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Thread: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

  1. #1

    Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    Hi everyone!
    First a little background. Iím a single mom with twin, 10 yr old boys. Iíve always had dogs, cats and fish. Currently I have 2 tortoiseshell cats, Marlie and Stella. Growing up though I had a couple of bunnies, and a hamster over the years.

    Now I have a guinea pig. And everything I know about them Iíve learned since Friday night.

    Basically this little girl needed a home Ďtemporarilyí. I donít know how old she is, or how long her original owners had her. I know maybe a year ago they gave her to my friend (a new friend I might add) because they were moving into a dorm. My friend also had a 10 yr old step daughter. Initially the little girl took care of her, but lost interest, and then my friend took over. It didnít have a cage ever. She was kept in a very very large/long Rubbermaid container in my friends bedroom. Well her fiancť didnít like it and a couple months ago they moved it to the garage. My understanding is after that the ďcageĒ was seriously neglected. Well, my friend moved 2 weeks ago in with a different friend who has a no pets clause in their lease. So she begged me to take on this little girl until her originally owners get their apartment in the spring and are out of the dorm. Iím inclined to think that Iíve just acquired her for life, but supposedly this is temporary.

    My friend didnt have a cage, she threw away the filthy Rubbermaid tote when she moved and for the last two weeks basically had this little critter living in the bottom of a 3 drawer plastic dresser. Like youíd put in a bathroom. She bought it a cage and handed it over to me on Friday. When I picked it up I didnít like the looks of the food dish and water container so I stopped at the pet store and got some better options. My boys and I got her home got her set up in her new home and here we are and so the research began. And in my research it has brought me to this forum A LOT.

    So now after the weekend, Iím not gonna lie, sheís definitely growing on me and the more Iíve learned the more Iíve realized she hasnít had a very good life so far. Again I do not know how old she is. Iíve also learned that this tiny cage is way to small for her. Unfortunately I canít fix that right this second as itís going to take me a couple of weeks to have enough extra money to fully build her the right environment. Which after much reading I think is going to end up as a 2x4 C&C cage with a 1x2 upper patio/kitchen. And Iím going to sew/make my own fleece flippers. My sewing skills arenít amazing by any means but Iím pretty confident I can make those. And currently Iím using Carefresh bedding with her, and I think Iíll continue that in her kitchen when I finally get this completed. Once the environment is big enough then I will get a friend for her, hopefully I can do that even tho sheís been alone so long. Sorry for such a looooong background, but I thought it would help with the question....

    1. I live in a small, 1 story, 2 BR duplex. Not a ton of space here. I was going to put her cage in my boys bedroom. Theyíre in there a lot. Sheís quite timid now, and Iím hoping overtime that will get better, but is the bedroom a bad place to have her as opposed to my living room where she will see me all the time?

    2. The girl told me she gets pellets and hay for food, but she hadnít had any hay for a while because she had been out for a while. She bought more just to give to me to make sure she had everything. She never said a word about feeding her veggies. So far this weekend she has gone through a ton of hay, and she inhaled the romaine lettuce Iíve been giving her..... but I donít think sheís eaten a single pellet. Is that normal???

    3. I donít think she seems sick at all....but Iím sure after what Iíve read sheís got to be a little malnourished.... I want to make sure sheís getting enough of everything. So how much vegetables per day? On that same note, should I check her over physically for any signs of anything since I know she hadnít been getting those things to eat and I know she had been living in a super gross cage???

    4. She has a little plastic hideout, but she stays in it all. the. time. She comes out for her water and she comes out to eat. But she hasnít tried to explore her cage at all or otherwise leave the hideout. Is that normal??

    5. When I come to the cage and put my hand in she pokes her head out and she sniffs my fingers, she lets me pet her head and chin. She bit me hard enough to draw blood when I first picked her up at my friends apartment. Iím pretty nervous sheís going to do it again. But when she sniffs at my hand now, itís not really biting but I can feel her teeth and she licks me a lot. Is that normal? All the while she makes these soft little chirpy noises. Are they good or bad?

    6. Lastly, my cats seem to be totally indifferent to her presence, definitely no aggression or negative behavior. She doesnít seem afraid of them either. She pokes her nose right up to theirs when they come around with her in my lap. Those of you who also have cats do you keep your cages covered all the time? The one sheís in now is, but I need to decide what to do with the c & c cage. It will be a raised cage and Iíll be using the grids to create the ďtableĒ so they wonít have an easy access to jump up there. They would have to scale it from the floor with nowhere to land so I donít think they could if they even wanted to..... but I would love some insight or stories of experience here.

