Worried guinea pigs are less friendly not more, not helped by bad nail cut(4 Posts)
So, we have had our rescue guinea pigs for about 3 weeks now. I thought things were going okay, but the baby (now about 12 weeks) is still really scared of us. She will come out to play, but she is very skittish. She also gets very upset if her friend (boy, 1 1/2) is not with her. She squeaks loudly, and then he gets jumpy. We don't get to handle them daily (no time). She nips (not bits at all, just a get off) if you cuddle her without him. He doesn't mind. If you cuddle them together, he is okay, and she just burrows into what every thing she can.
And then today, I tried cutting his nails. BIG mistake. I cut much to far down (I thought they would have grown a bit in 4 weeks), and it bled really badly!!! I was mortified, and he was upset, unsurprisingly, and I am worried he'll hate me even more (I realise I'm talking about guinea pigs here, but I'm feeling the piggie dislike, or hopefully imagining it).
Any advice/help on getting them to adore us would be VERY appreciated (they are my DD's, so really getting them to adore her first and foremost...she is only 8, though, and so I haven't let her pick them up herself).
Firstly well done on adopting your rescue pigs - they are lovely little creatures.
Baby pigs are almost all very skittish and incredibly fast. They settle down as they get larger, so in a few weeks your girl should be a bit calmer. The older the pig, the more sedate they are generally. You haven't had them long so they're still getting used to your routine and the sights, sounds and smells of their new home. Some pigs take longer to do this than others. Be patient.
Don't worry about the claw clipping - we've all done this at some point. A good tip is to have some cornflour handy and dip the bleeding claw in it as it helps stop the bleeding. I find it's easier to claw clip little and often - the pigs get used to it too. A parsley bribe also helps.
I've found pigs don't like the picking up process but love the cuddle. I keep a load of old towels to put on laps for cuddle time - it can make it easier for pigs to balance and children to hold them. Have a supply of treats available - celery leaves, parsley, basil etc - to hand feed them on laps. Pigs are extremely food motivated and will soon learn to associate you with food. Mine get very excited by the sound of the fridge door opening. Most pigs can wriggle at bit at first on laps but soon settle down for a snooze. So persevere with them. Even if you can't pick them up every day, although a 10 minute cuddle isn't a huge ask, make sure to interact with them, chatting to them etc. When my DDs were young we had a house rabbit who got most of her cuddle time at their bedtime as she came upstairs with them for stories.
BTW your boy won't hate you for the claw incident - he'll have forgotten it within seconds. You'll probably feel guilty for weeks (I did)
I agree with Fernie
Pigs can take a long time to feel secure in their new environment - I'd suggest lots of calm talking to them when you're in the room they are in, when you do get them out, save a favourite treat - mine only get dandelion leaves on laps... and parsley for hair / nail cut days! They seriously soon learn to like those things... If the yougster is skittish still, I'd suggest hand feeding some veg each day too - whenever I feed mine, I always do on thing each by hand and they know now - they stand up on their back legs when I lift the cage lid ready!
Little and often for cuddles for the youngest is probably best at the moment - so even 2/3 mins, but every day (or as much as possible at least) will help quicker than 10 mins once a week.
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