Guinea pigs abandoned on a derelict farm

Status
Not open for further replies.

tomato

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
West Wales
Last Weds I got an alarming answer phone message to say that 10 piggies had been dumped on a derelict farm nr Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire & had subsequently been caught by the landowners. However, they had seen at least 3 more but couldn't catch them because they had hidden in the brambles! They had no plans to return to the farm where they kept their sheep (hadn't been there for two weeks so don't know when they were dumped) so weren't going to attempt to catch any more. Stunned I phoned foster carer & friend, Lucy to see if she could help. Thankfully I was able to get time off work & Lucy & boyfriend, Alex were able to meet there the next day. The landowners mentioned that Glynneath Guinea Pig Rescue (http://guinearescue.blogspot.com/) had given them my number & gave the impression that they couldn't help. However, on calling they were able to take the piggies caught already, just not able to get to the location due to the distance & having piggies birthing at the time.

On Thurs I arrived first & wasn't sure I'd got the right place as the site was a very dilapidated farm with crumbling buildings, a locked farm gate & lots of brambles. The owner had warned me & I'd looked it up on Google maps but nothing quite prepares you for miles of brambles when the task at hand is guinea pig catching! After climbing over the gate I had been instructed to walk left & I'd see the hutch. Still not sure I pushed on & indeed saw a hutch poking out from behind a massive bramble bush. That was when I saw a family group of 4/5 guineas nibbling on the grass! I froze but they'd already spotted me & retreated in to the brambles. At this point the gravity of the task ahead got to me & although still hopeful I was feeling pretty negative. Luckily I'd bought some hedge loppers at B&Q on the way over!

I started cutting back the brambles behind where the group were hiding in an attempt to make an inroad in to the brambles to move them out towards the hutch & hopefully in to it so we could catch them. Lucy & Alex arrived and the look on their faces reinforced my negativity (sorry guys but your faces were a picture!). There really didn't seem to be any hope of catching them See the photos below for what we were up against. Thankfully Alex is in the TA & thought to bring his protective camo gear! He offered to tunnel in to the brambles to flush the piggies out to the waiting hutch and carriers lined up type trap. I'd also brought along some long poles to help steer them in the right direction. After an hour or so of chasing them backwards & forwards and some near misses we started to get them close to the hutch. I can't remember if the first one actually went in the hutch & we managed to catch him like that or whether he was so close that we caught him in front of it but either way we did it, we finally caught one! After that we got them all fairly quickly one by one until the group we'd seen were all safely in the carriers. A couple of adults & then youngsters of varying sized, including some 2 week old babies. Exhausted we checked the area & couldn't see any more but with all the brambles others could be anywhere.

Lucy and Alex had a long drive ahead of them to collect the 10 (which turned out to be 11) already caught from the landowners house 20 minutes drive away, then on to Glynneath Guinea Pig Rescue with them all (thankfully Suzy had agreed to take the ones caught that day as well) & home again to Aberystwyth! (I might add they had to go to GGPR anyway to collect their pig Pugsley who had been boar dating there!) So we decided to call it a day as there wasn't much I could do by myself & we hadn't seen any more despite a thorough search. I left a food bowl full to the brim in the hutch so that when I returned I could see if it had gone down. The next day I returned to see no piggies but the food had been nibbled at & there were paw prints on the side of the food bowl. I wasn't sure if it might have been rabbits but could only see pig poos in the area. I'd taken the opportunity to drop off some donated hutches off at Pembrokeshire Hogspital whilst in the area, so was able to come back on my way home to check the hutch after dark. I had refilled the food bowl & attached a full water bottle thinking that only domestic animals would know how to use one and then I'd know if there were still piggies there. There was also a white plate that had been left by the landowners with some food when they caught the first lot. I noticed it was covered in pig foot prints. So I wiped the plate clean & positioned it in front of the hutch entrance to see if piggies were going in the hutch still. The hutch was full of caked on pig poo & very wet so paw prints would be left by any pig leaving the hutch.

