emilydavispt

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Hi, my name is Emily. A few months ago, I fell in love with a guinea pig at a pet store. I didn't get her then, but about a month later I went back to get bedding or something and she was still there. Long story short, I got her and love her so very very much. I have never had guinea pigs before because I wasn't allowed. I now live on my own with my boyfriend so I was able to get her! So, I'm pretty sure she's still a baby. Very small for a guinea pig I've come to learn! I've had her for a month or so and I'm struggling so hard to get her to be happy. I realize I absolutely should have got two guinea pigs, but not at the time and now I don't know if I can afford it. I definitely will in the future but until then, I need super help. She's EXTREMELY skittish. Even just turning a light on makes her bolt around the cage, and not in a playful way. I have many toys and treats for her, which she seems to enjoy in her cage. But I have a pen that I like to put her in so she can have more space to run, and all she does is sit in it, still, and normally starts screeching very loudly. Even if I leave her in there for an hour, she absolutely will not move. If we hold her with bare hands now, she immediately starts nibbling/biting us and/or crying. When we put her in her cage, she is constantly in her little dome or hiding in the back corner behind it. She comes out to eat and drink but if she even hears us, she bolts back. I have never seen her popcorn or heard her make a happy or excited noise. Maybe once for the noise, but every other time it is straight screeching in a scared way. I usually keep a towel partially covering her cage so she has darkness, and my apartment is pretty much always decently quiet. I went to a few pet stores and told employees there what was going on, and they suggested picking her up as fast as I can if we are going to hold her so it causes less stess, and to maybe wrap them or cover their face a little with a tiny towel or something so they still feel like they are in an enclosed space. She doesn't bite or nibble when I do that, but she still doesn't like it and normally shakes still. I feel like I'm doing everything wrong. I want to give her my attention and love by holding and petting her so she may feel affection, but she's terrified of it so I also don't want to because I don't want to upset her. I have a hamster that I have let her briefly meet with supervision, and she kind of liked it and that was the one time I heard her make a slightly happy noise. But now when I let them meet they completely ignore each other. I'm at a loss of what to do. I feel like such a bad owner because I can't get her to settle or be happy. If anyone has any suggestions, PLEASE let me know. Sorry for the book I wrote, I love her so much and it hurts me to see her constantly stressed and frightened. Please help! Thanks (:

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Hensa

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My two guineapigs were both very skittish when I first got them 3 months ago and still are sometimes.
I do think it would help enormously to get another guineapig if you possibly can not only for companionship but to help reduce nervousness as when scared mty two do like to huddle together.
I found just talking to them especially when approaching them and feeding them helped.
Also they weren’t very keen to leave the cage for floor time at first but have got more used to it and enjoy it now and I sit with them and let them come to me if they want to. In fact just letting them climb over me,being still and quiet as I sat on the floor without going to touch them is what helped and now they do like to be touched (stroked) but still don’t really like being held or picked up at all.
 

Reenie

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The best thing you could do for her is to get her a friend. Guinea pigs and hamsters don't usually get on, so the fact that she got excited meeting your hamster tells you that she's lonely. It will take her time to settle. I would only pick her up when you have to for a while, but spend lots of time near her and talking to her. She will learn to trust you more as time goes by. There are lots of sticky posts in the forum area which will give you plenty of great advice. I can't do links on this machine. Keep trying x
 

sport_billy

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Hello, Welcome to the forum :) your piggy is gorgeous! First off Guinea pigs are prey animals and so have a prey instinct that is hugely influential on behaviour, it takes time and patience to gain trust. Make sure in her cage she has a hidey's or two at all times, piggies need shelter to feel safe then I would suggest going back to basics -

Start off by merely sitting near their cage and softly talking to them, they will get used to the sounds of your voice and knowing you are around, then after a week do what we do when we have a new piggy by trying to hand feed a few veggie treats in the cage by offering some nice veggies to the new piggy when they are in their hidey, hopefully they will take it off you as you hold it in for them... Do this for around a week then after a while try offering it a little further from the hidey so they edge out and take it from you. Just go slowly as they are prey animal patience is needed to build up the bond, younger piggies are especially skittish

Food is the best way to bribe, use food when you get round to lap times also. I would suggest you don't do Latimer until she is happier in the cage etc.... Start lap time for a short amount of time at first and build up. We started off we laptimes for 1 minute with new piggies then pop them back, slowly increasing the time. They will soon associate you with food and good things but at first it takes a while to gain their trust.

