey. I ended up removing it because it was causing conflict.Ill drape a blanket over top to see if that helps. In the cage there are currently three hideys with 2 entrances/exits. I am worried that my little Oreo will get into a fight with Mocha but im in the sam eroom for now so it should be okay with supervision.

    Thank you I'm not sure what else to do. I moved the hay rack over as well but I don't think they've been drinking and I'm SUPER WORRIED about that one. I put up the blanket while writing this and it's already worked because they've come out and are eating. TYSM IT WORKED!! <3

  10. #10

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Hi pigs are great except Oreo is sneezing a little bit which I believe will be okay. But the tear shaped poops I’m finding are concerning. I read she was dehydrated or had gut issues. I typically get a head of red leaf or green leaf lettuce and feed it twice a day for a week of each. I just got some cucumber, red leaf, and Boston lettuce. I will go get some peppers since they like those too. Is this a bad diet? Too much lettuce everyday?

  11. #11

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Each pig should have about a cup of veggies daily, preferably split up into 2 servings. The majority of the daily veg should be green or red leaf lettuce (Boston is good too) and include a veggie that is high in vitamin C; 1/8 of a bell pepper per pig daily should be enough to meet their vitamin C requirements. You also want to feed them somewhere between 5-10 veggies that are not leafy greens on a regular basis and only a small amount of fruit once every few weeks. If you'll look in the "nutrition" sub-forum, there should be a pinned topic with a chart of common fruits and vegetables and nutrition info on them. Your choice of vegetables may depend on what's in season, what's locally available/cost effective for you, and what your piggies like. Keep in mind that it's not necessary to feed all of your 5-10 veggie choices every day; as you'll find in the nutrition chart, some veggies should only be fed a limited number of times/amounts routinely. I used to rotate some combination of cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, cucumber, yellow squash, zucchini, and raddicchio throughout each day of the week.

    Cucumber is a very good veggie to feed a few times per week. Keep in mind though that some pigs (but not all) may be sensitive to cucumber, especially in large amounts, and it can cause GI upset or bloating if they get too much at once. All new veggies should be introduced into the diet slowly, one veggie at a time, and increase the amount of that veg slowly until they are eating the amount you plan to routinely feed. Pigs have very delicate GI systems, and introducing a whole lot of a new food at one time or introducing multiple new foods at one time can cause GI upset. One last thing to keep in mind is that if you are seeing very large amounts of white deposit where their urine dries -- especially if the deposits feel "gritty" -- you might want to restrict the number/amount of veggies you feed that have a high calcium content (see the nutrition chart). Pretty much all pigs will produce some amount of white calcium deposits in their pee, but you don't want to be finding piles of it.

    You are correct that tear-drop shaped poops are typically a sign of gut upset in one form or another. They commonly can be caused by the pig not eating enough when they are sick or by upset due to too many veggies or a new veggie that doesn't agree with them. The first thing you can try is to take away all veggies for 48 hours, and then start re-introducing veggies slowly -- one at a time and starting with lettuce -- all over again to see if there isn't one veggie that makes the tear-drop poops appear.

    Monitor them both to make sure they are eating and drinking and pooping enough, don't seem lethargic, etc. Keep an eye on Oreo's sneezing and watch for any nasal discharge, runny eyes, weird breathing sounds or lethargy, as these would be signs of illness. Finally, make sure that you weigh your pigs weekly using a kitchen scale: http://www.guinealynx.info/weigh.html This is one of THE MOST important ways to monitor their overall health and catch illness before it becomes dangerous.

  12. #12

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Thank you for your last reply. I will soon have to buy a scale to weigh my pigs. I have not found any more of those poops but tonight Oreo was in a fleece pyramid and looked like she was popcorning- but she was rolling onto her back and falling against the wall once (maybe plopping would be a better word) She also as soon as she was done came out and laid down in the open, then got up and went to the fleece forest to popcorn some more and lay down in the open again afterwards. This is really weird behavior and she's currently laying and stretching out over the hay pile i laid down. Do you think this is lethargy or she just being happy and lazy?

  13. #13
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    May 12, 2015
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Shes happy. Both of my boars, when they're popcorning, will flop over on their sides and kick their feet, and sometimes if they flop particularly hard they'll end up on their backs. Quite comical to watch really, and as they get older I see it less and less.

  14. #14

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Yay!! I'm glad she's so happy that she looks like a giant spasm .

  15. #15

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    I usually have been wiping down the chloroplast with unscented baby wipes. Is this okay?

  16. #16

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    It's WAY more expensive and much less ecologically friendly than using an old rag with a half water-half vinegar mixture.

  17. #17

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Could it have harmed the pigs in any way? I don’t want to hurt them

  18. #18

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    No, it won't have hurt them.

  19. #19

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Hi back at it again. Question about female dominance. My Mocha and Oreo will go back and forth to trying to mount one another. Lately though, Mocha will follow her around and chase her, shoving her nose in her butt and trying to mount. Oreo is not having it and continuosly kicks her in the face and then popcorns. Mocha also goes popcorn crazy. Who is dominant here???? If Oreo let her mount she would be accepting submissive role right? Sometimes in a more scary situation she'll go and rumble at Mocha. So confused whats happening between these two!!

  20. #20

    Re: Don't know if what im doing is wrong

    Sounds like normal guinea pig behavior to me.

    Does this happen only about every couple of weeks? If so, one or they other may be in heat. If it's more continuous, you might want to have them ultrasounded to see if one or the other has ovarian cysts.

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