I returned after dark & snuck up to the hutch hoping to catch some sheltering or nibbling piggies and shut the door as quickly as I could. At the last second a small white & ginger pig shot out & I caught a glimpse of him disappearing in to the brambles under torch light. Feeling a complete failure I tried to see where he went but had to leave as in the dark by myself there was no chance. However, we knew there was at least another pig still there & he was sticking close to the hutch so that was good news. Saturday I was unable to round up any helpers to go back to the site but Lucy could come back all the way from Aberystwyth (about 1 3/4 hours from the site!) on Sunday. I'm over an hour from the site but no one else could help & we couldn't leave them there.

Sunday Lucy & I arrived & tried sneaking up to the hutch again but alas no piggies in the hutch. We looked around & eventually saw a pig eating fallen apples. It turned out that the bramble forest had once been the farm orchard! On seeing the agouti, ginger & white pig with distinctive markings it dawned on me that it certainly wasn't the pig I'd had the near miss with previously. So there were at least two more to catch. Not only that but the one just spotted was in brambles that we couldn't get round the back of to flush them out because the clump wasn't so much a clump but a fields worth & literally went back miles. We then spotted another pig in the same area - the ginger & white I'd nearly caught before. Undeterred we set about making inroads in to the brambles around the section they were in so we could bring them forward in the tried & tested method. Although with just the two of us we weren't all that hopeful. Several metres of bramble cutting later we managed to get almost all around the little mount they were sat munching on. Then the fun of trying to catch them began! Some how with just the two of us, lots of swearing & scratched arms & faces we managed to catch one. The last one was a close call as trying to catch the first one we scared her in completely the wrong direction towards the miles of bramble bushes. At that point the landowner showed up with a tractor (they'd previously said they hadn't planned to visit the farm again for a long time) that needed to get passed where we were in to a field. It was then we spotted the second pig in a dense part of the brambles where the tractor needed to go & would either scare her god knows where or crush her. The farmers wife came over & gave us a hand and we caught the last piggie! I say last, I really hope so.
Again I've left a full water bottle (not that they've used it) & a full food bowl in the hutch and plan to visit again to check. Although my car was making some very strange noises on the way home yesterday so it might not be until this weekend when I'm next off work and have had the car looked at. The two last (hopefully) piggies caught were two little girls & although small are around 5-6 and 7-8 weeks going by their weight but may be older due to their poor start in life. Unfortunately they may well be pregnant. They are just so tiny it's hard to imagine. As Glynneath Guinea Pig Rescue now have 59 guinea pigs with 11 females on pregnancy watch from this rescue alone, the last two females are staying here at Rhydowen Rodent Refuge for now but may go to Lucy to foster.

Well if you've managed to read all of that you deserve a medal but hope it was worth it! There have been a lot a highs and lows but the highs have been amazing and I can't thank Lucy and Alex enough for their sheer determination. And of course GGPR for taking the piggies.
 

tomato

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
West Wales
Photos to follow but am having trouble posting them at the moment.
 

flips

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
9,981
Reaction score
26
Points
0
Location
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
You're all complete piggy heroes. It's awful that someone would just dump animals like this. Well done to all involved in their safe capture and ongoing care. xx>>>xx>>>xx>>>
 

Howard&Vince

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 24, 2009
Messages
312
Reaction score
11
Points
255
Location
London
Well done all! An amazing effort and I am sure the piggies will thank you!

Out of interest do we know who dumped them?
 

PiggiePal

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
1,876
Reaction score
8
Points
455
Location
Cheltenham
what you guys have done is brilliant - well done on rescuing these poor pigs, they'll all have such a lovely life now wont they :)) x
 

Lisajazz

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
6,072
Reaction score
13
Points
675
Location
Cardiff
Well done for catching them all - thats a great ending for these poor guinea pigs and I know Suzy will do a grand job.

I would have been more than happy to take a few in (although we are busy too here at the mo!) but in a situation like this all hands to the deck eh?

