Anyways, i was wondering how you can tell round about ages of piggies? The only thing I've ever heard was color of nails. If translucent, they are under 6 months and black means adult. But is there a better/more accurate way?
- And got the T-shirt
But I'd dispute that you're rescuing a pig when you get one from a pet store. Yes, you're taking that pig out of the store, but to the store, they're just merchandise to be sold. So you buy a pig, and they order another one to take its place to be sold. Pigs that go to stores are bred and raised in horrible conditions, and they're often sold sick, mis-sexed, with parasites, and the baby sows are pregnant. The sows that produce the pups are kept continually pregnant until they're too old, and then they're killed. When they're shipped to the stores, they're in large plastic containers, several animals deep, and there are almost always dead ones in the bottom of the boxes.
So when you buy a pet store pig, you're participating in that whole breeding mill operation. Yes, you saved one pig, but you caused to be bred to replace it, and some poor sow to be continually pregnant producing those pigs.
If you want a good look at the practices, see www.petsmartcruelty.com. Recognize that all big box pet stores operate the same way, and that Rainbow Exotics is still in business.
You are right about one thing. The people who sell pigs in pet stores are generally clueless about their needs and don't care about the welfare of the animals. What they make their money on is from the crappy cage that they sold you and any toys/treats/bedding. I don't know how long you have had your new pigs, but if it's been a short time, you may find your new pets are infested with lice or mites, may be harboring an upper respiratory infection, or are NOT the gender that the pet store employees have said. You may even have a male/female pair and find that your female is pregnant (You would be surprised how often this happens to the unsuspecting customer). You may even find that you have two females...who are both already pregnant. So you may have wanted only two pigs but may find yourself with 8 to 12 in 70 days or so. Then you may not be feeling so happy about having "saved" a pet store pig.
As to your question, it is very difficult to determine the age of a pig. They usually reach their final weight within the first 4-6 months if fed a decent diet. A young pig is usually very energetic and has crisp, clean looking nails. Because pigs have individual differences in regard to weight, shape, hair length and personality, it is really impossible to know for sure just going by looks. If the pet store employees had taken any type of responsibility for these pigs, they should have told you EXACTLY when they were born.
I hope you will stick around and read a lot here on this forum to educate yourself. When I say that you are ignorant, it's not to put you down but to point out that you really don't know how pet stores and mass breeding works. You are not alone in that. Many of our members here started out buying their first pigs in a pet store before they know anything about the glut of homeless animals waiting and dying in local shelters.
2. Many of us have spent years being involved in guinea pig rescue and are trying to EDUCATE you in order to help you and your pigs. We have seen first hand the abuse and neglect that people have put these animals through and many of us have stayed up nights trying to keep a sick pig alive after someone dumped it at a shelter and then we have cried tears after it has died in our arms (and we quickly whisper to it that we have taken it on as our own baby and will remember it). So yeah, no shame here.
3. It is often very difficult for people to tell the difference between male and female pigs, especially when they under a year old. They are sexed wrong ALL THE TIME by all kinds of people which is why people end up with unwanted litters.
4. Read. And learn. And if you haven't done so already, go replace your pet store cage with a C&C cage that you can learn how to make at this website: guineapigcages.com
Weight is a better way to check your pigs age. Weight them weekly. If they keep gaining steadily and quickly they are very young. If they gain steadily but at a gradual rate they are probably between 6 months and1 year. At 6 months, most pigs have reached their skeletal size and then they start putting on weight. Someone correct me if I am off!
If you have a fastidious pig who is into self manicures, the nails will always look young. The frenetic action of skinnies also keeps their nails trimmer as they get more wear and tear.
but I'm willing to spend the money to get them out of their horrible conditions at those pet stores.
No, you are willing to reward a pet store with money encouraging them to buy more animals to replace the ones you bought. Nice try on the justification, though. But it's one we've heard many a time and only encourages "eye rolls" from forum readers.
