Need advice

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Post   » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:16 pm

Hey everyone! I’m not a new piggie owner, but I need some advice on my current girl.

I got her two years ago from a chain petstore. Before I knew that there are tons of cavy adoptions available. Anywho. I did my research when I first got my two girls. I bought them together, and got them a really nice cage with an attached fence so they had about 14 square feet of space between the cage and the fence. When I was putting the cage together, I left the babies in their boxes. When I opened up the box of the first one she was moving and excited and lively. When I opened Chickys box however, she wasn’t moving, and there was a small puddle of drool that had seeped in to the box. I thought for a few moments that the stress of being put in a box, transported and left in the box for about 45 minutes while the cage was assembled killed her. I shook the box and said “Piggie? Piggie?”

Thinking she would wake up. It wasn’t until I poked her that she squealed and jumped up. Ever since then she’s being afraid of everything. No amount of handling has helped. That’s why I named her Chicken after about a month. In fact, she somehow knows whenever I’m talking to her and will run in to her hide lol it’s kind of funny/cute.

After I bought the two girls, about a month later as a I was getting them food from the store I saw an adorable little crested tourtoise girl and brought her home. She at first was extremely social and would sing and chirp and purr and be the dream guinea pig. Then she started to get really mean. She got really big compared to the other two. After about a year I noticed she would bully poor Chicky to the point that I had to separate Lady Bug from the other two girls.

She would nip her, Chicky would be so scared she would spray urine and Lady would physically push her away from food or the water bottle. I went through different cage set ups as I had them, because these are messy animals! Youtubers make it look so easy! I ended up buying a four level cage the size of a refrigerator.

The two girls (minus Chicky) loved it and would run up and down the levels. Chicky would primarily hide in one of the huts, or stay in one of the corner litter boxes. I had four in the cage; one for each girl and an extra to avoid territory issues. So much for that lol one day as I was cleaning the cage, when I pulled Chicky out there was blood on my hand. I instantly became worried and looked where it was coming from. Either Lady ripped her little nail off completely or Chicky lost it trying to escape from her.

I separated Lady from the other two by shutting off two levels of the cage. I ended up adopting Lady and Brownie out to a friend, because I didn’t want Chicky to be bullied forever. She is so happy! She’s a very clean guinea pig, so spot cleaning is actually possible now lol no more poop or hay in random places of my house! (I have two cats who liked to play with the stuff that fell out of the cage. Gross, I know. And don’t worry; the cats for the most part ignore Chicky. Sometimes they watch her like a spectator but quickly lose interest.)

My issue is that she is still. A very shy and timid animal. She’s started using her voice (she’s been alone for about three months now.) she’s used her voice before but it was very very quiet. Now when she hears crinkly sounds or birds she goes off. Every time I try to hold her however, she pees on me! I don’t think she likes to be held and I want to respect her boundaries as much as possible. She seems absolutely content with just sitting in one of her hidey huts and goes between the different levels of the cage (she’s still in the four story cage, lucky her!)

Will she ever come out of her timid shell, or is this just my piggie? Should I hold her even after she pees on me or put her back? Sorry for the long post but I felt the more information about her character and past the better understanding someone with more knowledge can help me.

Also, I know that they’re social creatures who live in groups in the wild, but she seems more happy being alone than she did even with just the one piggie before I added Lady (she is still full of energy even at my friends, and Lady never bullied her because she would fight back lol) thank you for any advice!

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Post   » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:26 pm

I broke up your long post into more paragraphs, with spaces between them. It was not readable. Please do not post long blocks of text with few to no visual breaks.

I will go back and read it in a bit.

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Post   » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:29 pm

It sounds like you need to find her a friend. Are there any rescues nearby?

Some guinea pigs will be timid for a long time. With patience and persistence, you can win their trust - which is a thing to treasure.

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Post   » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:27 am

My first one (Peekaboo) would shriek and run for the first 6 months I had him. (Hence his name - Peekaboo.) After I got him a companion who bullied him badly, I moved the bully to a separate cage, got them both neutered, and gave each a female companion. Peek couldn't have cared less about a companion, as long as she left him alone.

He remained shy for the rest of his life, although after he became sick with renal failure, I had to force him to take fluids. My giving him sub-q fluids wouldn't work, so I syringed fluids to him. That created a real bond between us and he stopped running from me.


Post   » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:03 pm

Our 3 girls have very different personalities with different levels of tolerance to petting and sociability.

When the smallest, Suzi, was first introduced in to the cage she sat motionless for about an hour before finally "coming to" and trotting off around the pen. She is still the most skittish of the 3 and will only let me pet her when she is in a hidey but is getting better. She doesn't wheek like the other two but does chip a lot when she is running around.

Initially we thought the biggest girl, Chunkita, was bullying her but now they seem to be pretty close and Suzi will even chase her around during floor time and in the pen. There have been a few nips and squeaks at different times but when there are I will give them a "talking to" and explain to them why they shouldn't bully each other. Yes I am crazy I know but talking to them, so they get used to your voice, seems to help them get used to you.

The other two were skittish initially and didn't like being petted but now they are a bit better about it. They would run off when ever we came near the cage but now come up to greet us.

Chunky would let me pet her head but not much else but last night she was in one of the cuddle cups and I started scratching her behind her ears and she just flopped down on her side and looked put out when I stopped.

On a few occasions when they have all been sat under the table during floor time I woudl lie down next to them and close my eyes and eventually, one by one, they would each lie on their side and sleep as well. Again i think it is just a case of them realizing you are not a threat and that they are not in any danger from you

They just need to get used to you. Hand feeding is good for that and whenever I do that all three of them will climb up on my legs to get food now where as before they wouldn't.

They do need companionship though and whenever I pick one of them up the others keep an eye on me. Especially Chunky if I pick Suzi up. They dont like being picked up and will nip at me until I put them down but it is only a light nip and they dont struggle like they used to. On the rare occasion we had tried separating them when one of them was ill they didn't like it and so we would put them back together.

Get a lap pad that she can sit on, that will help with any "accidents" and may make her feel more secure.

I think patience and perseverance are the key and just take it slowly to build up her trust.

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Post   » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:01 pm

Read over this page too:

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Post   » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:34 pm

This is just my opinion but I would spend small amounts of time with Chicky as often as possible. Talk to her by name and hand-feed favorite veggies, hold the veggies for a gentle tug of war to build confidence, rearrange the cage and hideys for mental stimulation. She will start looking for you, she will learn her name, and eventually she should get a little braver.

I would hold her and feed her even if she pees. Just let her relax and then put her back in the cage.

I don’t know about a companion right now. While that’s best in most cases, if your only companion was abusive, how would you feel about another one?


Post   » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:27 am

You talk about lots of levels in the cage but the important part of a cage is the size of one level. Guinea pigs are not typically climbing animals. Is your cage the kind used for a ferret or rat? If so it may be inappropriate. Have you been to to see what the recommended size is for one or more guinea pigs?

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