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Thread: Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

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    Cavy Slave BeNotNobody's Avatar
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    Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

    As you can tell from my thread title, I am a new guinea pig mom. I adopted two Abyssinian boars a few hours ago. I love them so much...but I'm terrified I'm doing everything wrong! The agency told me to call with any questions, but I figured I'd ask here as well since you guys seem to be experts.

    I have a 2x5 grid cage. I have not put in the coroplast yet because I need to cut it and score it. I did line the bottom with a few layers of felt/fleece so they won't hurt their paws on the wire bottoms. I put down a large pile of oxbow timothy hay (which smells really good, by the way) which they eagerly dug into. I also put out some oxbow cavy cuisine in a small bowl and gave them each a baby carrot for being such good boys on the drive home. They have a water bottle/dispenser but it seems to leak incessantly. A wet guinea pig is not a happy guinea pig; that's getting replaced tomorrow. I also plan on introducing romaine lettuce to them tomorrow.

    I bought them each a hidey hole that was way too small. That's also getting replaced tomorrow. Until then, I cut holes in a shoe box. I might have to put in another; one of them keeps hogging it.

    They have carefresh in the cage as well, although it is in two separate soft-sided bins for now.

    Here are my questions:

    Once I put in the coroplast flooring, do I put the carefresh all over the floor? I've seen people keep fleece with the bedding in just one area, I've seen bedding throughout the whole cage, and I've seen some other combinations therein. Which is best for my boys?

    What type of brush is best and how often should brush them? Their coat looks fine right now, but I wouldn't mind brushing it.

    Is a loft really necessary? I'm trying to find ways to expand but a loft ramp seems like it's cut floor space. My bedroom has been guinea proofed for free/roam floor time and I plan on making another "playpen" type cage so they can hang out in the den.

    Once I hold the boys, they start purring, wheeking, and seem content. Actually catching them, however, is a chore and a half. Am I doing something wrong? Do you think it's just too soon and maybe they'll be less skittish in a few days?

    My current vet treats piggies, thankfully. Should I go get them checked out, even though they seem fine? I'm afraid it's too much too soon. Can I wait a week?

    Speaking of, how do you guys transport your babies? I am in the gulf so I need something I can grab in the event of a hurricane.

    Should I introduce veggies and fruits to them slowly or just go ahead and give them a variety tomorrow morning and see what they like? Their history is a little spotty; I'm not sure what they were on, other than oxbow (from the agency, not their past parents).

    What's a good ambient room temp for piggies? I felt they were getting a draft earlier so I closed the vent in the room their in...but I don't want them to feel hot either. Will hidey holes help them keep warm if they do feel cold?

    Is there anything I'm blatantly missing? There's so much info out there, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed (but very very happy).

    Thank you for all your help!

    ~BeNotNobody
    Last edited by BeNotNobody; 07-16-11 at 09:25 pm.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

    Oh, this made me feel so much better! I thought I was being so paranoid and worried about my new piggy. I just bought a female American short hair earlier today and I keep freaking out as well. I'm obviously a first time piggy owner too. :P .. I've done a lot of my research, but since I haven't actually cared for a real guinea pig until today, I'm afraid I can't help you much, but just know that you're not alone hehe and it sounds like you're doing really great. I don't think you should be too worried at all. My new girl will barely even let me pick her up or pet her for that matter, but hopefully this'll fade in a few days. Good luck with your two boys! (:

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    Cavy Slave Henrysmommy's Avatar
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    Re: Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

    Wow! Oh boy do I know how you feel. I got my abby months ago and I still worry like crazy that I'm not doing things correctly. I really can only answer for the grooming- what I do for Henry is in the summer I very carefully trim his really long spiky bits of fur, esp. around his bum and brush him out every other day to every third day with a VERY soft bristled brush I got from the pet shop. I imagine if you get one of the super soft tooth brushes it would do the same thing in miniature. How old are your new boys and what are their names? I just recently had to clean Henry's grease gland for the first time, which you can take a little time learning about. I also check his nails every week, because he never lets me cut them all at once. So you'll need a small pet safe nail trimmer. Some people use people nail trimmers but that makes me nervous. If you have pictures of them we'd love to see!

