What should I do with my guinea pig???(30 Posts)
Hi, we bought a GP from a rescue center about 6 months ago. He was sent there as he was attacking the other GP's. They said he was friendly and liked people. Since he's been with us, he doesn't like to be held, he just sits hiding in his bed. He sqeeks every time we go neer him and he bites. If I put him in his run, he just hides in the enclosed bit.
I'm sure he's not happy with us, and to be honest, he's giving us very little enjoyment. It's not what we wanted in a pet, and if the rescue center was honest, we wouldn't have had him.
our 7 year old daughter doesn't like holding him anymore, as he bites. She's always been extreamly gentle with him.
What should I do? I'd feel really guilty for sending him back, but maybe he'd be happier alongside other GP's, but not in the same cage? They did say he seemed happy there.
Or is there anything we can do to make him happier with us?
He is about 2 years old and lives in a nice big hutch in my DD's play room. It is usually very quiet up there for him.
Would having him castrated help?
Hmm, not sure. We could try that if it'd help. Could he then have another GP as a companion?
Have you contacted the rescue centre for advice? I'd suggest lots of cuddles (you will have to catch him, they always run away) with a treat while you stroke him, but perhaps you've tried that already? He might also be lonely, but that's tricky if the rescue centre already tried and failed to get him to bond with another pig. Did they suggest keeping him on his own? Usually they like company but need to be in bonded pairs.
mummy maybe the playroom is too quiet for him.
GPs are prey animals so anything out of the ordinary (like someone swooping down to lift him) will put the wind up him.
Most GPs will choose to hide. It doesn't mean anything against you.It's them.
It's sad he's on his own, but some GPs really can't get along with others (you don't know what happened to him in his 'previous' life)
No matter how gentle your DD is, 7yo don't really have a secure grip or big hands. It might be that your guinea felt ok with adults but insecure with your DD?
I've got 2 adult rescue boars (I've had sows as a child and one young male)
I find the boars a bit more 'full on'. GP1 will sometimes 'nibble' DD nose (she's 10 yo and was very wary of him at first.Now she picks him up and carries him round).
I honestly think (as a PigMum) that if you are not giving him the life he deserves and needs- and that might well be a home with older DC or adults- then cut your losses and get in touch with the rescue to return him.I don't think the Rescue was dishonest, maybe he was fine with them because he was handled by adults.
Whatever you do, don't get another guinea yourself just to give him company. You could end up with two seperate cages if he's an attacker.
The Rescue as you say can try to 'match' him.
I think you've got to think of him. He doesn't sound like a child's GP.
(I'll be back later, got to pick DD up)
Don't neuter him unless you want to match with a sow .
It doesn't change their behaviour.
It costs £40-£60
And small animal surgery has risks.
I haven't spoken to them for advice yet. We do hold him and groom him, but admit it's not every day. He's usually fine, then gives the odd nip. When my DD holds him, she uses a little cat bed on her knee, to make him feel secure. He usually nestles into it and hides his face.
The centre said he might be o.k with another GP, if the cage is big enough for them to escape from each other. I don't want to risk geting another one, then having to re-home it if it's being attacked.
Hi - I certainly wouldnt get another one to keep him company yet, tho' it does sound as if he might be a bit lonely - if you put another in HIS cage, there will probably be trouble, as new guineas have to be introduced slowly and over time and as you will see from other threads, boys dont always get along so you may be left with another problem. Your guinea needs regular company, cuddles and a proper routine, tho it sounds as if he is being handled OK, but better adult hands than little hands really - they do get very stressed and nippy if they feel insecure, - it is sad that he hides all the time, and clearly after all this time is not very sociable, some are , some arent, and it will depend on how he was treated before - do you know why he was rescued? I had a singleton chap when I was your daughters age, he went everywhere with me, and never left me side, I adored him, but gave him lots of attention - he may be bored _ can you liven his life up with handfulls of grass, something to interest him - toys, etc? - they really are like little 'dogs' in that they need to be included with your and your family all the time, unless they have their own guinea friends to keep them company. Might be worth ringing the rescue to get their advice? Good luck.
