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Scared guinea pigs

EllieAndPippa

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Hi
I’ve just got 2 baby female guinea pigs. They are in an out door hutch. It’s quite large and they have a good size bed area/hidey area. It’s well insulated and in a sheltered area.
When I took them home I put them straight into the hidey part of the hutch and they haven’t moved since (6 hours) they are hidden deep in their hay bed so that when I opened the door I couldn’t see them and they didn’t move a muscle so I had to lift the hay to check they were Still there and were ok.
I’ve left fresh veg, hay and water in their play area but it’s clear they haven’t ventured out at all.
Is this ok? I’m worried they haven’t had a drink, and they don’t seem to be even moving within their bed area. They seem extremely scared. at what point do I worry that there’s something more than just a new environment that’s scaring them? And what can I do to help them settle.
 

JunePiggies19

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Don't worry, guinea pigs take a long time to settle in to their new home! It may take a couple of days before they start to come out and explore. They will eat the hay in their hidey as well so you don't need to worry about them going hungry! They will eat and drink when you're not around. Make sure there are hideys for each of them (maybe put some food near the entrance to the hidey). When you are near the cage don't move suddenly or make any loud noises and don't try to pick them up/put them in a run yet. Hope that helps a bit :). What are their names?
 

EllieAndPippa

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Thanks for your reply.
Should I put 2 smaller hideys within their main hidey section of their hutch? At the moment maybe It’s too big it’s about 2ft Square? A small hidey might feel safer for them? Or does that matter?
I have a small hidey in the play section, it will fit both as they’re still small, perhaps I’ll put another one in for them?
 

JunePiggies19

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Aww such cute names! I'd put a smaller hidey in as well for them, I can't speak for anyone else's but my guinea pigs like to curl up in their hideys. It is also good to give them choice (especially having a hidey each in case they want to be apart from each other for a bit)
 

EllieAndPippa

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Thanks Junepiggies you’ve been a great help. I will put smaller hideys in their bed area. Hopefully they will settle in soon.
 

Qualcast&Flymo

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Hallo and :wel:. JunePiggies is right, piggies always take a while to settle in a new environment. They are prey animals and their default is to think that they are about to be caught and eaten. They have to get used to the idea that you are the bringer of food and treats, then they can relax. When you are going to their hutch, talk to them so they get used to the sound of your voice and start to associate it with positive things such as fresh hay and tasty veggies.

However I'm afraid I don't think it is a good idea for them to be kept outside if they are babies, especially if they have been indoors before. Their temperature control systems won't be fully developed and they probably don't have enough body mass to keep themselves warm. I wouldn't even move healthy adults outside right now, it's quite damp and has turned decidedly chilly in the last few days (my outdoor thermometer read only 8 degrees earlier this evening). My pigs are in a brick outbuilding with an insulated cover and blanket over the hutch and I still have to keep heat pads in the hutch to keep it over 12degrees at night. If it goes below 10 I will be bringing them indoors until I have got the building insulated properly.
 

Piggies&buns

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it takes quite a while for new piggies to settle in. You should leave them alone and do nothing other than feed and spot clean their cage for the first week. Then you can start to try to offer them food from your hand.
ensure they always have lots of hay nearby so they don’t have to come out to eat.

i also agree with @Qualcast&Flymo. It is too cold for baby piggies to be outside. piggies aren’t hardy, even more so when young, and anything below 15 degrees is too cold for them. My two adult piggies live in a hutch in my shed. The hutch has two blankets, a thermal hutch cover and four snugglesafe heat pads and loads of hay. as with @Qualcast&Flymo, if the temperature inside the shed (my shed is always warmer than the outside temperature so this is why they are able to stay out, plus the fact the shed protects them from wind and rain) drops below 10 degrees then they come inside for the winter
 

EllieAndPippa

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Thanks for all the advice, you were right junepiggies it’s clear they have been out in their play area when we’re not looking! (Poop everywhere!)
With regards to being kept outside, I agree the cold is a concern. (as a child we always kept our guinea pigs outside, but that was a very long time ago! 😂) they are under a sheltered porch with a duvet & windbreaker over their hutch. I have ordered a thermometer to put inside their cage to monitor temperature and will certainly be bringing them inside when it gets very cold. I will also pick up some heat pads today, as they sound really good.
They seem a little less scared this morning, I’ve left a piece of apple so hopefully they will associate me with nice things and not some big scary being!
 

