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Just got 2 rescue GPs, think I am much happier than they are :-(

(48 Posts)
ArfurFoulkesayke Thu 06-Jun-13 18:41:42

Picked up 2 1yo boy piggies from a rescue centre this afternoon. They are litter-mates and have always been kept together - they were born at the rescue centre, homed and then returned after the adopter developed allergies, so not been mistreated but have had a bit of an unsettled life so far. They had to go in a carrier for about an hour for the car journey and then we put them in a run in the garden with a hidey box. They both immediately bolted for the hidey box and wouldn't come out. I've moved them now into their big indoor cage (their main home - can't leave them outside because of foxes and cats locally) and they're just totally still. One is in the hidey box which was in the garden and one is sat next to it motionless. There's water in a bottle and a bowl, gp muesli and a bit of broccoli, as well as lots of hay, but they're not showing any interest in any of it. sad

I'm worried they're totally traumatised and am looking for advice on how to settle them? Do they need lots of handling (one in particular is quite skittish and tries to escape) or should I leave them to it in their cage and just potter about as normal? We have 2 young girls who are quite noisy, so I'm hoping they (the gps) will chill out a bit after they've gone to bed, but any advice is MUCH APPRECIATED.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 06-Jun-13 19:03:25

First of all- Congratulations on your two new Furbabies.
Boars are luffley and you've neatly bypassed the arsey teen stage (but don't be fooled, they can still surprise you with the odd squabble ) grin

They've been moved about, home-home, in a car, a new run , a new cage.
Everything except each other is completely new. As prey animals that is terrifying to them. They've only got each other for security at the moment.

But with food (yes bribery is the way with guinea-pigs) , they'll come round. They'll put their boar-smell (or aroma de boar as DD calls it grin )

They will settle, get used to your voices and the sounds of your house.

(When we got our boars, they were a year old. I was really worried that they wouldn't like us, they were established and adult. About two days after we got them, our GP2 gave me a little bite on the arm - not a skin marking bite, more just "Ha, feel my teeth"-and I was shock it was completely out of the blue. But I realised it's just him. He's a lovely little boy, but they are both a bit toothy if they think food is in the offing, especially if they think we are hiding it from them)

guineapiglet Thu 06-Jun-13 19:04:39

Hia there Arfur, welcome to the wonderful world of guineas... Firstly what a star you are for rescuing these boys, it is so lovely to be able to offer them a home, and if you have time ,do read some of the threads on here, lots of boar stories, help and advice, they are such lovely pets.

Yes, Im afraid they probably are a bit traumatised at the moment, they have had a big change in their little lives, have been in car, and are in unfamiliar surroundings, so no doubt are very skitish and scared at the moment. They need time to acclimatise to you, your family, and everything that is new to them, and may not eat for a while whilst they adjust to their new lives. Please don't despair, this is all completely normal.... you need to give them lots of reassuring noises, some places for them to hide in, and then leave them to it for a couple of days, with you in the background so to speak, and gradually build up contact, cuddle times, and get them used to your routine, noises, smells etc - it is all very new to them. They will need adult handling and input, as your little girls will probably scare them, and they are pets which should be supervised with very young children, as they may be jumpy and wriggly. They have been handled before, so will settle eventually, but this settling in period is very important, so that they learn to trust you and associate you with food and kindness. As they are greedy souls, you may find they sneak out at night and eat all the lovely things you have left for them, handfuls of grass always disappear sharpish!

Everyone on here is really lovely and helpful, so do get back and let us know how they have settled. smile

guineapiglet Thu 06-Jun-13 19:05:31

PS Hi 70 loved your bit on the other thread about ' unleashing their inner Thomas the Tank Engines - brilliant!!! smile smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 06-Jun-13 19:18:45

grin they are like little boys with toys (bless them)

And when I move the boxes round in their Pighouse (just to bamboozle them y'know) they have to investigate every corner. They haven't sussed yet that the Pighouse is the same , the boxes are the same , the hay smells the same. It's like Adventure Island smile

guineapiglet Thu 06-Jun-13 19:30:16

Hee hee, I know what you mean, used to love doing 'room service' putting them outside the shed, clearing it all out, laying it in with lovely clean hay and water, fresh veg etc. They would all meander in nosing around, making that lovely 'hey up, why is this different?' sound, looking very judgily at everything as if it was all brand spanking new... do you think they are like fish with only 15 second memories!!???

< remembers how they ALWAYS used to go and lie under the lemon balm tree, 2 or 3 years AFTER the lemon balm tree had died and been chopped down, clearly their memories for places and experiences runs deep smile>

guineapiglet Thu 06-Jun-13 19:46:17

PPS 70 just read through another thread and realised it was your birthday last week, so sending you belated wishes... hope your family and guinea family made a big fuss of you

Arfur you can see how they get you wrapped round their claws eventually !

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 06-Jun-13 21:36:31

Arfur you do realise that you'll never be able to open the fridge, rustle a bag, chop something or eat a sneaky bag of late night crisps again?

