Can I Hurt my guinea by giving them too much love each day?

Bricrue

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I have a few questions. First, can you give your guinea pig too much attention? I think I am driving my wife crazy because it's like every two hours I am checking on the guinea pigs.

Do guinea pigs absolutely need a companion? When I was at the store the clerk said I had to buy two guinea pigs because they can't survive on their own. I'm struggling right now to get them to be comfortable with me because when I try and hold one or am giving one my attention the other one start with its weeking noises and it seems to affect the other pig. When trying to get them used to being held, when the weeking starts the one I am holding starts squirming and trying to get away.

Should I try and pick up a guinea pig if its trying to hide or gets agitated? I want them to get used to being held but they always run away and hide from me when I try and pick them up. Or if I do pick one up it just squirms and nips at me trying to get away. I don't want them to hate me but I don't know how to get them used to being picked up if they won't let me pick them up.

How should I pick up a guinea pig if its running away from me? I keep hearing the whole thing about picking them up in the front but when I try and get my hand under them they just run away from me. I'm trying to be as careful as I can but I'm finding that it seems impossible to pick them up that way but I have no clue how to pick them up the right way. I try not to hurt them but it seems I have to catch them and just pick them up by trapping them and grabbing them slightly squeezed so that they don't escape.

How often should I feed my guinea pigs? I read that you should only do a cup of vegetables a day but to always make sure there is hay in their cage. But I feel like if I always keep hay in their cage thats all they do is eat. It also seems to make them poop a lot so should I always make sure there is hay in their cage?

How much apples is okay for my guinea pigs? I'm guilty of giving my pigs a half a slice of apples through out the day when they week at me. I just break down cause I know thats why they are weeking and I just cave in and give it to them as it seems that they REALLY love apples.

I might have more questions later but this seems to be a good start and I would really appreciate the help.
 

Piggies&buns

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Hay needs to be available all the time. It needs be mostly what they eat at 80% of their daily food intake. it’s essential for their gut health but also for their dental health. If your piggy doesn’t eat enough hay then it’s a poorly piggy. Piggies do poop a lot, that’s a good sign that they are eating enough. They can have one cup of veg per day - it makes 15% if their daily food intake so you can see how important hay is for them. They can then have one tablespoon of plain pellets each day. These are the least healthy part of the diet.

Fruit should not feature highly in their diet. It’s too sugary and can be acidic and acidic foods can cause cheilitis (mouth infection). They can have one tiny slice once per week only. Mine might get the odd blueberry twice a year If they are lucky

yes they need to be kept in pairs. They are highly social and need each other to be comfortable. They would rather be with each other than be with a person. Most piggies don’t like being held and picked up so if yours are trying to get away and squealing then it doesn’t sound as if they like being held. They also don’t like being separated so the other one will call for the one you are holding because it sounds as if they want to be together
You should herd them into a box to be able to pick them up. If ups chase them around the cage, trap them in a corner and grab at them then that’s going to scare them.
 

Lady Kelly

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The only way you can hurt them by giving them too much love is by squishing them tightly in cuddles :))

I think you will find our new owners guides really useful Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

In particular there is a section on settling in which covers picking up as well as our piggy whispering tips (to help you bond with your piggies). They are adorable and addictive creatures so continue to enjoy every moment
 

Scooter Pie

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Eating hay and pooping is a full time job for piggies :) So keep it up!

I can't answer about picking them up. I have four pigs (two separate pairs) and they all HATE being picked up.

Personally I love just sitting near them and watching them. Listening to them chew all that hay is so relaxing!

Having them with other pigs is the best thing you can do for them.
 

Merab's Slave

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I agree with everything the others have said.
I have a herd of 3 who are very happy together. Watching piggies interact is better than any soap opera.
They all hate being picked up and none like being held.
They are quite happy being stroked in the cage.

We would love to see pictures of your piggies.
Enjoy the forum, have fun and ask as many questions as you want.
 

Scooter Pie

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I agree with everything the others have said.
I have a herd of 3 who are very happy together. Watching piggies interact is better than any soap opera.
They all hate being picked up and none like being held.
They are quite happy being stroked in the cage.

