Cavy/Human Communication

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Nov 07, 2004 12:33 am


I'm always amazed at how different pigs are. Sophie sounds neat. I think some pigs are very quiet.

slavetofuzzy
4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Sun Nov 07, 2004 9:44 am


All three of mine are loaded with personality but each is quite different. Fuzzy, being the only one I've had from a very young age, is most likely to run up to me for a pet when I'm just sitting in their room. She wheeks when she hears us walking around upstairs, or up the stairs, in anticipation of food! Then Zoe chimes in. Fuzz is the one I talk to and feel she understands me. I pet her and tell her she's so beautiful and she'll lay down to soak in all the praise. She's the one that putt-putts when she's walking around. She responds when I make those same sounds. She'll come to me if I purr or putt-putt. She's my little lover. She will also let me (MAKE me!) feed her the seed heads from the hay as I'm filling their hay stacks. She climbs on my legs and begs for them! Oh, and sometimes she likes to play a game with me when I'm trying to pick her up for a cuddle. She runs from one place to another while I crawl around like a piggie and purr at her (frightening thought, I know but it really is a game!). The running isn't a frightened pig run, it's more of a "ha-missed me again" run. She never hides-she just moves slightly out of reach then onto a different part of the room. When she's finally ready, she plops down on her pillow and will let me pick her up. Then she snuggles me and give me little kisses on my bottom lip.

Zoe is getting friendlier but isn't as vocal as Fuzzy. She only wheeks when food is imminent or if I start the chorus. She has learned that if I try to pet her and she chatters her teeth at me I will only be more determined and pick her up! Now, she will more often than not, let me pet her and she knows I'll be done soon. She has recently started laying down when I begin petting. I take that as a sign she's more comfortable with me. She's actually more of a lap pig than the other two. She loves it when she gets alone time downstairs with me. She's the one that will curl up and go to sleep on me. Fuzzy's too busy. She will lay for a bit but want to explore.

Ozzy is the piggie that, when he came to me as part of the MD piggie train, would run up to cage edge and beg for attention. Now that he has his girls and a whole room to himself he isn't as starved for attention! He is not vocal at all. The only sounds I hear are teeth chattering and happy squeaks when he's found a spot where the girls have peed recently! I've yet to hear a wheek from him.

When I clean their cages (well, it's more like food stations-they are free range), they like to be right there. "What'cha doin' slave? You got more hay for us slave? Hey, I just put that poop there! Why are you taking it?!" That's what they seem to be thinking/oinking. Then I reach out and say "gonna getcha" and try to pet them. They take off across the room and then come back as soon as I turn my back. It's almost like they are playing tag. I have so much fun with them.

They also know when the pellets come out. They play follow the leader. I really have to watch where I step, since I'm the leader! I think, to a certain degree, they do understand human body language. The more time I spend with them the more I am convinced of this.

When Fuzzy was an only pig she and I were really getting to the point where I felt she knew what I was saying, etc. I try to copy their sounds and "talk" to them (the pig whisperer!). That seems to give them more confidence in me too. I could go on all day.

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domill

Post   » Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:50 pm


Something I never realized before is that they have different voices. Bubba and Snickers wheeks are completely different. I agree with Lynx about the designated wheeker. Snickers is the wheeker. I always wondered why Bubba never wheeked for food. One day, my daughter had Snickers out of the cage and I happen to open the frig. Bubba who was sitting in the cage let out this huge wheek. I guess since Snickers wasn't around, he had to voice his own desires.

This week Bubba has started something new. He is obcessed with my sofa. When he is down for floor time he immedately runs to sofa trying to figure out a way to get up on it. If I put my hand down, he will use it like a step stool. Still can't figure out why he wants on the sofa so bad.

ChadWPB

Post   » Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:59 pm


In my herd, the four sows do the wheeking for food, but the "front line" is Amee and Marilyn. The boars rarely wheek since the sows took over.

Fuzzie's cage seems to be closely bonded. If we put on pig from the cage on the sofa, he or she will start sniffing around, wheeking for cagemates. They're short little wheeks at first, then louder to an almost fever pitch.