Have a read of this thread here How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig

I would also recommend a friend for her, this will also help her feel secure, pigs are herd animals and need their own company of their species to thrive. Please DO NOT let her interact with your hamster again, this could result in fights. I can't stress this enough.

One final thing when you gave her in her run, make sure at all time she has hides to go into, big open spaces are really scary for piggies as the prey instinct kicks in and they feel vunerable, that is why she is freezing in fear.

We have a really timid Guinea pig and it has taken 5 months to get her to a point were she will take food from me and stay near me in the cage to eat, she still won't let me touch her in the cage so I know how hard a process it can be. I am happy to interact with her on her terms. Just follow the advice above it will really help
 

emilydavispt

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Thank you so much @sport_billy and every one else that replied to this so far! Literally every little bit of advice is super helpful to me. Also, I appreciate that you guys are being so kind knowing that I'm a new guinea pig owner. I will definitely not have my hamster and piggy meet again. The last like two of three times I did it they didn't even acknowledge each other anyways. So I will keep them apart and try my best to follow your suggestions! I love her so much so I am determined to have her be as comfortable as possible.
 

FlannelPig

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Yeah basically what everyone else said lol. I have one pig that is the most social guy in the world and one pig that is very skittish, just their little personalities. But i think the most important steps to take to making sure she is a happy piglet would be to get her a buddy and make sure she is kept in a low activity area. Pigs have great hearing so if there is a ton of activity going on around them, that can be overwhelming. Good luck :D
 

Julesie

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What everyone has said already is very useful. The only thing I can add is depending on where you live and how easy it is for you, it might be worth checking out your local guinea pig rescue and seeing if they have any slightly older piggies who are much more comfortable around humans. I've had many a skittish pig learn much faster this way that humans are friends and not to be scared of. It still can take them a few weeks but I find its usually faster then the months long progress.

Otherwise, as people said just talk carefully to her, offer her food, she may not even take it, it can take a very long time for them to be bold enough to but after constantly trying day by day they will learn. I used to lie by my cage when I got my first ever 2 piggies and I'd just sit there. They soon started to come out despite knowing I was there (same day!) or I would purposely just potter around the room and constantly talking.

Give her time and don't feel disheartened. :) best of luck
 

emilydavispt

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Guys, UPDATE!

So, I didn't think it would happen this soon, but I went to a pet store to grab more food for my piggy, Fish, and I fell in love with one there! Actually, two. I really loved two, but only took one home for now. I'd love the other one but I know I have to be mindful that Fish is already overwhelmed with one new friend, let alone two. This one is very young, but seemed pretty interactive at the store. The other one was even younger and was also pretty interactive. I brought home who I named Guppy, and put her and Fish in a pen together. It was a few minutes of standing absolutely still, but then they came to each other and constant noises. I think they were because they were interested. Fish was a little rough with her when they started interacting, but calmed down. But I put them in the cage together, and now Fish is being a massive bully. She won't let Guppy eat, drink, or even walk in the site of her sister. If she does any of that, Fish chases her around the cage and that makes Guppy cry a lot and become even more frightened. It didn't get any better over the course of a few hours, and I knew Guppy was starving and very thirsty, so I pulled Fish out and set up a nice living space in the pen for her for last night. We will try to have them interact a little more today. I feel bad because I took Guppy away from her best buddy at the store (the grey and white one that I also want) and put her in with a new piggy that is bullying her. It's a work in progress, I know. I'm not too worried about it yet. Just takes some getting use to for Fish. Thanks to everyone new who also commented and gave advice!