We would love to see pictures of your piggies.
Enjoy the forum, have fun and ask as many questions as you want.
Pig drama! 🐷🐷 It's so true.

And can I say I'm jealous...only one of my four allows me to pet her in the cage. The others run away as fast as they can, or just back away and look at me like "NOPE!"
 

BaileyM

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By no means am I an expert, but this is what worked for my piggie. She is still new to us, only been with us for a month. The first little while we didn't pick her up at all, we just talked to her, "played" with the things in her cage so she got used to our hands being in her space. Once she stopped running and hiding when we had our hands in the cage, we would gently stroke her ears, and under her eyes. We gradually moved up to picking her up. She doesn't like it, but will occasionally tolerate it and allow us to do it. I find I need to do a 2 handed scoop for her to be most comfortable. If she runs, we either don't pick her up, or if we need to then we guide her into her tunnel and pick her up in that.

For my girl, we give her 2TB of food every other day. She gets most of her veggies for the day in the morning, but we reserve some to give her throughout the day as needed. We don't tend to give her fruit except for a treat, so not even once a week for us. Hay is 100% always in her cage. They eat a ton of it, and they poop a lot...A LOT! That's normal.
 

flowerfairy

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The advise to have more than one guinea pig was spot on. They are herd animals and rely on the company of their own kind to feel safe.

I am lucky enough to have a herd of 5, a neutered baor and four sows.

They all loathe being picked up and swiftly realised not to go into tunnels or boxes when I was trying to coax them in for lap time.

I now content myself with watching them!

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Bricrue

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I was really tired when I made this post so some of my questions might not have been asked. One issue I am having is that one of my guinea pigs has really warmed up to me. When I walk into the room she will start doing that weeking noise. This happens even if she has food to eat. I think the reason why is that she loves play time. Since I can't pick her up, I got a cloth tent thing that they can go into and I just lift them out of the cage that way. The one that has warmed up to me will eat out of my hand and even climb onto my lap. She does this odd spasm jump thing when she sees me or when I put her in the play pen. I'm hoping that means she is excited and not scared. Another odd thing she does is almost like she wants to play chase with my hand. She will run toward my hand and when I raise it to pet her she will run away but then quickly run back as though she is chasing my hand. Again I don't know if she is being scared or if she is playing a game with me.

As far as the other one goes... I used to be able to pick her up if she runs into a corner and freezes. Once I was able to get her into my arms she seemed okay. She would even do the purr thing while I pet her. However, when I am doing that the other one starts weeking and then the one I am holding suddenly wants to run away. I can't hold them both at the same time. Also an issue I am having with this one is that she seems scared all the time and doesn't give me any time to warm up with her. She will just run away and hide in her tree trunk so I can't pet her do show her that I am nice. I read that you should make sure they have a hiding place all the time but the problem is, she hides all the time. It's almost like she never leaves that tree trunk. But I don't want to remove that and feel like I am punishing her for hiding all the time. I just want her to be active and see that I am not a threat. But the only way to do that is to remove the tree trunk.

I'll try and get some pictures but they are not the cutest piggies out there. But I've really warmed up to them and I still love them all the same.
 

Siikibam

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Don’t remove it. You will just have to give her time. It’s normal to hide, they’re prey animals. And some are more skittish than others and don’t like being touched, it’s all normal. Hopefully she will get used to your presence slowly but do let her hide.

When you’re coming close to the cage, start talking so they know you’re there. A predator wouldn’t make its presence known. How long have you had them?
 

Sophia_Oreo108

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Don’t remove it. You will just have to give her time. It’s normal to hide, they’re prey animals. And some are more skittish than others and don’t like being touched, it’s all normal. Hopefully she will get used to your presence slowly but do let her hide.

When you’re coming close to the cage, start talking so they know you’re there. A predator wouldn’t make its presence known. How long have you had them?
:agr:

I picked mine up and cuddled them from an early age so now that they love cuddles. Fudge has always been friendly and will always come over to to (often hopeing for food!). However walnut has always been more timid. When I got her she was definitely not a fan of being picked up but I kept giving her cuddles (without scaring her or stressing her out) and now her favourite thing to do is cuddle time!