Much information on this site. Vets even check into our med pages. You would be wise to stick around and grow a thicker skin. Those of us who have been members of this forum from the beginning have skin like callused elephants.
THAT's willing to spend money to rescue a pig from a pet store.
By the way, I have four skinnies, all of them rescues. And a possible other two in the works if a crazy woman can be convinced to take her 6 month old pigs off the Buy and Sell and give them to a rescue instead. The rescue has arranged for me to be the potential landing pad as I know skinnies and their health issues.
She got every test up the yahoo including ultrasound(the vet snuck her in and we got one for free). The only test we couldn't do was blood as she refused to give up a drop. Looked absolutely fine and in perfect health. Vet said he was of the type that didn't want to prescribe meds unless there was a scientific reason. I pointed out the most definitive test would be to cut her open and send her heart to the lab. On that basis he agreed to put her on Fortekor but his dose(based on the books) was very low - 1/3 the amount I would normally give.
I dutifully tried her on the lower dose for 3 days and then upped it to the dose I normally gave pigs 0.5cc per kg *(1mg/1ml). She turned around within 48 hours. I emailed the vet an update and that was what she was on(she regained her weight and activity level) until her heart failure 6 months later.
After the heart failure episode, she's went to double the Fortekor dose(in twice daily doses) + vetmedin and Lasix as needed
In short, this was my experience with ONE skinny heart pig so I don't know if it's an anomaly though I suspect it may be the norm for that breed.
A couple of months later I got a call from the vet asking me for detailed symptoms. He had a pig patient who was coming up roses on all the diagnostics but was inexplicably losing weight so at least another vet was won over to "diagnostics via meds" in the case of heart issues in pigs.
- And got the T-shirt
They're shipped in large plastic containers, several layers deep. The ones on the bottom are trampled and often suffocate. They're stored in horrible conditions in the warehouses and in transit. If you want a good look at how they're bred and raised, see www.petsmartcruelty.com. One of the rescuers who used to be a member here took in over 200 animals when Rainbow Exotics was raided. It's still in business.
To a pet store, a guinea pig is a product to be sold, just like dog food or cat beds. When the stock runs low because people are buying them, they order some more. So when you buy one of those pigs, you're participating in that breeding mill/pet store business. Every pig you buy means another one will get bred to take its place.
People do have a choice not to go to a pet store. There are rescues and shelters, some of which will arrange piggy trains to get a pig to an owner who wants one. There are private sales listed on places like Craigslist and in the newspaper. If there are pet stores around you selling guinea pigs, there are guinea pigs that need to be rescued. You might have to wait a few weeks to get one, but that's still better than buying from a pet store.
Owning a guinea pig is not an absolute right.
- Contributor in 2014
My first Skinny (Rufus) came from a pet store and only lived about 3 - 4 years and had health issues. I never knew his true age, since I did get him from a store. I later got in touch with the rescue that took on all of the breeder's stock, who supplied the store where I got Rufus. I learned about the hideous conditions and random breeding that took place there. That man was only after money and didn't care if my Rufus or I suffered any pain, financial loss (for vet bills), or heartache, because of his actions. When his stock all got ringworm and were no longer sell-able, he sought to dump them all, and some were killed at the shelter before the rescue people were able get there. This is not the type of thing I wish to support.
To answer your question regarding age: If your Skinnies are still growing, chances are they were under one year when you got them. Nails often get wider as they age, but not always. I had one smaller fellow who had "young" nails for his entire life. As Skinnies age, you will see more bones on the top and more saggy skin on the bottom, especially under their necks. If it is a black Skinny, the skin will develop white spots. If it is a fuzzy Skinny, they usually become more smooth as they age. The lower lip will sag a bit as well. Hope this helps!
Good luck with your Skinnies. I hope they live long with few health issues, but be sure to educate yourself and be prepared for any problems that may arise.
The highest compliment I ever received was from my Vet. She said she wanted to be one of my pets in her next life. At that time I had a rescue dog, a rescue parrot, rescue pig and even a rescue fish.