I know what you mean about little ones small hands etc. When she holds him, I always pick him up, make sure she's sat ready with the basket, then I put him on her knee and she strokes him. I put him back in the same way.
Do you think he's be happier in the garden? We don't have many places he can go, due to the size of his cage.
Do you still put them in their runs in the winter? I avoid it in the rain, but what about the cold? He hasn't been outside in ages as he just sits there anyway. I don't think he enjoys it.
He does have toys, corn to nibble, mineral lick (although he ignors this) hiding tunnel and fresh food and water every day.
There is a lot to think about. We are out and about most of the time, either working or going out as a family. I work nights, so when I'm working, my DH and DD stay at my MIL's, so we don't need a babysitter while he drops me to work. I do think he is bored! It would probubly be best for him to go with someone who has more time for him. Maybe someone elderly?
It would be very sad to see him go, but I want to do what's right for him.
GPs get lonely. They need other GP. They like the company of humans even if they aren't being fussed over. They like lots of attention, not being stuck in a room by themselves and forgotten about for days on end. Really they need to be in a room which is busy and they can feel part of the family if there are no other GPs around. Imagine how a human would react if they were put in solitary for life.
You could get another GP to talk to even if they aren't in the same cage. This is what we do and it works well.
As for nipping. Is it nipping or is it nibbling/grooming? We have some piggies that lick and 'give kisses'. We have other GPs who try to do the same affectionately but are less gentle and its more like nipping but its not. They are trying to groom you back. Its a question of getting used to it, as it rarely hurts its just can be a bit alarming and make you think they are going to hurt you when they have no intension of doing so. If a GP is thinking of hurting you, you KNOW about it.
If you stick him outside you really will forget even more about him. And GPs aren't hardy creatures so if hes used to being indoors, hes not going to be used to be shoved outside in the cold.
He looks miserable because he is. Hes lonely and you don't give him enough attention/stimulation.
Neutering is pointless in this case. Its only good in GPs for stopping babies not changing behaviour.
I've had a look around,and appart from our bedroom, there isn't anywhere else he could go. (we live in a bungalow, so he would be more included). We could try that and see how it goes.
We have a couple of GPs in the bedroom. It works for us, as they get a routine and they have attention from it when we go to bed and get up, even if we don't pick them up. We talk to them and they know we are around regularly.
O.k, we'll give that a try.
What about his run? Do you still put him out when it's very cold, wet grass etc?
My guineas are in ds's room and usually both my dc are in that room charging around. When I go down the pigs squeal at me for attention unfortunately they bring on my asthma so don't get held a lot but I do talk to them and give them a salad everyday. I agree they like business and company.
i wouldn't put him outside if it is damp. Our GP bites my son playfully. could he be in the kitchen where there are things going on. They like to interact and here voices.
I tend to think about what humans like and whats pleasant/unpleasant for us. If its freezing or damp then I wouldn't necessarily want to go out. I'd still like a run around though. So trying to find somewhere warm and dry for a wander inside for short periods is nice. Again, if you can make it times when you are about, even if you aren't fussing with him, he'll feel more part of the family. He'll WILL hide away at first; leaving him be and ignoring him actually works to help build his confidence to explore. Use food as bribes. If he gains more confidence, he'll be friendlier and he'll be more fun to be around too. But it takes time and you do need to be patient.
It's unusual for a rescue to give a single guinea-pig. Most will only re-home one if you've got a GP at home (and then you have to 'match' them). That's what makes me think that he might be one of those hogs that really don't get on with company.
Them saying he might get on is taking a risk (I'm assuming they would have tried him with guinea-pig company).
You would either have to neuter him, wait the 'safe' time for him to be strile then find him a girl.
Or get a very young boar piglet (which you might be able to find in a rescue but usually they are older). Then hope that the little boars Terrible Teens aren't too bad (usually 6 months age)
How big is your cage? (there's lots of information on cages in Cavy Cages website). Bigger is definately better, and if you got a 2nd pig you'd have to remove all your Pigs smells to make it 'neutral territory'.
Some GPs are more toothy. Mine will give us a gnaw (not a bite as such, more of a nip.Doesn't break the skin. I don't bother as such but I don't want to encourage it. Usually it's something we've done, like smelling of food, touching them (GP1 greasespot or GP2 right side) that they give a warning)
If he's always been a bitey little s*d that might just be him.
