Very Shy/worried Guinea Pigs

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Smartecosse

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We collected two boys from the Scottish SPCA on Saturday....having been ourselves at the start of the week to have a look at them, fill in paperwork etc and then back again on the Saturday as they wanted to see our children before we could take the guinea pigs home....

Anyway, they were lifted out the cage and sat on our kids laps (who were sitting on the floor) and had a little pet, didn't really move around much.

They have been with us since Saturday morning, they are eating as the food keeps disappearing but they really don't come out the house or out from under the hay when you are there. If you sit quietly at night when the lights are down you can eventually see them come out for their food, I sat for more than an hour in the dark the other night as I wanted to make sure that both were eating - which they are.

They don't appear to be drinking the water, or only a tiny amount but the veg they get is soaked and they are eating cucumber and watermelon as well which is high in water content.

I've read the pages about letting them settle in and so forth, should I be worried that they only venture out when we are not there or is this normal? Obviously I have no idea what they were treated like before they ended up at the rescue centre.....
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Your experience is normal for any guinea pigs that are not well kept ex-pets.

If you wish, you can cover the cage top and back with a towel to give them an added feeling of protection, which in my esperience helps especially with piggies that have been rescued from a hutch/breeder box situation. Play the game of "I'm so not interested in you".

It is going to take some time, but they will come round. leave a little veg treat near the hideys whenever you come up to the cage, so they learn to associate you with nice things. Watch from the door and then slowly from less and less far away. Behave like a predator that is not hunting; keep up a gentle stream of chatter, but move slowly and deliberately in order to not trigger their flight instinct.

Don't worry about the water too much. They will learn or not. You can place a little drip dish underneath to encourage them to drink, but don't overdo the juicy veg, or there will be no incentive to ever learn. They will get enough fluid to get by on a good diet wiothut dehydrating.

You may find these threads here additionally helpful:
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...stincts-and-speak-piggy-body-language.117031/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/how-to-pick-up-your-guinea-pig.126359/ (a walk-in cardboard box that you lightly fill with some fresh soft hay can also work for pick-up and weigh-ins)
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...or-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/
 

Maddykins

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I don't really have anything to add because there's so much good advice already but just more reassurance that they are acting totally normal and they will settle in with time. I read a lot so when we first got them I would sit near the cage and read aloud to them a lot so they got used to my voice and presence, think it helped. They will gradually become more confident, it is just about taking baby steps :)
 

Lilly

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It really does take time for piggies to arrive in a new place & start trusting their new owners. They are prey animals so their instinct is to hide as much as possible. This seems to be especially true of older rescue piggies whose history you don't know. They could have been mis-treated or not. When I adopted my 2.5 year old second set of boys last November from a shelter, who had been turned loose by their previous owner & fortunately saved by a neighbour, it took them 3 months to finally wheek for vegies & rush out of their hideys the moment the vegie dish was set down in the cage.
 

artcasper

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We have baby piggies.. When we bring them inside for lap time, we always give them a veggie treat so they kind of knew something nice was happening.. I am always talking to them, I open the back door and say hello.. I always start speaking as I approach their hut hand when I am feeding or cleaning their poo up I never shut up lol ! But it is so nice when they start to relax a bit and recognise your voice x
 

Lofn

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Hi,
No advice as i'm a new piggy owner but i can relate, it's horribly sad to see mine scatter for their hidey holes when i come near, which is most of the time as they're in my room. They do creep out eventually and go eat but as soon as i move they scatter to hiding again. Mine are almost 2 months old and i know they weren't mistreated as the person i got them from just had too many and had to get rid and he's brilliant with piggys.
I have to catch myself to not rush them either, i keep thinking that what would i do if something 30times my size started hanging around outside my house! that atleast keeps me from pestering my piggies to come out. patience sadly seems to be the key thing :( good luck and you're not alone in the worry :)
 

Freela

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It seems very normal to me. My two current pigs were both this way when we first brought them home... we basically never saw them. They only came out at night. Guinea pigs are prey animals and it's normal for them to be fearful and cautious until they are sure you are harmless. If it's any consolation, the two current pigs who started out terrified of us are now big mooches and total lap-pigs who pretty much run the household, so just because it starts out this way doesn't mean it will always be this way!
 

Smartecosse

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A couple of weeks in and they are still ultra nervous, they look at the food but don't come out if we are there....

They will burrow under the hay to get to it though...
 

AuntyC

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Hello. Try not to worry! Easier said than done, I know. As long as they ARE eating, pooing, weeing and exploring, then they will get used to you being around in time. Give them some space. Sorry if that sounds very psychological ;), but animals can pick up on tension and worry in my experience. x
 

Lofn

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aww they're adorable!
Patience is key it seems with piggies, can't be rushed to do anything :)
 

AuntyC

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What lovely piggies! They would have been able to smell you, but good idea keeping out of direct eyeline for the photo. ;)
 

jrogers

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My Peggy was exactly the same then one day it seemed like she had a lightbulb moment and realised we are no harm and now spends the majority of her time out her hidey, having cuddles or following us round the room!
 

clairewool

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Glad to read that you have had some progress :). We've just picked up two rescue guinea pigs who were not treated very well :(, and so are understandably very nervous. I'm really hoping that they will be ok :/.
 

laurenwillblake

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I am in the same boat we got some boars from the pet shop 2 weeks ago 1st few days we didnt see them slowly they wouldnt flinch at every sound made. Now they r happy to come out when i go outside to do anything but run and hide when I get too close. They now get excited when they see me with food and will eat from my hand with a bit of coaxing one of them has also started playing peek a boo behind his tunnel with me and wheeks very loudly when i start to go back inside till i come back and play some more. No success in any cuddles they race all over the hutch to hide and get away from me or my husband so we dont try for very long as they become quite distressed.
 

Sarahjg07

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We got our 2 boys, 10 days ago, and they too are nervous. However, they wheek with excitement when they see my daughter and will eat out of our hands. We've been able to stroke one of them but I picked them up in a tunnel yesterday to put them in the new run. Again they were timid, but they did venture out of the tunnel to nibble the grass! We have a 2 storey hutch and no success with getting them to go down the slope, but I do feel they are getting used to us. Reading these posts reassures me that timid behaviour is normal and they take time to get to know their new families.
 
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