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Very new to owning Guinea Pigs and I am scared one GP does not like the other!

37 replies

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere · 27/05/2012 21:39

We (me, DH and 7 yr old DS) got 2 young guineas on Friday - so 2 days ago. One of them is more skittish than the other and it seems to me that he is fighting with the other one a bit. Also the dominant, more skittish one is humping the more placid one.

They make a kind of cooing purring noise and the more dominant one definitely chases the other one around.

We have a good sized pen, have fed them so far the pellets we got from Pets At Home, plus baby sweetcorn, very small slices of apple and some cucumber. They are both eating and drinking and pooping well!

Do they sound okay? Should I be worried about the dominance of the other over the other? All 3 of us have held and petted the two GPs over the past 2 days because we are very keen for them to come to trust us.

The more dominant one has tried to bite me and DH though it was more of a nibble. They are very scared when we hold them - their eyes go wide and they appear scared.

Does this all sound normal?? We just want to be Good GP owners :)

OP posts:
70isaLimitNotaTarget · 27/05/2012 22:38

It all sounds normal TBH.
They are babies in a new place. Their house is new, you are new, the sounds are different.
Baby GPs are very fast, have nails like razors blades and feel light they weigh nothing (I've had litters as a child, so have held GPs hours old) Grin

The humping is normal ( there's a post on here recently about this very subject)
The cooing and purring is them asserting themselves.
There's some good websites about GP aggression. (My 2 had a nasty fight last year- coriander induced.No more coriander)

They've purr round, stiff bodied, purr, like a growling, not a happy short purr.
They might try to push their heads under each other to push each other out the way. Bum pushing or biting.

Things to look out for- face to face, each one puts their head higher until one backs down.
Sitting on haunches, chattering ,grinding teeth. If they mean business they can go right up on their hind legs.
Ours went full on-GP2 got his teeth onto GP1 back- no blood, but we seperated them at night after.

A plant spray is a good way to distract them if they get too full on, but usually they bicker and sort themselves out.
Make sure they have enough space. Space the food bowls and water bottle out. Give them a hidey place each, make sure one can't trap the other.

Eating is a good sign Grin
And if they wanted to bite you, they would bite you. Ours give a 'friendly' bite but it's usually if they smell food on our skin or if you touch them somewhere sensitive. I've never (touch wood) had skin broken by a bite, but my mum did by one of my old GPs when she was dying- literally hours before the GP died.

Give them time to settle, they are lovely little characters when they get established.We cuddled ours in a towel for the first few weeks, easier for the DC to manage -our pigs were adult,so bigger than your babies and not so fast! And they don't like sitting on skin much, it makes them scrabble their claws to grip. They might not have had much handling in their previous home (were they breeder,rescue ,petshop or a friends GP -Nosy emoticon)
Are they boys /girls?
My adult boars do all the noises, the bolshiness.Pushing each other out of the way.Taking food out of the other ones mouth. Squabbling over the same bit of parsley.

Lots of You Tube Guinea-Pig noises videos as well- they have quite a vocabulary. Wink

BonkeyMollocks · 27/05/2012 22:40

I'm a new piggy owner too. Got Big pig end of April and Little pig a few weeks later. I have learnt fast!

If you have two pigs, one will naturally be more dominant than the other. Humping is also normal big pig is my humper as is bum wiggling and rumbling. its nothing to worry about.

Are they boys or girls?

Pigs are not generally biters, I have had a few 'taste' bites from my two, normally after I have been handling veggies. Was it a 'oh shit I'm scared' bite or a 'Ooo what do you taste like' bite?

Best thing to do when holding/cuddling them, Iv'e found is to have them on you lap with a towel/fleece. 1. too catch poo, 2. \Its give them somewhere to hide if they want to.
Big pig was quite nervy when we first got him and he used to sit under a blanket and then purr whilst he was stroked. I'm guessing it made him feel more secure having cover. Now he is happy to sit on my lap, no cover and watch tv he like Emerdale Grin

It will take time, Little pig is friendly but will not sit still for a cuddle for long unless big pig is sat on his head . Take it slowly and in short sessions with a bit of parsley or carrot and it won't take them long to figure out that you won't hurt them.

