Cashew's new Companion

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:02 pm


I've talked the option of getting Cashew a companion to a death on forums, about 5-weeks ago I turned to the rescue who babysat Cashew to ask her what she thought.

After a few weeks wait while a bought of fungal cleared up, we went to collect miniPig (now named Koda, thought my flatmates are admant he's an iPig) on Tuesday (yesterday!)

The story of us going to collect him his... a tale, to say the least, so I'll put it at the end of the post and put pictures before then :)

Introductions began last night (little pig was already in quarantine and Cashew has already had a vet visit/mite treatment and isn't in contact with piggies here). While there were a few temper tantrums from Cashew in the cage (he seems to love his hidey-box which has now been removed and was possessive of the food bowl which I quickly split into two because I was keen to see Koda eating before I went to bed) this morning everything seems calm and well settled.

Koda has been stealing food from Cashew's mouth, and when we removed Koda from the cage to file the points of his nails down (so people (novice peeg handlers) would stop holding him weird to avoid his sharp nails) Cashew stared up at us which is something he doesn't usually do.

Anyway: bla bla bla - picture OF CASHEW (big agouti, 2-year-old boar) AND KODA (7-week sheltieXrex boar)

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Koda as SONIC THE SPIKE-PEEG!
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The things a pig's gotta do for cucumber.
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No reason except I thought this was a damned good photo of Cashew's piggie lips.
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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:15 pm


Journey to get Koda:

Laura, my friend who has car insurance and has driven me to Thistle Cavies many-a-time to drop off then later pick up Cashew, warned us that her car had developed a habit of... not starting.

We all agreed that when we arrived at the rescue we just wouldn't turn the engine off... ever. What we neglected to realise was that... well... you have to turn an engine off at some point during a moderatly long journey.

So, we left Glasgow, briefly stalling but the car started up again so all was good. When we reached "The Green Welly Stop" we didn't bother thinking twice when we turned the car off and scurried inside for sweets. We gathered back in the car to reposition the car to refuel at the petrol station, turned the key... fail. Tried again. Fail. And again. Fail.

I called the rescue to let them know we'd be delayed because the engine wouldn't start and we dashed off to have tea in the hope the immobiliser would reset itself (if that was the problem). We returned. Fail... it was time to call parents for assistance.

Long and short of it: we tried to run the car down the hill. We asked a guy from the garrage to have a look, he told us it wasn't working (doh!) eventually I called the rescue again (a few hours later) to say that the car had... broken down properly this time and that I wasn't sure if we'd make it up to her today.

She arranged to come down and meet us with mini pig. I dashed to the tourist information center to find out train and bus times back to Glasgow and came back to stare with my road-trip-friends into every car that drove by searching for the right car.

I'd asked if they could bring jump leads with them so electrocute the car into action. They jumped us. Koda/mini pig transfered cat carriers and we were on our way with strict instructions to not stall... and we didn't.

We didn't stall until we entered Glasgow at rush hour when Laura became too hasty at a busy junction and we stalled >.< Cue calling the police (to deal with traffic) and breakdown recovery-peoples. Thankfully, the little Nissan's dignity was saved somewhat (as it's poor Hazard Lights blinked about the drama of the engine) when a van driver hopped out to push us around a corner.

It was a dramatic collection, to say the least.

Oh - and the problem with the car: it needs two hands to turn it on, until the ignition can be replaced. Something to do with connecty-bits.

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JennG
In Memory of Mama

Post   » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:38 pm


I think Koda was well worth the car trouble. What a handsome boy!!!

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:43 pm


That's a great picture of Koda.

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:54 pm


He definatly looks like he's about to do a forward roll! :D

Koda was definatly worth the car trouble. He's still unsure of being in the flat but with Cashew you can see his cheeky little nature come out. :D

cutemomomi
Obey My Authority

Post   » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:26 pm


I love your pictures, they both are adorable! :)

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:22 pm


What a cutie!!!

I smell love in the air :-)

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JaneDoe

Post   » Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:50 pm


Congratulations!

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:24 pm


I've been working with Cashew for months to try and encourage him to relax around people. He's always been a skitterish pig, ever since the day we got him but I've seen him improve from refusing to come out of his hiding place at all to now eventually being enticed into the open when there is food around.

When Koda arrived he seemed pretty relaxed and normal coming from the rescue. He's easy to catch, friendly and adorable. After a few days, however, I noticed that whenever I entered my room when Cashew would flee into hiding, Koda would also seek to flee into hiding.

Now I've noticed that Koda is slowly beginning to mimic Cashew's behaviour more and more which isn't something I want to happen. Is there any way I could block Koda from learning Cashew's overly innate need to flee from humans, short of separating them until Koda's old enough to perhaps influence Cashew?

Edited to add a picture of the terrible two.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:44 pm


Food. Tasty food. Let them wonder what you are bringing. Say something recognizeable so they learn they are being told there is a treat.

