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Thread: I got new pigs, everybody!

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    I got new pigs, everybody!

    Begin the Second Age of Pigs. Some of you may recall seeing this story posted in the news feed a few weeks ago: https://wdef.com/2019/10/25/hoarding...s-guinea-pigs/ This is in Chattanooga, where I live. If you live in Chattanooga, you know about the McKamey Animal Center. Story popped up on the forum news feed LITERALLY the morning after I finished sewing the last of the fleece for my new pigpen. I waited until after I got back from a family trip to visit my grandparents and would have waited longer, but at my Dad's encouraging, I went down there today.

    I wasn't planning on bringing any pigs home until this weekend, but McKamey will only place an adoption hold on animals for 24 hours. So... here they are!

    This is Avery:

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    And this is Andrew:

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    They're both boars (yes, I did double-check already). They're not paired, so I'm keeping them separate until this weekend and then I'm going to try introducing them and see if they're going to get along. I haven't officially adopted them yet; I'm fostering them for the next week to see if they'll make a good pair. If I decide to keep them, I go back to McKamey next Wednesday to sign adoption paperwork. I've never tried to introduce pigs before, but I've been present for Tribble's pairing with two separate cagemates in the past. And I know that introduction bible is floating around on the forum somewhere.

    I'm sure I'll have more questions later on as things develop, but for now I have these two that I wanted to toss out there:

    1.) Should I try doing introductions in my brand-new pigpen so that I don't have to move them afterwards? It's never been used before by any pig, so it should count as neutral territory.
    2.) Ages of these guys? The shelter had no clue, but I think Avery looks pretty young and Andrew maybe just a bit older. I'm trying to figure out if they're under 6 months and I need to be supplementing some higher-calcium veggies.

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    They are so cute!!!!

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    I hope they like each other. They would make quite a pair.

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    To answer your questions, I personally think it would be fine to introduce them in the new pigpen. If theres no other piggy smell in there you're right to say its neutral territory.
    Your guess is as good as mine as far as their ages go. They look about 4 to 6 months old to me. How much do they weigh? That might could help.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Long may the Second Age of Pigs reign!! Avery is gorgeous and Andrew super cute

    I don't have a whole lot expierance with it, but Andrew looks the same size and build my Robin Hood was at about 4 months...is Avery a little bigger than Andrew or is it just how I'm looking at the picture? What about their nails? My Friar Tuck is about 13 months old now, while Robin Hood is 7 months, and their nails are still noticeably different. Friar Tuck's nails look like dog nails and are thicker; Robin Hood's are still thinner, smaller, and shinier, more like a cat claw.

    This chart seemed pretty accurate to how my piggies grew:

    Age ~ Size
    Birth 8-10 cm (3-4 inches)
    8 Weeks 15-20 cm (6-8 inches)
    16 weeks 20-25 cm (8-10 inches)
    14 months 20-30 cm (8-12 inches)

    It's not accurate to every guinea pig but hopefully it can help...Good luck with the Second Age!

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Quote Originally Posted by Candalalala View Post
    To answer your questions, I personally think it would be fine to introduce them in the new pigpen. If theres no other piggy smell in there you're right to say its neutral territory.
    Your guess is as good as mine as far as their ages go. They look about 4 to 6 months old to me. How much do they weigh? That might could help.
    I haven't actually weighed them yet, although that would have been a great thing to do when I took them out of their carriers to put in the cages. :P I'll weigh them soon, but both are quite small and kinda have that lanky, baby-pig build.

    Avery is very outgoing and curious and started popcorning inside his little travel cage within about half an hour of going in it.

    Andrew is the opposite. He's extremely flighty and actually scrambled up out of the cage this morning and fell from the table. He didn't cry out; he popped right back up and kept running, appears to be moving normally at present, but it scared the daylights out of both of us. I think he's okay, but I'll keep a close eye on him to make sure nothing develops. He's going to need a lot of careful handling to get used to people. But he is setting down and eating and drinking and even exploring his cage.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Andrew weighs 490 grams tonight and Avery weighs 577 grams. It surprised me because I initially thought that Avery was the smaller of the two. Both have those tiny, sharp little cat claws that are typical of young animals.

