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Unplanned adoption, seeking input on my check list


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Apr 9, 2019
My daughter found a piggie that was in desperate need of a good home. While I was planning to start looking for piggies after an extensive remodeling project was finished that time line has been moved up to today.

Background on the piggie, boar, approximately 1.5 years old. He was acquired to pair with another boar and the bonding did not go well. He has passed through two or three other parties (current party joked about roasting him or feeding him to a dog....poor taste even in jest and I will leave further thoughts unspoken) and now he will be coming to our home. He has not had regular access to hay, quality pellets, or veggies, cage is much too small, not much interaction, no other piggie with him. My daughter was doing a bit of triage this weekend and making sure he had fresh water and hay until he gets to the house. She reported that he is shy, but would allow her to pick him up, had some lap time, could not have floor time because of other animals in the house.

To do list, in approximate order of action. Please provide thoughts and input on any or all:
Deep clean his current cage. It is too small, but being I had virtually no notice it will have to do until I can build a C&C this weekend. I hope to complete it Saturday, but it may be early next week before I am done.

Bathe him. My daughter said he is in need of a good bath.

Nail trim. It was hard to see in pictures my daughter sent, but nails do not appear to be too overgrown.

Overall visual inspection of health. I will need to find a good cavy vet ASAP. Hopefully he doesn't have any major problems at the moment. I'll start weighing him after we get the basics addressed.

He is our first boar. I know they need cleaning of grease gland and possibly anal sack. I will need to do some more reading on the quick.

Transition to quality pellets (probably Oxbow) from what he is on now. We will have to get pellets tomorrow and I will follow the instructions of the bag about mixing new with current pellets to transition him.

Good Vitamin C source. Probably oxbow supplement.

Slow introduction to veggies. He probably has not had much if any veggies. Any quick advise for how slowly veggies should be introduced? I was considering a pinch of red leaf lettuce for a couple days and slowly increase the amount while monitoring his out put to make sure it didn't upset his system.

Within the week-
New 2x3 (if I can find a sufficient table or stand quickly) I will go 2x4)C&C home for him. I will need to find some wood pellets and buy fleece. After extensive reading in the fleece forum it would appear that fleece over wood pellets is effective and would be a much better option than other bedding. Sweeping poop a few times a day and washing fleece every third day or so seems to one of the more cost effective options.

I need to put together a GP first aid kit again. Critical care, syringes, topical antibiotics.....I am sure there is more, but I need to get the basics.

By months end-
Build kitchen for new C&C home. This should help with cleaning a bit.

After the above is complete-
After this new guy is on track we can move forward with a pairing. My main concern is to get this boar good and healthy after all he has been through.

Thanks in advance for advise, suggestions, critiques, ect...
Thank you for taking this little fella in. Obviously we would love a name and a pic of the face to put it with!

Looks like you have a pretty fair plan of action to start with. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything to add to it, but others will certainly chime in. You certainly right in finding a good cavy savvy vet at the top of the list.
While he has a name currently my daughter is debating a new name for his fresh start in life. I talked to my daughter further and he is in dire need of a bath. His feet and nails are filthy and need to be cleaned so that his overgrown nails can be trimmed. Hopefully tonight he can enjoy being fresh and clean and in a clean (if too small at the moment) home.

She noted that he is very quiet. He hasn't wheeked for her at all. Given all he has been through it may take him time to find his voice.

Unplanned adoption, seeking input on my check list
After talking with my daughter it has become obvious we are going to need to move slower than anticipated with the new boy. He is very skittish with the change in environment and we are going to let him settle a bit before moving forward with cleaning him up and tending his feet. His feet do need a lot of attention and cleaning, possible bumble foot, and definitely long nails. She was working with him alone and did not feel comfortable trying to hold him and work on his feet and he was not liking the situation and trying to escape.

