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Thread: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

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    Cavy Slave shugarr's Avatar
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    New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Hi all; I'm entirely new to this forum and also guinea pig ownership. I'd like to briefly tell the whole story here to give some context and hopefully get some advice with this.

    Three days ago, I went to PetCo and got a young (still not sure how old) male (I think) guinea pig. I know, I know. Let me just say now I'm very confused with myself with a lot of how I did things. That morning, I'd found my hamster who I'd had for two years had passed away. My fiance said that he wanted to go and get me a new small pet (we can't have cats or dogs in this apartment... allegedly. Long story and irrelevant) and due to my mental heath issues I cannot go without some sort of animal to live with me/care for. I kinda just sink into a very depressive state and then things go downhill from there.

    I love hamsters and they're absolutely adorable, but I really wanted a pet that was more social/larger/more active during the day when I could actually interact with it. So as we're roaming the pet store (I was not entirely sold on getting a new pet straight away) I ultimately decide that since a ferret just isn't a good option for us, that my other option would be a guinea pig, of which I'd considered owning a few times in the past and ultimately chose a rabbit over (years ago.) We actually got a hammy as well, but it's my fiance's (a little robo he named "godzilla" of all things.) The hammy is doing exceptionally well and is taming fast for a robo, even.

    The problem comes in with the fact that ultimately, I feel like I jumped the gun a little. Okay, maybe a lot a little. I did not have a cage set up, didn't know all that much about guinea pigs (don't get me wrong, I didn't know NOTHING about them. As we were walking through the pet store and I was deciding this is what I wanted to do I was reading forums {this one} and watching videos... basically trying to do some cram school) and didn't really even know they do best with a buddy or two.

    Since being home with him I again did some "cram school" about care and cages and diet... all sorts of things. I fell pretty well educated now, but am definitely still novice of course.


    So Bean (the piggy) has done absolutely nothing but hide all 3 days we've had him. During the night (he's in our bedroom, only place we can have him) it sounds like he's being active at least. He may also be coming out while we're at work. But from what it seems like, he just sits in his hide in the exact same position.. all. day. I don't necessarily think his hiding is unusual as he's still adjusting I'm sure, hell, even some cats will hide for a week under a bed until they're comfortable. I'm just very concerned with the fact he doesn't seem to be moving around at all during the day, even while we're gone. I swear he doesn't move position from when I check on him before we leave for work to when we come home, until night time where he FINALLY comes out and drinks for ages and maybe eats some hay. He's gotten to a point where he will let me pet him gently with no complaints other than some "grumbling" as I've decided to call it every now and then.

    He refuses to eat veggies. I haven't yet tried lettuce or bell pepper (I keep forgetting when I go to the store to grab some) but I have tried carrot, fennel, parsley and snap peas. I read not to give watery veggies if you don't know their previous diet, which being in a pet store, was probably just hay and pellets. He nibbles on all of them, just barely, and will not touch it otherwise. He barely touches his hay and seems to be strictly eating pellets, which he still in my opinion has hardly touched. His droppings are progressively getting lighter and lighter in colour as well, though I'm not certain if that's cause for concern.


    I plan on adopting a cage mate for him when I 1. figure out for sure what gender he is and for 2. can build a larger cage. He's currently in a 7.5 sqft converted bin cage that my previous hamster lived in (thoroughly sanitized, ofc.) Maybe he'll come out of his shell a little bit then? At the same time, I don't want to stress him out even more.

    Just a few minutes ago, we tried feeding him hay pieces by hand and he took them. He also came out of his main hidey and sat in the willow tunnel and actually ate hay from us for a while, and seemed a little less timid. Still no veggie luck, though.


    Any help regarding this is thoroughly appreciated, especially his behavior regarding veggies. If he wants to be timid and only get his exercise at night for a while, I can deal. I just don't see him only eating pellets and nothing else being healthy at all. Here's pictures of him and the cage that I took a few minutes ago when he came out. You can't see it, but I promise he does have a large water bottle, .
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    Last edited by shugarr; 06-04-19 at 08:42 pm.

  2. #2
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Piggies can time to become accustomed to you. It took several weeks of slowly introducing my girl to hand feeding lettuce and bell pepper to get to the point where I could get her and not have her sprint away. Lettuce seems to be a good intro veggie, mine prefered red leaf. Take time and go slow.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Oh my goodness he's adorable!...not alot of help here as mine came veggie trained!!!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    He needs a buddy as soon as you can get him one. The best food is always in the other pig's mouth, so they generally eat more when they're together.

    Two babies can live in a cage that size, but if they're both males, you'll need a larger cage soon. But I'd go ahead and get a buddy, but NOT another one from Petco. Google rescues in your area, and look on Petfinder -- you should be able to find one that needs a home.

    Here's some recommended reading material for new pig owners: https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...nea-pig-owners. But be careful of the You-Tubes -- there's a blue ton of incorrect information on those, and I'd take it all with a grain of salt until I'd confirmed here, or with Guinea Lynx.

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Congratulations on your new piggy! I’m sure you will be a great piggy parent since you obviously are learning so much so fast! There are lots of experienced people out here with plenty of good information.

    When I adopted mine 2 years ago I kind of did the same thing you did. We had just said goodbye to our sweet old dog and this was the first time in my life without a pet. I saw this guinea pig at the humane society, told my husband I wanted to adopt her and went back the next day. We had guinea pigs decades ago so I thought I knew the basics, but I found out everything is different now and I had a lot to learn.

    Since guinea pigs are prey animals they are skittish and need places to hide. They like to move their hideys around if they can. I use the stacking bins from Dollar Tree and flip them over. Mine pulls them around with her shoulders and arranges tunnels. They don’t use running wheels like other small pets so you don’t need much for accessories.