Can't believe they heaved a hutch over the locked gate too!
 

tomato

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
West Wales
Gosh it was quite an essay but it was quite an eventful so lots to tell. Thanks for the well wishes for the piggies. We hope we've got them all now but need to get back for one last check of the food I've left to make sure. They are certainly all in safe hands now so that's fantastic.

The derelict farm house:



From the gate to the left you couldn't see the hutch as it was behind some brambles. This is it after we'd moved it round a touch to make the catching area:



It's a 4ft hutch and still there to provide shelter in case there are any more:



Bramble tunnels!:





This was solid brambles before I made a long tunnel through to get behind the last two piggies to bring them forward to where we could catch them and make sure we could stop them if they ran back in to the brambles too far:



The apple tree that was helping keep them going with it's fallen apples. We realised after a while that it was a very old orchard:



The decimated brambles and Lucy looking for more piggies:

 
Last edited:

tomato

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
West Wales
Well done all! An amazing effort and I am sure the piggies will thank you!

Out of interest do we know who dumped them?
No idea who did it. While we were there a police officer stopped to ask what we were doing. Well he did see a guy in camo gear climb over a locked gate. He asked us to let him know if we found out who did it but I don't know how we'd ever find out. Whoever they are I'd like to give them a piece of my mind!
 

helen105281

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
18,878
Reaction score
10,545
Points
2,155
Location
Herts
Oh my God, you have done an amazing job. Hope the piggies are ok and find the perfect forever homes.
 
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
156
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Aberystwyth
We did say about 20 times "the effort they put into heaving that hutch over the gate they could have dumped them near a pet shop/police station/ rescue" :(

It was a 4/5ft hutch i believe Claire, wasn't actually a bad hutch :{
 

tomato

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
West Wales
We did say about 20 times "the effort they put into heaving that hutch over the gate they could have dumped them near a pet shop/police station/ rescue" :(

It was a 4/5ft hutch i believe Claire, wasn't actually a bad hutch :{
Huge thanks to Kitel (Lucy) for all her efforts with these piggies. I couldn't have done it without you!
 

Suzygpr

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jul 2, 2010
Messages
5,766
Reaction score
16
Points
675
Location
South Wales
If you could give the name of the petshop that had the other members of this extended family, was it in Whitland? They might know the people that offloaded those one on them before dumping the rest at the farm. Then the police or RSPCA could follow it up - like that's going to happen, but they can't do anything without more info.

Suzy x
 

tomato

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
West Wales
If you could give the name of the petshop that had the other members of this extended family, was it in Whitland? They might know the people that offloaded those one on them before dumping the rest at the farm. Then the police or RSPCA could follow it up - like that's going to happen, but they can't do anything without more info.

Suzy x
It was a well known chain pet shop in Haverfordwest that had guinea pigs for sale that were the same colours and markings. They weren't handed in there but suspect the dumped ones were bought from there originally. I spoke to the manager and asked if they'd had anyone try to hand in any guinea pigs. They'd only had one enquiry after this lot had been discovered and didn't give anymore details but had a large number of rabbits handed in. I also spoke to the manager at the Carmarthen store on the way home and they hadn't had any enquiries. The guinea pigs for sale there were also the same colours/markings but that is often the case as the rodents there all come from the same large rodent farms.

The police weren't interested when I spoke to them, they were more concerned with what we were up to. The RSPCA don't really have presence around here either.
 

Suzygpr

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jul 2, 2010
Messages
5,766
Reaction score
16
Points
675
Location
South Wales
Thanks - I'm not surprised at the lack of info, it's the same old stroy of "I know Nothing!" and they don't really want to know anyway 'cos it's of so little importance to them.

Even though there's a lot of pigs from this rescue it would only take six months for a pair to get to this many with uncontrolled breeding. The scary bit of it is that the 19 that were caught will have an additional 40 very soon with all the pregnancies involved.

I'm just hoping for small litters of one or two each not the average of three, though my average this year has been five per litter - that woud make 65 more babies and I would be carted of in a straight jacket!.

Suzy x
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top