If it's just started, maybe he's trying to tell you he's in pain.
Check his nails, teeth, skin/fur.
The garden will be too wet and cold for him. And it gets dark so early now. He'll be cold and lonely.They aren't hardy like outdoor rabbits.
My boars are in at night (in our small bedroom). They have each other in their Pighouse (wooden Playhouse) and a cuddle and chat in the evening. They go to bed when the DC do.
Can you spend more time with him at Christmas. Get a paddling pool if you can to let him go into the lounge (keeps them safe and they won't pee everywhere). Then your DD can give him a guinea adventure playground with boxes and tunnels.
I can honestly say (apart from when we've been on holiday and they went to Little Animal Boarding) there has not been a day when we've not given the Pigs a cuddle and check up. My DD is completely smitten with her pig.
sorry 'hear' voices. shame on me - slaps hand
sorry 'hear' voices. shame on me - slaps hand
Wet grass is bad for GPs, they are prone to respiratory problems if they get cold and damp (low slung bellies)
In October we had some dry ,mild bright days. I put my boars in their run with a thick mat to sit on while I cleaned their Pighouse.
They sat judgily, chattering their teeth until I brought them in.
I have to cut them grass with scissors (sad sack that I am)
Brilliant idea about getting a paddling pool! My DD would love that too. I'll start getting him handfulls of fresh grass if he's not going out for his excercise.
Paddling pool a BRILLIANT idea. Mine never get out really because I can't contain them and need to because if asthma. Thanks for that will get one ASAP.
Hope you get him settled down mummyloveslucy as you sound like a very caring GP mum.
Would echo what people have said about them liking company. Ours are in what was originally the dining room but is now known as the pigroom. As it's in the centre of the house, we are always wandering through and stop to chat with the boys every time. They are also visited by our houserabbit who is free range and likes to stare at them in their cage (once when I left the lid open, he leapt in with them for a visit - they were not amused and the lid is kept firmly shut now).
As for the nipping - one of ours (Scruffypig) is very chewy and will have a nibble at anything/anyone he can reach - that just seems to be his character. He doesn't mean anything by it, just seems to think that everything is edible. Smoothpig is the opposite and couldn't be more polite or well behaved. It does make it quite difficult to cuddle Scruffypig and we put him in a small basket for strokes, otherwise we'd have holes in all our clothes/arms/fingers etc.
Could the guinea be squeezed into the living room area, is that too intrusive? It is a tough time of year to keep them occupied and amused, so any interaction or distraction will be appreciated by them - the paddling pool idea is utterly brilliant and I wish I had thought of it! However dont expect him to like it at once, guineas are very suspcious of change, so give him somewhere to hide in it like an igloo and short bursts of getting used to having space to roam......Fernie is right, they all have different characters, some are happy being held, and some get frantic. The frantic ones may respond by being wrapped up whilst held, I used an old tea towel for one of mine and would swaddle her in it - she used to purr as it made her feel secure. Once they feel happy and secure, try feeding him on your lap, some leaves, bits of apples etc. I know it is messy, but the more human contact he has the more sociable he will be, but these things do take time, he wont change his character over night, and needs to be encouraged to have new and exciting experiences!
Didn't think of wrapping up - I do that with mine and they love it.
Thank you. we do feed him on our laps, as it helps to distract him and keeps him happy. I could try wrapping him up too. He's been in his pool today, for about 4 hours. He seemed to enjoy it! He was a lot more interested and wandered around a lot more, after a while of hiding in his tube. I gave him some fresh grass, food and apple. My DD liked having him with us too.
He can't be in the living room all the time, but I'm going to get him a new cage to go in our room. (Next door to the living room) Fingers crossed he'll be a lot happier.
Thank you everyone for your advice and tips.
Wow! Sounds like progress already - am really pleased to hear he liked getting out and about, and from the other thread, marking his territory - - this is what we all meant about including them as part of the family, you will enjoy them and they will enjoy you! He will be happy to be included and aware of all that is going on around him - you may even find as he gains confidence, that he is less frantic and bitey. Sounds great!
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