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Introducing Maya and Saffron (and me! Pigture included)


Cavy Slave
Feb 14, 2012
Hello everyone! I'm Katie, a third year uni student living in Australia with two new gorgeous pigs. I found this forum while researching guinea pig care and it's been absolutely invaluable. I also love the sense of community I've seen here, so now that I have my guinea pigs I couldn't resist showing them off.

Having moved out of my parents' house in the last few months, I felt the urge to finally get a pet. I've always loved animals, but my mother is allergic to pretty much everything (a trait I've partly inherited) and my father has a... er... gleefully carnivorous attitude towards everything with fur. When I asked for a pet as a child, they gave me a cactus. So when I realised I was in a pet-friendly rental and my housemates love animals just as much, it was like fireworks went off in my mind!

Guinea pigs didn't occur to me at first. Like many people, I'd only seen them in pet shops all silent and staring, with that wide eyed vacant expression that I used to think was just characteristic of guinea pigs. Things changed when my boyfriend and I visited a pet shop and saw three tiny boys running wild, chasing rabbits, leaping up the glass wall when we knelt down to say hello, and generally looking a lot more active than the guinea pigs I've typically seen before. I went back home, did some research, and found my way here.

One week ago, armed with a box of grids shipped from the US and some coreflute (as it's called here), I finally found my girls. The RSPCA went from zero cavies to twenty in a single night. As you can probably guess, it was a single surrender originating from a pair of missexed pet shop piggies. That said, there must have been some back-to-back or sibling pregnancies in the mix, as there's no way a single litter could produce eighteen. Poor mom! They'd all had lice, and looked terrified. Perhaps some of the older ones had some human contact before the rescue, but I'm guessing that my two had very little.

Here they are on their first day in their new home! The one in front is Saffron, and the one trying to hide behind her sister's bum is Maya.

[GuineaPigCages.com] Introducing Maya and Saffron (and me! Pigture included)

They have a 2x3 C&C cage, which was my first mistake. I have enough grids for a 2x4, but I was very sick when I constructed their cage and ended up mangling half my coreflute. They'll be upgraded to a 2x4 once I can convince my boyfriend to drive me out to the plastic supplier again. To compensate (sort of) for now, they have an extra large hidey made from fleece draped over two grids. It hangs down to the floor in strips, making a cave/fleece forest combo that they can easily run through. They stayed in there for the first few days, lying practically stacked on top of one another in the corner behind their pellet bowl. It was so cute, but of course I only have an iPhone and the lack of light was too much for it.

They're both lovely, sweet girls. Maya is so soft and satiny that I wonder if she's part silkie. At first I thought Saffron was solid ginger, but I've noticed very subtle light striations in her coat. They're such fascinating little creatures - I could spend hours just watching them. Saffron is definitely the more active of the pair, although occasionally Maya surprises me with a massive squeak and a burst of motion. I'm finding it very difficult to tell what they like, in terms of petting. So far they've just been pretty still during laptime. I'm hoping they'll respond more as they become more comfortable, and that I'll work out what they mean.

Today I changed their cage, swapping out towels for vetinary pet pads, and they went absolutely crazy! They've been running all over the cage, climbing over their blanket and even popcorning. It's the first time I've ever seen them this active. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that they finally have hay. I ordered it long before I got them, but it must have been delayed in the post as it only just got here. They've only been a few days without it, and I've tried to compensate by giving them fresh grass and lots of lettuce, but it's such a relief that they have it now. They're scurrying around, wheeking constantly, climbing over their blanket mountain... it makes me so happy to see. They're still fairly nervous around me, and definitely won't take food from my hand, but it's enough that they like their new home. Means I'm doing something right!

They've also been a lot more vocal in saying no to me when I try to pick them up. At first this worried me, as I wondered if I'd stressed them out too much, but now I'm taking it as a good sign - I'm guessing that when they were placid and still in the first few days, they were actually frozen in fear and let me pick them up just to get it over with.