He has a clean cage, hay, pellets, and water at the moment so the basics are covered. The next steps will be more dependent on him than I anticipated. The last thing we would want to do is stress him.
What a cutie!

Thank you for taking him in and giving him a proper home. I look forward to hearing how he comes along and what his new name will be!

You mentioned in your post about being in need of a table or stand to build your cage. I like to build my stand out of the same grids I use to build the cage. It is super sturdy when zip-tied and you can build it in whatever size or configuration you want the cage to be (that way you aren't limited by table size). The cage doesn't slide around like on some tables and it's quick to make.

It sounds like you are getting well prepared to get this little guy in good shape. Fantastic! I look forward to updates!
We had to reevaluate the plan based on how skittish he was and not wanting to induce stress. No bath, but feet are now clean as we were concerned about bumble foot. Nails still need a trim. So not the progress I was hoping for.

He is eating hay, drinking water, took vitamin C oxbow chew that I was pleasantly surprised he came with. Transitioning to Oxbow pellets per instructions on the bag. I was very concerned about him eating and I am happy that is not a problem at this time.

He needs a bigger cage ASAP. C&C material is in the works and he should have a 2x3 this weekend. Trying to rush it but probably will not be completed until Sunday. Hopefully before then we can set up something for floor time.
What a lucky piggy to have been adopted by your family! I knew that you wouldn't be without a cavy for long. :rolleyes:

If you decide to fashion a cage stand out of grids, let me know and I can help with the design. I landed on that as a solution when I couldn't find a table to fit the space allotted for the cage. My method of cage construction and a stand is SO sturdy that I can lie/sit in the cage.
What a lucky piggy to have been adopted by your family! I knew that you wouldn't be without a cavy for long. :rolleyes:

If you decide to fashion a cage stand out of grids, let me know and I can help with the design. I landed on that as a solution when I couldn't find a table to fit the space allotted for the cage. My method of cage construction and a stand is SO sturdy that I can lie/sit in the cage.

I am going to build 2x3 this weekend and the cage stand built out of grids might be a good idea. Do you make them cubes or are you able to leave a side open for storage? This is likely cage 1.0 for him. I feel so bad leaving him in such a small space, but I have to get to the weekend to have time and space to get a proper space for him.
Why don't you PM me with an email addy so that we can communicate off-list and are not limited insofar as the number of pics are concerned? I have a number of pics of my cage and stand in progress that might be more helpful than just text describing it. I have a busy week until Friday, but just let me know if you have questions and I'll try to target them specifically.
It’s so good of you to take this adorable little guy in. Has anyone explained to him that he basically won the lottery when he wound up with your family? ��
It’s so good of you to take this adorable little guy in. Has anyone explained to him that he basically won the lottery when he wound up with your family? ��
I don't know about winning the lottery, but he is someplace where he is wanted and loved for probably the first time in his life. That is the important thing. No matter how long or short his time is with us he will be loved. There is a long way to go before he is in good shape. Tonight we will have a couple of us home to trim nails properly. He needs more hay because he figured out how good it was right away. We have given him small taste of veggies to not upset his system. It is hard to judge his water intake because he is so shy. It appears he is drinking though based on water level in the bottle. He does seem to enjoy the Oxbow vitamin C wafers and will take them from hand.

I feel terrible about his small cage, but we have to get materials and a little time to put together his C&C. I will probably have to use carefresh or simalar bedding at first to give me time to get wood pellets and properly prepare fleece. He has a pigloo that is much too large for his current space, but he is so skittish he needs a hide. I am going to drape part of his cage with towel and see if that will work for him so he has more room and still space to hide.

While I am grateful to have him in a better place, his unexpected arrival (3 hours notice) didn't give any time to provide him what he really needs. I would have liked to had a C&C built and move in ready, but we will play the hand we are dealt. For now all we can do is work on the small things and make sure he stays healthy while we get things better set.
I wouldn’t worry about the cage size right now since you have a plan to take care of that soon.