Amee, though the smallest pig by weight, has a deep, raspy wheek. The others wheek and squeal more like typical pigs. Marilyn lets out a huge squeal when picked up from tiem to time.

Of course we also have the chirping. Marilyn and Snuggles are confirmed chirpers. We had a chirping episode the other night, but we were unable to identify the culprit. So we may have yet another chirper.

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hammer
Supporter in '10

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:58 am


My herd (in three cages, one divided) has two designated wheekers as well. Spice in Girl Cage One and Bandit in Girl Cage Two. These two have windpipes! They sit on top of their pigloos and let loose. However, the others hardly wheek at all. Once in awhile, when I'm bringing veggies, but that's it.

Guinea is my most communicative pig, but that's probably because the last year he's been on almost constant (it seems) medicine and handfeeding. He has several different sounds that all mean different things, plus an extensive body language vocabulary. It is very easy for him to make himself understood by the stupid humans.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:52 am


Do you think we'd understand him too? What are the sounds and what (do you think) they mean? Are most food related?

Cool to know you have designated wheekers too.

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hammer
Supporter in '10

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 1:51 pm


He has his chitter-chatter noises, as Rob calls them, where he is just burbling away in contentment. This is his "after-feeding" noise, when he's sitting on my chest. It can't be anything but happy, and it makes me smile. He also has his "I'm gettin food! I'm gettin food!" wheepy sound that's sort of a wheek but lower and quieter. This is a constant noise, accompanied by much wriggling, until he gets the bowl. He does the "BRR-RR-RR" noise when someone sneezes, the phone rings, or a cat startles him, or you try to move him while he's eating his CC.

He recognizes several words (food, treat, Pig), and Rob's voice. If Rob gets up while I'm feeding Guinea, Guinea will stop eating and stretch his neck WAY out, waiting for a treat or a scritch. Everytime. It makes me feel like quite the second class citizen that even though I do all the feeding, medicating, and cleaning, Rob is Guinea's favorite person. But, its pretty darn cute. He also does the "licking and chewing" motion when he's hungry, and turns away from the bowl when he's done. If he hears a syringe clink on a glass, he gets very excited. Even though he drinks from a bottle, he LOVES water from a syringe. He does the happy dance and his warbly feeding sound whenever he hears it, even if he's already full.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:52 pm


Is he one of those pigs that make neat walking noises? My favorite pigs are walkers and talkers.

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hammer
Supporter in '10

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:04 pm


He doesn't walk anywhere! The minute you put him down for floor time, he walks up to Rob and stands on his foot, front paws on his pants, waiting to be picked up. The adoration this pig has for his man is pathetic, actually. ;) In his cage he's a bronco though, especially when he gets pig going as well.

But I know what you mean. Three of my girls never quiet down while they're exploring. Its adorable, and makes me laugh.

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-JC-
I gave AGAIN, dammit!

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:08 pm


Mine get quite talky when they have floor time - they burble to each other (kind of a putt putt putt), and if they lose sight of each other, they worry and start wheeking to locate their sister.

They purr when they're petted, and when they're getting cosy and sleepy (especially if the pigloo's just been cleaned out). They purr in the hay (quietly discernible amongst the munching noises), and quite often - when they grab a good veggie and run with it to hide and enjoy it - they purr about that, too. The purring when being petted is a little deeper, I think.

They also make the 'Brrr' sound to alert for danger. The funniest thing is that the little noise that my Mac makes when I drag an email into a folder makes the pigs go 'Brrr'. Every time. It makes me feel guilty, so I turn the volume down. I don't know why they haven't got used to it.

I've only heard one of them teeth-chatter once, and I don't know what got into her, but I think she was scared rather than angry (?) I just went up and she ran across the cage, but then let me stroke her and talk to her until she was calm again.

And they both wheek their heads off for veggie time. If they sense that time is near, they start getting a bit vocal and a bit lively - sort of 'play' wheeking, just to remind me. But when they hear the colander chink, they really wheeeeek.

