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Very New Piggies Owner!

Sam81

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Hi everyone...

So I have lots of animals but am brand new to piggies.... I'm having a few problems and wondered if I can ask for help? I did lots of reading and research, got the hutch all ready and then bought two piggies (snowflake and gizmo - both girlies) from a local pet store because rescue centres near me didn't have any. They were very helpful but one of the piggies (snowflake) was quite 'skittish' whereas Giz was very chilled. They seemed to get on well, snuggled in a house together, left alone for 4 days to settle but a week later Snow developed some symptoms resembling ringworm and the piggies seemed to separate themselves. The vet said to separate them whilst we treated her and are now trying to slowly reintroduce the girls but Giz is having none of it!

Can I ask (as snow keeps trying to be with Giz)... do I buy another piggie for snow? Leave them separated? Buy another 2 in the hope Giz will like a different piggie? Or persevere? Giz keeps chasing her away and it's so sad.... don't know what to do.... whilst Giz has ALWAYS been chilled she does often vibrate now when handling her and chatters her teeth... also bites my top?!
 

Tim

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Hellooo @Sam81 *waves* :wel: to the forum! :D

So sorry you're having a bit of a pickle :( I hope someone here can help you out and get your girls rebonded :nod:
I'll tag @Wiebke as she is our resident expert :)
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

How old are your piggies and how long have you had them? Was the ringworm contracted at the pet shop you bought from? Have you made sure that the companion has not caught ringworm herself? The incubation period between infection and outbreak is 10-14 days.
Ringworm: Hygiene And Pictures

Medical separations can lead to a bond not working, especially if it has not been well established or very happy. Unfortunately far too many vets still consider it the thing to do, even for social animals like guinea pigs or rabbits where it can put a bond at risk. You can try again, but if it doesn't work out, then I would consider alternatives. Please follow the tips in our guide, but be aware that once piggies have made up their made about who they want or do not want to be with, they rarely change their opinion.
Illustrated Bonding / Dominance Behaviours And Dynamics

Have the rescues you can get to neutered boars, by any chance? Bonding with them might work as an alternative to other sows, even for your difficult sow. Please do not assume that just because she is fear aggressive and apprehensive about other guinea pigs that she doesn't need companionship and the stimulation from others of her kind! Also do not assume that a guinea pig bond is not a good bond unless your piggies are snuggled up together. Most guinea pigs actually don't if they are given the choice, even if they are happily and cosely bonded.
Here are lists of recommended good standard rescues in some countries where we can guarantee that you are in safe hands:
UK: Guinea Pig Rescue Centre Locator
Some other countries: Guinea Lynx :: Rescue Organizations

It would help us if you please added your country, state/province and UK county so we can tailor our recommendations better and straight away to what is available and relevant where you are. Please click on your username on the top bar, go to personal details and scroll down to location. this makes it appear with every post you make. We have members and enquiries literally from all over the world. Thank you!
 

SunshinePiggy

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Have you tried expanding the cage Size usually is a big factor when It comes to fighting the recommended dimensions for 2 sows is 28x56 Inches. Besides Medical Factors this could be one too depending on the size of your hutch
 

Sam81

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Piggies were 9weeks when we got them. We've had them now 6 weeks. Giz definitely doesn't have ring worm....
Their hutch is big, very big! With 2 levels. Snow will run around and seems to want to be in the same house as Giz. Giz just stays in her house now. Apart from to chase snow away. Another hutch is not doable as the one we have is big, probably enough for another 2 or 3 piggies! #frustrated
 

SunshinePiggy

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Piggies were 9weeks when we got them. We've had them now 6 weeks. Giz definitely doesn't have ring worm....
Their hutch is big, very big! With 2 levels. Snow will run around and seems to want to be in the same house as Giz. Giz just stays in her house now. Apart from to chase snow away. Another hutch is not doable as the one we have is big, probably enough for another 2 or 3 piggies! #frustrated
Do You At Least have 2 of everything like Waterbottles and hideys I would also recommend the hideys have 2 entrances or more
 

Wiebke

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Piggies were 9weeks when we got them. We've had them now 6 weeks. Giz definitely doesn't have ring worm....
Their hutch is big, very big! With 2 levels. Snow will run around and seems to want to be in the same house as Giz. Giz just stays in her house now. Apart from to chase snow away. Another hutch is not doable as the one we have is big, probably enough for another 2 or 3 piggies! #frustrated
Thanks for clarifying. Chucking underpiggies out of houses is actually normal dominance behaviour in the phase that follows acceptance. The dominance phase lasts on average around 2 weeks, but it can go on for longer. Giz is just making very sure that she is boss. it is never a nice time but it is vital in establishing a working group with a hierarchy.

We recommend to have ideally more hideys than you have piggies and that during the dominance phase all hideys have two exits to avoid the undersow being trapped. We also strongly recommend to feed veg and pellets in small portions that can be eaten in one go 2-3 time a day in a bowl each per sow at least a body length, ideally more, apart. Remove the bowls between meals. Unlimited hay (ideally in two places so it cannot be hogged) should make 80% of the daily food intake, so your girls are encouraged to eat a very healthy diet at the same time. Pellets make only 5% and veg around 10-15% if you include herbal forage treats.
(For dominance behaviours see the bonding guide I have already linked to and again in this thread here: Sow Behaviour)
Recommendations For A Balanced General Guinea Pig Diet

We have made a collection of guides that adress the most often asked questions and problems from new owners to help them for a smooth start. You will find it very helpful and interesting as it is practical and detailed in the way that most new owners' information isn't. New Owners' Online Starter " Booklet" For Really Helpful Advice
 

Sam81

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Thank you all very much... we have 5 hidies but 2 only have 1 entrance so I'll need to look at that! 3 water bowls and 4 dishes as we put fresh veg in a bowl in the top and bottom and dried in the other bowl.- top and bottom! There's hay on both levels and chewy things on both levels... they're quite pampered!
 

Wiebke

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This is their hutch before I added everything in!

View attachment 71923
Please make sure that there is plenty of hay in two separate locations - I can't see that. The silica in hay is actually what keeps the crucial back teeth ground down and hay is what keeps the guts going optimally. Veg and pellets are an important supplement, but they are only a supplement, and should ideally not be on offer all the time. The more hay your girls eat, the better their chance of a longer life; it is really as simple and as important as that, and it really makes all the difference! Pamper them - but pamper them by not being too generous with extras that they do not need. ;)
 

Sam81

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Please make sure that there is plenty of hay in two separate locations - I can't see that. The silica in hay is actually what keeps the crucial back teeth ground down and hay is what keeps the guts going optimally. Veg and pellets are an important supplement, but they are only a supplement, and should ideally not be on offer all the time. The more hay your girls eat, the better their chance of a longer life; it is really as simple and as important as that, and it really makes all the difference! Pamper them - but pamper them by not being too generous with extras that they do not need. ;)
I did say this was before I started to fill it up. There's is plenty of hay
 
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