He has a clean environment, food and water, and a safe place, so his quality of life has already improved enormously. By the time you get the new cage set up he’ll be used to the sounds of the house and will be more likely to run around and explore instead of hiding.

When I adopted Lacey I bought a used cage from the humane society for $10. It was a Kaytee cage about 18”x30” but she was skittish and just wanted to hide and eat. When my sweet husband offered to buy a better cage for my birthday, we went to a pet store and bought one that was easier to clean and nicer looking, but still too small. Eventually, with the help of the knowledgable people on these forums, I learned she needed a lot more space and built one with grids. It didn’t happen all at once but by the time she had the room she needed she was also more familiar with her new surroundings.
@ItsaZoo Your points are well taken. I have to keep perspective and remember that he is probably better off now than he has ever been. After such a rough start I just want this guy to have the best that we can provide. I'll be posting more photos after we get a new cage set up and going. Tonight is cage cleaning and nail trim. I figure since he is out of the cage anyway we best get to work on the nails. He needs a bath, but that is going to be down the road a bit so as not to stress him. He has experienced enough change as of late.
I wanted to share an update on Shy Potato/Fuzzbutt. Cage construction was a total failure this weekend. College going back in session wiped out wire grids in local store so we are going to order from Amazon and hopefully get to building tomorrow or Wednesday. Coroplast is in stock though so I can pick that up local.

On a positive note he is coming out of his pigloo more often when we are in the room. He will stay out eat hay, drink, and much pellets and is less skittish overall. He will take some veggies from our hand. We are slowly introducing different veggies and increasing them to proper volume. He is still very quiet. Overall slow, but positive movement.

I must say I about cried when I heard the click, click of his water bottle. It is nice to have a piggie back in the house.
I must say I about cried when I heard the click, click of his water bottle. It is nice to have a piggie back in the house.

You big softie! Now you understand how I feel during those times (however infrequent) when I am pigless. As is known, my cage sits alongside my desk in my small home office and when the cage is empty, I can barely stand to go into the room, much less try to get any work accomplished with the emptiness.

With regard to the grids, you do remember that I suggested checking your local Sears as they sometimes have them in stock? The best way to order grids is to place an order with someone like WalMart, BBB, Target, Sears, etc. and have them shipped to the local outlet to avoid the shipping charge to your home on the heavy grids. Of course, if you have Amazon Prime, that may not be an issue. Just be sure that they are the grids with nine across openings vs. the eight that some manufacturers use.

Keep us posted!
@spy9doc Yes, I am a big softie for furry potatoes. I have few vices and piggies are one of them.

Amazon Prime FTW! Our oldest daughter gifted us Prime and we will have grids delivered to the door no later than Wednesday. Good point on counting openings, I just went back an confirmed nine.
I must say I about cried when I heard the click, click of his water bottle. It is nice to have a piggie back in the house.

Now you understand what I meant about you and I being kindred spirits. :D
@Guinea Pig Papa

That I do. This poor boy has never been wanted or loved until now. Progress has been slow, but he is learning that hay is good, the rustle of a bag means fresh hay, and veggies are really good. He is starting to relax and stay out of the pigloo, but he does hustle back in when he hears much noise. We are slowly handling him more and getting him accustomed to that so we can better monitor his health. I believe we will see a marked improvement as he gets into a new home this week and has more space.
So happy to read your updates! It’s a good sign that he’s inquisitive and interested in his surroundings. Just think of all the spoiling you have ahead of you!
@ItsaZoo This poor little guy has been through a lot and I really had to slow down to allow him to come along at his pace. We have just now been able to bring him into the living room and have him come out and move around. I am looking forward to the new cage. That will give him space to move. The pigloo will stay short term for him to feel secure and we will add a fleece forest for move cover in the new cage.

I had to watch a nail clipping video. This guy is very wiggly and does not like his feet handled. That is tonight's project.
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