They don't understand a word I say to them, I think. They don't do tricks, and they're not as bright as some other people's pigs, but they are the nicest! Blackberry will follow me round the room with her eyes, and when I talk to her, she sits and looks at me meaningfully. Pepper is more darty and timid, and less interested in me. They both come up and sort of push their noses at my toes a bit, sometimes. That's about all the attention they give me!

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hammer
Supporter in '10

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:16 pm


JC, of my 11, only Pig and Guinea really seem to be so interactive. And both of them love Rob best! Grr. Then Nickel will let me scritch her nose at floor time or in her cage. Otherwise, the others are just pigs, and that's okay with me. They all like each other much better than they really like me.

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-JC-
I gave AGAIN, dammit!

Post   » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:20 pm


They all like each other much better than they really like me.

Aw - but it's so true! No man around here to compete for their attention, so at least I'm okay there! They do like my son as much as me, though. I guess I'm just good for food supply. I am so glad they have each other - they really are the best of friends. Eleven must be fun.

ChadWPB

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:47 am


Is he one of those pigs that make neat walking noises? My favorite pigs are walkers and talkers.

Fuzzie does that during floor time, or any time he is happy, sort of a little perking noise. Amee does that too. When she's running she sounds like a little chicken.

When Marilyn is stalking the cage for hay she burbles to herslf happily.

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RavenShade
Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 10:32 am


I get the usual "Hey! HEY! HEEEYYYY!" when they hear me upstairs in the morning, or whenever I walk by their pen. It seems to just be me (they must know my steps) because they don't cry for my husband or the kids. I am the chief slave and veggie bringer. Most of their communication is for food.

I do think that there is a designated wheeker, which is usually Jules, but Steve has chimed in as of late. If I'm tardy with breakfast, I hear about it in triplicate.

Neal is skittish and uncertain. He can be a bully in the pen, but he's terrified of being pet or picked up. Once he's out he's alright, but it's often a struggle to catch him. His body language tells me "AAAHHH!!!!" as well as the wide-eyed look he gives me. He's learned to tolerate the occasional in-cage nose pet, but I get that wary look any time I try.

Jules and Steve are friendly, personable, and generally don't mind being picked up, pet, and otherwise doted on. I can hold a carrot and kiss them on their crests while they lean for it. Steve talks a lot during lap/floor time. On your lap, he will often snuggle down and relax. Jules has been known to fall asleep.

My most communicative pig was Max. Even moreso than Suzanna or Sandwich. He spent his first several years alone pig-wise, but with a lot of human doting. I used to carry him in my pockets, and he learned to ride my shoulder. He constantly talked to me. If I forgot his backrub in the morning, he'd complain just as bitterly as if I'd forgotten to feed him. When I was blue, he knew that it was quiet time and would just sit on my lap for hours. He was very good about not peeing on people, and a very good traveller.

On a slightly related note, my husband can't tell the difference between chattering and talking and is uncertain that they like him. He'd much prefer a purr or hiss. To him, guinea pig communication is very subtle and/or indecipherable.

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pigbert

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:10 am


Spooky is my talker. She can't take three steps without making noise. It's usually just quiet clucks as she potters around. She always makes happy cooing noises when she is cuddled and petted...but she also protests a LOT during butt-cuts, nail clipping, and the rare shampoo. Her protests aren't loud, but they are heart-breaking. She certainly knows how to get what she wants. She always lets me know when she wants to go back to the cage by jumping and squeaking...kind of like a strange popcorn. As far as food begging goes, she does her WHEEK...but at least the pigs are trained only to wheek before the two veggie-times they get per day. Her wheek is quiet compared to Nova's...

Nova is my strong and silent pig. She WHEEKS like a champ, often drowning out Spooky who is content to let her do the wheeking for the both of them. Nova also chirps. She is the only pig who I have ever heard chirp. Her chirping does not seem to be brought on by anything specific...I think she just thinks she's singing. Nova is slow to coo when petted, but when she does it's non-stop. She doesn't protest at all during nail clipping and bathing...she's a breath of cool air after I fuss with Spooky. Most of the time she is quiet (unless food is involved), but she is as friendly as a puppy and will run right up to you to get a scratch or food.

