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New Piggie is shy, and plump...

SugarBear

Active Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jul 1, 2005
Messages
38
We are new piggie owners here, and I've read so much about them to make sure I know how to properly care for them. We got our female from a local pet store after searching rescues and coming up with no young piggies available. My son had just lost his precious hamster and I was determined to get him a very young GP to make sure he has as much time as possible to enjoy her. He is such a great animal lover.

Her name is Sugar, and she always runs from us when we try to pick her up - is this normal? She's also quite plump in the belly, but not extremely plump - just slightly bulging out on the sides. I had her in my lap yesterday and I wasn't sure if I was feeling something inside her belly or if it was just gas rumbling. It felt like a series of taps, but was very similar to gas.

Whenever my son holds her she chatters away just as happy as she can be. She's also chattery when I hold her. She likes to lick my hands and she never pees or poops on me. Is the running normal?

How can I get her to stop peeing in her sleeping area? I have her cage lined with newspaper until she's fully litter trained. I have two litter pans and a ferret hammock in the cage. She lays in one litter pan and rarely potties in it. She normally potties in the other one, but she has peed and pooped in the hammock many times. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
 
If you got her from a pet store then there is a very high chance she could be pregnant, as many (if not most) stores are exceptionally poor at or don't bother to sex their animals. A vet can confirm this. Females tend to get rounder as they get older, rather than when they are young. My female is podgy and pear-shaped, but she is old.

Guinea pigs will generally go where they want to go. You could always stick the hammock in the litter tray, and take it away in the hope that she will 'go' there in future. You can encourage her to pee in the litter tray by putting a little bit of soiled bedding in there when you clean out the cage.

Guinea pigs are prey animals so, in general, they will run away when a big human hand looms over them. Many will never learn not to - it's the most basic of instincts. You just need to tempt her out with some fresh veggies first, and she will learn that you (or your son) are the hand that feeds her.

Have you considered getting her a companion? Guinea pigs are not guinea pigs if they are alone. They reallly come into their own with a friend or friends nearby. Did you look on www.petfinder.org? There are LOADS of guinea pigs on there in need of a home. There are also people on here that can help you find a young one. Don't support the pet stores - there ARE baby guinea pigs out there in need of a home, you just need to look harder!
 
Thank you, daftscotslass. I'm watching her closely so the first definite sign of any pups moving I'll definitely know. I'm one who does a lot of research, especially when a fragile life is at stake.

I called the pet store to politely ask if they separate them by sex, and before she could answer I made it clear that I wouldn't be upset if she were pregnant, I just wanted more information from them so that I would know what her chances of being pregnant are. She specifically remembered Sugar and said she doubts she is pregnant, but it's still a possibility. She said they do try their best to keep the males and females separate so that new pet owners aren't faced with a litter when they only wanted one. That said, a friend bought her piggie from the same pet store, and she was pregnant.

I did try the rescue sites, local shelters and petfinder.org, but there were none in our area, and I'll admit we wanted to act quickly because my son was distraught over the loss of his hamster, so since there were no young piggies available at the shelters and rescues we decided to get Sugar. Here's something I don't understand - I know the pet stores are the last resort, or at least should be, but if the animals sold at pet stores don't sell they will ultimately face the same fate as those who aren't rescued. I do wish they would stop selling animals, but until they do those animals will still need good homes and loving people to care for them. Not a rant - just something I've always thought about as an animal lover.

Yes, I have thought of getting her a cage-mate, but I want to be 100% certain she's not pregnant first. I'd definitely choose to keep one of hers over adopting one and I don't want to make the mistake of getting another piggie until I'm certain if she's pregnant or not.
 
Here's Sugar at 15 months....
 
SugarBear said:
I did try the rescue sites, local shelters and petfinder.org, but there were none in our area, and I'll admit we wanted to act quickly because my son was distraught over the loss of his hamster, so since there were no young piggies available at the shelters and rescues we decided to get Sugar. .
When you start looking for a friend for her check (broken link removed), they have over a hundred homeless pigs in maryland, most of them still young.


SugarBear said:
Here's something I don't understand - I know the pet stores are the last resort, or at least should be, but if the animals sold at pet stores don't sell they will ultimately face the same fate as those who aren't rescued. I do wish they would stop selling animals, but until they do those animals will still need good homes and loving people to care for them.
They may face the same fate which is sad, but in the end, the petstore sees that they aren't selling as many pigs, so they order fewer and fewer, so that means the breeder either stops breeding or loses so much money that they have to stop.


