Advice needed for rescuing piggies

Char89

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Hey! Sorry for the long winded message.

We’re off to rescue a couple of little piggies and I’d be grateful for any advice.
We originally planned to adopt from a rescue (trying to teach my children the importance of rescuing rather than buying from a pet store) so we expected to get 2/3 generally healthy piggies so me and my kids have done our research, I’ve taken them to our vet who’s told them about all the care they need etc.

However, I came across a couple in my area that are desperate for a new home. They’ve been kept outdoors in the tiniest little hutch. The gentleman has told me they’re his daughters’ and that she was all over them for the first couple of weeks but hasn’t bothered with them for months, they’re not handled, they’re not groomed regularly and that it isn’t uncommon for him or mum to check on them only to find they have no food.

My research hasn’t quite prepared me for this! I have a 3x2 c&c cage which we’ll be adding a loft to soon. So I feel pretty set there. And I’m confident in grooming them once they’ve had a couple of days to settle. My main concern is their diet. Introducing veggies for example. How should I do that when they aren’t used to eating it? Portion sizes? Same with the pellets. We have loads of herbs growing in preparation of our new furry family members and a tray of grass for them but I’m nervous of making them ill by introducing new foods or too much of it or too much variety in one go.

Any advice would be a huge help!
 

Wiebke

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Hey! Sorry for the long winded message.

We’re off to rescue a couple of little piggies and I’d be grateful for any advice.
We originally planned to adopt from a rescue (trying to teach my children the importance of rescuing rather than buying from a pet store) so we expected to get 2/3 generally healthy piggies so me and my kids have done our research, I’ve taken them to our vet who’s told them about all the care they need etc.

However, I came across a couple in my area that are desperate for a new home. They’ve been kept outdoors in the tiniest little hutch. The gentleman has told me they’re his daughters’ and that she was all over them for the first couple of weeks but hasn’t bothered with them for months, they’re not handled, they’re not groomed regularly and that it isn’t uncommon for him or mum to check on them only to find they have no food.

My research hasn’t quite prepared me for this! I have a 3x2 c&c cage which we’ll be adding a loft to soon. So I feel pretty set there. And I’m confident in grooming them once they’ve had a couple of days to settle. My main concern is their diet. Introducing veggies for example. How should I do that when they aren’t used to eating it? Portion sizes? Same with the pellets. We have loads of herbs growing in preparation of our new furry family members and a tray of grass for them but I’m nervous of making them ill by introducing new foods or too much of it or too much variety in one go.

Any advice would be a huge help!
Hi!

If the old owners are willing to answer your questions, then ask them what the piggies have been fed, what their daily routine is etc. and start from there.
Shifting them over to a good diet gradually by adding one new veg/herb to every meal. It may take some time for them to accept new food they are not used to, but you will hopefully get there,.
Otherwise you start cold turkey with some fresh herbs. Green stuff tends to go down easiest. Be patient and persist if they are tricky.
The crucial bit is hay - it should make over 80% of the daily food intake. As long as they eat that, they will be fine.

If they are very filthy, it is better to bathe and do any necessary hair cutting of bat mats straight away while their prey instincts are on full throttle anyway. They will settle in more quickly feeling better in themselves than if they start to relax and THEN you hit them with a bath. But it really depends on what state they are in on arrival. Give them a onceover and weigh-in and decide whether they need to see a vet or not.
These guides here should help you with the assessment:
What to check and look out for in new guinea pigs (vet checks, sexing, parasites&illness)
Guinea pig body quirks - What is normal and what not?
Weight - Monitoring and Management
Bathing (including cleaning grease glands)

You may find our settling in and piggy whispering tips useful. By inviting them to be part of your group and by telling them that you love them in their language, you give them a welcoming home and a group identity. You also act like a piggy and not like a predator. That can make a real difference!
Settling In And Making Friends With Guinea Pigs - A Guide

More helpful information for new owners is in this link: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

All the best!
 

Char89

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They’ve been getting hay and pets at home pellets but he’s said that it isn’t every day and they’ve often run out when he’s gone to check. As for the vegetables and herbs they’ve had none.
I’ve got some Burgess Excel and quality Timothy Hay ready for them.

I fully intend on taking them to the vet anyway just for a general once over but I don’t want to miss anything. If they were overall healthy I’d notice anything unusual or different moving forward but they seem in a sorry state. Not horrifically so but certainly not as they should be.

Great advice about the bathing. I didn’t think of that. I would have just brought them home and let them settle for a while beforehand. Thank you for that. And for the links. I’ll give them all a thorough read and let you know how we get on!
 

Betsy

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Well done in rescuing 2 piggies in need of a loving home. I'm sure they will thrive under your care. It may take a while but you will get there. Are they boys or girls?
 

Char89

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Well done in rescuing 2 piggies in need of a loving home. I'm sure they will thrive under your care. It may take a while but you will get there. Are they boys or girls?
It’ll be interesting to see how much they change once they’re properly cared for and loved on. And I think it will make my children get a real sense of pride and hopefully set them up to rescue in future.

They’re two girls. We can go and pick them up tomorrow!
 

Betsy

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It’ll be interesting to see how much they change once they’re properly cared for and loved on. And I think it will make my children get a real sense of pride and hopefully set them up to rescue in future.

They’re two girls. We can go and pick them up tomorrow!
How exciting! Please can we see pigtures of them when they are settled? Might be a good idea to get them vet checked too.
 

rhymer

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Well done for rescuing two piggies needing a loving home. I'm sure they will settle well and be wonderful with your extra love and care.xx
 
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