When Should I Handle My Pigs?

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Fuzz Pigs

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I've had my piggies for a week now. They accept veggies from us but are still a bit nervous around us.

When should we start picking them up? I've seen mixed opinions.

What are your experiences and recommendations?

Thanks :-)

Lou
 

Wiebke

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I've had my piggies for a week now. They accept veggies from us but are still a bit nervous around us.

When should we start picking them up? I've seen mixed opinions.

What are your experiences and recommendations?

Thanks :-)

Lou
You can start handling them any time you wish, but try to not hunt them down for pick up. you may find our guides here helpful:
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig
How To Understand Guinea Pig Instincts And Speak Piggy Body Language
 

Swissgreys

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We started hand feeding first (like you) and then moved on to catching them in a tunnel after they had been with us about 5 days.
We initially just used to transfer them to their floor time run and made sure there were always lots of lovely fresh veg waiting for them and plenty of hideys.
We tried to make being caught a positive experience.
After a week or so of tunnel catching we would end floor time with a short period of lap time, and built up from there.
Now they are reasonably happy to be caught by hand, and will happily settle on our laps while we watch a movie.
 

Anarchybmc

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With Ted and chewy I adopted them at 5 months old and they didn't like humans! I have spent the last 6 weeks gaining their trust I gave up on trying to catch them for a cuddle as they sulked for a day and wouldn't come out however I have had to handle them for maintenance but they are reasonably well behaved for that I think they know I try to get it done quickly :D so anyway my experience with those two has been too sit with them talking/singing they slowly got used to me been around them and stopped hiding, I keep them in a huge run on my living room floor so I can climb in with them at the mo (although pig palace is been constructed) they are now so confident around me chasing the dustpan and brush running in and out of my legs/arms cleaning has turned into playtime now so it takes me forever :doh: I have now started stroking the side of their faces while they still have their feet on the ground they sometimes let me but other times no chance! I have just adopted two 6 week old boars so my plan with them is too start training them early to tolerate been handled, I have got fleece pouches that they both run into for me to pick them up so their not out in the open.

My this turned into a long post :eek:

Anyway I think it depends on the piggy, if you notice when you have them for lap time the day after they are scared of you again then I would try the sitting with them first, if they look like they handled it well then gradually increase lap time :D slowly slowly with piggies :D
 

Fuzz Pigs

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Thanks everyone for your responses, all very helpful! :)

I think we'll probably have them out for floor time and sit with them for the next couple of days and then try picking them up in a box with veggies and try stroking them... See how it goes!

Please keep any advice coming! Anything is helpful, we would like as many experiences as we can!

L :)
 

Wiebke

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Thanks everyone for your responses, all very helpful! :)

I think we'll probably have them out for floor time and sit with them for the next couple of days and then try picking them up in a box with veggies and try stroking them... See how it goes!

Please keep any advice coming! Anything is helpful, we would like as many experiences as we can!

L :)
That is a good idea! The more used your girls are to you being around, the better. Trust is something you build up slowly. It depends on where you set the accent in your relationship with your guinea pigs - are they to be mainly cuddle piggies and part of your world or do you prefer to interact with them on their terms and enjoy becoming part of their world?
Personally, I have always enjoyed the second, as the piggy world is far from boring and full of surprises. Not all guinea pigs will ever enjoy being handled and cuddled.

When you give them run time, dot hidey places around like cardboard box shelters, stools, tunnels etc. that you piggies can use at safe bases to explore from. If they are very insecure in new territory, cover the run with a blanket at first. Another good trick is to let them play/hide with their soiled bedding during cleaning time - nothing like that sniff and to tunnel under! it also helps to make the new area smell "right".
 

Anarchybmc

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I must admit I prefer to have Ted and chewy running around me on their own terms, I had them on my lap today giving them a brush and it felt like I was restricting them! (although they look much neater now) :D
 

Fuzz Pigs

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Piggies came out for their first cuddles last night! :D
I put their veggies in a open ended box and then picked up the box whilst they were in it. It definitely alarmed them! I put the box on my lap and let them calm down for a bit as they kept running around in the box trying to get under each other to hide! They weren't 100% chilled (and I wasn't expecting them to be!) but they were relaxed enough to nibble at their veg and I managed to stroke and brush them. Before we put them back we held each of them for a few minutes. Probably not how they wanted their evening to go but they didn't seem too traumatised by it all! Or at least they've forgiven us enough to be approaching hands for veggies still!

Is this the best way to go about piggy cuddles? Or is there a better way to do it? Also how often should I do this with them? :)

Thanks for all your help!
 

Swissgreys

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We also started very slowly by handling them little but often.
Short daily sessions with lots of positive rewards (basically food!).
 
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