I would say that if you want to pick them up and them to be more friendly with you and to stop the wheeking, you need to have them both picked up at the same time, could someone pick up the other one and then sit near you? The they can still see each other and are on the same level as each other. If that doesn't work then try hand feeding the timid one in the cage. What I .ean by this is that you hold (quite big pieces to start) of food whilst they are in the cage and then hopefully they will come up to you. Dont hold the food too far away , hold it quite close but so they have to move for it. Then once they are used to this you can move it further away and they should gradually get more friendly. Also if you scatter feed then she should be more active.
Hope this helps and sorry for the long post!
 

Siikibam

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@Sophia_Oreo108 its good that it worked for you but why would you want to make an animal get used to being held when it doesn’t like it. She has to bear in mind that some piggies just don’t like being picked up or get any more friendly than taking food from our hands.
 

Sweet Potato

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Don't remove the tree trunk infact it may be wise to do the opposite. Add loads of hiding places tunnels, cardboard boxes and willow bridges even cover half the cage with some sort of blanket so they can have the security of being covered while still being able to watch you. This way they will be able to run from one hiding place to another getting full use of their cage and feeling secure in their cage will help them learn to trust you.

The only other thing I can say is that patience is key the more you try to force it the more likely you are to take the piggies a little too far out of their comfort zone and they learn to associate you with that fear. Instead appreciate every little baby step. Even eating from a bowl when you're sat next to the cage can be a big step for some piggies so the fact one is hand feeding already is great.
 

Sophia_Oreo108

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@Sophia_Oreo108 its good that it worked for you but why would you want to make an animal get used to being held when it doesn’t like it. She has to bear in mind that some piggies just don’t like being picked up or get any more friendly than taking food from our hands.
Yes I do complementary agree with you and I'm not saying she has to pick them up or hand feed I was just saying what I did. Both my piggies were friendly to begging with.

Ok so didn't like it is the wrong wording, she loved it when she was actually picked up but was a little bit worried when she was picked up the first few times. I promise I didn't get either of them stressed out. When I got walnut from the rescue centre the lady said that she was a very calm cuddly piggy who was a bit nervous about being picked up as she was only young but loved cuddles.
 

Bill & Ted

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Some piggies love interaction and cuddles with their owners, my two rainbow piggies Bill and Ted loved cuddles and “sofa time“ everyday. It doesn’t happen instantly, but over time with trust and patience. Start by sitting and talking quietly to them first followed by hand feeding at the bars. I have spent 9 months doing this with Ginger and Posh, they are just at the stage of complete trust and Posh is now happy to have cuddles, Ginger loves sofa time and will enjoy a short lap stroke for around 3 minutes and then like to wander. I have just got a new boar who clearly loves being stroked, they are all different
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Freela

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It's normal for pigs to be easily spooked and hard to pick up at first... many pigs are like this even when comfortable, they may like being held but still not like the feeling of being 'caught.' In evolutionary terms, they are prey animals and this is hard-wired into them. Nothing in the wild picks you up for cuddles! It takes time for them to realize you're not a threat. Try speaking softly before you approach, when you cuddle them offer treats. Getting them to associate you with food is an easy way to win them over!

As for other questions... yes, you should have hay all the time, they are meant to be constant grazers. In the wild, guinea pigs would basically graze all day. It's hard to get nutrition from hays and grasses, meaning they have to eat a lot. Their digestive tracts and teeth are adapted to constantly be grazing on hays and grasses so it's what you should provide for them to keep them healthy. And yes, the pet store was (for once!) correct in that you should have more than one. They are group animals and feel most comfortable with other guinea pigs. No matter how much attention you provide, you cannot make up for the lack of another guinea pig in their lives. They may be more comfortable if you hold them both together (then again, this may not work- one of my past pigs got aggressive with her cagemate when they both had to share the human. As far as she was concerned, we were HER people and were not supposed to have a relationship with the second pig! LOL!)
 

Sweet Potato

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It's normal for pigs to be easily spooked and hard to pick up at first... many pigs are like this even when comfortable, they may like being held but still not like the feeling of being 'caught.' In evolutionary terms, they are prey animals and this is hard-wired into them. Nothing in the wild picks you up for cuddles! It takes time for them to realize you're not a threat. Try speaking softly before you approach, when you cuddle them offer treats. Getting them to associate you with food is an easy way to win them over!