I got my goldfish to come up for a pet by consistently not giving them anything to eat until they had done so. I got sloppy when it was cold last fall and just threw the food in. They learned they did not have to do anything. I had to reteach them!

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rshevin

Post   » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:49 pm


Ah but the question is did they learn faster the second time? :-)

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 1:46 pm


I have a whistle I do (mimics "wheek wheek wheek!") before I feed them. It makes Koda go wild with excitement but he'll stay in hiding and scream his little head off...

perhaps I could keep that up, but sit beside their cage more often... they seem fine with me sitting beside them so long as I don't move.

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rshevin

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:12 pm


Have you tried taking all the hidies out for short periods of time each day? You don't want to petrify the pigs but most of them adjust just fine to this. You want to be hanging out in the room during this time but not necessarily pestering the pigs at first.

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:31 pm


rshevin - With Cashew I've tried taking all of the hidey holes out before. In fact, when he was first brought into my flat with me, it was the first thing I tried - I also tried it when he was younger to try and "tame" him, so to speak. When I tried it recently I decided that it was somewhat... inhumane? Well, moreso, an inappropriate technique to use with Cashew because he becomes so frantic he'll start to climb up into corners to get out of the cage. This was while I was standing quietly at the opposite side of the room.

It would probably work well with Koda, actually, but I can't remove the hidey holes from the cage from Koda without upsetting Cashew and I'm reluctant to separate them or divide their cage since they seem to have bonded pretty quickly.

Just now, after reading Lynx's comment, I did my "food whistle" on hyper-drive and brought them lettuce. I sat still by the cage holding the lettuce and used Lynx's "you ain't gettin' it until you come to me for it" advice. It took both pigs a while to eventually crawl forward for some but they did it eventually, Koda coming forward first.

It's awkward: I have one pig who becomes so upset so easily who I'm still working with and a younger pig who I'm trying to block from learning from the upset pig. It's hard to think of methods that will work for both of them.

---I cut this out. I'd begun to just babble, trying to work out the best course of action---

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rshevin

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:43 pm


"an inappropriate technique to use with Cashew"

I think this is a very important statement. I would never recommend continuing with it after your description. Poor little Cashew. I'm guessing he lived with some very poor quality humans before he found you. I'm glad you know him well enough to support him like that. I agree with not dividing the cage as well. Do you think Koda would do well with a little independent floor time? Maybe this would help him learn a little confidence around you. There are lots of ways you could try that, sitting in the pen with him, sitting beside the pen, letting him have run of the room if your home lends itself to that, whatever you think would work.

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GuineaPiggin

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:54 pm


Had you considered draping a towel over one end of the cage THEN taking out the hides? This way they still have somewhere they're not completely exposed. I tried this with my boys and it works wonders (especially with Percy).

Then again, my boys do nothing but fight when there's a hidey hole in the cage, regardless of how many there are.

Just tossing out suggestions. Poor Cashew, he sounds a lot like Percy when I first got him. He'd try and scramble up the bars to get away from me.

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:01 pm


Guinea Piggin - I forgot to mention that as soon as I'd noticed Koda was starting to mimic Cashew's behaviour I changed their cage. I removed the half-level which provided a very dark, very comfortable retreat for them and replaced it with a more open hay-partition (i copied it from someone on guineapigcages.com) so it was pretty open but if they needed to hide zomg-NOWZ they could burrow themselves beneath hay, yet it's open enough that they can't ignore me.

I have a cardboard hidey house in too just now, but I might remove it because, like you suggested, GuineaPiggin, I do already have a fleece draped over their fleece-bed area (I don't like using fleece as a bedding, but I do like the idea of providing a fleecey-snuggle) That's two areas to hide in and one dark "comfort zone" for Cashew.

I'm lucky that Cashew, although he seems very attached to his hidey-box, he's also somewhat willing to share hidey places with Koda. But not when there's a drama.

I'll give it a go tomorrow (removing the cardboard one) when I can dedicate more time to working with them since I'm working soon tonight.

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:04 pm


rshevin - you know, I hadn't thought of that. I usually let them out on floortime together (I'm hoping, since they seem to only pee in one area of their cage, to let them free-range in my room with the cage as a retreat-to-place one day) hoping that they'd find courage in each other, but you're right that Koda would benefit with some one-o-one time with me. It would also solve the problem I'm having with giving him alfalfa hay without letting Cashew have it.

Emma time can be alfalfa time too (until he's 6-months!)

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:06 pm


Oh, just thought of this: Has anyone ever had an older pig tooth-chatter at them [you] when you're trying to make the older pig do something?

I just went back to try and give them the rest of the lettuce I offered a short while ago and Cashew sniffed out the lettuce, looked up at me and started a full on tooth-chatter while staring at me... how odd!

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NoCableisSafe

Post   » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:20 pm


I changed their cage around a little to create more exposed areas than there were completely covered areas. