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my piggies hate me


New Member
Cavy Slave
Apr 14, 2012
I received a gift of 2 female GP purchased at a pet store 2 months ago. The pet store told me they were 2-3 months old. I handled them a little at first but generally tried to let them get used to their new environment in peace and quiet the first week. They are in a large rodent cage (18x12x30 in) with plans to get larger cage asap. After the first week I started to try and take them out for brief visits on my lap and gently pet them. It is difficult to get them out because they hide and I don't 'grab and drag'. When I do hold them they try and bite me (don't break the skin but leave teeth marks). They will not eat out of my hand even though they LOVE the fresh kale and parsley from my garden I give them daily. This has not gottten any better. I'm afraid if I never hold them they will never be people-friendly but I don't want to stress them out either. Any suggestions?
First things first, get them a larger cage as soon as you can. There is a lot of great information on this site about how to build a C&C cage. You can easily build them a C&C for less than $40. Two Guinea Pigs need a minimum of 10.5 sq ft and your two have less than 4 sq ft. This is a BIG reason for their being anti-social. Would you be happy if you lived in a bathroom?

Once you get them a properly sized cage, try to get them used to you by sitting quietly near their cage to let them know that you are not going to hurt them. Once they get used to you it will be much easier to get them out of their cage for lap time and bonding.
I second what (broken link removed) says . Also many pigs do not like to be picked up (mine do not), but once we get them out we put a towle over them and do lap time. This seems to help because they have a place to hide and feel safer. Also we keep the room quiet (no tv, no music etc).
Sometimes it can take a long time, and some pigs never become cuddly at all.

It's easier to use a towel or burrow bag type deal to pick them up at first. Handling is necessary, even though it's sad to see them so scared. They need a lot of maintenence. Nail trimming, weekly weigh ins, etc.

Only 3 out of 4 pigs at my home are sweet and cuddly when in my lap. The other one is a really nervous pig who I have to place inside a shoebox on my lap for him to feel secure enough. Two other pigs I have only allow me to hold them for a little bit, because they have too much energy to sit still for long periods.

I also second @piggypuppylove . They'd be so much happier and full of life if they were in a bigger cage.
Sounds like the members have already gave you so much good advice. Great Luck.
I agree with Piggypuppylove....i bigger cage is a must. They need the room to play and get away from each other (if they need too).I got my girls a bigger cage and they love it...i still have to catch them in their cozies, but i had to always do that with my two new ones.

Can u do a safe floor time with them during the day? Doin a floor time helped me with my girls...i will make a area in my hall for them to play daily (it's the only spot i have for floor time). I will bring them their veggies and sit in the floor while they eat...They now have gotten to the point where they will sit/lay and eat while i'm right beside them...Believe me, it took them a bit to get use to me being there...they would always hide for awhile, but they started to learn that i would not hurt them and i'm the nice lady that brings yummies !! :) U still wanna make sure they have a place to hide and feel secure. They will get use to u...just takes a lil time. We have had our Mocha for 2 yrs and she will still run and hide when we go to pick her up, She is a very shy girl !!

See if u can try that...maybe that will help !!
Thanks for the feedback. I had read several books from the library on GP before I got these and the books all said how friendly and cuddly GP were, so I thought this would happen right away. NOT! ;) I found this website looking for information on larger cages (pet store cages still seem too small) and was delighted to see the wire cube designs since I have about 10-12 sq ft of these cubes that my kids used for stashing their stuff. Kids are gone (grown up) so I can use the cubes to make a large floor cage for them - maybe a 1 ft sleeping area and then make an 'L' for a run area. Just have to figure out how to put bedding in the base. They seem to be 'litter box' trained - I put a cut-off gallon milk jug in the corner of their cage with litter and they use it pretty exclusively to pee. My contractor (also a piggy owner) says he can help me make a sheet metal base to sit the cube walls inside. (He tried the plastic sheeting for his piggies and says that material does not hold up well.) I have floor space they can run in also so I'll try that and sit with fresh veggies from the garden that they love so much (they squeal when they hear me come in the back door from the garden or hear me open the plastic bag from the frige I keep these in). I had the cage in my bedroom on a table for a while so they could get used to me being the room working on my laptop, etc., but moved them to the kitchen on advice of some other piggy owners who thought that would get them used to people going about (mostly me with occasional visitors). The only place for a large cage will be in my (large eat-in) kitchen anyway. So, will see if all these things help! Given their expected life-span I hope to enjoy their company for a long time as I approach retirement and more time at home! thanks again!
Other than the great info the others have given you, I recommend treating them for mites. Sometimes mites can cause them to be irritable and bite.

See this page for info on how to handle biting pigs.
Biting Guinea Pigs: What to Do


Ivermectin for treatment:

Also remember that guinea pigs are prey animals. They will always have the instinct to run away. These are some tips to help get them used to you and an easy way to pick them up.


I always pick up my pigs using a pet carrier. Put the carrier in the cage, they get in, I close the door and pull the carrier out.
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