Advice for a new cavy owner?

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:00 pm


Hello all!

First Impressions
I just adopted two cavies. Their names are Lilac and Yogurt. Lilac is a long-haired black and white cavy, I'm not sure of her exact breed, other then it's not abyssian. Yogurt is an American cavy. I was told that I was adopting two three year old females. They came with their previous cage, a cage that was about four square feet, which I know is way too small. I have since made them a C&C cage and now they have over three times the amount of space.

Inspecting General Health
While inspecting both cavies, I noticed I had two males, not females. They both had hardened feces on their feet, and their nails were too long. So I trimmed their nails, soaked their feet, and detached the feces from their feet.

The Problem
As I am new to cavies, I have been trying to give them everything they need, for the first few days I had them I left them alone with a blanket over the cage. However, I'm having troubles with Lilac in particular he'll wail loudly if anyone comes within a foot of the cage, and this is usually followed by chattering. Lilac will sometimes chase after Yogurt and then Yogurt will start chattering too. I don't want to separate them because Lilac is afraid of humans, and I know they need interaction. I also live in an apartment and I would prefer to build both of them a large cage, rather then have two smaller cages. I want to make sure they both have the space they need, but I don't want them fighting either.

Summary
I just adopted two cavies, and they are my first pair. Lilac (the long -hair), chatters at her cage mate and any human who gets within a foot of the cage. I want to be able to interact with my cavies, but I don't want to stress either of them out. Can anyone give me advice for how to socialize an older male? I've tried hand feeding him treat, but he'll usually snatch the treat from me and hightail it to the nearest hide-away. The times I have finished feeding him a treat, after he's done he'll either run for it, or he'll look for fingers to bite. He's drawn blood twice. I've also sat next to their cage to get them used to me, as well as letting them have the option to come up to me. Yogurt will accept pets now, but if you move an inch towards Lilac he chatters and scurries away. What can I do to make him feel more comfortable?

rjespicer

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:14 pm


I am relatively new myself (Guinea pig Minder for about 20 weeks so far) but it sounds like you are already doing what you need to do. Hand feeding and spending time near them to help them get used to you. It will take patience but over time things should improve.

We had the same issues with ours (including the blood) but over time they have gotten better. Some of that may be from haing to pick them up to give them medication for about a month. They hated it at first and would chatter and scurry off but now they seem to be happier with it.

The best way to catch a reluctant guinea pig we found is with a tunnel or a paper grocery bag or a soft hidey we have. Just make sure you pick them up properly and hold them gently but securely if you do pick them up.

Take a look in the care guide on here as it has a wealth of info on most topics which certainly helped me get up to speed on some of the important stuff.

http://www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:31 pm


I got them on 8/3/2018. So I know that I've only had them a short time, and I would've usually waited longer before seeking out help, it's just that Lilac's chattering and squealing have made me nervous I'm doing something wrong.

Nutrition
I've been feeding them oxbow food pellets, as much timothy hay as they can eat, and I give them a leaf of romaine lettuce per day. I also alternate between giving them carrots, and cucumbers as an afternoon treat. I've bookmarked this link (http://www.[removed].com/what-can-guinea-pigs-eat/), for what foods they can have and how often. Every morning I give them an Oxbow natural science vitamin C tablet. Is there more I should be doing nutrition-wise?

rjespicer

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:47 pm


There is also a very good chart here, I always have it open on my phone when I go grocery shopping.
http://www.guinealynx.info/chart.html

If you have a problem or question, dont wait, sometimes things can escalate quickly and there are many knowledgable and experienced people on here who are happy to help and provide advice.

We give ours Oxbow as well, Pellets, Supplements and treats. They also love wheatgrass.

More nuttrion info can be found here

http://www.guinealynx.info/nutrition.html

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:56 pm


How big is your cage? Reading the first link that rjespicer posted is a great place to start.
www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:15 pm


39 inches by 46 inches.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:22 pm


That is a great size! Make sure you have two of everything (water, food bowl). Any "hideys" should have at least two entrances.

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:27 pm


I have 3 waters, and 2 bowls, one bowl is smaller, should I switch them out so I have two sizes that are the same? Do you have any advice for how to add more holes to my hideys? They all have one hole, one is made of plastic, another of wood, and another of grasses.

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:33 pm


I was also planning on adding a second level to the C & C cage (I just ran out of coroplast), would gluing popsicle sticks to the coroplast with non-toxic elmers be enough to give them good traction? I've been using paper bedding because I don't have my own washer to wash fleece.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:38 pm


Only worry about the bowls if you see that one is being ignored and the other is the chosen bowl. Experiment with various coverings to see what works best for the ramp. Not making it steep will help.

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:42 pm


The smaller bowl usually has more food left in it, while the bigger blue is usually emptied. I'm going to try using two bowls that are similarly sized, my only concern is that they are deeper. Should I be worried about how deep bowls are?

JX4

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:58 pm


I wouldn't worry about the depth of the bowls unless it causes you problems -- like they keep dumping it over to get to the food, making it annoying for you to clean.

Fleece forests may be a better option than plastic hideys with only one entrance. Or you can make your own hidey out of a plastic step stool that is open on all four sides. Putting a loft in makes an automatic hidey underneath it.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:59 pm


One thing you should be doing is weighing them weekly. It will help you know if they are eating enough and alert you if they are ill. Get a notebook and a digital scale.

Unless you are seeing problems with their getting enough food (watch them and weigh them weekly), you probably don't have to worry about changing the bowls.

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:07 am


How should I weigh them without stressing them out more? Right now I put a hay loft above their heads with the same material I used to make the walls of the cage, do you think they consider this a hideout? It's enclosed on all sides but 1?

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:07 am


How should I weigh them without stressing them out more? Right now I put a hay loft above their heads with the same material I used to make the walls of the cage, do you think they consider this a hideout? It's enclosed on all sides but 1.

rjespicer

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:11 am


We have 3 identical bowls but one always seems to empty faster than teh other two. They all have teh same pellets though.

The place I ordered our C&C cage from has ramp coverings available

We use a digital Kitchen scale with a box on it and use the tricks I mentioned above to catch them and pop them in. If you give them a treat after they get more used to it. Make sure the scale is on a flat solid surface and always supervise them while they are on it.

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:28 am


I didn't order my cage through a C&C site, I ordered them separate on Amazon. So I wasn't sent ramp coverings. So I just want to make sure that they don't slip at all on the ramp. I would hate for them to get injured just because I'm trying to give them more room.

rjespicer

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:10 am


The place I ordered mine from has these
https://www.guineapigcagesstore.com/cage-ramp-replacement-carpet

Or their sister site has these
https://www.guineapigmarket.com/ramp-cover

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:29 am


When you weigh them, put the scale on the floor so there is no way they could fall from the counter. Use a small room like a bathroom (with a clean floor) in case you are worried about their running away.

Luv4animals139

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:55 am


Thank you for the links to ramp covers, as well as the advice about weighing them.

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