Baby/Young piggie hates to be held-suggestions?

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Post   » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:36 pm

Our sow gave birth to one, healthy baby boar about 2.5 weeks ago. The first day was rocky, as the mother didn't seem to be bonding with her baby, but with some work on my part, everything turned out OK, and the baby is a healthy little guy. He is now 2.5 weeks old, and I have separated him from his mother, and he is active, happy, and has a shiny coat. His appetite is good, and he is enjoying hay, grass, and pellets, as well as water from his water bottle.

But here is my question: how can I train him to tolerate being held/handled? Each day since he was born, I have gently handled him, in an effort to raise him to be used to gentle handling from the beginning. (The first day it was actually mandatory, since he was being ignored by his mother, and was freezing cold when I first found him.) But I have never owned a piggie who complains so loudly and vociferously about being held. The entire time he is out of his cage, he complains loudly, with lots of squeals and and constant complaining noises--although *none* of it sounds like he is in pain. His mother is a real "talker" and we named her Squeakerella because she is so talkative--often sounding irritated--but once you pick her up and hold her gently, she calms down. But this baby doesn't stop or "get comfortable." At first, I thought he was only complaining about being separated from his mother. But now that he's been separated from her for a few days, I realize that it's just non-stop if he's being held or touched by a human. I have a friend who is ready to adopt him, but I haven't invited her over yet, because he seems so unhappy with human interaction, even though I've been extremely careful and gentle, and I've tried to introduce handling from the beginning.

If i could, I would attach a video, to show that he really is making frustrated noises. He makes them nonstop every time he is out of his cage. Does anyone have suggestions other than, "Leave him alone and don't touch him if he doesn't like it."?

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:59 pm

Just the opposite. Keep holding him. Put him in your lap with a light cover over him to protect him from the house eagles, and feed him yummy treats. He'll eventually make the connection between being held and getting the food, and calm down, at least as long as the food lasts. You can even feed part of his dinner that way.


Post   » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:13 pm

Ditto bpatters. Keep holding him. One of our four babies didn't like being held as much as the others. They are 2.5 years old now, and Sugar *still* sounds like she's complaining when I hold her. But she does like to be held. I know this because when I go to the cage and ask, "Who wants to be held?" she sometimes (not as often as the others but still sometimes) runs up to the hayloft and waits there for me to pick her up and hold her. My piggies taught me that trick because they don't like The Hand descending upon them, but they don't mind being scooped up from below when they are up in the hayloft.

Anyway, even when Sugar volunteers to be held by doing that, she still squeaks and sounds like she's complaining while I hold her. But I've learned that she does like it, that's just her way of making noises. She doesn't try to run or get away. She is learning -- slowly -- to sound more calm, but I think that's just the way she communicates. When she is truly upset at being held (or when she has had enough and decides she wants back in her cage), she will make that clear by much louder squeals and grabbing my shirt collar and tugging on it hard. That's when I know she really does want to go back in the cage.

So, all that to say that perhaps that's just your little guy's way of squeaking. Sugar has to have something covering her (towel, my other hand, etc) when she's on my lap before she will "settle" -- and even then she doesn't settle as much as the others do. But if I hold all the others and not her, she does get jealous and decide she wants attention too. And all that is when I don't have treats to give. When there are treats, she's one of the first in line.


Post   » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:55 pm

OK, thank you to both of you. After owning piggies on and off for nearly 30 years, I was really stymied, but my gut instinct was to just keep holding him, and offering him treats, and show him that humans are kind and that "lap time" can be enjoyed. He's still such an adorable little baby--irresistible, really! I just want him to be as happy with us here, as we are with him here! I'll persevere, and keep offering treats, and a hidey-blankie, and report back with an update soon. Thank you!

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Post   » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:57 am

I think we humans can be sensitive creatures and it is tough to feel like you are rejected! My guinea pigs were not all that keen about being held but I enjoyed them just the same.

Coco-Pepe Mom

Post   » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:49 pm

I am currently working with a very shy pig...she's about 18 months old and was a rescue. She was never tamed at her previous home. She hated being picked up and would not settle in my lap...she would also bite me if I tried to hold her until she calmed down. After some great advice from others on this site, I have been handling her nearly every day...and to get her out of the cage I have a fleece-lined tube (6" diameter) that she feels very safe in. I coax her out of the tube (once on my lap) with a treat. She is getting better in very small amounts each takes a lot of patience. Try not to put the little one back when he gets squirmy or nippy because he'll learn that's how to get put back in the cage.


Post   » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:35 pm

Try making sure he's covered with something (We hold them in soft waterproof baby changing pads after they peed on the couch...) and so we cover them with that. I think it must have something to do with being prey animals and feeling scared without cover, especially when they're right there with a giant, scary human.

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:54 pm

I have two lap pigs and a runner. What we do is sit with them during floor time and let the runner come to us. We become the bearer of treats and he interacts with us in his own way. I think he's younger and he doesn't want to be bothered with a lap when there's stuff to explore. I try to meet each pet how they want - I have a cat that isn't much of a lap cat, either.

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