Are they indoor/outdoor/both? Do they have plenty of space?

Have a look through the threads on here, I have spent the last few weeks trawling through them all, and I have found loads of great advice here too.

Good luck! :)

I'm sure others will be along soon :)

BonkeyMollocks · 27/05/2012 22:41

Gah! 70 Beat me to it Grin

My post's are getting as long as yours! Wink

BonkeyMollocks · 27/05/2012 22:43

Oh and chances are they wouldn't have been handled much at P@H so you are basically starting them from scratch. Slow and steady with food :)

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 27/05/2012 22:45

Once they establish their pecking order, it is good for them.
GP1 is the dominant one, he does everything first and 'checks' it's safe for his brother. (Yes because I put a cobra in your haybox for a laugh Hmm ) like they don't quite trust me, and he has to check it out, and mark everywhere with his pee .

GP2 (apart from the coriander induced rage) is happy to be his little shadow. He won't go into the haybox first. But sometimes he's an annoying little git and blocks his brother in the hedgehog house.
So brother has to step on him...squeak,squeak, bu**er off, move your bum.


70isaLimitNotaTarget · 27/05/2012 22:53

Bonkey have you looked at Barmy4Boars .
Lots of good boar advice. And scary things about impaction and GP willies.
Inactive, unhealthy fat boars = more risk of impaction and dragging their bits.And more risk flystrike if they can't keep themselves clean.
Nice Envy vom.

DD watches the boys in the run and marvels at how high they carry their mahoosive bollocks undercarriages off the floor. Not that they do much excercise at the moment (too warm) but the odd spot of popcorning and trwaling round the run.
More active in the Pighouse, they've got different levels and 'houses'.

BonkeyMollocks · 27/05/2012 22:57

Yes I have it bookmarked. I still need to read some more willy and impaction bits though, can't face it yet

I said to dh that I was a bit Shock at the size of Big pigs balls . He was a bit Hmm . Little pigs aren't...erm...developed yet. Prays that little pig is definitely a boy

silver73 · 27/05/2012 23:05

Make sure they have plenty of hay to eat. They need a continuous supply.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere · 27/05/2012 23:35

Thanks, everyone!

The pigs are in a medium sized cage and will be kept indoors, but we will be getting a run for them soon for the garden. Well, patch of grass rather than garden!. We got them from Pets at Home and they are about 8 weeks I reckon?

DH and I have had a few nibbles from them, but not sore at all. Probably a "What do you taste like?" nibble as Bonkey suggests.

So far, so good it seems! I am a bit worried about how much veg to give? They have pellets and some fresh things.

And what about bedding? Some websites say no wood shavings, others say no newspaper??? We have hay for them and at the moment, some wood shavings, but if w'shavings is the way to go, I will need to get more tomorrow.

Also, one little one's eye is a bit weepy... seems to be normal according to Guinea Lynx?

OP posts:
BonkeyMollocks · 27/05/2012 23:53

Re. veg, mine get between 1/2 a cup to a cup full each depending on if they have had some picked grass in the daytime.

Probably best to build up to that over a week or so, and the same with grass, just a bit at a time to avoid bloating.
Mine have pellets in their run in the morning, whatever is left of that gets split into 2 for when they go to bed. And veggies at bedtime after cuddles.

Bedding. Woodshavings are not the best. Dusty and can irritate their skin. I'm testing bedding at the moment to see what works best for us. Some people use fleece with a towel underneath and then wash it every few days, but my boys are so messy I can''t ever get the hay off. If I broke the washing machine because of the pigs, then dh would make the pigs go :( It does work for a lot of people though.