    Last but not least any tips tips and pointers you all can give me outside of what Iíve already learned would be sooooo helpful. We may only have her until April, although I suspect that her original owners really arenít ever going to take her back. Even if they do, I think my boys and I have really grown to this idea so we will get our own whether it be just one to go with her or a brand new pair when she leaves.

    Thanks so much everyone and nice to meet you!! Hereís a pic of Reesie.

  2. #2

    Re: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is Reesie ��

  3. #3

    Re: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    Thanks for taking her in! And welcome!

    1. Having the cage in the central area of the house is best. Pigs can make noise at night, and it's better not to have them in a bedroom. But you'll enjoy her more if you can interact with her on a regular basis.

    2. She may or may not ever eat pellets, but don't worry too much about it now. If she doesn't start soon, we can give you some tips about supplements to make sure she stays healthy. Red or green leaf lettuce is a better choice than romaine -- it causes excess urinary calcium in some pigs, but not in others. In the interest of preventing bladder stones, I'd avoid it.

    3. Do you have any idea how old she might be? If she's under six months, she needs extra calcium. If she's grown, she needs a cup or so of vegetables daily. The staples should be greens and bell pepper (it contains the vitamin C she needs).

    4. Pigs are always skittish in a new situation. Drape something over one end of the cage to protect her from the house eagles, and she'll soon come out a little more. But she does need a buddy -- they're always happier and more social when there are at least two of them.

    5. The only way she has to explore the world is to taste it. But don't encourage her to nibble on you -- just move your hand. Most guinea pigs are not biters, and she may just have been extra scared the time she bit you. In several years of owning guinea pigs, I've only been bitten once, and that was because I held on to a piece of tomato a little too long.

    6. Cats are usually initially curious about guinea pigs, but then give up. Kittens can cause the most damage trying to play. My own cat just hops in the cage for a nap every so often. But initally, it would be better to keep them out until you see how things are going. Closet shelving makes an awesome cage lid.

  4. #4

    Re: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    She may also not be eating the pellets because she doesn't like them, do you know what brand they are? The only pellet brands we suggest feeding are Oxbow or KMS, other brands are often too high in calcium or full of not so great ingredients.

    The first thing I am usually concerned about in a guinea pig who has not been fed vegetables for an extended period of time is Vitamin C deficiency, also known as Scurvy. Here is a page with more information about Scurvy in guinea pigs, it includes a list of possible symptoms, http://www.guinealynx.info/scurvy.html

  5. #5

    Re: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    Attachment 85595
    Thanks for your help! This is the food I was given for her. The hay is Timothy hay. She definitely seems to love that. She was out a little more last night. I had her in my lap for a while and she kind atawned and stretch out real long. I guess that’s a good sign she wasn’t freaking out.

    I was doing a little refresh on her cage tonight and I noticed that she seems to be doing her business inside her hideout as opposed it by her food dish. Is that just because she’s so nervous still?

  6. #6

    Re: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    It's got a lot of soybeans in it, and the calcium is higher than I'd feed an adult pig.

    Pigs pee and poop where they eat and sleep. You'll have to move her hidey frequently to keep her from sleeping in her own wastes.

  7. #7

    Re: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    It’s so good of you to take in this little one! I would recommend a cage cover with the cats. Even if they aren’t interested, guinea pigs get the zoomies and will take off running laps. That excitement might be too much for cats to resist. Our little dog was never interested, but when my piggy runs in her cage, he gets excited and wants to chase.

    The fleece flippers are easy to make. I use light weight kitchen towels or microfiber hand towels sandwiched between fleece on the outside. Easy to wash and dry.

  8. #8

    Re: Newbie here with LOTS of questions!

    She’s definitely getting more comfortable. Last night I had her on the couch with me and she started getting a bit curious and wondering around the couch.... not to far but definitely exploring some. Tonight, I had her in the floor and same thing only much faster and not jumpy at all when I’d reach out to pet her.

    The comment about cats and them getting the zoomies though..... when she gets to moving quick right now but mid my cats take off. They are curious too but they want no part of her once she gets moving. LOL I’m sure that will change.

    Thanks everyone for all of your advice! One more question? Where do you find specific kinds when you are wanting to adopt? Once I have everything ready to get her a friend, is really like to get a silkie, I’ve looked online, but there doesn’t seem to be anything even remotely close to me.

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