Guinea Pig Nibbling Hand

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Fletcherandmilo

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I've got 2 New Guinea pigs and I'm just trying to tame them, the are very skittish and shy, one more out going than the other, for the past 3-4 days I've been hand feeding them some veggies but one guinea pig is a lot more confident at it, and today I hand fed him some veggies and managed to get to stroke him, whilst they were eating I left my hand near them so they could smell my hand, the confident guinea pig sniffed my hand and then nibbled it, I think he is so used to getting food that he thinks that's what he should do, I'm worried now that he will always do this (not in a nasty way but just for food) so I left them to eat so they wasn't hungry and came back an hour later, I tried again with my hand in the cage and fletcher nibbled it again, a tiny but harder, how do I stop him doing this now, the second time I had washed my hands so it couldn't of smelt of food, I thought if I let him do it he would realise that it isn't food but I'm worried he's going to keep on doing this
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Guinea pigs explore that world by nibbling, as they haven't got a vomit reflex, so they have to memorise the the different tastes and textures. Just gently discourage him. I have a sound for anything that is not right ("uh-oh") in addition to praise and disappointment. This gives your little ones guidelines as to what is proper and what not. They would normally learn from the elders in their group.

You may find these threads here helpful in settling in your two piggies, but you can find lots more information at the top of our various Care sections. You are of course welcome to ask any questions you may have.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/how-do-i-settle-shy-new-guinea-pigs.36239/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/how-to-understand-guinea-pig-instincts-and-speak-piggy-body-language.117031/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/recommendations-for-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/

With members from all over the world, we find it very helpful if you please added your country, state or (for UK) your county or city to your details, so we can always adapt our advice and recommendations to what is availalbe and possible for you. Please click on your username on the top bar, then go personal details and scroll down to location. Thanks!
 

Fletcherandmilo

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Thank you, will definitely make a sound for this, should I stop hand feeding them for now? Or should I stop putting my hand near him to stiff (probaly making it confusing for him) I thought I was making good progress with fletcher, but instead of making my hand associated with friendly I've probaly made it too associated with food
 

Wiebke

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Thank you, will definitely make a sound for this, should I stop hand feeding them for now? Or should I stop putting my hand near him to stiff (probaly making it confusing for him) I thought I was making good progress with fletcher, but instead of making my hand associated with friendly I've probaly made it too associated with food
I would continue as before, but show him gently that you do not like to have your hand nibbled.
 

Maddykins

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Is it bad to let them nibble? I don't mind them nibbling and just leave them to it really, I figure they are just exploring. And usually they mostly nibble if they are telling me to put them down to be honest when I'm holding them. I thought this was good because before one of them used to be an awful biter so a nibble is huge progress haha. Do you think it's ok to allow it? I never really saw it as problematic behaviour to be honest as it doesn't hurt because they are very controlled when they do it.
 

Fletcherandmilo

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It's a way of communicating I know, in this way I suppose it is good, my problem though is that my guinea pig isn't tame, he is nervous and he's mistaken my hand for food, I don't think he's trying to tell me anything other than, where is the food. I'm worried that he will associate my hand with food and nibble it a lot, which I'm not an expert but I don't want it to turn into a bite because he wants the food. I do think its partly my fault, I held my hand in the cage the way I did when I had food there, I suppose you would never really leave your hand in front of your guinea pig that much that he would mistake it for food, in your instance I think a nibble is fine
 

Wiebke

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I have always allowed nibblers to do so, just discouraged them whenever it got painful for me.
 

missdoofus

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Our crumble used to nibble when he wants to be put down, he is now so relaxed he tends to only nibble when you do actually smell of food.

I used to just say ouch! And he would pull back and look.. Guess he figured I didn't sound to happy!
 
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