(I knew there was something in favour of outdoor piggies)

Give it a couple of days and yo'll have a chorus of "We're here too y'know" when they think there's something edible.

When you cuddle them, wrap them in a towel, especially for your DDs to cuddle.It makes the bundle a bit bigger, they feel more secure and they'll get their smell on the towel, so it'll be familiar.
And of course they'll pee hmm so the towel will absorb , until they learn the 'Dance' and you learn to recognise it. Ours rarely (not never, but rarely is good enough) pee now.

Guineapiglet the DC made me a card on the computer and the guinea-pigs signed it. They are clever boys ,eh? grin

ArfurFoulkesayke Thu 06-Jun-13 22:23:00

Thanks so much everyone, feel much better. They have a sort of mezz floor in the cage that they've hidden under and I've put their water in there so they don't have to come out if they're scared. I've left a bit of broc and a cucumber top out near the entrance and they've ventured out to drag them in so hopefully I'm lulling them a bit.
Great tip about the towel, will def try that - I'm almost thankful DD2 is showing no interest so can give some time to helping DD1 out.
Still excited! grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 06-Jun-13 23:14:03

Ruled by their stomachs, that's a good piggie sign wink

And when they show themselves we'll expect photos too

<<taps foot and drums fingers>>

RedToothBrush Sat 08-Jun-13 09:53:37

We got a couple of rescue boys who were about a year old just before christmas.

I've got to be honest and say in someways they were something of a disappointment at first, especially compared to our previous brood because they were just so scared and hid away.

We tried the handling approach but that didn't really work. Especially since one of them took to trying the skydiving approach and was impossible to carry around safely.

It took about three months for them to start to settle and to start coming out for food. Six months on, and they have become a couple of terrors who squeak at the sound of the fridge or a plastic bag and beg for food out the side of their cage at feeding time making us have to watch our fingers when handfeeding!!!

They are both still a little bonkers and get confused being excitement over food and fear of humans so often do this thing where they almost try and run forwards and backwards at the same time in indecision!

But they are getting there are are now extremely friendly and can be handled without worrying about their safety.

Bottomline, it takes time and given their age and experience, a lot more than it would do with a younger guinea pig or one that had been well looked after in the past. Guinea pigs like routine and familiarity and generally don't do well with new things unless they have already built up a very strong bond of trust with you.

dotty2 Sun 09-Jun-13 18:22:30

Ooo. Very interested to see this thread. I posted for advice about kit a little while ago, and we have just today picked up two rescue boars. The rescue centre didn't have any girls and the lady there sold me on the virtues of boars. They are 4 and 6 months and have been together since being rescued at an auction a few weeks ago.

They had about 45 mins in the car on the way home and are terrified and hiding in the bedroom of their hutch and don't even seen to have come out for food and water. We have moved it nearer the bedroom, but still no sign of any being taken.

So it's reassuring to hear that this is probably normal, but I do feel anxious about them not eating. Presumably they won't starve themselves to death, though.

Good luck, arfur. Will watch out for news of your progress with interest.

guineapiglet Sun 09-Jun-13 19:37:03

hi dotty - what a lovely story, do hope the boys settle in, how good of you to rescue them, sounds like they now have a good home. Yes, do read this thread through, and others in this subject, you will see guineas need a time to settle, and I should think the hour in the car would have been traumatic for them, plus the new surroundings, - do give them some time to calm down and feel a little more confident, they will eat and drink when they are not so churned up. Just leave little tempting things for them, they will probably sneak out at night when you are not looking. They will settle, just need to adjust to their new life. Good luck smile

ArfurFoulkesayke Sun 09-Jun-13 23:08:35

Just popping in to say thanks - they are much less skittish now. Put them on the lawn today and they had a right old nibble and run around, totally different from Thursday. They're not keen on being picked up at all but they will come out of their hidey places now and have a nose about, and they're being stroked and chatted to regularly by 7yo DD. Things are definitely improving grin

guineapiglet Mon 10-Jun-13 08:51:55

Really glad to hear they are gaining in confidence and getting you trained to their ways you will have lots of fun with them....

I guess animals are just like us, take us out of unfamiiar surroundings and plonk us somewherw new and unknown, we would be shy and a bit anxious too. They are nervous little souls, guess they cant escape from their'someone our rhere wants to eat me' conditioning!!

dotty2 Mon 10-Jun-13 09:29:30

Hi everyone. Glad to hear of your progress, arfur. Ours seem a bit less terrified today. When they had fresh food, they were prepared to come into the main bit of their hutch to get it even when we were there. But definitely not keen on being picked up. Managed to pick up one in an attempt to clean out the hutch, but he seemed unhappy and the other absolutely refused to be caught. So my instinct is to let them be for a day or two. So much conflicting advice, though if you spend too long online. Purring is a happy sound, and purring is a miserable sound. Don't bribe them with food, bribe them with food. I think I am more anxious than they are!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 10-Jun-13 18:48:25

If it's any consolation my GP1 shrieks in an unholy manner when he's lifted up (though he did this the first time we met him and the lady who rehomed him to us lifted him). I'm sure it's just for effect hmm

And GP2 runs around refusing to be caught.

