Scared guinea pigs

(4 Posts)
mayoketchupchocolate Wed 20-Jul-16 15:17:20

Hi all,

We rescued two one year old guinea pigs about a year ago, but they seem to dislike us and I'm not sure how to help them?

They were never abused or anything, basically they were adopted through a friend who works at a pet shop, the shop had them for ages, I think because they aren't particularly interesting colour-wise, so they kept being overlooked, and then grew into adult pigs and were overlooked because people wanted to buy babies- poor pigs! Anyway, I knew it would take a bit of time to get them used to us and being handled, but after a year they are still no better. sad They are handled every day, very gently by me, but I can tell they hate it and are desperate to get back in their cage. They have plenty of space to run around, we have a lovely big cage that they run around during the day outside, and then a nice cosy cage inside that they sleep in. If it's raining then I usually keep them inside, and let them run around on the floor in the living room and I sit with them, but they stay as far away from me as they can! I try to feed them by hand, and talk to them all the time, but they just seem scared of me.

I had piggies as a child, and remember them being really lovely and sociable, and they used to sit on my lap for ages and loved me! I was envisioning that after a bit of 'work', these two would be the same, but I feel like we're not getting anywhere.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I feel so sad for them as I just think they are scared all the time and dread me opening their cage! Are some piggies just not very people-friendly? It's fine if that's the case, but I just don't want them to be scared all the time. I was wondering if I got a couple more younger ones to live with them, that maybe that would bring them out of their shells a bit, but if they don't get along, I don't really have space for another cage, so it'd be a bit of a risk!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 20-Jul-16 22:03:55

First- flowers for giving them a home. I often look at baby guineas or the older 'Adoption' ones in Petshops in a sparsley furnished "tank" (glass fronted pen basically) and think "Poor souls must be bored rigid "

I suppose the fact they seem desperate to get back to their house means they feel secure there, its their sancuary. And each other , they feel safer with the other pig.

Personally, I wouldn't introduce more hogs. If you don't have room, it would make things very difficult. (At the moment I have a 3+2 . Trio is my 2 older sows+their 2nd husband neutered boar. The duo is my new sows, .....they don't get on -yet. I'm going to try again to introduce them, but I don't think they'll gel. Too many Alpha Sow Pigonalities going on grin . Luckily, I've jigged things and bought a 2nd run/house for outdoors , and split their Pighouse into two sections)

Some piggies are more aloof, maybe their early years have formed their temprement and no amount of cuddles will change them.
Do they wheek at you for food or chatter?
Can you stroke them in the cage?

You do need to handle them though , to check them over for lumps,bumps,injury and clip their nails.
But maybe they're on 'their terms' that they dish out affection.

Our pigs are all Rescues so we know bits about their history.
Our boar is a mega soppy little thing, very cuddly. Adores DD.

One of my sows is like a little spring, she'll sit on my lap (which she wouldn't do when we got her) but I always feel she's got a stopwatch "Right you've had 8 minutes. I;m off" grin and she'll give a quick bite if she she's fit. It's just her !

If your piggies are eating drinking peeing poohing and just getting on with life in general, you might just have non cuddly pigs unfortunately.
If you get new ones, they might feel pushed out of their house and go deeper in their quiet mode. They are first and foremost prey animals. They don't ever lose that though their bellies and greed can help overcome a bit.

EyeRollChampion Thu 21-Jul-16 00:01:40

Hi there, do you live in the UK? If so then most of the piggies in rescues started out at a mass breeder's and then a pet shop. Sadly there is a critical period in a gp's infancy where they need to become accustomed to humans with handling and acclimatising, and if this window of opportunity is missed then they will always be anxious around humans, and pet shop/ mass breeding environments aren't the best places to meet these requirements.

If you still handle them a lot and it's clearly distressing them, I would refrain from doing so unless necessary, I. E. Weekly health check or vet visit. If they learn to associate you with food instead of being picked up they should become less wary in time.

Hope this helps. They can still make wonderful pets without the physical affection - especially when provided with a large enclosure as close to their natural environment as possible.

Good luck! X

EastMidsGPs Thu 21-Jul-16 08:34:03

We once had a piggie who wasn't that keen on humans. She only really ever tolerated us rather than enjoyed our company but was happy with her hutch mate.
My only suggestions really are .. spend time just talking to them, sit by their cage or run and just talk rubbish smile at them. As often as you can.
When picking them up, try to get them from the side and be at their level, looming over them and scoping them us will make them anxious - they'll think you are an eagle trying to take them away to eat!

Also when you go to stroke them, again don't loom over them ... I do daily talking and stroking for a few days .. and then hold them doing the same stroking and talking .. also when you hold/cuddle them, make this a pleasurable experience by giving them parsley (bribe of their choice) whilst they are with you.
We find parsley is the answer to most problems .. and always use it to settle new guinea pigs into being cuddled. Very quickly they can be hand feed.
My current 2 even help themselves from the bag sigh
I am sure you'll get some improvement .. but if not they are still having a far better life than they would have had and am sure they are far happier than they were.
Well done for rescuing them and thank you from real piggie lovers and responsible owners.
Oh and I wouldn't introduce other piggies.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now