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Thread: Shelter and Loss weight

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    Shelter and Loss weight

    Dear everyone,

    I recently had to go abroad for one week and I needed boarding for my two babies. The shelter for guinea pigs only opens on Saturdays, and I was going to be back on Sunday, so they had to be there for 2 weeks and they were in a 2x3 cage. Once I picked them back, they were skittish when I was grabbing them from the cage to the transporter, and I noticed that one of them (Oktavia the submissive) was scared and screamed. That kind of behavior had faded away once she started living with me.
    Once we were at home in their 2x6 cage, I gave them food and weighted them:

    Oktavia the submissive:
    1162 grams to 1060 grams (an 8.78% weight loss)

    Altaria the dominant:
    1248 grams to 1220 grams (a 2.24% weight loss)

    I was highly surprised that Altaria had dropped almost no weight (considering her weight patterns fluctuation since i weight them daily), but Oktavia had lost a lot of weight and she seemed scared of being handled (in general they two are skittish guinea pigs, specially when I compared them against the other babies in the shelter who were very eager to be touched).

    NOTE: I also noticed that my Oktavia (submissive) had some dried reddish rheum in her eye and that her eye may have a tiny injury (nothing serious). I cleaned it and everything is fine.

    Questions:

    1) I was expecting they would lose weight, but I am surprised that Oktavia lost a lot of weight and Altaria only little weight. Do you think my dominant baby was pushing around my submissive one and that's why she lost a lot of weight? She also looked afraid and disturbed, but I may be imagining things. Once they both were back into their cage, Oktavia looked really happy and lively, and she was running a lot.

    They haven't battled. However, I noticed that they both are sleeping and chilling in the extremes of the cage, while before they would sleep together and be together.

    2) Is there a way for me to prevent my Oktavia losing weight again? I am also boarding them on December for another 2 weeks (trip abroad).

    Thank you

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: Shelter and Loss weight

    My guess is the stress of boarding and the reduced cage size caused some behavior changes. Oktavia may have been afraid to come out and eat, Altaria may have guarded the food, or maybe they weren’t given enough to eat and Altaria got to the food first. They should have two food areas and two water bottles, as well as separate areas to hide so they don’t always see each other. That’s hard to do in a 2x3 cage.

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    Re: Shelter and Loss weight

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaZoo View Post
    My guess is the stress of boarding and the reduced cage size caused some behavior changes. Oktavia may have been afraid to come out and eat, Altaria may have guarded the food, or maybe they weren’t given enough to eat and Altaria got to the food first. They should have two food areas and two water bottles, as well as separate areas to hide so they don’t always see each other. That’s hard to do in a 2x3 cage.
    Aw. Also, today when I was checking Oktavia the submissive on my desk, I put her inside of a cute pocket/cuddle sack for guinea pigs. Then I left her there, picked Altaria the dominant up and she went inside her pocket and Oktavia started screaming in fear (not in pain because I put my hand inside to avoid Altaria pushing or biting Oktavia), and everytime I would touch her she would be scared. I was able to remove Altaria de dominant away and put her in another sack, and then Oktavia was again ok and she enjoyed being touched by me and didn't scream or try to flee from me.

    It seems Altaria mistreated her during their stay at the shelter. Here they are sleeping in separate areas, which is pretty easy. I'm wondering when they will become friends again.

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: Shelter and Loss weight

    It sounds like there was definitely some bullying going on and their relationship has changed. Make sure you have hideys with 2 or more exits so Oktavia doesnít get cornered. And avoid pigloos since one pig can corner and trap another. Pigloos also have terrible ventilation.

    If you have to board them at the shelter again, I would ask for separate cages side by side. Itís not worth the health and safety risks to put them together in a smaller cage.

    The one thing I would be curious about is why someone at the shelter didnít recognize the behavior and do something about it. If Oktavia was being bullied it should have been pretty obvious.

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    Re: Shelter and Loss weight

    Thank you!

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    Cavy Newbie Miarobi's Avatar
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    Re: Shelter and Loss weight

    Each of your pigs may experience stress differently. One is very shy, and the second, under stressful conditions, begins to fight for survival, roughly speaking, and at the same time, looking at the fear of the second guinea pig, she becomes more dominant. I faced a similar situation when my friends were also forced to leave for another city and left us their two guinea pigs for us to overexposure.

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