    I noticed when I got home that Avery drained nearly all of a 6-ounce water bottle over the last 14 hours. It looked like a good deal of it may have been spillage underneath the bottle, but I can't be sure. There seemed to be a lot of actual pee as well.

    I know that different pigs drink different amounts of water, but how much would be "too much"? I'd rather not end up with a baby that already has kidney issues...

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Robin Hood did the exact same thing when we first brought him home, and still does sometimes!
    But our conclusion to it is he was a messy drinker as a little one--- we had the normal guinea pig/rabbit size water bottles, and we realized the ends were pretty big for his little mouth. His chin/nose would get all wet. We think he couldn't get his mouth completely around it and so it leaked out the sides. We got him some additional hamster size water bottles and he still seems to prefer those.

    We've also had very leaky water bottles before that were the culprit. Sometimes they don't leak at all until the water temperature changes or the temperature of the room changes. When we put fresh water in them ( I know not to use cold, but coming out of our water dispenser it's still cooler than room temperature ) they drip a lot until the water warms to room temperature.

    Another thing Robin Hood seems to do more than Friar Tuck is when he does zoomies around the cage perimeter or happens to popcorn there, he brushes into the water bottles and causes water to come out; getting the floor or his back wet.

    I'm really curious about anyone else's input on this, too, because Robin Hood still seems to cause more wet floor under the water bottles than Friar Tuck ever did. But I don't see him drink any more that Friar Tuck, either sorry if i rambled, and hope this helps!

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  11. #9
    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Quote Originally Posted by MerryFriarTuck View Post
    Robin Hood did the exact same thing when we first brought him home, and still does sometimes!
    But our conclusion to it is he was a messy drinker as a little one--- we had the normal guinea pig/rabbit size water bottles, and we realized the ends were pretty big for his little mouth. His chin/nose would get all wet. We think he couldn't get his mouth completely around it and so it leaked out the sides. We got him some additional hamster size water bottles and he still seems to prefer those.

    We've also had very leaky water bottles before that were the culprit. Sometimes they don't leak at all until the water temperature changes or the temperature of the room changes. When we put fresh water in them ( I know not to use cold, but coming out of our water dispenser it's still cooler than room temperature ) they drip a lot until the water warms to room temperature.

    Another thing Robin Hood seems to do more than Friar Tuck is when he does zoomies around the cage perimeter or happens to popcorn there, he brushes into the water bottles and causes water to come out; getting the floor or his back wet.

    I'm really curious about anyone else's input on this, too, because Robin Hood still seems to cause more wet floor under the water bottles than Friar Tuck ever did. But I don't see him drink any more that Friar Tuck, either sorry if i rambled, and hope this helps!
    Thank you for the ramble, it was actually very reassuring!

    I was trying to watch him a little last night and rather than stay at the water bottle constantly, he seemed to wander over just once and mess with it for a long time. I tried to watch him, but he saw me and stopped. I'm starting to think he may just like playing with it. :P Also, he has eaten a tremendous amount of hay the past 2 days (I think just thrilled to have such delicious hay rather than the stuff they had at the shelter), so that might also be part of the reason he was drinking so much.

    I'm preparing to try introductions tomorrow. Based on their weights and general appearance, my best estimate is that they're probably somewhere between 8-11 weeks, and I think Avery might be a week or two older than Andrew. So far I haven't seen any even remotely aggressive or territorial behavior from either, and they've been in cages right next to each other the last 2 days. But then again... it's only been 2 days... and I've been at work for most of it.

    I'm trying to decide whether it would be wise to bathe them before trying introductions. My only concern would be that it might be too soon to put that kind of stress on them, especially Andrew, who's very skittish. Thoughts?

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    So glad to reassure! It's nice to know to me, too, that Robin Hood wasn't the only weird baby piggy with the water bottle

    Robin Hood did the exact same thing; not constantly going to the water bottle but messing with it a long time!! I think it's either because as little ones they have a hard time getting their mouth around it ( and the entire mouthfuls of water actually in their mouth ) or they're indeed just playing I have a strong suspicion it's a little bit of both!

    And both my piggies almost always go get a good drink of water after eating lots of hay.

    I don't feel expieranced enough with introductions and bonding to help you there, though... hopefully someone else will chime in!