Qualcast&Flymo

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Glad you have the option of bringing them inside if it gets too cold. Hopefully it's warmer down your way than it is here in the Midlands! (6° this morning- brrrr).

If you haven't already seen them, you might find these useful for up to date info on guinea care New Owners' Most Helpful How-To Guides and Information
As well as other stickies in the New Owners corner.

How old are your sows? We all love pigtures, perhaps when they are confident enough to stay out long enough to be photographed you could introduce them and yourself in the Introductions section :nod::D
 

AlleyCat

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Snuggle safe microwaveable heat pads are fantastic and are a must for outdoor piggies! I’d advise you to buy extra covers so you can have a set on and a set in the wash
@Piggies&buns we live in CA but it gets chilly at night. Our babies are in a room in the back of our house that has poor heating so I cover their cage at night with a blanket. I want to get a snuggle pad but we don’t own a microwave. Can I heat a snuggle pad in hot water or is that loony? Thanks
 

Piggies&buns

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@Piggies&buns we live in CA but it gets chilly at night. Our babies are in a room in the back of our house that has poor heating so I cover their cage at night with a blanket. I want to get a snuggle pad but we don’t own a microwave. Can I heat a snuggle pad in hot water or is that loony? Thanks
Unfortunately, a snugglesafe heat pad would not heat up in hot water. They have to be done in a microwave.
 

KHBz

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@Piggies&buns we live in CA but it gets chilly at night. Our babies are in a room in the back of our house that has poor heating so I cover their cage at night with a blanket. I want to get a snuggle pad but we don’t own a microwave. Can I heat a snuggle pad in hot water or is that loony? Thanks
We didn't have a microwave either, so I bought a very cheap, basic caravan microwave when we bought the snugglesafes. It fits a snugglesafe but not much else, and that is all we use it for. It is worth getting one, if you can, because the snugglesafes are very good and retain the heat for hours.
 

Free Ranger

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We use a rubber hot water bottle wrapped in a fleece blanket, but it's outside the cage wedged against the wall of the bedroom area. The plastic wall warms up a treat but George can move away if he gets too hot: he's an indoor pig so it's more for comfort as he still hasn't found anyone he likes to snuggle with yet. We wrap it in fleece partly to retain the heat for longer but mainly because he has a taste for rubber and will nibble at it. I'll look into these snugglesafes though - they sound very good - thanks for the tip!
 

Piggies&buns

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We use a rubber hot water bottle wrapped in a fleece blanket, but it's outside the cage wedged against the wall of the bedroom area. The plastic wall warms up a treat but George can move away if he gets too hot: he's an indoor pig so it's more for comfort as he still hasn't found anyone he likes to snuggle with yet. We wrap it in fleece partly to retain the heat for longer but mainly because he has a taste for rubber and will nibble at it. I'll look into these snugglesafes though - they sound very good - thanks for the tip!
snugglesafes are just great. They stay warm for 10 hours (although mine being shed dwelling piggies, it can be a little less than 10 hours) and provide a warm spot for piggies to sit either on them or near them. They are rock hard though so i don’t see how they can be comfortable to sit on but the piggies don’t seem to mind at all! I pop one underneath each hidey/fleece tunnel.
 

VickiA

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Snugglesafes are good for a continued slow release of gentle heat for the piggies. But mine all think they are a bit too hard to sit on!
 
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