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Thread: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Question New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    I feel like a first time mom all over again

    After losing my soul-sister Ruby in May, and then recently our Copper (very sudden, unexpected, and QUICK), our herd has gone from 4 to 2 piggies. Itís been a very difficult thing to come down in the morning and see two quiet (probably grieving) sweet pigs instead of the utter chaos that used to ensue at breakfast time with four happy pigs.

    Anyhow, the opportunity to take on a 8-week old baby female came across my lap and I could not resist. I didnít plan on adding back to my herd, but I saw her and my heart leaped out of my chest. Sheís the sweetest little JellyBean (in fact, thatís what we named her!) - very quiet and timid, which I expected.

    I feel a bit underexperienced here. My other pigs all came to me as adults well over 1 year of age, and Iíve no real experience with babies. Iím wondering if Iím on the right track with my approach here (and if anyone has tips or things I could/should be doing I would be truly grateful):

    -Sheís in a Ďquarantine cageí right now (Iíve read two weeks, so thatís what I was aiming for but if it should be more/less Iíd love to hear opinions on that). How long should she be kept separate?

    -Iíve not been handling her too much, I take her out for a quick snuggle once per day while we clean up her cage a little and such. Iíd love for JellyBean to adjust well to us handling her - my Ruby and also Copper were both really affectionate, our surviving two come from less-than-stellar conditions, and even after 2+ years with us donít like to be handled or even a pet on the nose. How much handling should we be doing at this stage?

    -Feeding: She has a small piece of lettuce, with a small strip of pepper or one or two little carrot shreds, each morning but otherwise Iíve been keeping a good mound of hay in her cage (she likes to burrow into it to sleep) as well as a wee tiny sprinkle of pellets. At 8 weeks does she still need the alfalfa hay?

    -My plan is to keep her in her own habitat for a while (2 weeks), and then when I move her over to the big habitat (which is currently housing 2 pigs and is 3 x 4 grids in size) Iím planning to start her in there with a separation wall between the bigger pigs and her, so she has a safe area. Should I immediately put her in the big cage with the other two? Or is my idea to have a wall up for a while the better way to do it?

    I have been googling and meandering around all my favourite cavy sites and I still feel utterly overwhelmed. I would like to make sure sheís happy, comfortable, healthy, and safe. Any advice is mucho appreciated!
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  2. #2
    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Up to 6 months old, alfalfa hay or pellets can be given to a guinea pig. Or some other form of calcium.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    What a cutie! Thanks for taking her in.

    If she is only 8 weeks old, she is probably desperately lonely and will benefit from being with the other two. Do you know where and what environment she came from? If so, quarantine isn't a "must" so long as you have the funds to take all three to the Vet if there is any resulting illness. And having said that, "no", I wouldn't put up a wall in the cage but integrate the herd at the end of the two weeks.......or sooner.

    Do follow the requisite introduction protocol and introduce them in a large neutral space, and thoroughly clean the cage and everything in it. Once you put her with the other two, keep a close eye on how things go so that she isn't being bullied. Older cavies often recognize the fragility of young ones and accept them more readily than if they were adults.

    I'm one who believes that the more you handle them (especially the very young), the better. They become comfortable with your smell, your voice, and your touch and become better acclimated to your household.

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    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Quote Originally Posted by spy9doc View Post
    What a cutie! Thanks for taking her in.

    If she is only 8 weeks old, she is probably desperately lonely and will benefit from being with the other two. Do you know where and what environment she came from? If so, quarantine isn't a "must" so long as you have the funds to take all three to the Vet if there is any resulting illness. And having said that, "no", I wouldn't put up a wall in the cage but integrate the herd at the end of the two weeks.......or sooner.

    Do follow the requisite introduction protocol and introduce them in a large neutral space, and thoroughly clean the cage and everything in it. Once you put her with the other two, keep a close eye on how things go so that she isn't being bullied. Older cavies often recognize the fragility of young ones and accept them more readily than if they were adults.

    I'm one who believes that the more you handle them (especially the very young), the better. They become comfortable with your smell, your voice, and your touch and become better acclimated to your household.
    I’m not entirely sure of her origins. I got her from a local exotic pet store (not like PetSmart, this place is a rescue/rehab/educational place that also sells supplies for exotics of all kinds - it’s a really good shop). They often have animals ‘dumped’ or surrendered there. They didnt know much about this little girl, sadly. I was in there looking for some supplies for the Bearded Dragon my daughter wants to buy and I mentioned I had some piggies at home. She said “oh my goodness we have a baby here, you have to see her”. And the rest was history, she came home with us the very next morning.