As for other questions... yes, you should have hay all the time, they are meant to be constant grazers. In the wild, guinea pigs would basically graze all day. It's hard to get nutrition from hays and grasses, meaning they have to eat a lot. Their digestive tracts and teeth are adapted to constantly be grazing on hays and grasses so it's what you should provide for them to keep them healthy. And yes, the pet store was (for once!) correct in that you should have more than one. They are group animals and feel most comfortable with other guinea pigs. No matter how much attention you provide, you cannot make up for the lack of another guinea pig in their lives. They may be more comfortable if you hold them both together (then again, this may not work- one of my past pigs got aggressive with her cagemate when they both had to share the human. As far as she was concerned, we were HER people and were not supposed to have a relationship with the second pig! LOL!)
My Spud is like this too. I usually cuddle spud while my fionce cuddles Gundham (they were supposed to be shared pets, we never wanted to have one each but they chose us) Spud gets very territorial over me if I try to hold them both together especially if Gundham gets the premium 'under the chin' spot.
 

Bricrue

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I just need to keep in mind that they are fairly new. One thing I regret was asking hold old they are. I named them "Peaches", and "Gizmo". I'll get some pictures later and post them.

Peaches, who seems like she is older was one I was worried about in the beginning. When I first got them home I made the mistake of thinking I could just hold them right off. I tried to pick up Peaches and of course I was surprised that she squirmed rather then just being calm in my arms. he of course managed to escape and crawled under one of the beds. Luckily it seems guinea pigs are easier to catch then hamsters. I guess I was just used to my first guinea pig who seemed to really love me. I didn't give my first guinea pig as much attention as I have been giving my two new ones. I just remember my first one being so calm. I could pick him up and hold him and he really love being in my lap and being petted. I would let him run around on the floor and when he was ready to get back in his cage he would come and put his paws up on my leg like a dog does when it's begging for food. Anyway, over the next couple weeks I noticed that Gizmo didn't seem to mind being held, but then again she just might have been scared and didn't want to move. She is the one that hides all the time in the tree trunk. I keep thinking this is unhealthy of her to do, but I also read that you should always give them a place to hide so they feel safe. Peaches on the other hand seems to always be sitting outside the tree trunk and whenever she hears me or senses me she starts up with the weeking noise. I've only had my guinea pigs just a little over a month now. Peaches LOVES being petted but she doesn't like being picked up or held. I have a little tent thing that they can go into so that I can take them out of their cage and put in their play pen. They both will run up on my lap if I am sitting in the play pen with them. They don't do this for anyone else, so I feel like I must have made some kind of impact on them. Gizmo will still continue to hide most of the time except when I take her out to put in the play pen. Then she will run around and of course eat hay. They both do that funny jump when I put them in the play pen. Peaches does the jump thing when ever I even come to the cage. I'm guessing this is a sign of them being excited. If they were scared, I would think that they would just run and hide and not come out, but when in the play pen they do the funny jump all over and even seem to be playing games with me. They will run toward my hand and then run an hide almost like they are playing peakaboo or hide and seek.

I think my main goal here is patience. I guess I was mostly worried about the holding thing because I felt like if I didn't start trying to hold them that they won't get used too it. But I feel like a bag guy for chasing them around the cage to pick them up. I'll just hope that maybe in a few months they warm up to me enough to let me pick them up or take them out of their cage without the help of the cloth tent thing.
 

Bricrue

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Any advice on how to get these piggies to be okay being held? I seriously feel like I am abusing them when I try and hold them. I feel like right now if I even try that they are going to revert to being scared of me. I have no clue how I can even pick them up though. They love being petted but anytime I even try to pick them up they run. I don't want to corner them and scare them but I can't find anyway to pick them up to hold them. They are fine if I put their tent thing in. They will go in the tent just fine but then if I try and take them out of the tent then they either don't trust going in the tent anymore, or while in the tent they are trying to hide by digging in the corner. I honestly don't remember it being that difficult to pick up a guinea pig before but with these two I'm not sure how to approach this.
 
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