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Behavior Go up the ramp...please!


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 7, 2012
I keep all the food and hay in a loft. Cupcake loves the ramp and runs up and down it all the time...just for fun. Our new girl, Carmella, hates the ramp. I have put her in the loft and she just sits there. She wouldn't even attempt to go down. I finally lured her down with some cilantro. She has no desire to go up the ramp. I put a bowl of pellets and another hay rack downstairs...this definately won't encourage her to use the ramp, but I didn't want her to starve. Any advice on how to get Carmella to use the ramp? I hate having hay on the fleece...plus the bedding is upstairs for bathroom time. Help!
I would suggest doing what you would do if you're trying to train her to perform a trick. Find out what her favorite treat/veggie is, and either use a piece of it to slowly lure her towards and up the ramp, or put tiny pieces of it in a trail going up the ramp. A pellet/hay source downstairs is definitely a good idea in the meantime, though, as there's no guarantee she'll ever come to use it. Hopefully she's just scared of it and will get used to it over time. Good luck!
How high is the loft from the first floor? What's that angle like on the ramp? How big is Carmella? How new is she to your family?

Yeah, I tried the whole loft/ramp thing - a bit overzealously at first because I had leftover coroplast to make one! But I now realize that Hammy is too self-conscious and scared of the angle, plus he's huge compared to Honey. Honey likes the ramp but only if I lure him up there with cilantro. I've only had both for a month, so I've gotten rid of the ramp and am waiting for them to get comfy with the first floor before trying it again. Plus, I'm going to move the loft lower and use zip ties to secure the grids, to lessen the steepness of the angle. Don't know if it makes a difference, but thought I'd share.
When I first moved Frappe to my apartment, she was on her own in a store-bought cage, one of those with a level and a ramp. I saw that in it she had half of one of those supposedly edible log things. It was next to the ramp, covered in poop, and I quickly observed that she had been jumping onto it, then onto the level instead of using the ramp. It was her step-stool, but it was so gross by that point, I immediately threw it out. Instead of now using the ramp, she would jump straight up onto the level-but sometimes she would use the ramp to walk back down! Sometimes I could coax her to walk up it, but she was definitely hesitant and preferred leaping up and down. It was slick plastic, and her feet would slide if she tried to scrabble too quickly. When Frappilicious underwent quarantine in the same cage, she did use the ramp. Of course she is smaller and I don't know if she can even make the jump. Anyway, they are together in their CC now; it is only one level. So I am curious to see if you have any more success with the ramp than I did :cheerful:
The loft is a full grid high. The ramp is two grids long, so the angle isn't that steep. Carmella is a average sized pig, but not a lot bigger than Cupcake. Cupcake is also younger. We just brought Carmella home yesterday. I am sure she is just adjusting. Cupcake had to be lured up the ramp...and that was that. She leaps half-way up the ramp! I added the ramp after she had been the cage a couple of weeks. Poor Carmella...it is all new to her. I'll give her a couple of weeks and keep trying to get her to attempt to go up.
how long has the ramp been there? I put in a loft with ramp last weekend and was worried the older ones wouldn't use it...Fifi and Molly were running up and down in within a day. I then decided to put their food/veggies up there, lured the older two with a piece of cilantro half way then let them do the rest...well, it's been a week and all four are running all over up and down, I even have the pellets up there with the cuddle sack...am thinking of moving the hay rack up to, less mess to clean...
What is the ramp made of? Does it have a side or ledge of some kind? I've found that my pigs won't use a ramp unless it has a side to keep them from falling off. Some pigs will have trouble maneuvering the area where the top of the ramp hooks onto the loft, so do whatever you can to make it smooth and easy to get over it.
Make sure she's got something for traction on the ramp -- they don't like slick things. And cover with some, even if it's just temporary -- a soda pop box will do, or fleece or a towel draped over it, or just cardboard bent over it.

Also, it's easier to teach them to go down than up. You can put them right at the top of the ramp, then put bit of their favorite food down the ramp, and they should figure it out pretty quickly.

Oddly enough, it was my very skittish abby who figured the ramp out first, and not her confident sister.
Thanks for all the ideas and advice. The ramp does have sides. It is made out of bent grids with coroplast. It is covered in shelf liner...the bumpy/holey kind. I hadn't thought about covering it. I will try that out. Originally all of the food and hay was up there, but since she wouldn't go up I had to put some downstairs too. My husbands advice was to leave all the food up there and she will eventually get hungry and go up the ramp. I can't do that! I will keep working with her. Worst case scenario...Cupcake has her own special level!
Pigs are afraid of heights, and not natural climbers. I tried to trick my pigs to up the ramp for over 7 weeks. The day I made a ramp cover turning the ramp into a tunnel, they both wandered up there within 10 minutes.
My piggies took to the ramp within a few minutes of installing it. So I guess I dont have piggies that are afraid of heights and at any given time you will find at least one on top of a pigloo. I think it's the personality of each individual pig...mine are very adventurous!
My husbands advice was to leave all the food up there and she will eventually get hungry and go up the ramp. I can't do that! I will keep working with her. Worst case scenario...Cupcake has her own special level!
HA! My husband said the same thing when I installed a ramp. "She will go up it or starve"! Well I didn't like the second option haha. It took about a month for Olive (RIP) to come down, she just lived with the food.
I think I will try putting some kind of cover over the ramp to make it a tunnel. Carmella seems more outgoing today. I am hoping she just needs some time. I had to put a "litter box" under the downstairs hayrack and food. Hopefully this will catch the hay and more importantly the poops and tinkles. Of couse now Cupcake prefers to eat downstairs too! ARRGGG! She stills runs up and down the ramp. Maybe I will just make that a bedroom is Carmella never figures out the ramp. They are so silly.
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