Feeling worried

Sally Newbie

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Hi all
We've had our guinea pigs for 2 weeks. They were from the RSPCA, age unknown and are very shy and skittish. I don't know if we will ever be able to handle them and this worries me with all the talk about needing to check them over and weigh them regularly. They are ok being hand fed and one will have a little stroke on her face but the other shakes her head and chatters angrily. Just worried if we have to check them as we can't hold them.
 

Siikibam

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Two weeks is still a short time. And you will find that most don’t like being picked up as it triggers their prey instinct. When you are picking them up, try and use a box, cuddle sack, tunnel, carrier or similar. Herd them into it and then transport them to wherever. My girls have been with us for almost two years but still don’t like being picked up. Same with the boys who have been here almost three years. I herd them into a hide and then pick them up. It’s important you don’t chase them around the cage.
 

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When you first get piggies it can seem overwhelming. We’ve all been new owners at some point. But the best advice I can give you is to take it at their pace. Be patient and calm with them. 2 weeks is no time at all for piggies who’ve been uprooted and are in new surroundings. They have to get used to you and vice versa. If you’re able to hand feed them that in itself is a good first step.

While they adjust just plan to do a once weekly weight and health check to minimise the stress to them and to you. Catch them in a tube or cosy if that’s easier for you. These things do take time.
Not all piggies like being handled and cuddled. As long as you can handle them enough to check their health and get them to the vets if needed then that’s fine. But build up to it slowly. Don’t put pressure on yourself or them. Slow and steady will serve you well.
 

VickiA

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Two weeks is still a short time. And you will find that most don’t like being picked up as it triggers their prey instinct. When you are picking them up, try and use a box, cuddle sack, tunnel, carrier or similar. Herd them into it and then transport them to wherever. My girls have been with us for almost two years but still don’t like being picked up. Same with the boys who have been here almost three years. I herd them into a hide and then pick them up. It’s important you don’t chase them around the cage.
I :agr:have 6 piggies of my own. None of them like being caught/picked up. So I do it in a cosy. All of them enjoy a cuddle when I’ve got them out but none of them would volunteer to be lifted out of the cage.
 

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Just to reassure you. Today I did weights and health checks on one of my trios. Each of the 3 gave me the run around. One screamed blue murder as I captured her in a cosy (Iris) The other 2 were caught in bad grace (individually) and one (Evie) tried desperately to escape from the cosy. Each of them had a cuddle and a treat on a towel on my lap after we had done the usual checks. Evie managed about 3 minutes before she got twitchy and I put her back, the other 2 each relaxed and enjoyed my piggy whispering strokes for well over 10 minutes each. Each of them came to me skittish. Evie has been with me over 9 months now, so I guess she isn’t going to become any more of a lap pig, but once I’ve got her she is easy to weigh and health check, so I can’t ask for more than that. Just hang in there and keep on doing as you are doing.
 

Sally Newbie

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We don't want to be able to cuddle and hold them - we are happy with them hand feeding from us - but it's just having to do the health checks. I thought if I chase them round in the hutch and trap them in a cosy they will be so frightened. Can someone post a pic of the cosy's you use and let me know the size? Surely if they go head first into a cosy to get them trapped, I then have to pick the cosy up with them stuck head first in it?!
 

Siikibam

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Try not to chase them around. If possible, you could remove all except one hide or cuddle sack. Then herd them into it. They can turn around in the cuddle sack if they want. Just be careful they don’t escape and try to jump out!

I use the hides rather than a cuddle sack etc to catch them. Sometimes if I am swift I can pick the boys up while they’re in the hay tray. The girls are more sneaky so I have to herd them into the pigloo.
 

PigglePuggle

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A fleece tunnel or a cardboard or woven grass tunnel or hidey house with 2 doors are good ways to pick them up, ideally they go in on their own or with a gentle bottom nudge, and they will learn to with time!
Here are 2 of my favourite piggy capture devices, no pig can resist the allure of a grassy basket or tunnel, especially if you bait it with coriander or parsley :) the basket house is the Living World Green Reed Hut from Amazon and its the best thing I ever bought for a piggy shuttle bus, it fills up with nervous piggies so fast sometimes there are 3 in there at once! Then I carry it with the front door against my stomach, one hand over the side door, and my arm underneath to support the piggy weight!
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PigglePuggle

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I usually put the basket firmly on the sofa, wave some food by the door I want them to come out of, and gently touch their bum through the other door to encourage them to move!
 

Eddie & Elvis

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I use a fleece tunnel to transport my piggies. I place in front of one of them and wait for them to walk in. They learnt very quickly that the tunnel means grass or floor time so they are very cooperative and go straight in whenever I place in front of one of them. Then I lift it up with the end they are facing out of against by body as I walk and place it down again.
I do the same thing to weigh them. Place the tunnel in front of them, they walk in, I pick it up and place them in a celebrations tub on the scales.
You could also have a particularly word or phrase that you say when it's time for them to be picked up so they know what's happening. I say 'come on then' to my boys so they know it's time to get in the tube.
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PigglePuggle

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I use a fleece tunnel to transport my piggies. I place in front of one of them and wait for them to walk in. They learnt very quickly that the tunnel means grass or floor time so they are very cooperative and go straight in whenever I place in front of one of them. Then I lift it up with the end they are facing out of against by body as I walk and place it down again.
I do the same thing to weigh them. Place the tunnel in front of them, they walk in, I pick it up and place them in a celebrations tub on the scales.
You could also have a particularly word or phrase that you say when it's time for them to be picked up so they know what's happening. I say 'come on then' to my boys so they know it's time to get in the tube.
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Yes that's a good point @Eddie & Elvis you need a happy song or phrase so they know what's going to happen and that you are not a predator! I have my "who's going to come in mummy's basket?" song with an added "ooh well done Puggle, you are in my basket! Where are we going? Where are we going?" during transportation. This is quite importsnt as predators are usually silent and stealthy!
My piggies are quite sure after 2 years of this nonsense that I am just a happy idiot who drinks too much prosecco and not a predatory eagle :) I also have a poop scooping song and a hay time song and many, many different dinner veg songs :)
 

Eddie & Elvis

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Once they're in the tube I say things like "wow Eddie your flying!" or "where are we flying to Elvis?" or sometimes "sit back relax and enjoy the flight" though I think @PigglePuggle song is much better 🤣
I also call the tube the magic travelling tube because the piggies get in one end in their cage and get out the other end on the grass or the floor!
 
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