On a lighter note, your little girl is extremely cute!
 
I will check petfinder when I am ready to get her a companion. Most of the guinea pigs available on the site are very far away from me, and although I wish I did have the time to travel there, I don't. There is one listed now that is local to me, but when we got Sugar they didn't have any, so I'm sure they are new rescues. My bunny is a rescue bunny.


Good point about the pet stores. I wish it were that easy though. We even looked in the local papers to see if we could find anyone who had pups that they wanted to sell or give away. Wouldn't you know there are 3 pups listed as 3 wks old in the paper this week!
 
The shelter pigs end up in bad fates too. They get euthanized. Getting a baby from a pet store doesn't mean they live longer than a rescue or shelter pig. Pet store pigs are often sick and inbred since they come from backyard breeders or mills. There are young ones in rescue, from accidental litters, etc.
 
First of all, congrats on the new piggy and thank you for at least looking at local shelters. If your girl is pregnant, once she's about 3 weeks away from delivery, you'll be able to feel movement from the pups. You should be able to gently palpate (press) on her tummy and if there are firm spots, then there are babies. If it's just squishy, then she's just chubby. Good luck.
 
She's actually 15 WEEKS, not Months - sorry! I've gently felt her abdomen, and I think it feels mostly squishy. Part of me hopes she's pregnant, the other part of me hopes she's not because I don't want to risk losing her.

Thanks to all for your advice.
 
Good luck with your piggie. My newest addition Luna came to me pregnant and she was 6 weeks old at the time. Bottom line, there is no sure-fire way to tell if she is or isn't pregnant. You just have to wait and see.
 
Congrats on your new pig! She looks like an Oreo cookie!

Some pigs get used to getting picked up and some don't. I think it's a survival trait to run away from humongous things that try to grab you. Don't be offended! One of my girls, Peanut(my avatar), always runs away when I try to pick her up but once she's been nabbed, she's calm and loves to be petted and snuggled. My other girl, Domino, occasionally likes being petted but hates it most of the time.

Peanut will also not poo or pee on me. She'll get restless and sniff around when she needs to go. Domino is not as courteous (though she's potty trained when she's in the cage).

Peanut also came with some chub around her tummy. I'm pretty certain she's not pregnant. Healthy pigs are supposed to be a little chubby. Maybe if you post a pic, we could see how chubby Sugar is. Domino was skinny, almost shaped like a mouse. If you can, you might want to take Sugar to vet to find out if she's pregnant. This'll allay your worries and also you can adjust her diet if necessary. Peanut's tummy rumbles, too. I can feel it when I rub her tummy. I think it's digestion.

You may be able to get her to stop laying in the litter pan if you get her a little house. She'll probably prefer the house to the pan. I have the "peeing in the bed" problem, too. I don't think it can be prevented, but someone in another thread suggested putting a litter pan under the house.

Your Sugar sounds similar to Peanut. I can't say that Peanut is "normal", but she seems perfectly happy and healthy. Good luck with your new pig, and try to read as much as you can here and at the Guinea Lynx forums. Don't trust the info you find in books. I have found that some of the advice given in books goes against what seems to be common knowledge in the forums.

--Smoot
 
Thanks Smoot! I think she's just pudgy, not preggie! Hee Hee! I don't think you would say she looks pregnant by the pictures because her little buldge just isn't that obvious. I think a part of me would love her to have pups, and that's probably the reason I've put so much thought into her plump little belly.

She does look like an oreo - I'll have to tell my son, I'm sure he'll get a kick out of that.

I tried giving her a little house made of the fiddle sticks, but she wouldn't stop peeing on the newspapers underneath, so I put the litter pan under a "shelf" in her cage and covered the shelf for privacy. I was going to give her a little more time to get used to her home and figure out where she does or doesn't want to poo and pee before I put the fiddle sticks back in. I'll be finishing the cage this weekend, so I'm sure here habits will change in a new, bigger cage. I'll just keep a few litter areas available for her and hope she figures out what they are meant for!

CavyCages is the BEST site! I've referred two people to it already. Good luck to you and your piggies. Give them hugs and kisses from us!
 
I don't have any highly intelligent advice I'm afraid, but aww she's so cute! Adorable coloring.
 
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