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Behavior My piggies are so weird!

Natalie Boyle

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I adopted 3 older boars a few weeks ago - almost 2 months ago - and they are just the weirdest little guys I've ever seen!

While it's not really weird, they spend most of their time sleeping or near the food - and also near their veggie plate where I put their daily vegetables - as they are older (3+ years each) and not as rambunctious as younger cavies. 2 of them are pretty skittish still and don't like to be held (although one likes to get his nose scratched by me occasionally), and the 3rd has gotten used to being held even if he only wants to be held once in a while. They will occasionally fight for food and sleeping space, but I am slowly changing their sleeping and food arrangements to prevent that from happening in the future (putting in less pigloos and adding in cozy cups and cozy sacks that I make in my free time, putting in more food bowls and adding more places for hay; if they stay good I will add in a loft area for them to play in).

What is weird is that they - although it's mostly the youngest one of the 3 - will popcorn like crazy when I turn the vacuum on! I've been told that guinea pigs do not like loud sounds (as I've accidentally scared them before when I sneeze, but they've gotten used to that), so I only use the vacuum to clean up around their cage or clean up any poop that I could not reach with the dust pan. So when the vacuum turns on and I start cleaning, at least one of them starts to jump and have "seizures" as I thought at first, until I saw videos of guinea pigs popcorning and I realized what he was doing. He doesn't do it all the time, but when he does it is very amusing and entertaining. They rarely popcorn when I give them food or clean their cage as I'm doing it differently than their previous owners (they used care fresh bedding in a 2X5 cage while I use fleece and u-hawl blankets in a bigger cage with a weird shape; cheaper and not as messy), so seeing them do it now is interesting!

Has anyone had their guinea pig do something weird/funny like that unexpectedly?
I will try and videotape him doing it next time, but it's so random that I don't know when he will do it again.
In a different thread I will show pictures of my pigs and their cage after it's next cleaning.
 

lisanjake

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ive read that the popcorning can also mean they are scared, probably because vacuums are very loud. they do it to confuse prey too.
 

HannahN

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My guinea pig pop corns when he is scared and when he is happy. When he is scared it's more like a jump of fear. He does it when I touch his butt or when there's a really loud noise, and jumps and scurries away under something really fast. I know when he's happy because he will just popcorn and not run away afterwards. I usually am able to determine his feelings when there's a stimulus in the environment that I would assume make him nervous- then the popcorn is not happy. But if there is food, or a new re-arranged cage- I assume he is happy. :)
 

pinky

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Popcorning is a "reactive" action. A stimulus causes them to jump up in the air. It can be from a lot of different things, including sounds and movement among other things.
 

CavyChrissy

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My new girls Lucy and Snickers are getting used to the vacuum too - they are currently living in a borrowed pet store cage on the floor with aspen bedding. So I'm just constantly vacuuming! At first they ran straight to their houses, but now they don't seem so fearful and Snickers actually stays out of her house and watches me. I figure they need to get used to the regular sounds of our house!
 

Pigglet_pose

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My pigs have always been scared of the vacuum. That's why I switched to sweeping for spot cleans.
 

BriteViolets

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My boys aren't really bothered at all by the vacuum. I have one who will just lay there chilling out and won't even move while I vacuum around. He's always been a little odd though. His favorite thing to do is sneak up on his cage mate while he's eating and go at his rear end till he gets snapped at. Then he'll take off popcorning, he'll run a few laps popcorn a few more times and do another sneak attack. He's like the bratty little brother.
 

SquigglyPigs

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I vacuum the fleece inside the cage every day and it's so funny the routine my pigs have now. I will start taking all of their beds and toys out of the cage and then I say "Mu Mu, go upstairs" (Mu is the leader of the 3 pigs) and Mu will waddle up to the top of the loft. The other two follow her up there and wait patiently as I vacuum the bottom of the cage. As soon as the vacuum turns off, they waddle back downstairs to let me vacuum the loft. They are the funniest things sometimes.
 

lisanjake

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ooohh Allison that's adorable!!! hahaha clever things.
 

Nubbin

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My guy isnt scared of the vacuum at all. He'll sit there and continue munching calmly at his hay while I vacuum up the fleece in the cage inches away.
 

