new piggies, very timid/scared

lumbypigs

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Hi everyone!
We got two small girl guinea pigs 4 weeks ago, they were 2 months old when we got them. They are called Coco and Winnie. They live in a heated shed outdoors most of the time, in a big hutch, and every afternoon we bring them inside for a few hours, into a run in the dining room. They get fresh veg when we bring them in. We give them their pellets every morning, and loads of hay.
When we bring them in they mostly just hide. We have been trying to get them used to being handled by sitting in the pen with them, stroking them and hand feeding them, and picking them up a bit (but not too much). But if we step out of the pen they just hide and seem pretty scared all the time. They don't seem to run about, or wheek, or just play or anything much.
Is this normal? Is there anything else we can do to help them settle? Are they extra nervous because we keep moving them from inside to outside and in again the next day do you think?
I'm not overly worried, but we do want them to be happy, and wondered what the best way forward is.
Any advice greatly received,
Thank you!
Lucy
 

weepweeps

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Hello and welcome to the forum. I’ve moved my boys inside everyday since I’ve had them. I try to keep to a routine. And always get them in after tea. I read that they like a routine. They will get used to you over time. But some piggies never really like to be handled much.
 

Piggies&buns

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:wel:

It could be the change of environment causing it - four weeks is a very short time in terms of them settling and it may be that they aren’t quite comfortable enough yet.

Is the shed big enough that they can be let out of the hutch and play in there?
My two boys (three years old) live in my shed - they have a hutch in there but have free roam of the shed floor. They are most comfortable when I sit in the shed with them - their own space and I follow their rules and that is don’t touch them! They are happy to potter around me, and take food from my hands but they absolutely don’t like it if I touch them. They have to move indoors during the hottest part of the summer due to fact the heat in the shed accumulates (gets dangerously hot for them to stay in there). It takes them a couple of days to settle into the new environment and their spare cage, being wary of sudden movements again etc but after that they are fine with being in the house...and then the following summer the cycle repeats!

Is the run in the house covered, do you have lots of hides in there? Piggies don’t like open spaces so they may feel vulnerable being in the run.
 

Wiebke

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Hi everyone!
We got two small girl guinea pigs 4 weeks ago, they were 2 months old when we got them. They are called Coco and Winnie. They live in a heated shed outdoors most of the time, in a big hutch, and every afternoon we bring them inside for a few hours, into a run in the dining room. They get fresh veg when we bring them in. We give them their pellets every morning, and loads of hay.
When we bring them in they mostly just hide. We have been trying to get them used to being handled by sitting in the pen with them, stroking them and hand feeding them, and picking them up a bit (but not too much). But if we step out of the pen they just hide and seem pretty scared all the time. They don't seem to run about, or wheek, or just play or anything much.
Is this normal? Is there anything else we can do to help them settle? Are they extra nervous because we keep moving them from inside to outside and in again the next day do you think?
I'm not overly worried, but we do want them to be happy, and wondered what the best way forward is.
Any advice greatly received,
Thank you!
Lucy

Hi and welcome

Please read the practical information in guide link here to learn about the different guinea pig prey animal instincts, how you can work around them and how you can use their own social interactive behaviours to assure them that they are part of your herd and that you love them in their language. We have also included a bit how arrival in a pet home looks from a pet shop/breeder guinea pig perspective.
Settling In And Making Friends With Guinea Pigs - A Guide
Children And Guinea Pigs Guide

Please peg a sheet over the top of the run to give them a feeling of security and let them feel safe enough to explore and be confident before you reach in and pet them.

The guide links above are just two chapters in our much more comprehensive practical New Owners information resource, which you may want to bookmark, browse, read and re-read at need: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 

lumbypigs

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Thank you - I was just reading some of your most helpful pages. We just want to ensure they are as happy as can be!
 

lumbypigs

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:wel:

It could be the change of environment causing it - four weeks is a very short time in terms of them settling and it may be that they aren’t quite comfortable enough yet.

Is the shed big enough that they can be let out of the hutch and play in there?
My two boys (three years old) live in my shed - they have a hutch in there but have free roam of the shed floor. They are most comfortable when I sit in the shed with them - their own space and I follow their rules and that is don’t touch them! They are happy to potter around me, and take food from my hands but they absolutely don’t like it if I touch them. They have to move indoors during the hottest part of the summer due to fact the heat in the shed accumulates (gets dangerously hot for them to stay in there). It takes them a couple of days to settle into the new environment and their spare cage, being wary of sudden movements again etc but after that they are fine with being in the house...and then the following summer the cycle repeats!

Is the run in the house covered, do you have lots of hides in there? Piggies don’t like open spaces so they may feel vulnerable being in the run.

The shed is big enough, but I'm not sure it's safe to let them out in there as we have other things stored in there. We could try and move things around so we could set up the run in there though. Yes we have lots of places for them to hide - a tunnel, a bridge, a blanket etc. That's where they spend all their time! They are just so quiet - but I have herd them mutter a bit, and they have done 2 small wheeks so far! They will eat from our hands, so I think we're heading in the right direction. They like being stroked under the chin too! Thanks for your response! x
 

Oreo.and.milky

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Hi everyone!
We got two small girl guinea pigs 4 weeks ago, they were 2 months old when we got them. They are called Coco and Winnie. They live in a heated shed outdoors most of the time, in a big hutch, and every afternoon we bring them inside for a few hours, into a run in the dining room. They get fresh veg when we bring them in. We give them their pellets every morning, and loads of hay.
When we bring them in they mostly just hide. We have been trying to get them used to being handled by sitting in the pen with them, stroking them and hand feeding them, and picking them up a bit (but not too much). But if we step out of the pen they just hide and seem pretty scared all the time. They don't seem to run about, or wheek, or just play or anything much.
Is this normal? Is there anything else we can do to help them settle? Are they extra nervous because we keep moving them from inside to outside and in again the next day do you think?
I'm not overly worried, but we do want them to be happy, and wondered what the best way forward is.
Any advice greatly received,
Thank you!
Lucy
My Piggies were very shy when we first got them, they are still not fully comfortable with being picked up but they are getting there. I would say, try to keep a routine with them. And even though they are almost to cute to resist don’t be around them too much as they are setting in. Obviously keep feeding them and give them cuddles maybe once or twice a day. But give them time to explore and get more confident with their homes. Once they are left for a while they will start to explore and then when they realise it is safe (which of course it is, they just don’t know that) then they will be a lot more confident. Mine are around 5 months old now and they don’t run and hide as much now. Just let them know you are kind by trying to hand feed them veggies through the cage and let them explore. Hope this helps 😀
 

lumbypigs

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My Piggies were very shy when we first got them, they are still not fully comfortable with being picked up but they are getting there. I would say, try to keep a routine with them. And even though they are almost to cute to resist don’t be around them too much as they are setting in. Obviously keep feeding them and give them cuddles maybe once or twice a day. But give them time to explore and get more confident with their homes. Once they are left for a while they will start to explore and then when they realise it is safe (which of course it is, they just don’t know that) then they will be a lot more confident. Mine are around 5 months old now and they don’t run and hide as much now. Just let them know you are kind by trying to hand feed them veggies through the cage and let them explore. Hope this helps 😀
thank you! x
 
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