Advice/reassurance needed

Zoe157

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Hello everyone.
Our pair of young rescue boars have been with us nearly two weeks now. I just wanted some advice on their behaviour, and whether it’s normal or I’m doing something wrong.
During the day, they seem to pretty much hide all day, in separate hideys. They are in a quiet room (we have 4 young children so we thought a quieter room would be better for them) in a large C&C cage. What confuses me is that they seem to come to life in the evening, they definitely recognise me now and wheek for food but only in the evening! They will both accept strokes in the cage now whilst eating veggies from my hand, but they still are very nervous of being picked up which I understand is normal.
Is it normal that they seem to spend all day hiding? They are definitely eating and despite never using the water bottle they are also definitely peeing! They are rumble strutting a fair bit in the evening but I’ve never seen any actual fighting between them.
I’m really concerned that they are unhappy as they seem so quiet and reclusive during the day. We’ve put them out in their outside run on the nice weather days but they just spend the whole time hiding then too!
Can any experienced owners offer any advice?
 

Siikibam

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That is all very normal. Two weeks is a very short time in the grand scheme of things. They’ve started trusting you if they’ll take food from your hand so take that as a positive thing.

Give them more time. A lot of piggies never like being picked up or cuddled so bear that in mind. Otherwise have a read of the guide below. it explains how to speak to them in a language they understand.
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
 

Zoe157

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Thank you, I just wanted to be sure that it is normal. I keep seeing videos of piggies running around their cages and worrying that our boys aren’t happy 😞
 

Wiebke

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Hello everyone.
Our pair of young rescue boars have been with us nearly two weeks now. I just wanted some advice on their behaviour, and whether it’s normal or I’m doing something wrong.
During the day, they seem to pretty much hide all day, in separate hideys. They are in a quiet room (we have 4 young children so we thought a quieter room would be better for them) in a large C&C cage. What confuses me is that they seem to come to life in the evening, they definitely recognise me now and wheek for food but only in the evening! They will both accept strokes in the cage now whilst eating veggies from my hand, but they still are very nervous of being picked up which I understand is normal.
Is it normal that they seem to spend all day hiding? They are definitely eating and despite never using the water bottle they are also definitely peeing! They are rumble strutting a fair bit in the evening but I’ve never seen any actual fighting between them.
I’m really concerned that they are unhappy as they seem so quiet and reclusive during the day. We’ve put them out in their outside run on the nice weather days but they just spend the whole time hiding then too!
Can any experienced owners offer any advice?
Guinea pigs are crepuscular animals; i.e. they are most active at dawn and dusk. They nap and browse quietly in turn during the day but the main feeding time when the different groups trek to the feeding grounds in a larger herd is at a time when the day time predators are bedding down and the night predators are only starting to wake up; and when the temperatures are at their most moderate between hot days and cold nights in the South American grasslands and lower Andes.

You can find more interesting guinea pig facts in this guide here: Guinea Pig Facts - An Overview

Our comprehensive New Owners guide collection also contains a guinea pig whispering guide as well as information on the various prey animal instincts and how to best avoid triggering them: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

It is a very good start that your boys know you and are settling in. Just give them time.
Settling In And Making Friends With Guinea Pigs - A Guide
 

Siikibam

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It’s still very early days. Some piggies take a long time to stop being skittish. One of my girls didn’t like my stroking her even inside her cage. But the past month or so she’s been letting me stroke her. In fact this past week there have been a few instances where she’s ‘asked’ for attention! It takes time to build up their trust. But be careful not to want them to espouse human emotions.
 

VickiA

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All sounds perfectly normal to me. The best piggy parties happen at dawn and dusk out of sight of humans. They are settling in and finding their feet. I’ve still got one piggy who runs the opposite direction at the sight/sound of me.
 

Zoe157

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Thank you everyone. This forum is so helpful x
 

VickiA

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I think one of the things I always valued most as a new member was the refreshing honesty of some of the more experienced members. If your expectations of piggies are based on what you see on Facebook and Instagram you could be forgiven for thinking that all piggies enjoy laying on your lap while you watch tv or they enjoy posing for photos with lovely props. There are some piggies like that but for the most part they aren’t, and this forum does help manage expectations on that front and provide reassurance.
 

Zoe157

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Yes I think you’re spot on there actually! I definitely don’t expect them to be cuddly pets but I don’t think i realised quite how long it can take before they feel comfortable, it’s so useful having experienced owners to check in with. Thank you!
 

Saiyanguineapig

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I saw this earlier but wanted to wait for people with more recent experience before I chimed in.

As other people have said this is totally normal as naturally guinea pigs are most active at dawn and dusk. I have found over the years with my boars they slowly eventually alter their routine to line up with yours (I guess cuz human around = more chance of getting food). But again, this may not happen all pigs are different!
On the not seeing them drink, they may be drinking during the night under the cover of darkness. Which I noticed cuz my previous pig Alfie used to beat the water bottle around like it owed him money so I regularly heard him whacking it about at like 2am.
 

Piggies&buns

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Yes I think you’re spot on there actually! I definitely don’t expect them to be cuddly pets but I don’t think i realised quite how long it can take before they feel comfortable, it’s so useful having experienced owners to check in with. Thank you!
In terms of how long it can take - my confident but submissive boar (dexter) took six weeks before he was brave enough to take food from me. My shy but dominant boar (popcorn) took a year and a half. The day he took food off me for the first time I nearly cried. I never thought it would be something he would do. Neither like being touched though, and dexter has an impressive kick if I try so interaction is through sitting with them and talking to them. They are both happy to yell at me for food, come and sit with me but I get told off if I touch them!
 
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Lorcan

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In terms of how long it can take - my confident but submissive boar (dexter) took six weeks before he was brave enough to take food from me. My shy but dominant boar (popcorn) took a year and a half. The day he took food off me for the first time I nearly cried. I never thought it would be something he would do. Neither like being touched though, and dexter has an impressive kick if I try so interaction is through sitting with them and talking to them. They are both happy to yell at me for food, come and sit with me but I get told off if I touch them!
Blitzen took forever to take food from me and it took every ounce of self control I possessed not to whoop in excitement when he did it, because if I did he'd never do it again. He usually let Comet take the food and then he'd nick it off Comet.

As for coming out in the middle of the day, they'd potter about if I was around but I had regular visitors in and out and they took much longer to get up to mischief if I wasn't alone, and the first time they did it it was completely alien to my visitors - they thought the boys were annoyed at each other and I'm like, "Nope, this is what I get to listen to at 3am every morning". They got into a routine of sorts even outside of feeding time, and for some reason Comet designated 3am as party time. Every single morning.

And neither liked being stroked when on the ground - either in the cage or out of it. They'd let me get close, especially if they were roaming the hall, but stroking was a no-no, which was fine really, as they didn't have any other issues with being handled (aside from Blitzen getting nippy when he was being groomed). I ended up with...8, I think, hideys in and around the cage (two 2x4 cages joined into a 4x4 sqare). Yes, it was kind of cluttered, but I think it worked out better especially for Blitzen, because it meant he could walk about and still dive for cover if he was startled or afraid.
 
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