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New Piggies, Some Advise Wanted Please

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sylintheuk

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Hello all,

A quick introduction - my name is Sylvia, 34 years young, originally from Holland. I have two gorgeous children (2 and 4) and still happily in love with their dad.

I have always had fond memories of my piggy called Tjoekie. I think I was 8 or 9 years old and she was my best friend. Obviously my parents weren't very knowledgable - she was on her own.

The last few weeks I have been considering getting two piggies. I have read a lot on this forum, researched the net, watched youtube video's with the little ones, talked about them and on Saturday we've welcomed two male piggies into our house! They're 7 weeks old and called Bumba and Floopy (not quite my choice haha). They live in an indoor cage which measures 120 x 60, on vetbed, one hiding house and one big tunnel, two drinking bottles, two feeding bowls, and quite a few toys.

I am surprised how settled they already are. It only took about 3 hours before they came out of their hiding place to have a nose around. They have been eating non stop, playing and don't even hide any more if I walk past. The bigger one, Floopy, is the dominant one. It's fascinating to watch them both! They even make sounds and ask for food once I open the fridge.

Bumba is slightly smaller and not as inquisitive as Floopy, he seems a lot more scared. Which is fine, it will just take time. I have put two little stools in front of the cage (I have put it on boxes so it's off the ground) and both my children love watching them. The piggies don't seem to bothered as long as they don't make sudden loud noises.

Today I have picked up Floopy for the very first time and it was a bit of a struggle. He was fine once he sat on me (hiding his face in my armpit for the first few minutes, but he seemed to relax quite quickly). Reason that I picked him up was because I thought he was kind off ready; he has been eating out of my hand, sniffing my hand and not being nervous in general. I feel a bit guilty now though :-/ The lady in the pet shop said that they will always run away when you try to pick them up, but I can't remember that from my piggy in the past (long time ago though!). I haven't tried to pick Bumba up yet, as he seems so much more frightened. I haven't picked Floopy up since our first attempt as I am not sure if I am doing the right thing. Should I try again? Or wait a little longer? The only thing I am a bit worried about is waiting too long to get them used to being handled?

Any tips?

Many thanks!
Sylvia x
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Your two boys sound pretty settled. Picking them up is cutting very close to their prey animal instincts, so many piggies don't like it although they are perfectly happy sitting on a lap. You can work around it by training them to come either into a tunnel or lure them into a hay filled shoe box with one small side cut off for transport; make sure that the hay is soft toprevent eye injuries and let them play and snooze in it first, so they have good associations with it.
Be generous with praise and encouragement, but also establish sounds for disappointment and disapproval, so your boys can learn what is done and what isn't.
You may find this thread here helpful: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/how-to-understand-guinea-pig-instincts-and-speak-piggy-body-language.117031/

PS: Would you please add your country to your details, so we adapt our advice accordingly. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thanks!
 

sylintheuk

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Hi and welcome!

Your two boys sound pretty settled. Picking them up is cutting very close to their prey animal instincts, so many piggies don't like it although they are perfectly happy sitting on a lap. You can work around it by training them to come either into a tunnel or lure them into a hay filled shoe box with one small side cut off for transport; make sure that the hay is soft toprevent eye injuries and let them play and snooze in it first, so they have good associations with it.
Be generous with praise and encouragement, but also establish sounds for disappointment and disapproval, so your boys can learn what is done and what isn't.
You may find this thread here helpful: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/how-to-understand-guinea-pig-instincts-and-speak-piggy-body-language.117031/

PS: Would you please add your country to your details, so we adapt our advice accordingly. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thanks!
Thank you for your prompt reply Wiebke. Will dig out a shoe box tomorrow :)

Have just updated my details as well. Brighton, UK here.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you for your prompt reply Wiebke. Will dig out a shoe box tomorrow :)

Have just updated my details as well. Brighton, UK here.
We have got lots of information at the top of our various Care sections, which you may find helpful, but you are welcome to ask any questions you may have. So much has changed in the last few years!

Thanks for adding your location; it makes it a lot easier for us as we have got members from all over the world. By the way, I am Swiss, not Dutch!
 

sylintheuk

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Thank you :)

I guess most people assume you have a Dutch background with such a typical Dutch name!

So I shouldn't try to pick them up any more, right? Not with my hands anyway. Will find a shoebox tomorrow and try it that way.

*off to read more*
 

Wiebke

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Thank you :)

I guess most people assume you have a Dutch background with such a typical Dutch name!

So I shouldn't try to pick them up any more, right? Not with my hands anyway. Will find a shoebox tomorrow and try it that way.

*off to read more*
You may find that picking them up via the box is a lot less stressful, and you can use the lid to prevent them from jumping out; very practical to get them to and from a the lawn as well. It is also a good way to weigh them once weekly.
 

scottishthistle

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Hi Silvia, can't add anything more to Wiebke excellent advice, but just wanted to say welcome to the forum.
 

sylintheuk

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Thank you :) One more question. They poo a LOT. Their cage could really do with a clean, but this means taking them out, causing more stress. Also not too sure what to do with the piggies whilst cleaning them out (didn't think that one through, I have to admit) at such an early stage. I haven't got a run yet, as I think this will also stress them out too much at the moment (there will be a run in the next few weeks though). I am thinking to give to cage a quick hoover (they're on vetbed) and out them in the transport box whilst doing this. Is this a sensible idea?

Oh, shoebox in the cage now. They love it :)
 
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