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Thread: Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

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    Cavy Slave kateanddoodle's Avatar
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    Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

    I adopted 2 new ladies (both about 1 year old) from a rescue back in Nov. They were both very bright, social, eating and drinking well; according to the rescue, the agouti (Bea) was outgoing and the white one (Winnie) was shy. At the rescue, they both came to the front of the cage for scratches and treats.

    Got them home, and I don't think either came out for 2 weeks. It took 3 weeks for Bea to come out and another week for her to start eating treats. Both dropped 100 grams during this time. Winnie has become the dominant one, and poor Bea has taken to hiding behind the hay rack constantly. Both were greeting me at the front of the cage and wheeking for their morning snack, afternoon snack, and evening veggies. We moved them into our guest room 2 weeks ago where it is quieter (we are renovating our house and have barking dogs). Bea was shy for a day or two, but still came out to greet me.

    We had a house guest this past weekend stay in the guest room. On the day she left, Bea stopped eating, was fluffed, and had crusty eyes. Did some x-rays which were not exciting (I am a vet). Started handfeeding, gave Reglan, doxy, metacam on Sunday night- she got diarrhea so stopped doxy and Reglan. The last two days, she will pick here and there at hay, pellets, and veggies, drink well, and move about the cage. Her weight is stable. Today, she took her morning Vit. C treat and ate 2 bites, took her treat this afternoon and ate two bites- very similar to her behavior to week 4 with me. I've stopped hand feeding because she gets so stressed and scared.

    Lap time/bonding time is tricky- because, again home renovations, our guest room has no way to lock and the dogs barge in scaring the pigs. They get plenty of scritches in the cage, though and I talk to them often. Both are quite happy to see me; Winnie is a giant ham. When Bea is feeling well, she was giving licks and climbing my arm- neither are startled by me.

    Am I crazy for thinking this episode of stasis was triggered by stress? What can I do to prevent it or help make her a "braver" pig?

    My only other thought is that her teeth are bothering her (only thing I can't check)- she does eat slower than Winnie, but it doesn't explain why she stops eating altogether and slowly begins eating again on her own. The whole goal was for me to have "healthy" guinea pigs I wouldn't have to nurse after losing my two senior pigs suddenly a week apart in Sept. from cancer and pneumonia, and having to aggressively care for them.

    (Forgot I had a thread started when they first arrived- whoops!)
    Last edited by kateanddoodle; 01-07-20 at 01:36 pm.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

    https://petcentral.chewy.com/guinea-pig-stress-signs/

    This article is pretty helpful, I hope that you'll be able to get some tips from it.

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    Cavy Slave kateanddoodle's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

    Continuing to struggle with these girls. They're just over a year old now. Bea's weight is stable around 780, and Winnie is continuing to gain grams. Trying to figure out a good way to continue to push food for Bea while cutting back on Winnie's pellets.

    At this stage, I can't figure out for the life of me why Bea isn't gaining weight other than Winnie bullying her. I've found Bea on top of the Pigloo/in the hay rack, and she refused to come out of the hide this morning after screaming to high heaven. I feed their pellets in 2 separate bowls on opposite ends of the cage, offer hay in 2 piles on opposite ends of the cage. Winnie typically follows Bea to whichever end she goes to and runs her off the food there. They came to me as a bonded pair, so I'm at a loss as to what to do next other than separating them.

    Their cage is 2x4 C&C and unfortunately, expanding the cage is not a great option at the moment. It's possible, but it can only be expanded by 1 grid max, and it requires me to replace all their fleece/towels. The squabbling started when I got them and I had hoped it would stop by now. No one has drawn blood yet thankfully. Is it time to bathe and reintroduce them?

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

    Do you have any dividers or fleece panels that you can hang in the cage so they are not always in sight of each other. It sounds like Bea needs some time to eat without being scared off. Maybe lap time with Winnie so Bea gets a chance to eat, or a moveable divider that keeps them in separate parts of the pen for a short time each day so Bea eats.

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    Cavy Slave kateanddoodle's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

    Would a fleece forest running across the width (2 CC panels) of the cage work? Any links to purchase/DIY? Otherwise I may just purchase a divider. Tricky part is getting the fiance to move it while I'm at work. 12 hours is too long in a 2x2 cage.

    Wish we had the space to expand to a 2x6, but unfortunately, our tiny house just won't allow it.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

    I have two guinea pigs...the white one is a bit shy but of course he's also not feeling well (got him on meds from the vet) but even with that, he won't really want to be held unless im feeding or giving him the medicine.
    The second one is social and popcorns and runs around like a maniac.
    i want the white one to be more active and not as shy though...does anyone here know of any toys, or something that will bring him out of his shell?
    I have couple toys and chews but theyre not bringing much excitement for the white one...second one though has been nuts over anything and everything....so im stuck on how to get the white one just as excited..could be his personality? or is it because he's healing from being sick?

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for an Easily Stressed Guinea Pig

    Kateanddoodle, you could use a piece of fleece with long fringes draped across the width of the cage. Binder clips work well to clip fabric to the grids. Even a cardboard panel across the cage with a couple of doorways cut into it might be enough. And they should each have a hidey with two exits so one can’t get trapped inside by the other one.

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