New Guinea pigs help with bonding

EllieAndPippa

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Hi,
I got 2 new female guinea pigs 2 days ago. I know it’s early days but they still stay hiding in their hidey. It looks like they come out during the night, but no evidence that they’ve been out during the day and certainly not been out when I’m around.
I’ve been leaving fresh veg or a piece of fruit a couple of times a day, but they haven’t been touched. I got them from a pet shop so think they’re not used to fresh veg?
If veg isn’t something they recognise as food or have a particular desire for right now, how do I convince them that I’m not going to hurt them and get them to associate me with food or something pleasurable?
Thanks
 

Piggies&buns

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in terms of them bonding with you snd being brave enough to come out while you are there, then two days is far too short of a time period. It took one of mine six weeks and the other 18 months Before they were more confident to be around me.

as long as they are eating hay, then they will be fine.

As they are pet shop piggies and you don’t know how they were fed beforehand, it is best to err on the side of caution on introduce veg very slowly so as to not cause tummy upsets. It may be that they aren’t sure about it yet. They learn from each other so really all you need is for me of them to be brave enough to try it! I brought home another pair of young rabbits back in august and it has taken until now before they will even look at veg!
Please don’t give fruit daily - it needs to only be given as a very occasional treat no more than once per week. i know you say they aren’t eating it, but best to get them into good habits from the beginning!

Arrival in a home from the perspective of pet shop guinea pigs
 

Siikibam

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Make sure you have two hides, and you can also cover part of their cage with a blanket so they can feel safer. I would also book them in to see a vet in 1 weeks’ time. Also double check their sex as some are notorious for missexing.
 

EllieAndPippa

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Thanks for all this advice.
I have read about settling them in and know about the issues with feeding veg for the first time. Hence I’ve given one type at a time, which they haven’t touched so I take it out and give them a different type and once gave them One small piece of apple once as a “treat” but they didn’t seem to see these as a “treat”.
I know to leave them alone to settle and They’ll begin to associate me with food & or treats, what I’m asking is if they don’t come out to see the food and don’t see my “treats” as treats, how will they associate me with food or treats? Is there another way for them to see me as being non threatening.
I’m happy to wait it out, I just thought someone here might have other methods that don’t involve food.
 

Piggies&buns

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It’ll just take time. They first need to feel safe within their cage and two days isn’t enough time for that. They will take food from you in time but it’ll definitely be longer before it happens. Food is the one of the tried and tested ways because most are motivated by food (once they are comfortable within their environment) And once they take food from your hand, then you have their trust.

it can take multiple attempts of one veg before they will consistently eat it, so changing to a different type daily won’t necessarily help

Given most piggies do not like being touched or picked up, they won’t come to you just for the joy of a stroke which is why food is the way to go!
they will learn to eat veg once they are more confident.
 

Siikibam

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They’re still very new to the environment and getting used to their new home. 2 days is a really short time for them to be any different. And if they’ve not had veg before they won’t know it’s safe to eat, hence leaving well alone. Keep trying and hopefully they will understand it’s edible in the end. Try some coriander (a sprig or two), and a slice of pepper and cucumber. If they don’t eat it then just take it out the cage and try the next day. And make sure their hay is always topped up with fresh one every day. I would leave fruits well alone to be honest.
 

EllieAndPippa

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They have ventured out just now! Yay! They had a drink,a little nose around, one of them popcorned then they ran back into hiding. They didn’t see me. I was watching from afar! But very happy to see they came out into the open, even if just for a few minutes.
 

Wiebke

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Hi,
I got 2 new female guinea pigs 2 days ago. I know it’s early days but they still stay hiding in their hidey. It looks like they come out during the night, but no evidence that they’ve been out during the day and certainly not been out when I’m around.
I’ve been leaving fresh veg or a piece of fruit a couple of times a day, but they haven’t been touched. I got them from a pet shop so think they’re not used to fresh veg?
If veg isn’t something they recognise as food or have a particular desire for right now, how do I convince them that I’m not going to hurt them and get them to associate me with food or something pleasurable?
Thanks
Hi!

Take the time to read our settling in information; we have got quite a bit with very practical tips (including a course in piggy whispering so you can talk to them in their language long before they figure out humans), how guinea pig prey animal instincts work and how you can best avoid triggering them etc.
Here is the link: Settling In And Making Friends With Guinea Pigs - A Guide

This is just one chapter in our comprehensive practical New Owners guide collection, which specifically addresses all the areas we get the most questions and concerns about. Unlike with books, the guide format allows us to update and extend our information at need. it makes a great resource and is worth bookmarking, reading and re-reading at need.
We have included lots of practical care tips, understanding guinea pig behaviour and instincts, learning what is normal and not, safe enrichment, and spotting illness early on/when to see a vet and also emergency information.
Here is the link: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 
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