Tips For A Newbie?

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Sanderling

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Hello, this is my first post on the guinea pig forum!

I adopted two guinea pigs from an acquaintance last Sunday. I wasn't expecting to get guinea pigs any time soon, although I had always wanted them!

I really just wanted to check that I am doing the right thing, and if anyone has any tips for a newbie.

First I'll introduce the piggies! They are brothers and I have named them Machu and Picchu after the south american ruins. They are about 2 years old. They came in the smallest hutch I had ever seen and had been living outside all winter:no: they had never been properly tamed (how would you tame a guinea pig in such a tiny cage?) So the first thing I did was make them a cage indoors.

(1) The cage is made from plywood (is this OK for guinea pigs?) nailed together. It is only just over 3 feet by 2 feet which is quite small for two boars but it is bigger than their hutch and I am in the process of building an extra floor. I'm afraid it's the best I can do for the moment but I am planning to extend it in the near future.

(2) for bedding I am using newspaper covering the lino floor with a little easibed to absorb their pee and then hay covering this. They have two igloos so that they have a choice of where to sleep.

(3) for food they get one cup of veg in the morning and one cup of veg in the afternoon/evening, including bell pepper, celery, romaine lettuce, cucumber, parsley, and sometimes a little broccoli, tomato, carrot, etc. They also get a cup of burgess excel pellets a day which I have slowly been changing to from a wagg muesli. They have an unlimited supply of meadow hay which is refreshed daily. Is this OK? Should I be providing more/less of anything?

(4) for toys they have toilet tubes stuffed with hay, a cardboard box, a willow ball, a hanging chew toy and a corn rattle roller thing. Also some gnaw sticks. They didn't have any toys when I got them so I think they have taken to these quite quickly.

(5) I clean out their water bottle daily.

(6) they were extremely shy when I got them and I was expecting it to be at least 3 to 5 weeks before they would be eating out my hand and letting me stroke them but it hasn't even been a week and they let me stroke them today which I was amazed by! So I seem to be doing OK when if comes to taming them!:D machu also started to lick my fingers which I think is a good sign? They both continued chewing when I was stroking them, rather than freezing, so I took that to be a good sign too.

(7) they have not been taken out for any excersise outside their cage yet because I could tell it would freak them out and I would lose their trust, so as soon as I feel they are confident enough and have learnt to trust me I will begin to bring them out for excersise.

Is there anything else I need to think about/am doing wrong? I'm very new to all this and I just want the best for my guinea pigs!

Thank you on advance.:)
 

7squeakers.

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It sounds to me like you are doing everything right and giving your two new boys a very good home. I should think that they are extremely happy to be with you after their last tiny home.
I am not sure but, I think, at 2 years old they are past their hormonal stage, when they start asserting their dominance. So keep up the good work and it should be plain sailing from here on. Good luck!
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome! You are doing great!

There are cage options around that don't break the bank, so it is worth saving up; you could also look on local or freeads sites for secondhand cages and if necessary consider joining up two of them. it is good that you have secured the floor against pee damage.

You may find these threads here helpful in settling in your boys. Generally you are doing everything right, so don't worry! Your boys seem to be settling in well and know that they are in a good home. Thankfully they are past the big hormones.

When you try to get them used to the run, do so by sprinkling lots of hidey places around, about a foot apart, so they can use these as bases to explore any new territory from. Cardboard boxes with two sides cut off are very useful. it will be a slow process, so be patient. You can additionally help by pegging a sheet or towel over the top of the run, so they can feel safe and are not exposed while they get their bearings. Be generous with your encouragement and praise; they will lap it up! it is very likely that you see some dominance behaviour with any new territory, but living so close to each other for so long, your boys must share a very close bond. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have.

As we have members from all the world, we find it very helpful if you please added your country, state or - for the UK - your county or city, so we can always adapt our advice to what is available/possible for you straight away and avoid misunderstandings. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location.
In the same section you can also upload your avatar. That is the picture that always appears with aevery post you make.

You may find these information theads here helpful:
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/how-do-i-settle-shy-new-guinea-pigs.36239/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/how-to-understand-guinea-pig-instincts-and-speak-piggy-body-language.117031/

https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/guinea-pig-body-quirks.58854/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/early-signs-of-illness.36332/

https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/recommendations-for-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/

https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/boars-a-guide-to-successful-companionship.76162/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/
 

Cavy_Slave

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WOW!

You've done everything I can think of so well done! I think you've done your research, I wouldn't have done anything any different except maybe think of getting a C&C Cage instead... other than that its perfect and i should think your boys are really HAPPY!

Also WELCOME!!!!

Thanks you for joining us in our effort to help people and their Piggies!


Piggie Momma!
 

Sanderling

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Thank you everyone for your reassurance and advice! :nod:

Wiebke, I'm in the UK. Thanks for all the links I am working my way through them they are very informative. My boys have been rumbling at each other a bit with quiet teeth chattering over the last few days. Picchu mainly does this. It doesn't seem to be aggressive though and Machu hasn't responded to it much... Should I be concerned or are they just trying to restore the hierarchy after being moved? Usually they are getting along fine and they always sleep together even though they have the option of another house.

A little update on the taming, we made some good progress yesterday as they both came out and sat on my lap and ate some cucumber and lettuce. After I put them back into the cage I fed them some more lettuce by hand to show them that I didn't want to pick them up again and I quickly regained their trust:D
 

Veggies Galore

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:wel: to the forum . It sounds like your guinea pigs are settling in nicely.

I will look forward to hearing more about Machu and Picchu
 

AuntyC

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The rumbling is most probably due to new environment, it should settle down over the next few weeks but you may still hear it from time to time as the dominant boy asks the other one to get out of his way etc.! You are doing very well with them and I am sure they will enjoy living with you, they sound lovely piggies.
 

Sanderling

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Thank you, I have provided them with another food bowl for their nuggets because I noticed some squabbles between them at feeding-time, but this seems to have solved the problem:tu:

I must post a photo of them and their cage soon to properly introduce them!:)
 
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