We have just adopted 2 lovely little guinea pigs from a rescue centre. The lady said they are quite tame and were well cared for, but the owner's DD was a teenager now and didn't pay them any attention so she wanted a new home for them. At the rescue centre she picked them up and put them on my 5yo DD's lap and they seemed fine.
After a few hours of letting them settle in DD was desperate to hold one, so I tried to pick one up. Turns out I am a terrible klutz, I couldn't catch them, and they just freaked out and ran into their little hidey hole and haven't come out since . I now feel very guilty!
What is the best way to get them used to me and DD? And is there a secret to catching them without scaring them?
We've had our guinea pigs for 5 months or so and they are much braver now they are used to our voices etc but they still get scared when we try and pick them up which I think is normal. Once we've picked them up they love a cuddle. We found it helped to sit next to their cage with the door open offering them food - now they'll come bounding up and snatch it from us!
Food is the way forward with guinea-pigs . I can appreciate your DD is desperate to cuddle them, but try and give them a couple of days to settle- everything is new to them except each other.
When they do venture out of their hidey space (for food, they are lead by their stomachs) they probably won't let you catch them.
I'd try carefully taking out their hidey boxes quietly, then they'll have nowhere to run (and reduce the risk of hurting themselves trying to get through the door at the same time) Then scoop up the braver one, towel wrap and let your DD cuddle them. (You can clean their cage out and put everything back, I'm not suggesting taking their boxes away forever)
They will get used to being caught if it's in their interest. My DDs boars are adults so easier to catch but GP1 still does an almighty "I'm being skinned" screech. GP2 runs round like a Benny Hill sketch.
They still get caught, just takes a bit longer. If you are quiet and persistant it won't scare them . They just take a while to get used to you, especially if they haven't been handled.
Thanks very much for the advice- I'll try some food I think it's partly because I'm a bit nervous- I had a rabbit as a child that used to kick if I picked it up. I guess I will have to get used to it! They are adorable girls.
Hi there, wishing you lots of fun with your new guinea girls - 70 brilliant advice re food, they are very bribable.. Would echo everything she has said, guineas are very timid creatures until they have got used to you and will be able in the long term to wind you round their little claws. However, do go easy to start with, everything is new to them, your voice, your smell, their environment, and it is important they feel comfortable and content to want to come out and be handled - stay in the background for a week or so, just sing or talk to them and eventually they will eat out of your hand.
Handling can be a problem to start with as they can get skittish, and then it is difficult to pick them up without stressing them and you. We used to have cuddle cloths for ours, so pick them up, put on shoulder ( like a baby) and swaddle a bit, then you can sit down and put them on your lap, if you have some cucumber, parsley or the like, this will take their minds off being cuddled and will keep them occupied.
It is very important to let them come to you really, get used to your voice and your routine, and you will soon find they are a great part of your day! Enjoy them
As 70 and guineapiglet said, pigs think with their tummies and will do pretty much anything for parsley/cucumber. Once they suss out that you and your DD are the 'founders of their feasts', they'll be very excited to see you and probably rush to greet you.