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleSqueakers View Post
    Andrew weighs 490 grams tonight and Avery weighs 577 grams. It surprised me because I initially thought that Avery was the smaller of the two. Both have those tiny, sharp little cat claws that are typical of young animals.
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleSqueakers View Post
    I'm preparing to try introductions tomorrow. Based on their weights and general appearance, my best estimate is that they're probably somewhere between 8-11 weeks, and I think Avery might be a week or two older than Andrew. So far I haven't seen any even remotely aggressive or territorial behavior from either, and they've been in cages right next to each other the last 2 days. But then again... it's only been 2 days... and I've been at work for most of it.

    I'm trying to decide whether it would be wise to bathe them before trying introductions. My only concern would be that it might be too soon to put that kind of stress on them, especially Andrew, who's very skittish. Thoughts?
    Yea they definitely sound like they are 2 1/2 to 3 months old. With them being such little babies still you probably could just put them in the new cage set up and be fine. They probably would love to just have eachother for comfort at this age. Andrew might come out of his bubble with a buddy.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Yes, looking at their pictures I think you're just about spot on with their ages, too!

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    Cavy Slave Smileandnod's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    What a couple of adorable little guys! Looking forward to updates as these two grow up and become good friends.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Adorable boys! I hope they pair well together!

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Update: Introductions yesterday went better than I could have hoped! I saw no aggressive behavior the first four hours and most of that time was spent running laps, popping, and playing. They seemed absolutely thrilled to be together in a cage probably bigger than either of them has ever had in their young lives. Up until yesterday I was a little nervous because I know that Avery at least has had some bad history with other guinea pigs. The assistant at the shelter explained to me that when he was rescued from the hoarding situation, Avery had been in a cage with 6 other animals and had so many bite wounds covering his back that he was completely bald. He's healed up and has grown most of his hair back and had just finished antibiotics not long before I came to the shelter to look at pigs. I was a little worried about what his reaction might be to being put in with another pig, but they both got comfortable very quickly.

    There has since been some whining and occasional teeth chattering and even a lunge or two as they establish the rules of who's-who and what-belongs-to-whom. But it's all been very short-lived, they have multiples of everything, and they have a full 17 square feet to get away from one another. I also noticed within an hour or two of putting the big blue pigloo in that it was creating problems (even though I've cut an extra entrance/exit into it), so I took it out just to be safe. Andrew has been getting steadily more comfortable since I brought him home and has really come out of his shell since being put together with Avery yesterday. Contrary to my initial prediction, I think he's actually established himself as the dominant pig. All in all, a great success!

    I do have a few additional questions:

    1.) Not surprisingly, these guys don't eat veggies yet. I've seen Avery eat the carrot shreds I've put in, but that's it. So I'm having to supplement a vitamin C tablet for the time being until they learn to eat veggies. I know the general suggestion is about 25 mg vit C daily for adult pigs, but do youngsters need more than that? Or less?

    2.) They're eating adult oxbow essentials pellets and I'm going to supplement some alfalfa for extra calcium until they learn to eat veggies. Should I also add in some vitamin/mineral supplement drops until they start eating veggies? Like Oasis Vita drops? Or should I just stick with timothy hay, alfafa hay, adult oxbow pellets and vit C supplement for now until they start eating veggies?

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    One more question I forgot: At their age (estimated 2-3 months) how much of pellets should I be feeding? Is it still 2 Tbs per pig per day?

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    I'm so glad to hear everything is going great for you! I'm the bad guinea pig mom that lets her babies have pellets all day though... They eat when they want to haha so thats a question for someone else to answer. As far as not eating veggies, I remember putting small pieces in and waiting to see what they would eat. Oxbow has vitamin C tablets that would great for me at thr beginning and now for whenever I forget to buy bell pepper. As far as how much though, I dont know. My piggies took to veggies a few weeks into having them (they were a month old when I got them).

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Quote Originally Posted by Candalalala View Post
    I'm the bad guinea pig mom that lets her babies have pellets all day
    IMHO that is being a good guinea pig mom. My cavies have always had 24/7 access to pellets, hay, and water. Being fed veggies is secondary insofar as nutrition is concerned if they have quality pellets.

    I feed my cavies one meal per day with a large salad around 5-6pm so that they aren't ravenous throughout the night and they tend to sleep quietly until we get up in the morning. If they are hungry, then they are secure in knowing that they can at least have access to pellets.