I currently am trying Back 2 nature bedding (paper based, like cat litter, quite hard though wouldn't use it without something on top) under newspaper and then hay on top. this works for big pig, but little pig eats the paper so I have had to take it away and put him back on Carefresh which I prefer but its too expensive for the pigs. I want to try Megazorb but can't find a supplier nearby. Lots of people recommend! And is fairly cost efficient I think.

I swear Little pig is the root to all my dilemma's Angry

Keep a eye on the eye. Make sure its clean. If it doesn't clear up after a few days then maybe a phonecall or visit to a vet would be best.

Have you got anywhere for them to run if its wet or in the winter? A shed? A hallway is good with all doors shut. Indoor pen?

Pigs....are worse than children Wink

BonkeyMollocks · 27/05/2012 23:55

Sorry, i babble abit on the Wine Blush

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere · 28/05/2012 06:57

Bonkey, I appreciate that babbling! I am overwhelmed by this whole piggie thing. SO much to learn! I grew up with cats and dogs (lots of both over the years) but both DH and I are new to GPs! I think I may have overdone the veg. I like the idea of a routine of feeding because at the moment it is a bit of a free for all and I don't know if I am overfeeding or giving too much veg etc.

Another question: Am I cleaning the cage okay? Mornings I pick up some of the droppings and any wet patches I see, then put down some more hay (will look into other bedding than wood shavings). Then one a week we will do a thorough washing out of the bottom of the cage. Is that enough?

OP posts:
Alliwantisaroomsomewhere · 28/05/2012 07:03

About fleece: would their claws not get caught in it?

OP posts:
BonkeyMollocks · 28/05/2012 08:26

Its is overwhelming, isn't it.
I knew the basic basics when we bought Big pig but once you start to go more in depth there's so much to know. They take alot more looking after that I thought and you fall in love so damn quickly :)

Re. cage cleaning, thats what I do. Spot clean their cage and run everyday, big clean once a week.

I have read somewhere that they like routine , it makes them feel more secure. Ours certainly like knowing whats coming.

If you choose fleece then you need to wash it a few times first to make sure it will wick moisture away from the surface. Then you will need to pop a towel (I used pampers bed mats) to soak it up. The idea is that , they pee, the fleece wicks it away to the pad/towel and you only have to do a quick change every few days. poo pick daily.
Mine just love hay too much, so it didnt work for me.

Fleece is the one material that doesn't have any threads/fibres for their claws to get caught on, like a towel for example. Have a look, you will see what I mean.
If you click on the link from earlier their are bedding reviews and a better explanation about fleece.

Right, I really must stop talking pig and get ds to nursery Grin

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere · 28/05/2012 08:28

Feel like I have joined an exclusive club that I never knew existed Grin

Thank you!!

OP posts:
Alliwantisaroomsomewhere · 28/05/2012 19:44

The smaller one's eye is no better Sad. Seems we may have to take him to the vet.

OP posts:
70isaLimitNotaTarget · 28/05/2012 21:18

Bathe his eye with salted boiled water that's cooled.
It will keep it clean and is antisetic. Use gauze in preference to cotton wool (fibres can irritate)
My little GP had a weepy eye and I found a piece of hay in it .It was fine after.

What were they bedded on before? Some petshops use shavings which aren't ideal (nor is sawdust )

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 28/05/2012 21:26

WRT bedding-
indoors (they are inside at night in winter) I tried loads of permutations. What worked for mine was Catsan (for the smell ) newspaper to protect them from the Catsan (they don't eat it) and hay.

Outside in the pighouse- cardboard, newspaper, shredded paper (current favourite-very finely shredded TY Times Grin ) and a pile of hay.
In their little boxes- cardboard and newspaper.
Rubber car mat and batmat in the run under the hedgehog house.

I clean the haybox daily and the newspaper every 2 days, because they are filthy ratbags Wink

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 28/05/2012 21:39

Actually, I've just read you got them from Pets at Home.

