- Supporter 2016-2019
Cleo and Charity are happy and healthy, and as food-obsessed as ever. The fosters didn't wheek much when we first got them, and my own girls weren't huge wheekers themselves. One day Charity wheeked a couple times for her veggies, which started the fosters off, which got Cleo going. Now during feeding time, I can barely hear myself think.
In a few weeks, I will have owned guinea pigs for 6 years. My first ever pig was a super sweet, incredibly patient boy named Ginger. He was dropped off at the shelter for not getting along with the male pig he had lived with. He had lots of health conditions, and at around 5 years old, his tear duct got infected. We had no idea what it was, and at first, his only symptom was milky white liquid leaking from one of his eyes. We brought him to the vet, and they gave us antibiotics. They didn't work, and a lump started developing between his eye and his nose. We brought him back to the vet, and they said it was much worse than they thought, and he had to have surgery on it. The surgery went well, although we still kept working on draining the lump, and he still wouldn't eat well. We had him on critical care, pain meds, and antibiotics at this point. Eventually, he started to get better, and we were able to take out the tube that we used for draining the lump. He started to eat again, and when we checked in with the vet, they said there weren't any more signs of the infection. They took him off antibiotics on a Wednesday and the next Monday, I come home and found him lying in his cage, unable to get up. He was spasming and couldn't control his limbs. We rushed him to the emergency vet, and they immediately brought him back. About a half-hour later, they came and got us, and told us that the infection had moved into his brain, and taken control of the part that controlled his muscle movements. They had him in the surgery room, on oxygen with a bunch of tubes hooked up to him. There was a very small chance he would survive, and if he did, he wouldn't be able to be a normal guinea pig. He was in a lot of pain, and we ended up deciding that putting him down was the kindest thing. I remember seeing him hooked up to all of those tubes, and how helpless he looked.
This post is longer than I meant it to be, but I wanted to share Ginger's story to remember him. He was such a special pig, and he will forever be missed. I realized that I hadn't posted anything about him, and since it's nearing the anniversary of six years since I first met him, I wanted to share my sweet boy's story.
I'm also worried about cage size. I can feel at least two babies in both pigs, maybe three in Cookie, and I'm not sure if when they give birth, if it would be better to ask the shelter for another cage, and split the litters up so they all had more room. The person on the phone said that they could always give us another cage, but their cages are impossible to clean and to take the pigs out of. For fosters, we put them in the pet store cage we got when we first started owning guinea pigs, before we knew better. It's slightly bigger than the pet store cage the shelter had them in when we picked them up, and it's top opens up so it's easy to take them out. I think it would be a good idea to have the sisters together, and have them help parent the other litter along with their own, but I don't want them to be cramped.
I wasn't sure if I should post this here, or make a new thread. If anyone has any ideas, or experience with pregnant pigs/multiple pregnant pigs together, anything helps!
I don't know the brand or how big the cage is that the shelter loaned to us, but I don't think there's any way to join them together. If the cage seems to be too small after the first litter (it's fit three babies and one adult before), then I'll probably also use the cage they loaned to us and see if they do better or worse separated. Worst case scenario, I could always use my own money and buy a bunch of C&C grids and set them up as a big enclosure on the floor with towels as the bedding.
In terms of vet visits, I'm going to keep a close eye on them and if anything changes or looks off, I'll contact the shelter right away. Thanks for your help!
- And got the T-shirt
That foster cage won't work for two sows and pups -- the pups will get their ears nibbled.
May I go on my rant about pigloos? The air circulation is terrible, the pigs sit in their own waste, and they're just invitations for one pig to trap another and get their nose slashed for its trouble. If you keep it, please drill big holes in the top and cut another door in it.
If there's a chance of the cage hurting the babies or the moms, then I definitely will do whatever I have to do to prevent it. I've never heard of pups getting their ear's nibbled on before, except for if they are just born and don't get up right away, and the mom bites at them to use pain to make them move (this is just something I read, I don't know if it's true). Do you have any more information about the ear nibbling in pups?
As for the pigloo, I totally agree with you. I don't like them, and I don't have them in my girl's cage. The shelter gave us this one, and I don't have a different thing to put in for them to hide in (we took the platform the cage came with out a long time ago, as it took up too much space and wasn't being used). I have an old pillowcase draped over one part of the cage that they can hide under, but it's not low down as they have tried to jump on it, and I worry it wouldn't be able to hold their weight well. They're very scared, so I don't want to take out the pigloo and leave them without a place to hide well under. I tried putting a fleece hidey in, but Faye started to nibble on the fleece, so I took it out immediately, as that can't be good for them to ingest. Do you think having a pigloo in there for the rest of the time they're here (probably a little over a month) is okay, or is it so bad that they can't have it in temporarily?
- And got the T-shirt
Ear nibbling in pups is pretty common if there are too many pigs in the cage. I'm sure you can search something up on this forum.
Just cut another door in the pigloo with a jigsaw, and drill some holes in the top. That will solve the problem.
Are you sure Faye wasn't just tasting the fleece? Most pigs will taste it, but I've never known a pig to actually ingest it.
For the pigloo, since it's not mine, I can't really cut parts out of it. It already has four holes drilled into the top, but I don't know if that's how it came, or if the shelter did that. If I move Cookie and her litter into the 2 by 2, then they can have a fleece cube I have, that has good ventilation and multiple exits. I also have a fleece tunnel that is currently in my girl's cage, but it's not their favorite, so I can try washing it and then seeing what Faye does with it. I assumed she was eating it, because my first pig would actually eat his fleece forest, but he could just have been an oddity. If Faye doesn't eat it, I can give that to them until the babies are born, and then she and her babies can keep it in their cage. That way, I won't have to keep using the pigloo. If I notice Faye eating the fleece, then they'll probably have to keep using the pigloo for now. I can always check with the shelter to see if they have any hideys with better airflow and multiple exits, but I don't know if they do.
To prevent this problem in the future, I'm thinking of getting a midwest cage that I can disassemble when I'm not fostering, but that couldn't be right now.
To prep for the girl's births, and to try to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, I was reading up more about guinea pig births, and whether they can be with other pigs. I found this, on https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/pregnancy-guide.109375/ :
The girls will probably give birth around the same time, but I don't want to take any chances. Once they give birth, I'll separate them anyway, because of space. At the earliest, they could give birth in a little under two weeks, but since it's their first pregnancy, I'm expecting it to be a little longer. Any opinions on what I should do?