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sport_billy

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How big is your cage? You need to bond in a neutral area. They will also need two of everything, two hideys, two bowls etc....
 

emilydavispt

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Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been able to get online in a few days. Currently we have a cage fit for two GROWING guinea pigs. It is a starter cage. I now have three piggies. I ended up going back and getting the other guinea from my last post so Guppy would have a friend she was already use to. For the moment, I have the two babies in a large play pen together because Fish is not fond of sharing her cage. It isn't big enough for all of them, anyway. I found a large cage that is fit for about four piggies, and I am looking to get that here very soon. I was just trying to find one that I thought would be best for them all, which took a little bit. But at the moment, they all seem happy with the arrangements. The babies always are cuddling and playing together, and I will let Fish out to play with them for a little every day. I am very suspicious that Fish is pregnant, now, though. The store I got her from says all of their piggies are females, but I've come to see they don't always know. So I haven't been letting her socialize with the others much, because I'm not sure just yet. But yes, each of them have their own bowl, hideys, water spots, and things like that. The babies like to share the hideys, though.
 

*kate*

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Could you keep the playpen up all the time and house them all in there?

If you aren't confident sexing your Piggies, then your Vet will be able to do this for you. Why do you think she maybe pregnant?
 

emilydavispt

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Hi! I do have the play pen up all the time because I house my two younger piggies in there. I do let Fish in the pen with them sometimes, but after a little she starts to chase and scare the young ones, even though that's not her living space. So I do let her interact with the little ones so she isn't lonely, but will put her back in her own cage when she gets mean. I think she may be pregnant because her sides are getting huge, where it shocks me every time I take her out of the cage. I thought she just may be getting chunky, and it still very well might be that, but I want to treat her as if she is pregnant so I don't hurt her or do something wrong if that's what it turns out to be. She eats 2 bowls of food a day and empties her 6 ounce bottle of water daily, and then some more after I refill it. My other two piggies combined don't eat or drink that much. So it's just some suspicions. I am comfortable sexing them, I just would wanna do some good research on it before I do so. Thanks for your response!

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Betsy

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2 bowls of food a day seems a lot. 80% of a piggy's diet should be hay. Does she have access to hay at all times? I have 5 piggies and they only get half a bowl of food between all 5 of them per day and sometimes the don't eat it all. Have you had a vet check her over?
 

emilydavispt

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Hi Betsy! Since I am a brand new guinea pig owner (never had any or knew anyone that had any), I wasn't sure of the proper diet for this piggy, who I got first and then got two more about a month later. I know that pellets should be the lesser part of their diet and more so hay, veggies, and sometimes fruit. She absolutely has access to bunches of hay daily, which she also eats a ton of. I know she only needs like 1/8 a cup of pellets a day, and now that I have learned what kind of veggies they can have, I am going to go get some. But before learning that, I would give her 1/8 a cup and she would eat it pretty fast, and then screech until I gave her more, in the same day. So I figured she was really hungry, nervous eating, or something along the lines. I have not taken her to a vet yet, because I'm trying to roll out all other things that it could be. The vets around me are extremely expensive, so I want to hold off on that until I am pretty positive that she is pregnant. Thanks!
 

Tiamolly123

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Your right to watch her food, it may cause problems later on if she is pregnant. Just give as much hay as you can. I always have hay to throw away, but I'd rather that than not give her enough. Has she been with a boar that you know of?
 

emilydavispt

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The store I got her from was crappy. I asked what gender guinea pigs they had, and all of the employees were like "Um.. I THINK they are all girls.." I'm even now questioning if my youngest guinea pig is a boy. But I fell in love with all three of the ones I have, so at the time, it didn't even matter to me. I tried sexing them but I don't trust my opinion on what they are. I'd rather have someone with more knowledge check. To be honest, the one that I feel is pregnant could be a boy for all I know. But if she is pregnant, I don't want to handle her like that in fear of causing her a miscarriage or other complications.
 
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