Take your pig back to them, they have a vet there and they should see him, you've only had him a matter of days.And I wouldn't expect to be charged either.

I was in P@H and 2 of the GPs had one eye shut.
When I told the staff they caught the pigs- one had both eyes open (but it was definately shut .The other had a closed eye, so was taken off to bathe it).
His eye might have a foreign body in it, or it could be something that needs treated.
I know they say once you've taken the animal then they can't be responsible for it, but you pay alot of money for GPs ,you expect them to be healthy.

KRITIQ · 28/05/2012 23:07

I also saw a young pig with a closed eye in a P @ H a few months ago, reported it to the staff and they were sort of "meh, maybe he's just resting." I haven't set foot back in there again and vow I won't! I've had guineas from there before, but I'm not particularly convinced that they check the livestock very well, or are worried overly about conditions that could spread amongst the animals. They probably assume they'll sell them off before anything spreads too far Hmm.

Actually, I only just realised that both of the pigs I got from P @ H in late 2005 had eye problems fairly early on. Maybe it was a coincidence? Luckily though, both were treated successfully by a cavy savvy vet.

Do take it back in, or at least take it to a cavy savvy vet somewhere. As 70 says, it could be something in the eye or an injury that could get infected. Infection can get worse very, very quickly, possible requiring the eye to be removed (which is quite expensive and not nice for the pig.)

Good luck and hey, lots of good advice here from others!

(BTW, I'm twirling with delight at having found a cavy savvy vet at last - he's a darling so if anyone wants a good 'un in the Edinburgh area, just let me know! :)

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere · 29/05/2012 09:20

Oh dear, now I am really worried!! Taking the guinea pig into P@H vet this morning as soon as my childminded kids arrive. The eye really looks bad - very sunken, quite weepy and the lightish area is bloodshot.

Poor baby.. would hate for anything awful to be going on.

How would I recognise a "cavvy savvy" vet if I saw one??? This is all so new to me. Hope to god I am not doing the poor animals a disservice by being so new to them.

OP posts:
70isaLimitNotaTarget · 29/05/2012 09:34

I looked online to find vets (haven't been yet) some of them list the vets and their various Professional Specialities.

It's a dilemma because you don't know what caused GPs eye problem.
It might be a foreign body that can crop up anytime. Or an injury (I've seen the baby pigs in P@H literally climb over each other to get into the igloos or water bottles)
But if it is an infection (and KRITIQ and I have both seen baby GPs with eye problems in P@H, she's in Scotland, I'm in Essex, so not the same GPs), then make it plain when you go in that you've had him since Fri and noticed this on Sunday.

My little boy has a fatty eye.This was the one that was half closed when the hay was in it. The fatty bit was pinkish (usually white/beige). I pulled a 1cm hay piece out and he was fine after.Eye back to normal.
But sunken and weepy sounds bad Sad
Is he well hydrated? Drinking well, especially in the heat.

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 29/05/2012 09:37

KRITIQ I was told "oh yes, maybe he's tired" when I reported the closed eye pigs.

I said I'd had GP since I was 9yo .They don't run about with their eyes closed.
Hmm. The GP has something wrong.

KRITIQ · 29/05/2012 12:56

I know what you mean 70. I just can't bear to go into the pet shop again and the longer I have pigs (and more I know about what rescues have to deal with,) the more I find it nigh on impossible to go to a pet shop that sells livestock.

Alli, I hope things go well when you take the piggie back to P @ H. There's some advice here on checking if a vet knows what they're doing with regard to guinea pigs

I'm not sure if you have to be a member of Guinea Pig Forum, but they have a list of vets recommended by piggie owners here

What area of the country are you in? I can try and look up if there is a good vet near you, at least for future reference.

Fingers crossed for pig and for you!

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 30/05/2012 00:22

Did you manage to get piglet to the vet Alliwant ?

What was the outcome?
How is little pig faring?

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