    Chances are Bean didn’t get much variety for food. Feed a good quality pellet like Oxbow with no colored pieces or seeds. Timothy hay all day, and if he is less that 6 months old, alfalfa is good as well. Try a piece of dandelion green, a blade of grass, or cilantro sprig to see what he thinks. Once you figure out what his favorites are, hand feed those so he learns how important you are. Say his name and talk to him and he will learn to come to you. Just start slow since too much fresh veggies can cause diarrhea if he hasn’t eaten those before.

    He will need vitamin C and I use Oxbow Natural Science and feed bell peppers. Don’t bother with drops that go in the water.

    Is the grumbling sound kind of like he’s muttering to himself? That’s what they do when they explore, sort of a nasal “nut, nut, nut” sound.

    The color of his droppings aren’t as important as the size. If they get smaller, he’s not eating enough. I usually add a pinch of fresh hay a few times a day since guinea pigs select and eat the best strand one at a time, and at some point what’s left they may not want. The leftovers make good bedding, then I throw it out.

    I know it’s recommended to have 2 but you’ll need to be sure of gender first. I have one female and I have to provide a lot of entertainment for her, like a whiffle ball with cut up veggies inside that she can roll around for food. I also have a cat treat ball that I use for pellets, and I rearrange her cage each day and scatter leaf lettuce, a baby carrot, cucumber slices, etc. so she has to forage.

    I think you will find Bean to be very entertaining and he will get more vocal once he figures out who you are and where he lives. Good luck!

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    Cavy Slave shugarr's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Thanks all with the advice! I bought a yellow bell pepper last night and that went over well. Almost half the pepper is gone now. Bean was taking the strips from my hand, and ate a piece of hay all the way to my fingers. The grumbles are more rapid, almost sounding like the woodpecker we have in the tree outside, haha. He makes more of that chutting noise at night when the lights are off and he thinks we can't see him.

    Although I think "he" might be wrong. Way more comfy with me today, so despite the complaining and irritated piggy I got afterwards, I did a gender check. Pretty sure he is actually a she, which makes me worried as pet stores (still not sure why I thought buying from a pet store was smart) get genders wrong ALL the time and will mix; I read females can be mature sexually at a month, and I'm pretty sure that's about Beans age based on the size and look of the genitals and her nails that I compared to other young cavy pictures while I was trying to determine. My fiance was the one who was over at the bins while they got her out, and he told me they thought she was a he.

    I'm pretty certain Bean is a she, though. I'll try the ideas of how to keep her busy being alone until I'm able to adopt a friend from a shelter. Thanks again!!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    This may give you some sexing help: http://www.cavyspirit.com/sexing.htm. Or you can post clear, well-lit, close-up pictures here.

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    Cavy Slave shugarr's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    This was the only clear photo I could get; and now, being able to look without squirming, I'm not as certain.
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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    It needs to be closer-up, and with the camera angled a little so there are some shadows to better define the area.

    However, the acid test of whether it's male is if you can feel the penis bone or extrude the penis.

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    Cavy Slave shugarr's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    I wasn't able to get a clearer picture, but after trying again I couldn't get a penis to extrude and when pulling gently the area it opens up and looks live a defined "v" shape at the top rather than a little "donut" shape. All in all I do believe to be female and I don't want to keep pulling her out and stressing.

    Thanks for all the help though!

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Feel for the bone as well! There should feel like a hard ridge right above the genitals. That’s the easier way to determine gender.

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    Cavy Slave shugarr's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Quote Originally Posted by Candalalala View Post
    Feel for the bone as well! There should feel like a hard ridge right above the genitals. Thatís the easier way to determine gender.
    How hard will it be? Will females have no noticeable "ridge" or hardness, or will they both have it and it's just harder on a male? Sorry for all the questions. It's just that if I'm going to get a cage mate I want to be certain what gender so there's no pregnancies.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    Males have a bone that runs almost the whole length of the penis. If you turn the pig on its back, put your index finger crosswise the pig just above the genitalia, and rub your finger back and forth, it will feel like a pencil rolling under your finger if it's a male. Females have no comparable structure.

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    Cavy Slave Spotakiss's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    The way you're piggy is acting currently is very normal. My piggy didnt start coming out in the day until weeks of talking to him and probably not the best but force petting instead of letting him come for it but it all worked out. Try cutting veggies really fine and putting them in with the pellets but only one at a time for a few weeks then try giving a big piece and repeat until he will take and eat then move to another one. I started my piggy with a small cage but he ran around outside of the cage everyday but now he has a big cage. Also try using a word/sound for when they get veggies everytime it seemed to help with mine i use the word nummies. But just take your time and be very patient. My piggy is 2 and a half and i just finally got to the point where he gets really excited to see me when i walk into my room

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    It sounds like Bean is starting to relax and explore his or her new home. Pet shops and shelters struggle with determining gender. They usually only have a few people who know about guinea pigs and small pets.

    Either way, Bean is a cutie and I love the name!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    They usually only have a few people who know about guinea pigs and small pets.
    I'd say that's a very optimistic assessment. I wouldn't count on them having even one that knows anything about exotic pets.

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: New guinea pig is hiding/isn't eating veggies

    I did actually meet two young women who surprised me with their knowledge. One has 4 guinea pigs and was knowledgeable about housing, food, care and knew how to pick up and hold the guinea pig when she brought her out of the cage. The other asked about my small pet when I was buying hay, and when I said guinea pig, she said she couldn’t remember how many she had fostered for the humane society, and maybe mine was one of her fosters. I didn’t expect that at all.

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