- Supporting my GL Habit
I had one pig that nipped a lot when I first got her and it took months for her to get adjusted and stop biting. From what you describe, I wouldn't label her as being confident. A confident pig doesn't bite. A biting pig usually is trying to tell you something they're not happy about.
Does she bite you at all? If not, then I'd say that young kids are making her nervous. Either way, a month is not a lot of time to adjust to a new household and I think you need to give her more time. Just my opinion.
A four year old should not be holding a guinea pig. Even if he is holding her the right way, kids that young usually don't know how to consistently monitor how hard they are squeezing. You can hold her and he can pet her. Or he can sit on the floor and you can place her on his lap. I wouldn't let my kids (even my careful animal lover) to hold or pick up our guinea pigs until they were 9, and even then I closely supervised them.
Treating her for mites may help (don't test for them, just treat her for them).
Tell your son the way for him to get her to like him is to give her nutritious treats like her veggies. You can put her on his lap and let him feed her (being careful to keep his fingers out of the way). But he shouldn't hold her for quite awhile. She needs to learn to associate him with good things and not scary things like being up in the air in the hands of a little person. If he is always bearing treats (and this goes for you too), then she will eventually get to the point where she will wheek excitedly just to hear him enter the room. The way to a guinea pig's heart is through her stomach.
JX4 - I guess I kind of knew my son shouldn't be picking her up I just didn't want to enforce it as it was never really a problem until now. Thanks for identifying the difference between biting and strong nibbles. She definitely isn't drawing blood.
Lynx - I thought I had gone through the guide but you keep bringing pages to my attention. Great info.
Thought I might update you guys a bit. So she's been behaving funnier than usual lately and stopped eating hay altogether for a day. Then yesterday in the night she destroyed her chew toy ball and was chewing on her cardboard like crazy in the night. So much that it woke me up. Then her poo has been lumpy and some of them long. We are going away on vacation first thing Thursday morning and so I tried my damnedest to get her in to an exotics vet. I spent over an hour calling around only to find one available to see us this week but it was more than two hours away and would cost $145 just for the initial consult. Not only that but I would have had to take two young children on a 4 hr car unexpected car ride and have them sit in the vets office. Sorry Peppa Pig Spaghetti, not happening. But I figured any vet is better than no vet. So I called our local vet again and asked to see our favourite gal as I knew she has at least had some experience with cavies. Checked her teeth (looked great), temperature normal, looked through her fur (looked normal doesn't suspect mites). She felt her belly and noticed it did feel a bit fluidly. Which makes sense as she has been drinking water like crazy. But she also felt a small tender spot in her bowels, she thinks maybe she ate something funny that she's trying to pass. In the meantime we were told to buy store bought hay as maybe she would prefer it. Had to drive an hour away to get some for her last night. Stay tuned for my rant regarding store bought hay. She ate some of that. And seems to be behaving more like her grumpy self. she also said to cut back on the veggies for a couple days to entice her to eat more hay. We shall see.
As a side note - I stumbled across an article discussing the breed characteristics of the Abyssinian. Most notably their behaviours. They were describing her personality to a T. Sometimes moody, dominant, not shy. I was just like, yep this is Peppa. Interesting read for sure. What are your guys' thoughts on the subject? Do think breed has much to do with personalities in your experience?
After about 18 months her hormones must have subsided because she is much calmer now (she is 2.5 years old now) and she is now the most mellow of the "babies," go figure! She likes being held by all of us now, but she does have a shorter attention span than the other pigs. We like to hold them in our laps and on our chests while we watch TV, but Squeaky will not last an entire show. After about 10 minutes she's done and will let us know that by kicking our hands with her back feet. At least that's preferable to nibbling, lol, though I'm not sure where she got the idea to do that. None of the rest of our pigs kick us like that.
So yes, her being Abyssinian might have something to do with her moodiness, and especially so if she happens to be between 6 months and 18 months old. If she's in the guinea pig "teen years" then she's going to act like a 14 year old girl -- your best friend one moment and then for no discernible reason you have ruined her life the next, happily wheeking to see you one moment and grumpily nibbling you to go away and leave her alone the next.
On the other hand, I had an Abyssinian when I was a kid, and she was the sweetest most non-grumpy pig you've ever seen. So, really, who knows?
Our neutered male had mites. We treated him (and everybody else too, since he was living with everybody). The first few days of treatment the mites were going crazy in their death throes I guess, because he was VERY grumpy and did not want to be touched at all, much less held. Mites make it painful to be held and/or touched, especially when they are the most active. After about a week, though, the mites were dying off enough that it was no longer painful to him to be touched and held. But the treatment course is longer than that. Do read up on mites elsewhere in this forum.
I really just think she is a moody pig. I noticed a new sassy quirk, I went to give her fresh STOREBOUGHT hay last night and she came out, turned her ass to me and shot pee at me. Wtf Peppa! This pig has got some major sass.
When I had her at the vets they were all picking her up and petting her and she was being so well behaved and just let them do whatever. I knew she was scared obviously but they were all saying " this is the friendliest guinea pig we've ever seen". I was like yeah until she's comfortable enough to show you her true colours.
- And got the T-shirt
The second cheapest way is to order a box of it from an online store, shipped directly to you or to a local feed/pet store on your behalf. Forty-fifty pounds will cost you $40-$70, depending on whether you've caught a sale, have a coupon, can get free shipping, whatever. In my experience, you get the best quality hay this way.
The absolute most expensive way to buy it, and to get the poorest quality hay, is to buy it in small bags from a pet store. It will be at least double the cost of online hay, and many times more expensive than that from a local farmer. It will likely be dried out and dusty. I try very hard never to have to buy a bag of hay from a pet store.
Lynx - it's Timothy with a bit of alfalfa. I pick the alfalfa out before I give it to her. Actually, she has started eating both types of hay quite regularly now. So that's a bonus. Her biting (warning nibbles) of my son has gotten somewhat worse. She's pretty good with me. I have kind of learned what she doesn't like, which is almost everything hah. But I will put her on his lap and she will immediately start frantically looking for his hands to warning shot over and over again. She really doesn't like him anymore. I got some mite medication and will apply the first dose next time I strip her cage and am able to bleach it. She seems to show the most aggression at feeding times. I'm really thinking that her grumpiness is just her personality. I think she's just an aggressive dominant little pig.
I still would like to try giving her a buddy. I'm trying to add a second level to the c and c cage I built. Does anyone have any ramp ideas? I also saw some upper levels with only the 5 inches of chloroplast as a wall on the inside of the upper level. Like no wire walls on the part that overlooks the rest of the cage? Is that safe do you think, they don't fall? I saw someone use a plastic rain gutter with traction tape. Think that's a good option? The less chloroplast I have to use the better as it is EXTREMELY expensive.
- And got the T-shirt
The five inches of coroplast aren't enough to keep them from jumping if they get startled.
They LOVE tape. You can't put any sort of tape where they can get to it, or they'll eat it. Really gums up the works.
There are hundreds of ramp ideas in the photo galleries over at http://www.guineapigcages.com.