    HOWEVER, the loneliness issue is one I have been worried about. That’s why I asked if the 2 weeks was necessary. All I think when I see her in there, just snuggling in her tunnel or under her hay mound, is that she is just so wee little and scared - she may benefit from being around the other two. I can’t even imagine how lonely she must be right now. My other two, Little Bear and Cookie, are generally very docile quiet pigs. Little Bear can get a little rumbly every once in a while, but since Ruby has been gone she’s slowed her roll quite a lot and is very quiet and passive now.

    I do worry about exposing my two adults to something she may be carrying, though. I definitely don’t want to take three pigs to the vet at the same time, if we can avoid it. Maybe I’ll shorten the quarantine time? Just go for it and hope it turns out ok? Go for the full two weeks? I’m really torn, and not at all sure what the answer is.

    Also, Cookie and Little Bear are SO BIG. Especially compared to this wee little peanut. I keep thinking the poor bean is going to be trampled by the two big berthas she’ll be living with .

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Either quarantine for three full weeks, not two, or go ahead and put them together. Shortening quarantine won't do anything except expose your pigs to anything she might have.

    However, if it were me, I'd put them together. Lonely babies are really pitiful.

    And adult guinea pigs raise pups all the time. I doubt seriously she'll be trampled.

    See for introductions: http://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    @bpatters......I was hoping that you would be along soon.......I didn't have the requisite link for introductions.

    @RubysMama......You say that you have never had young cavies previously? From experience, I can tell you that she won't be tiny for long! Like human children, enjoy her while she's young......they grow up so quickly.

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    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    Either quarantine for three full weeks, not two, or go ahead and put them together. Shortening quarantine won't do anything except expose your pigs to anything she might have.

    However, if it were me, I'd put them together. Lonely babies are really pitiful.

    And adult guinea pigs raise pups all the time. I doubt seriously she'll be trampled.

    See for introductions: http://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html
    She really is pitiful.. I always hate the idea of a pig living alone, especially a wee baby like this one.
    I just had her out for a snuggle and she was like a baby kitten falling asleep, all wobbly headed and sleepy, while I pet her nose and top of her head. Iím just smitten with this baby.

    When we first got our Ruby, she was solo until we found her some amigos. We found an already bonded trio who needed rehoming and after the quarantine time, we did the intros. They were all adults though, but Iím sure the process will be the same with a baby. Ruby was undoubtedly the alpha, and it took maybe 1.5 hrs before the intros were over. All three quickly stepped in line behind Roo and there was hardly so much as a squabble ever after. Some rumbling and mounting once in a while but she shut that down very efficiently .

    I have a suspicion that my two adults will accept a baby fairly easily. Theyíre mild mannered and very quiet. Our big habitat is due for a deep clean this week so I think at the same time Iíll throw in all fresh fleece and do the intros that day.

    I suspect my two bigs could do with the company too, they seem very lost without the two more dominant girls. Maybe a new friend will perk them up.

    Thanks for the advice! Im beginning to feel less overwhelmed.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Don't intro them in that cage. Unless you clean EVERYTHING -- wiping down the wires, washing all the plastics, taking out all the wooden things, it will still have the smell of pig in it, which may upset things.

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    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    Don't intro them in that cage. Unless you clean EVERYTHING -- wiping down the wires, washing all the plastics, taking out all the wooden things, it will still have the smell of pig in it, which may upset things.
    Oh! Sorry I was unclear. I will do the intros in neutral territory but then will have a fresh clean cage for them to go into when the intros are done since itís cage cleaning day this week anyway. Itís a big cage and a lot of work to clean so Iíll try to time the intros so itís on the same day.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    What an adorable little nugget! She's SO cute!

    Lots of good advice here, I've nothing to add except to echo @spy9doc 's sentiment. Enjoy her as a baby. It will NOT last long. Even though Punkin and Scooter are wonderful boys as almost 3 year olds, their antics as 3 week olds were absolutely precious. Before you know it she'll be just as big as her aunties. Make sure you've got LOTS of room on your phone's SD card as you'll be taking tons of pics and videos.

    And lastly, I would like to extend my condolences on the loss of Copper. Doesn't matter how long we have them, it's never, ever enough.

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    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    What an adorable little nugget! She's SO cute!

    Lots of good advice here, I've nothing to add except to echo @spy9doc 's sentiment. Enjoy her as a baby. It will NOT last long. Even though Punkin and Scooter are wonderful boys as almost 3 year olds, their antics as 3 week olds were absolutely precious. Before you know it she'll be just as big as her aunties. Make sure you've got LOTS of room on your phone's SD card as you'll be taking tons of pics and videos.