Natalie Boyle

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Well, good thing my piggies aren't the only ones lol!

They aren't really scared of the vacuum (it's an old brand and not very loud). The first time I ran the vacuum they all jumped at first, but then eventually they would come over and start sniffing the end of the vacuum nozzle trying to figure out what it is. This went on the first 3-4 days I started using fleece bedding instead of paper bedding. I was told by their previous owners that all 3 pigs would popcorn whenever their bedding was cleaned up, but they didn't seem to do it with the fleece (not used to it yet, I guess). But I guess after the first week of vacuuming up any droppings (poop and stray food) every other day, depending on how messy they are that day, they figured out that when the vacuum is turned on their cage gets cleaned and one or two of them will start popcorning. At first only one of them did it every other time I had the vacuum on, now two of them do it every time. It's pretty funny, really! (Also, they get more scared of my sneezes than the vacuum)

Also, to add something else that was pretty funny: I set up two hay areas - one hay rack that is a grid section bent into a C and hanging down on one side of the cage, and a fleece hay bag I made hanging on the other side of the cage (so they don't fight for hay) - and when I returned to my room after having breakfast one of my guinea pigs had started to climb up into the hay rack (one side was blocked off while the other was open for more eating access). When I said "Watcha doing, bud?" he looked up at me and backed out of the rack and away from it slowly like I caught him stealing cookies or something! At least know I know one of my pigs is a climber lol!
 

magicpiggie

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My sows Magic and Piggie popcorn whenever I finish cleaning their cage and place them in their clean cage with a ton of hay. It's super cute!!!
 

Spritzysmomma

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I would really like to rescue guinea pigs. I cleaned out my giant closet to make room for a 2x4 c&c three level cage. The last level will be 2x1. The two boys will be on the first level, and the three girls will be on the first and second level. I plan on using fleece bedding, high quality horse hay, Oxbow alfalfa pellets for the young piggies, KMS pellets for the adults. Please recommend websites, food, toys, ect. :eek:
 

magicpiggie

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[MENTION=35351]Natalie Boyle[/MENTION] How adorable
 

Morning_shadow

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Maybe try a dustpan instead of using the vacuum each time?
 

Natalie Boyle

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I use a dust pan half the time. Now I only use the vacuum in hard-to-reach areas. Hopefully when I eventually rebuild the cage into something easier to clean I won't have to use the vacuum ever.
 

magicpiggie

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I would really like to rescue guinea pigs. I cleaned out my giant closet to make room for a 2x4 c&c three level cage. The last level will be 2x1. The two boys will be on the first level, and the three girls will be on the first and second level. I plan on using fleece bedding, high quality horse hay, Oxbow alfalfa pellets for the young piggies, KMS pellets for the adults. Please recommend websites, food, toys, ect. :eek:

Actually, I wouldn't recommend putting guinea pigs in closets. Closets do not offer good ventilation, nor the natural light that they need.
 

Natalie Boyle

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So I switched vacuums earlier this week. The vacuum I was using before was so old that you had to insert special vacuum bags into the back then switch them out when they get full. Well six months after getting my guinea pigs and five months after I started using the vacuum I ran out of bags but they still sell them online. However, it would just get pricey to have to buy more bags every time I ran out, so I was considering in buying a small handheld Dyson vacuum that had detachable ends. I saw a video someone made on Youtube and how she used the Dyson handheld to not only pick up poop and food pellets, but also used it to remove the hair from the fleece (which is another issue I have since my boars are 2 long haired American and one Crested who all shed a lot). Before I really had a chance to talk it over with my parents my dad gave me a slightly smaller better vacuum that we had store away somewhere. With it I just vacuum up what I need to vacuum, then I remove the canister holding everything in, dump it and put it back. Best part is: it's smaller and thus easier to store away under my new cage layout that is now raised off the ground for extra storage space. I talked it over with my dad and he said he and my mom considered in getting me a Dyson handheld for me but the website said they were no longer in production (weird, as I was on the site a day before and you could still buy them). This new vacuum is the same volume wise as my old one so my guinea pigs aren't bothered by it, but I still only use it every other day to clean up hard-to-reach areas near the back of the cage.
 
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