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    Cavy Slave Silverbeat's Avatar
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    Re: Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

    -I've found that a fleece area and kitchen area [for disposable bedding] has worked best for me and my pigs.
    -I don't think I've ever brushed my Abby pigs in the 4 years I've had them.
    -No you do not need a loft. I've found that my pigs generally like a loft, but they certainly don't need one. If you're looking to add more space to their cage, expand horizontally, not vertically [that is, make the base level bigger], since cavies are not climbers by nature.
    -Nope that's completely normal. One of my girls has been that way her whole life. She's going on 6. Just try not to make picking-up too stressful for them, by luring them into a snuggle sack or upside-down hidey house or something, then lifting them out of the cage.
    -Yes you can, don't want to stress the new babies out too much with all of these changes.
    -I just use a old small pet store cage, if it's a long trip, or a cardboard box. Preferably something that opens from the top and has handles on the sides. Tomato boxes serve the purpose quite well and are very sturdy.
    -You can give them a variety. For a pig that I know hasn't had veggies before, I typically will give them something like romaine and perhaps some bell pepper their first couple of days. Then add in more "rich" greens like silverbeet, herbs, dandelions, etc.
    -Between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
    -Are you feeding them unlimited hay? Seems to be the only thing not mentioned, but I assume that you are based on all the research and great care you're already providing.

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    Cavy Slave sdpiggylvr's Avatar
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    Re: Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    I have a 2x5 grid cage. I have not put in the coroplast yet because I need to cut it and score it. I did line the bottom with a few layers of felt/fleece so they won't hurt their paws on the wire bottoms.
    While you wait for the coroplast, do you have a plastic shower curtain liner? You can fold it to fit the bottom of the cage. Then add towels and then put the fleece on top. The fleece should be washed a few times to remove the cotton inside to ensure the fleece does its job of wicking the moisture to the towels.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    I bought them each a hidey hole that was way too small. That's also getting replaced tomorrow. Until then, I cut holes in a shoe box. I might have to put in another; one of them keeps hogging it.
    Not all pet store hideys are great. The plastic igloos are favorites. Jens Custom Crafts' huts are extremely nice and well-loved by the piggies: Regular Huts - Jens Custom Crafts LLC - Shop. If you want to get a custom hut, be prepared to wait several months as Jen is in the middle of a big move and has a bunch of orders backed up. Your best bet is to find a hut you like in the premades area. What's nice about the huts is they are soft (made out of fabric) and can be washed whenever dirty/smelly.

    I also like these hideys:
    View Small Animal Tents by CobbCabinCrafts on Etsy
    House for Chinchillas, Guinea pigs, Ferrets, Rats, Degus
    Cabana's

    A few places for other cage accessories:
    The Cuddle-Wee Shop :: Shop | Guinea Pig Goodies
    PiggyBedSpreads.com Making Your Guinea Pig's World a Beautiful Place!
    Products
    Jens Custom Crafts Pre-Made Items - Jens Custom Crafts LLC - Shop

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    Once I put in the coroplast flooring, do I put the carefresh all over the floor? I've seen people keep fleece with the bedding in just one area, I've seen bedding throughout the whole cage, and I've seen some other combinations therein. Which is best for my boys?
    It really depends what would work best for your situation. Do you have outdoor space to shake out dirty and hay-covered fleece liners? What about a washing machine? Do you have the funds to spend up to $50 each month on disposable bedding? I love fleece, not only is it money-saving, but it is a lot better for the environment. The guinea pigs love the softness and it is a lot easier to clean than bedding. With fleece you just use a hand broom and dustpan and sweep up the poos on a daily basis. A lot of people sell fleece liners online, which is great because it's all one piece, instead of an armload of towels and fleece. A good quality liner might be somewhere around $50-70, but if you get two sets (which makes it a lot easier to clean), you'll be spending less than $150 once every year or two, as opposed to $50 a month on disposable bedding.