    And lastly, I would like to extend my condolences on the loss of Copper. Doesn't matter how long we have them, it's never, ever enough.
    Thanks! Copper was the embodiment of happiness and sweetness, and it’s been very challenging here losing Ruby and now Copper. I really thought it was too soon to get another piggie, and I didn’t think I’d ever add back to my herd. But, this little cutie-patootie was just too sweet. I have moments where I think “what the heck did I do??” And then I see her zooming around and doing baby-popcorns and I’m reassured that it was a good call.

    She’s been snuggling a bit today, which has been very healing for my heart. She jogs around her little cage and meeps the tiniest little meeps. She’s already learned to recognize the crinkle of the hay bag from another room when I’ve been refreshing the Big Pigs’ hay pile

    She’s so wee tiny, I’m almost afraid to hurt her when I hold her. My other girls are TANKS! It’s quite a difference to go from holding JellyBean to holding one of the Big Girls haha

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    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Well, I was really on the fence about introducing her now, or waiting the full quarantine period.
    Yesterday, she had a case of Zoomies and was running and popcorning and Parkouríing off the sides of her habitat
    Then sheíd stop and let out these kind of sad squeaky wheeking noises - almost like she was like Ďhey iím Zooming, come play with meí. She was so pitiful, sheíd just go lay in her log tunnel, eat some but mostly just sitting in there like Ďwhere is everyone?!í

    So. We did the thing today. We spent well over 1.5 hours on the floor of the hallway introducing the big girls to the baby. It went really well, I think. Immediately, JellyBean ran to Cookie (our black and white girl) and tried to crawl in under her belly. She looked like she was looking to nurse, but maybe Iím wrong. She was positively joyful chasing poor Cookie around trying to snuggle under Cookieís (ample) belly.

    Little Bear is asserting her dominance, but mostly just some chasing and a bit of nose-bumping and nipping (no biting though, no fur flying and no blood drawn).

    Mostly, the Big Girls just seemed a bit freaked out by this wee little crazy popcorning maniac baby, and JellyBean was definitely confident and stood her own ground quite well. At one point she was in a nose-raising contest with Little Bear. She lost quickly but put up a valiant effort.

    Once we saw them eating quietly together a few times, and the Big Girls were laying around - we decided to deep clean the Piggie Paradise and get them in there so we could make sure all was well.

    We put JellyBean in there first, for a few minutes, so she could explore and have some uninterrupted time to run around the new space. Then we put the big girls in. There was a bit of chasing, and Little Bear can be a bit grumpy with the baby. But overall, theyíre all getting along as well as can be expected. Cookie seems to be taking a real liking to the baby and seemed to protect her from Little Bear a couple of times.

    Here are a couple of photos. Iím glad we moved her to the big girls cage, she seems RIDICULOUSLY happy and content there. Iím still going to keep a very close eye on everyone to make sure they are doing okay, and no one gets sick. But this was the right choice to move her. As soon as she saw the other girls, she perked RIGHT up and was jaunting around all over the place.

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  13. #13
    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    What a great story! I just had a feeling that it would work out this way. Thanks for describing it in vivid detail....I was transfixed reading it.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Congratulations! Nothing like a happy baby piggie!

  15. #15
    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Aww she is a jelly bean compared to them! How cute! I'm so happy to see introductions went great!

  16. #16
    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    She is a wee little bean but she is SASSY. She gets chased around by Little Bear (the brown/caramel Godzilla pig) but she doesn’t seem scared. She stands her ground and does whatever the heck she wants to do. Probably helps that the chunky big girl doesn’t have the same stamina and tires of the chase pretty quickly

    I almost wish I was able to have another baby piggie so JellyBean could have someone with the same energy as she.

  17. #17
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Quote Originally Posted by RubysMama View Post
    I almost wish I was able to have another baby piggie so JellyBean could have someone with the same energy as she.

    Silly question, but...........

    What's stopping you? You DID have 4 girls before.

    No disrespect intended.

  18. #18
    Cavy Slave RubysMama's Avatar
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    Re: New Baby Cavy - Adding to my existing piggies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    Silly question, but...........

    What's stopping you? You DID have 4 girls before.

    No disrespect intended.
    Well, actually - nothing is really stopping me except for finding another baby pig local to me haha
    i told my family “just this one wee baby”, but we all laughed because anyone who knows me knows it’s just a matter of time before my herd is at full capacity again

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