    As an aside, I don't feed two meals per day. That sets you up to be a cavy slave to their needs, and I have found that it is virtually impossible to find someone to come over to tidy the cage and feed them twice a day in the event that we have to be out of town. When we got our last two cavies, they were 4 and 6 weeks old and had never had veggies so we opted to start them out on the one meal per day schedule. It is predictable that they will be hungry around 1:30pm, and we do them give them a generous "snack" to tide them over to dinner.

    In all my years of having cavies, I have never had one who would overeat pellets. When they have their meal of the day, I feed them generously and permit them to eat until they are full. This eliminates whining and begging simply because they are hungry. Cavies are herbivores and simply won't get fat on veggies.......assuming that you stick to an all around healthy diet with low-sugar and low-calcium ingredients. Don't get too caught up in trying to vary their diet with lots of different ingredients. My boys get virtually the same thing every day and they are just as excited each time when dinner arrives. Their regular meal consists of spring mix, peppers, green beans, and red cabbage. Some say not to feed cabbage because it causes gas, but I have never had a problem with it and it is certainly much less expensive than radicchio which they are mad for. I don't worry about the spinach in the spring mix because it isn't much in the overall picture. Once you discover what favorites they have developed, then perhaps you may want to vary their salad a bit. Also, there are other veggies that I feed as a treat such as dandelion greens, radicchio, corn husks, etc.

    As a rule, I rarely feed fruits or anything that is high in sugar. In the summer, that changes. Their treat may be watermelon, canteloupe, or other seasonal fruit. They simply don't care much for fruit and will eat a couple of bites and be done with it. Carrots are another issue because they are high in sugar. Sparky has come to expect his baby carrot at bedtime and will fuss until he gets it. The policy on that is one-and-done.

    Insofar as Vit. C is concerned, I use Oasis Vita Drops - Vit. C and find it the easiest way to ensure that they are actually ingesting it. My cavies have occasionally gone on strike insofar as eating their peppers. When this happens, I still feed the peppers but supplement with about 0.3ml of the drops until they once again decide that they like peppers. I feed the Vit. C straight, but you can mix it with an equal amount of water or unflavored pedialyte. Cavies will consume almost anything when mixed with pedialyte! It is probably the sugar in it, but if you have to syringe meds or Critical Care, it is certainly the way to go.

    Congratulations on the new boys! It sounds as though things are going well with them. They are lucky to have found a great piggy Mom!

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  25. #19
    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    I'm also a piggy parent who lets them have pellets all day!! I'm glad I'm not the only one My boys never overeat their pellets either, and because of that I feel like they know what they need themselves. When I first got Robin Hood he was about 1 month old too, and he ravenously drained his pellet bowl constantly the first week or two ( he was a rescue and underweight ). As soon as his weight was back up he stopped. He probably still eats more of them than Friar Tuck, but he's also still growing, while Friar isn't; so I think it's justified and he knows what he needs.

    Friar Tuck ate all veggies right off the bat when I got him--- but he was about 5 months old. Robin Hood at 1 month would only eat carrots, romaine, and after the first few days yellow pepper. I would chop up the pepper in tiny pieces and mix it with the romaine and carrots. Anything at all sweet he loved instantly, he has a huge sweet tooth! After two weeks he was eating almost everything I offered him, and for extra calcium I just gave him romaine, celery, cilantro, etc. When he was a baby he adored a little piece of banana, but it could only be a special treat. But now both he and Friar snub bananas completely. They've also been snubbing oranges, which was both their favorite treat when they were younger, too.

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    Cavy Slave MaiaBex's Avatar
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    Re: I got new pigs, everybody!

    Tannim gets pellets all day too... I didn't know there was any other way! I give him a scoop in the morning and then he just takes all day to finish them off.

    I don't remember having any issues with Tannim and veggies, but he was 5 months when I got him, and the rescue had been giving him baby carrots so I knew he was okay with the idea. I just experimented a bit to find his likes and dislikes. (For the record... likes bell pepper - any color -, carrots, and cucumber; not crazy about zucchini unless "Mama" is eating it and hand feeding little pieces; haven't found anything he totally snubs. As for fruit... he's right up there with Robin Hood - huge sweet tooth! He'd stuff himself with apple if I let him! )

    And btw... Avery and Andrew are adorable!

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