    A few places to buy liners:
    The Cuddle-Wee Shop :: Shop | All Products
    PiggyBedSpreads.com Making Your Guinea Pig's World a Beautiful Place!
    Cage Blankets
    C&C Reversible Cage Liners - Jens Custom Crafts LLC - Shop

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    What type of brush is best and how often should brush them? Their coat looks fine right now, but I wouldn't mind brushing it.
    I have a white abby with himi markings, and I've never brushed her. She doesn't really need it.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    Is a loft really necessary? I'm trying to find ways to expand but a loft ramp seems like it's cut floor space. My bedroom has been guinea proofed for free/roam floor time and I plan on making another "playpen" type cage so they can hang out in the den.
    You're right about the floor space being taken up by a loft and ramp. I don't like ramps or lofts, as I find them hard to clean and kind of a pain. You're better off just having one large contiguous cage--the guinea pigs prefer it, anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    Once I hold the boys, they start purring, wheeking, and seem content. Actually catching them, however, is a chore and a half. Am I doing something wrong? Do you think it's just too soon and maybe they'll be less skittish in a few days?
    Your pigs are still getting used to you, they all do that. It can take months for guinea pigs to get used to new owners. Some never get used to you. Just be patient, gentle, and try to hand-feed them a favorite fruit or vegetable now and then to build their trust. Spending time around the cage (sweeping, straightening up, filling food bowls, etc.) will help them get used to your presence.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    My current vet treats piggies, thankfully. Should I go get them checked out, even though they seem fine? I'm afraid it's too much too soon. Can I wait a week?
    Your vet may "treat" piggies, but does she have experience? A lot of vets don't know much about guinea pigs, so be sure to double check that she is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to the wee ones: http://www.guinealynx.info/vet.html. If you got the pigs from a reputable rescue and you aren't noticing any symptoms of illness, they should be fine without a checkup.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    Speaking of, how do you guys transport your babies? I am in the gulf so I need something I can grab in the event of a hurricane.
    Having travel carriers set up and ready to go is a good idea. Small cat/dog carriers are perfect, especially the ones that open on the top. Here are some good ones: http://www.this-little-piggie-marketplace.com/2006/04/housewares.html#travel. Windespirit makes some great carrier pads that fit perfectly to your carrier: Carrier Pads.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    Should I introduce veggies and fruits to them slowly or just go ahead and give them a variety tomorrow morning and see what they like? Their history is a little spotty; I'm not sure what they were on, other than oxbow (from the agency, not their past parents).
    I foster guinea pigs for a local small animal rescue, so I go through this all the time! I usually give them a big variety, they will usually try most of it and more or less eat it. It usually works best to try a small amount and slowly increase. Have you seen the veggie charts?
    http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/...ants-list.html.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    What's a good ambient room temp for piggies? I felt they were getting a draft earlier so I closed the vent in the room their in...but I don't want them to feel hot either. Will hidey holes help them keep warm if they do feel cold?
    Usually over 78 degrees they will get uncomfortable. Somewhere in the low seventies is usually comfiest for them. Whatever you feel comfortable in is usually fine, but also take into consideration they have thick hair all over their bodies.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    Is there anything I'm blatantly missing? There's so much info out there, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed (but very very happy).
    You're so right, there is so much information! I hope I have helped!

    One thing that you didn't mention is floor time. Exercise time is important for guinea pigs, as this is their time to stretch their legs, maybe do a little discovering and exploring, popcorn and run zoomies (you'll see what those are when you do floor time, ).

    For all other help, check out Guinea Lynx: http://www.guinealynx.info. It is a great resource and will be a great help!

    Good luck!

  6. "Thank you, sdpiggylvr, for this useful post," says:


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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

    Don't worry too much. I think I went to the store every other day for the first two weeks after we got our girls. I'd get something (or forget something) or try something new and then make changes or add on or whatever. I took a while to calm down into a routine that we are all happy with. I don't think you ever stop worrying, but that just makes you a good mommy!

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Duffinvt's Avatar
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    Re: Ease my "new mom" anxiety?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeNotNobody View Post
    As you can tell from my thread title, I am a new guinea pig mom. I adopted two Abyssinian boars a few hours ago. I love them so much...but I'm terrified I'm doing everything wrong! The agency told me to call with any questions, but I figured I'd ask here as well since you guys seem to be experts.

    I have a 2x5 grid cage. I have not put in the coroplast yet because I need to cut it and score it. I did line the bottom with a few layers of felt/fleece so they won't hurt their paws on the wire bottoms.~BeNotNobody
    You don't need to have the wire cubes on the bottom of the cage if you set the whole cage on the floor or a table (with a protector under, such as a shower curtain or heavy duty contractor garbage bags). Most of us use the cubes only on the sides and ends.

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