I also feel like my pigs communicate a lot to me with their eyes. Sometimes I have to gauge Nova's emotion through her eyes because she is so quiet when we cuddle. Spooky loves to lie on my chest and look into my face...but Nova is more shy (which is strange because she's a very friendly pig) and prefers to lie on my lap or legs.

And, of course, there is body language. There isn't anything better than seeing Spooky push out her front paws and yawn...and when both back paws follow suit it's like petting a small rug. :) Nova prefers to lie down like a half-moon, and when she nestles her chin into my legs, I know she's comfy.

Gotta love those pigs.

Pictures: photos.yahoo.com/jillianjillianbobillian

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Pchuu

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:55 am


I strongly believe my pigs are very smart... they adjust their communications (wheeks, and soft, questioning mini-wheeks) in the mornings to my morning routine.

I used to get up, check e-mail and boards, then get their veggies, so they knew when my computer chair squeaked and I stood up from it, I was getting food, so they'd start to Red Alert (what I call v. loud and insistent wheeks).

Now, I check e-mail and boards then do morning Yoga and excersice, so they know I stand up from that and open the bedroom door, that means it's time for food.

When I get back with food, Tai will stand on her hind legs and sniff the air like a curious squirrel and Yu will run races around the cage, stopping to pull himself up the bars of the cage to sniff at me.

They definately tell me what they want, when they want it. As the evening approaches, they know they'll get evening veggies, and start wheeking anytime thbey hear someone walk by the door combined with the jingling of our Chihuahua's tags ('cuz the Chi usually follows me everywhere).

- PChuu!

TwoWhitePiggies

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 1:19 pm


TWP_2 might have his own input to add, but here's mine. The pigs have clearly identified me as "Food Lady" and Jim as "Chin Rub Man."

Gilbert and Sullivan start wheeking about food when they hear the sounds of vegetables being torn apart, or their bowls being washed. They wheek and are usually all but hanging off the sides of the cage in anticipation as I bring them their food. When Jim brings them food, they look somewhat confused and even suspicious.

They always seem to know when I'm coming down the stairs with food or just coming down the stairs. They don't usually say anything if I'm coming empty-handed unless I say "Pig-pigs!?" in a cheerful voice. Then I get a "hello!" -type wheek in response.

Gilbert in particular has pronounced facial expressions when he is alarmed. If you take Sullivan out of their cage, Gilbert jumps up so his front feet are on the cage wall, and looks very gravely concerned that you've removed his brother, even though he was probably tormenting him just a minute ago. Sullivan, on the other hand, usually looks relieved to have some time to himself when you take Gilbert out.

Both pigs get very upset and pouty when you remove their water bottles. They position themselves to where their water bottles were and wheek and look very downtrodden and abandoned.

If you shake their vitamin C bottle, they stand on their hind legs like a couple of prairie dogs and wait until you give them a vitamin.

I discovered that Sullivan especially gets a kick out of playing keep-away when I try to pick him up. Sometimes he actually popcorns as he runs from me, making happy laughing wheeks. I frequently clean their larger area when they're up in their loft eating fresh hay, and they "sneak" down the ramp to see what I'm doing, and then run back up to their loft when they figure out I'm on to them.

Jim apparently speaks guinea pig. When they're really getting snippy and are on the verge of a fight and are rumbling at each other, Jim will make a grumble sound at them. They seem to acknowledge him as the head piggy and they both bow out of the way to his dominance.

All in all, I think we understand each other well. We've learned Gilbert and Sullivan's nuances. If we ever got a third piggy, we'd have to start over to understand him.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 3:35 pm


Hey, I've been reading about guinea pig communication and ran across someone who said guinea pigs kiss when they first meet (one guinea pig alone being put together with another guinea pig until they sort out where things stand). Does this make sense? Chutting acompanies the initial exploration of the other animal by nosing, sniffing and kissing. (Berryman)

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RavenShade
Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 3:43 pm


Kissing? Nosing and sniffing is more accurate, I think.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Nov 11, 2004 3:53 pm


I wondered about that too. They tried to be rather scientific but I didn't think they really kissed (I wonder if this would be "French" kissing?).

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