In conclusion, I have a few questions. Tonight after the cage change, Saffron's been charging at Maya every so often. No blood is drawn, so I'm not worried, but I'm wondering what this might be. Saffron darts around the cage, scoots up behind Maya (as she's eating hay) and then charges at her bottom. There's a cacophony of squeaking and they bolt off into the hidey. Is this a game they play, or are they re-establishing dominance now that their environment has changed?

Also, given the circumstances of their surrender, there's a chance that one or both of them may be pregnant. I think it's unlikely, but how could I tell? Apart from monitoring their weight, are there any other early signs? How much of a fluctuation in weight is significant?

They're also not drinking from their water bottle. I've refilled it every day and I know it works, but they haven't touched it. I left them a saucer of water and they just pooped in it, so I took it away. I'm hoping this just means that they're getting enough water from their veggies, but if they're not then what can I do?

Thank you all so much for providing this website! I hope the stream of questions is alright. I just want to do the best for them that I possibly can, and hopefully, once I know what I'm doing, offer help to others. :)
Welcome to the world of piggies! Also welcome to the forum! You have a couple of very beautiful girls there.
They will get used to you and their new surroundings. Yes it does sound like they are re -establishing who is boss.
You can weigh them everyday to see if they are gaining weight. Pregnancy is 52-72 days. They will thicken in the middle and become pear shaped. There are many threads on here about pregnancy. Also you can go to guinealynx.com and find the pregnancy section with alot of info.

As for the water leave the bottle in the cage. Keep it fresh. They maybe drinking but it is so such a small amount you are not noticing it. You can put some water on their veggies also so they are wet but not drenched.

Read the many threads here. You can go into the search engine and find a thread on many subjects. Also the stickys at the beginning of every main section will give you information.
Feel free to ask all the questions you want. We are here for you and your piggies.

A question: Did they see a vet to get rid of the lice? They look healthy in your pictures.
Again welcome
Thank you! Yes, the vet at the RSPCA treated them for lice. They seem fine. Also, a breakthrough! Saffron just took food from my hand. Admittedly she just snatched it and dashed off, but after four days, I'm very excited!
What news! Just keep loving them, they will come around. Piggies cannot resist food. They arent called piggies for nothing. LOL
Welcome! your pigs are soooo cute :)
Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on adopting your piggies! I think they've found their way to a very good home.

Don't worry about the water bottle -- they'll likely figure it out soon enough. For now, be sure their veggies are very wet when you feed them. Also, if they're still at the "OMG! if she sees us she'll kill us" stage, then hang the water bottle right by the hidey they stay in the most so they can get it to it without exposing themselves to the dangers in your house.

There aren't any easily detectable signs of early pregnancy in guinea pigs. Daily weight gain is your best indicator, but even that's not totally reliable if you don't know the age of the guinea pig. Weight gain in a very young pig could be because she's pregnant, or because she's just got good food for the first time in her life. So get a scale that weighs in grams and ounces, and record their weight at the same time every day -- before their first feeding is best, if you can manage that.

Guinea pig gestation is 9-10 weeks, usually. The pig will gradually become more pear-shaped, and at around 6 weeks or so, you'll be able to feel the babies if you put your hands along her flanks. Then you'll be able to see them kicking. About a week or so before delivery, you can hear the babies' teeth chattering, and about 2-4 days before, the sow's pelvic bones will separate about a thumb's width.

If either (or both) of yours is pregnant, there's lots of info at www.guinealynx.info. Click on the Index, and you'll find articles on pregnancy, labor, etc.

Saffron could well be in heat, and if so, that behavior should go away very soon. They come in heat roughly every two weeks, and it only lasts a day or so. Or, it could be a dominance thing, in which case it won't go away so quickly. Don't worry about it unless someone is getting bitten or is being harassed to the point that she can't eat and is losing weight.
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