Widget is terrified and we don't know why


Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:18 pm

The first sign that something was not right in Casa de Cavy happened yesterday morning, when I noticed that Widget's hay looked exactly like it did when I put it in his hay area the night before. He hadn't touched it.

Widget lives in the upper part of what used to be one big cage. He has a 2x2 space that connects to a 1x2 space via a .5x2 walkway (the longest part of his cage is actually 5 grids long). Widget LOVES his cage and his space. He usually bounces a long the length of it, making tons of noise.

I wondered if something was wrong with the hay and gave him fresh hay.

A few hours later, I noticed he still hadn't touched it. We took him out of the cage to check him out. Teeth seem fine. He's not showing any other signs of being sick. But he was jumpy, jumpy, jumpy. Something set him off while I was holding him, and it was all I could do to keep him from leaping off of the couch.

I cleaned out the cage. Usually, when I put in fresh towels and fleece, Widget runs all over it and alternates between popcorning and marking the clean area. Then he burrows in the new pile of hay. I usually clean the 1x2 where the hay goes first so he can munch while I clean the 2x2 side.

What I discovered is that he refused to cross the walkway, much less get to the hay pile. When I cleaned the 2x2, he sat in the entrance to the walkway so I could clean, but otherwise wouldn't budge.

I put some hay in the 2x2 side, and he resumed eating. But he suddenly won't go to the other half of the cage. In fact, last night, he was still so upset about something that he wouldn't even come out of his pigloo unless either of us humans was down there. Today, he'll come out of his pigloo, but he won't go near the walkway. The poor guy is living in his 2x2 space.

What happened?

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Got Pigs?

Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:29 pm

Ahh little Widget is scared. Come stay with Aunt Deb, I will protect you.

Maybe a spider or something scared him? COuld something have gotten into the hay? May some hay poked him and it startled him. I have no idea, sorry but I hope he gets over it soon.

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Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:56 pm

I think a few others have reported something similar to this. I think it was somechick who had a pig who got absolutely freaked out by something and wouldn't go back to the loft for days. I wonder if he would respond to a trail of veggies across the walkway? It may just take some time before he gets over whatever in the world startled him. Poor little guy.

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Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:08 pm

I wonder about hay pokes. My boldest pig, Hoover, had a spell of the heebie jeebies. No visible reason. He just got and stayed terrified. Didn't want to eat from the hay pile, didn't want to do anything - not puffed and sick, just absolutely scared, as though he'd had a terrible nightmare. He was like that for two days and then gradually returned to normal.

I did wonder if he's been "bitten" by something sharp in the hay pile, since the haypile SEEMED to be the focus of the fear - but hard to tell.


Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:14 pm

He'll eat the hay in his 2x2, but I could see how something may have startled him if he was jabbed by hay. They mostly eat bluegrass, but even that sometimes has a harder piece now and again.

My bigger worry is that a spider or something was in the cage. This year has been really bad as far as spiders go, and *I* almost stopped going to the laundry area because I saw a big wolf spider.

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Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:27 pm

What about draping the walkway in towels so it's nice and dark and comforting? Sometimes pigs like that.


Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:37 pm

The walkway is already surrounded on three sides, but I'll give that a try. It couldn't make the situation much worse, that's for sure.

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Post   » Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:51 pm

Mine eat bluegrass too, but the stalks in that could poke if you got one at the wrong angle in the wrong place, I guess. Heck, a flimsy little piece of paper can give you a tremendously painful cut if the circumstances are right!

We never did figure it out. I hope Widget just returns to his old self soon.

Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:50 am

Oh, poor guy. I hope Widget feels like his usual self again soon, too.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:28 am

Aww, poor guy. I wish I could offer advice. They do seem to get spooked by things inexplicably sometimes. For some reason Momiji hates floor time now and she used to love it. We can't figure it out. This was happening before Mims passed away, too.


Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:32 am

Maybe he needs a piggy psychiatrist. And some piggy Xanax.

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Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:39 am

I hear McMac is a board certified piggie psychiatrist. :-) Just ask his mommy.


Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:11 am

We managed to get him to explore the walkway, but poor Widgy really struggled with it. He stretched his little piggy head as far as he could without moving his feet and sniffed like crazy to make sure there were no monsters around. He did stay halfway in the walkway to eat a Critter Berry and munch on some hay.

I begged him to tell me what caused his fear, but he just stood there and let me pet him.

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Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:12 am

Poor little man. That's a big step though. I hope he continues to improve.

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Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:59 am

Question: Anything change at all? Maybe something near the cage outside of it? Lighting?
I have read that animals tend to react to the smallest thing that we don't notice. Like a bunch of cows wouldn't enter a barn because on a fence many yards away, there was a yellow raincoat that someone left a few days ago. No one noticed but the animal psychologist.

So it could be the way you put down the bedding possibly? A sweater you left nearby on that side of the cage? Any other animals that could jostle that walk way?

Wish there were more guinea pig whisperers :)

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Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:03 am

:( I hope he gets over his terrifiedness soon. Poor little guy.


Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:52 am

Sonaa, those are very good questions. We have not knowingly changed anything as far as lighting or cage content, and while I have cleaned around the cage, that was almost two weeks ago, which was way farther back then when Widget first started to fear one side of his cage.

I did notice a binder clip missing. The walkway is lined with a piece of non-slip rubber hallway runner, and on top of that I put handtowels so it doesn't get gross.

The runner is held to the grid with binderclips. We noticed one clip was missing. It is on the 2x2 side of the walkway. We have no idea how long it has been missing, but I could see if maybe one day Widget became curious about it, and started messing with it, and it snapped...you get the picture.

That's just a guess.

Meanwhile, I just found a sludge pile in Tom and Linus's cage. *sigh* The fun never ends.

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Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:58 am

No it doesn't.

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Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:10 am

Hm that's a possibility. It's the small things right?:) Poor Widget! Now to figure out how to get him to like that space again...

A pile of sludge? Do you mind ever posting a picture of it? Just curious!

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Still supporting in 2014

Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:01 am

Poor Widgey. I hope he recovers and can enjoy his lovely home again. And sorry to hear about the sludge. Poor guys.

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