And they are nearly 3yo.

I don't expect them to leap into my arms, but a bit more welcoming would be nice.
(They are fine when we do catch them though)

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 10-Jun-13 18:52:27

Purring- it depends on the type of purr grin

GP2 (who never squeaks) does a brisk little 'laughing' purr if he hears a noise, or if you rub his rump. Like a "Hey, what's up"

GP1 will do a continuous 'rattlesnake' purr but that's with the stiff body, slinking round walk. More of an "I'm on the prowl. Shift".

Often it's the body language as much as the noises.

guineapiglet Mon 10-Jun-13 20:15:18

You can go on you tube<looks around guiltily> and see and hear the different sounds they make as70 says, you will know when it is s loud shriek of terror! The purr is usually a sign pf contentment and it is lovely if they sit on you and talk in this way! ?They also have a lovely warning sound like an alarm telling others to get awsy out of their faces, an a quizzical `s'up? Noise if something is new and unknown...

dotty2 Mon 10-Jun-13 21:38:31

Thank you for those words of guinea wisdom. Hmm - so much to learn. Well, DH managed to catch them so we could get them out to clean the hutch out this evening and they seemed quite content to be held while he stroked them. Bit too skittish for the DDs to hold still, but they were able to stroke them while he held them, so they're happier. Youtube GP noises? Now there's a whole new way of frittering time away - don't tempt me!

dotty2 Mon 10-Jun-13 22:43:05

Help! (and sorry, arfur, for the hijack). Just before it got dark this evening, the boys went mental and chased round and round their hutch. Slightly smaller boy (4 months) appeared to be trying to mount the 6mo. What do I do? Will they hurt each other? Do I ignore them and ride it out. DH keeps checking on them and assures me they're not actually fighting and not hurting each other but they do seem to be getting a bit hot and bothered. Will they sort themselves out, or do I need to intervene?

KRITIQ Mon 10-Jun-13 22:44:19

I'm sure they'll get calmer with time. Like 70's pig, DBoar2 is always the drama llama when you try and pick him up, scratching and squealing like he's being attacked by an eagle, but find once you've picked him up (and he's recovered his dignity.) Even DBoar1 has his moments when he wails and runs (although usually sits there like a dopey furball waiting to be scooped up and snuggled.)

You're doing all the right things. Good luck and enjoy!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 10-Jun-13 23:43:45

dotty the chasing and mounting is pretty normal boar behaviour, especially as yours are going into the Terrible Teens.

Give them lots of distraction and escape places. Boxes with two doors cut in them so that one boar can't trap the other.
And as you've seen it's not always the larger boar that's the villain.

Our first GP fight was the result of a coriander binge and it was my GP2 that started it.
A month or so ago, GP1 was following and headbutting GP2, pushing his head over GP2 back and going for his ears but there was no biting involved, just noise and bluster.

GP2 didn't respond, he took himself off to another housie and muttered darkly.

There are websites that will give you the GP signs (if you Google boar aggression) but

rumblestrutting (stiff body, continual purrrrrrr, sometimes jumping and turning 180 degrees, waggling bum)
pushing each other out of the way
heads up - higher and higher until one gives up
quiet chattering
Is low level

loud chattering
front legs leaving the ground

is keep a check on and prepare to distract

rearing up
proper lunging
getting their teeth into each other (they can go for throat, back)
is get in there with a towel , wear garden gloves, they can bite.

Hopefully they won't get to that level.
Mine had to be seperated at night in Winter 2011 after their fight (they don't like their indoor cage) but we always made sure they were together in the day.More room in the day house.

Lots of food to distract. Big hay piles to burrow in.

I have no idea what mine get up to by day but I know GP1 protects GP2 in the run.He watches while GP2 sleeps. He checks out the cage first.

But he expects to be first to the food. And if they both remember there place, all is fine.
Though finding the Boar Glue (yes it is that ) is a worry.Mine are brothers shock

dotty2 Tue 11-Jun-13 06:51:38

Boar glue?? Lordy. And there was I congratulating myself on having human girls and avoiding all that. Thanks for the reassurance and advice though. They haven't been in the run yet so are maybe a bit cooped up, and more space might help. Will increase the number of hiding places too. Have just been out to check and they seem calm this morning. Well keep an eye out today.

guineapiglet Tue 11-Jun-13 11:29:44

Phew - one of the benefits of owning girl guineas! plenty of naggy, bitchy, squabbly behaviour, but no glue!!!!

LOL at these threads - at guineapigs 'muttering darkly' and being 'drama llamas' - we surely have lots of guinea tails to make a wonderful children's story - having read of some of the escapades on here, we have the photos, and the characteris... could be a guinea version of Watership Down!!

<begins imagining how would spend millions from such a tail>

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