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New mom - wondering how to get our pig out more

EmilyAndCompany

New Member
Cavy Gazer
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
2
Hi all - My name is Emily. My gp is Lucas, and he's about 7 months old. My gf and I bought him at Petsmart on a whim about 2 months ago. We attempted to bring two brothers home but the one was very aggressive and dominant towards little Luke and, realizing we were in WAY over our heads, we took the bully brother back the next morning. So, Lucas is alone for right now. He's been seen my our veterinarian who is a small animal and bird specialist. She's happy with his health but we haven't submitted a fecal sample yet, so he has to be separated from our rabbit for the time being.

Anyway! We have a double Critter Nation cage and use the upper level for Lucas, and the lower level for Louie, our rabbit. Louie hops in and out of his cage and is allowed out as long as we're home. He ends up averaging 10 hours out of the cage daily, give or take. Lucas, however, is so timid that he doesn't like being out "free willy" in the house. Therefore, he's always in his cage. He lets us pet his head, eats treats right from our fingers, AND he's litter box trained! He's a pretty awesome little dude. We just hate to only be able to admire him from a distance without causing him a lot of stress.

We have thought about getting a small exercise pen just to bring him over by the couch for movie nights and dinner, but realistically, we live in a studio apartment and have very limited space for any additional furniture. Our lease is up in August and we'll be going into a two bedroom apt so the pets can all have their own bedroom and won't need to be caged anymore. (We also have two older parrots). But, until then, I feel bad for Lucas and want to get advice on how we can make him feel more comfortable in our home. We have no predator animals in the house- just two moms, a bunny, two big birds, and lilpig.
 
Welcome to the forum! We'd love to see pictures of Lucas.

You're not going to be happy to hear this, but a Critter Nation cage isn't a very good cage for a guinea pig. They need a large flat area to run around in, and the CN cages just don't have that.

Also, are you aware that it's not recommended to house guinea pigs and rabbits together? Guinea pigs have very fragile backs, and a rabbit can easily hurt the pig by landing on top of it. On top of that, rabbits carry a couple of bacteria that can make guinea pigs very ill and that they can't be vaccinated against.

Probably the best thing you can do to make him feel more at home is to get another guinea pig. They're herd animals, and do much better with a buddy. It can be tricky to introduce two males, so the best thing you could do is find a good rescue that would let you bring him in and find a pal he'd be compatible with.

The other thing is to hold him and feed him yummy treats -- veggies, not the store-bought junk. Guinea pigs are prey animals -- they pose no danger to any other animal, but everything is out to eat them. It'll take a long time and a lot of handling for him to feel comfortable with you, and even then, he may not like the process of being caught.
 
He isn't housed WITH the rabbit, he's housed above the rabbit. They can't see or reach each other. We're unconcerned with the caging arrangement for the rabbit because he gets so much exercise, and we wouldn't be concerned for Lucas, either, if he were comfortable outside the cage. Do people usually just let them come out and run about the house? I just assumed that he'd eventually get used to doing that. The rabbit has a litter box in the living room and just does his own thing... bounces about, hops on the couch to say hello, etc. I thought the guinea pig would do much the same once we put down his own bed and food, but he looks terrified and walks against the wall into the nearest dark corner and then stays there.
 
It's because he's alone. Most solo pigs seem to hide in a corner, rather than coming out to be sociable. There are exceptions, of course, but that's the usual pattern.

As far as running around the house is concerned, many pigs won't do that. They're totally convinced that you've got eagles loose in the house, and that if they venture out in the middle of the floor, they'll be eaten. A pair of pigs sometimes will encourage each other to explore, and some pigs do learn to roam freely. You can encourage his doing that by putting boxes on the floor so he has somewhere to hide from the eagles. Just cut both ends out and turn them upside down. Scatter them over the area, and put down some food for him to hunt. But my first two pigs were completely cowards, and hid under anything they could find, even each other. I finally gave up after several months.
 
Welcome! I think you might find most guinea pigs don't do well as free range. My pigs actually stay in their cage nearly all the time (it's big so they have room to run). When I first got them, I tried floor time but they were so scared they just found a place to hide and didn't come out. They honestly did not seem to like it. Also I have some allergy issues, so I can't hold mine much. One other hindrance is that guinea pigs poop EVERYWHERE! A LOT! Not many people have luck litter training them and mine are no exception. So give it a try and maybe Lucas will come to enjoy it. But know that he may not.

Do you have any pics of your little guy?
 
It's because he's alone. Most solo pigs seem to hide in a corner, rather than coming out to be sociable. There are exceptions, of course, but that's the usual pattern


Our late Snickers was the exception. My husband and I noticed that the first time we held him he would reach out to the person beside him which was a very good sign of approachability.

Even until his last day, he sought out attention--even from strangers--and he enjoyed being in the midst of a big group. He was our only pig and I wonder if this is why he was so sociable.
 
Our late Snickers was one of the most sociable pigs and it was somewhat due to his temperament and to our parenting. I cuddled him very often in the beginning and I brought him to his grandparents home
and had people come over. I took him outside and strangers would come by and watch him. Because I put him in many sociable situations, he flourished and enjoyed the attention and was not at all a fearful or bashful pig with anyone.

I would recommend exposing him to many sociable situations early on...of course, with gentleness, treats and warmth from your cuddles!



Here he was in his many cuddling moments:
 

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