Always with the purring


Post   » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:57 am

Well things have gotten not so good around here with Peppa. She has now turned her aggression to my son. She's great with me, I've been working really hard with her. She still ocassionally tries to push me around by rumblestrutting and shoving my hand about but if hold my ground and shove back (gently of course) she now has kind of accepted me as the dominant one. Problem is she constantly is biting my son and even another little boy yesterday. She bites my son when he tries to pick or up or even pet her. I know he's only four and shouldn't be allowed to pick her up but it's his pet essentially. He always does it carefully with a hand under her bum and he is absolutely heartbroken that she keeps biting him. The rule is that her hidey house is her safe spot. If she runs in there she's not allowed to be bothered. Problem is she rarely runs away just stands there then bites. He can be petting oh so gently (just like my sons friend was yesterday) on the top of the head then she will quickly flip her head and chomp down often leaving a mark. I feel bad, she has been showing me the really sweet side of her. Sometimes when I let her out to run on the floor she will climb right into my lap and lay down and close her eyes for a few minutes before climbing down and continuing to explore. But I have two small children, I can't have an animal that bites like this. I don't want to give her up especially since she's getting to bond with me a bit but she can't be biting kids. She's just so confident in herself, rarely scared. Cocky is the best word to describe her. I know her attitude is probably because of whatever happened in her previous home but I feel we are unequipped to deal with her behavioural issues. Is there like a Caesar Milan of guinea pigs? Any suggestions on what I can do for my son? I should add that he is so good with her when she bites. If she bites while he's holding her he doesn't so much as flinch, just puts her down gently then sits and cries quietly because "Peppa doesn't like me".

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Post   » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:49 am

I didn't go back and re-read carefully, but has she been treated for mites? That can make it painful to be handled, which would explain the biting when touched.

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.


Post   » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:48 pm

It sounds to me that she is nibbling hard, not outright biting. If a pig means to actually bite you, they bite HARD and they draw blood. If she is leaving an impression that is a hard nibble but she's stopping short of being mean. She needs to not nibble at all, of course, but she is trying to tell you something in the only way she knows how. Since we don't speak guinea pig, we have to try to figure out what she is trying to say. It sounds like she is nervous about being held by anyone, but especially kids.

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.

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Post   » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:11 pm

Ditto the advice you have received. Change the way they interact. Check/treat for mites. Read the pages linked to here:


Post   » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:45 am

Well folks, as always I appreciate all thoughts, suggestions, and the time taken to read our story and respond.

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?


Post   » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:31 pm

One of our six piggies is Abyssinian, and she is the most moody one of our bunch. She was one of the babies born to us (we originally had three pigs thinking all three were female; one wasn't, lol), so we've seen her from Day One, literally. We named her Squeaky because she was non-stop with the wheeking as a baby. She was also the bravest of the babies, daring to do dangerous things none of the other babies ever tried. We had to re-configure the cage to keep her from hurting herself. As a teenager (about 6 months to 18 months old) she was a terror to the other pigs and a grumpy thing to humans. She only wanted to be held by one of my daughters (who was 10) and let it be known with nibbles (never hard enough to leave impressions but hard enough to let us know of her displeasure) that she had no use for the rest of us. Due to her energy and intrepidness (if that's a word), my daughter was able to teach her how to consistently run an obstacle course through and over and under pillows and boxes across our living room floor.

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?


Post   » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:41 pm

About the vet and mites. Mites are too small to see. Even taking a skin scraping won't necessarily show they are there. So don't let the vet do a skin scraping -- it hurts and it's not a reliable way to find mites anyway. Just treat for mites. The medicine is cheap and easy to apply and it won't hurt her if she doesn't have mites -- and if she does have mites it will get rid of them.

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.


Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:15 pm

Well the only signs pointing to mites is the grumpiness it seems. While I understand that it may present with no symptoms, ie a carrier, I'm not going to the vet again to ask for a mite treatment when she has already been checked by two vets and vet doesn't think she has them and she has no symptoms.

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.


Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:55 pm

I don't think you have to go to a vet to get the medicine for mites. I've seen others on here say where you can get it, and it's cheap.


Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:38 pm

So let's discuss storebought hay shall we. Do small animal people know just how ripped off they are getting? We literally have tons of hay, 20 tones at least. It was in previous years certified organic. It isn't anymore because we didn't bother filling out the paperwork because it didn't need to be. But it is still just as organic as it was back then. Do you know how much a round bale is selling for this year? About $120 CAD. That's approximately a ton of hay for $120. But that's harder to measure volume in comparison to those little bags of hay. So let's take a look at small squares. A small square bale of hay is about 30-40lbs depending on moisture content etc. But they run about $8 a bale. I bought a bag of hay for $10.99 and it was about a flake of hay, it says 3lbs. So even at small square bale prices, which is more per volume compared to round bales, the cost of the hay that you are buying in those little bags is 80 cents and I payed 11 friggin dollars. Feel free to correct my math as I may be wrong. It makes sense why my husband is so very pissed that I bought bag. By the way, she doesn't like it any more than the stuff we were feeding her that our horses get.


Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:41 pm

Interesting JX4. I will look into it. We use an oral ivermectin paste for our horses but I don't think that's acceptable for guinea pigs.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:38 pm

The very cheapest way to buy hay is from a local farmer if there's one around that grows hay suitable for guinea pigs. In the states, hay usually is $15-$20 a bale, although it can be more or less. You'll get at least 100 pounds of hay, maybe more for that price.

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.


Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:24 pm

Bpatters - yes we have enough hay that we could feed all of the guinea pigs in our country for a year....but the vet suggested we try different hay (storebought) to see if that would entice her to eat it. Even your boxed hay is super overpriced. The mark up for these small animals is ridiculous.

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Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:36 pm

What kind of hay do you have? Guinea pigs love timothy hay. Some like orchard grass. Depending on when it is harvested, it can be more or less nutritious. Grass hays are recommended. The advice we have here on hay is:


Post   » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:07 am

Long time no be here. Sorry folks.

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

Post   » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:08 am

You can go ahead and give her the mite medicine -- you don't have to do any special cage cleaning for it.

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

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Post   » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:50 pm

Instead of holding the guinea pig, you might put your son and the guinea pig in a medium enclosure (clean bathroom with clean floor) and he can just "be there" and hand feed a few treats. Non-threatening.


Post   » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:21 pm

I quarantined my piggie when I first got him so he could get used to his surroundings , his home and me . I put Beach towels over his cage so he can have his privacy and learn my voice . I did that till about 6months ago I’ve had him for almost 2 years . I aslo petted him with two fingers on his back gently so he could learn my touch . I would just quarantine your piggie by Giving her privacy and have her learn to trust your little boy . If my piggie doesnt like how I’m petting him he will jerk his head and headbutt me . But if he likes it he will purr and rumble

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