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Thread: Questions about new cavies

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave
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    Question Questions about new cavies

    Hey everyone!

    My husband and I recently adopted two adult girls last Saturday (August 3) who were surrendered to Petland (which was not doing a remotely good job on care.) These are our first cavies! Though we've been looking around for a few years now.
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    We have Jett who is an American Shorthair, and Fanny who is a Silky we're told about 2 years. Both had very over grown nails, which Petland trimmed off half, so they wouldn't be walking on their nails anymore.. too much. They're now at least on a proper diet. But to our surprise while checking them over a bit more thoroughly I've noticed that I can feel Fanny's vertebrate, hips, ribs, and a very large tummy which feels like she may be pregnant! (So there's always the chance Jett could be as well...) Our vet office's are thoroughly booked but were set for on Monday to get at least Fanny in, bringing Jett along too at least get a weight.

    They're not as rowdy as we saw them in the pet store since we've upgraded them to a 3'x5' pen we made out of wire shelving and coroplastic. It's been warm here but not too warm for them. They sleep quite a bit, with Fanny sleeping and laying down a lot. Both have big appetites though they are not eating as much pellet food as, from what I've read, most guinea's eat. Maybe half as much in a day? They both get fresh greens morning(7am) and night, with a chunk of bell pepper more often as a treat mid-day(3:30-4), and a veg/fruit chunk as well in the evening (6-6:30.) Fresh water, and floor time, until yesterday as I read not to handle pregnant sows. (I think she would be about 6/7weeks)

    SO!

    With all this excitement, and me being new, I have some overall questions; if this belongs in another thread please move if able, or I apologise

    1) What Questions can/should I be asking the vet?
    2) What things can it be besides expecting pups?
    2) How do I best get some weight on Fanny? I understand that if she is expecting that she needs to be switched to alfalfa hay and increase in calcium and vitamin C - how much?
    3) If she's not expecting how do I get some weight on her?
    4) Being that they're just being settled would I still need to split the girls up? Will it stress her out too much? If they're both pregnant should I still split them up? -Is this cause for more concern to do it?
    5) how large and how small can/should we have a pen if there are pigglets? (My husband is okay and eager to build another 3'x5' pen if needed)

    Is there anything else I should know? We don't have any back story, but to me it seems like they were loved pets at some point and then neglected.

    Thank you for the help/advice/welcoming to cavy world!

    Jett, Fanny, Taron and Jen

  2. #2
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about new cavies

    1) What Questions can/should I be asking the vet?
    You need a scale at home to weigh them with. Weighing your pigs weekly and recording their weights is the best way you have to monitor whether they're getting sick. Get a kitchen scale that will weigh up to about five pounds in both grams and ounces -- they're about $15.

    2) What things can it be besides expecting pups?
    It's possible that it's ovarian cysts, although she's a little young for that.

    2) How do I best get some weight on Fanny? I understand that if she is expecting that she needs to be switched to alfalfa hay and increase in calcium and vitamin C - how much?
    No, she shouldn't be switched to alfalfa hay. All pigs need a long strand grass hay (timothy, meadow, orchard, blue, brome) to keep their teeth ground down. Alfalfa is not a grass, it's a legume, like peas.

    What pregnant/nursing sows and pups need is extra calcium, which you can give them by feeding alfalfa pellets, OR supplementing their grass hay with a little alfalfa hay, OR by feeding them high calcium veggies, like a sprig or two of parsley per day.

    You can give part of a plain vitamin C tablet by crushing it and sprinkling it on the food, or by dissolving it in a bit of water and immediately syringing it to them. Don't put it in the water bottle -- it decomposes very quickly, and is of no use given that way.

    3) If she's not expecting how do I get some weight on her?
    Just feed her a cup or so of veggies every day, plus 1/8 cup of pellets, plus unlimited grass hay. She should begin to pick up weight with good food available to her.

    4) Being that they're just being settled would I still need to split the girls up? Will it stress her out too much? If they're both pregnant should I still split them up? -Is this cause for more concern to do it?
    If your cage is large enough for both sows and their pups, there's no need to split them up at all. If both are pregnant and pups are born about the same time, they'll both mother all the pups. If one isn't pregnant, she may make a very good nanny aunt.

    5) how large and how small can/should we have a pen if there are pigglets? (My husband is okay and eager to build another 3'x5' pen if needed)
    See the Main tab at the top of the cage for recommended cage sizes. You don't need as much room for pups as for adults, but you do need more than the recommended amount of room for two sows. You'll have to separate out any male pups at 21 days of age, so I'd wait until the pups come to decide on cage alterations.

    You didn't ask, but I'll recommend any way. Either take out the pigloo or cut another hole in it. There should be at least two hideys in the cage, and all hideys should have both entrances and exits. That way no pig with PMS can trap another one in the hidey.

    Welcome to the forum, and keep us posted on how they're doing.

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  4. #3
    Cavy Slave
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    Smile Re: Questions about new cavies

    We will be picking up a scale this weekend.

    They do get fresh veg, 1/4 cup of pellets between the two of them, and unlimited hay. Though they're not eating much for pellets and plenty of hay, as well as all veg/green/fruits we offer - without over feeding.

    Awesome about not having to divide the girls up! - I was quite worried about the stress on Fanny

    Awesome news about the hide! - We have paper bag, a news paper made tunnel, as well as some towels they borrow around in/through. We're cutting holes in the hide as I type!

    Thank you for all your help! Seems there are a lot of different styles of care for guineas (I'm used to ratties and reptiles)

    We'll post on their progress!
    Jen

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    Re: Questions about new cavies

    Since @bpatters answered all your questions, all I want to add is how adorable your new girls are! Don't worry about them not eating a lot of pellets, they are more of a back up to the hay and veggies anyway.

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  7. #5
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Questions about new cavies

    Just a quick update. I do have pics coming!

    Fanny is expecting 2-3 pups likely in a week or two. She was at least 7 week's pregnant when we went in on Monday. Other then her weight she is healthy at 900g!
    Jet is not pregnant and is also very healthy at 920g
    We went to Prince George Vet clinic. In Prince George, BC

    We have since changed their cage around a bit, added another house (What do you use to cut holes in those pigloos?) have two hay feed areas, one a tray style and the other with their rack. Also, we've switched to fleece, will be experimenting with towel's for the absorbent layer once we find some at a good price.

    Any tips you have for new mom and babies, when to handle the babies -I read I can take a look over at them the day of? Also any other things you may find are helpful.

    PS: We are keeping the two girls together, with strict supervision on their behavior. Fanny had a grouchy day before switching to the fleece, but has been much better about sharing the food and not trapping Jet in corners since.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Questions about new cavies

    Thank you! I thought I had replied already once haha. We have been feeding less veg to Fanny to try and get her eating more pellets for her weight, but otherwise are not concerned.

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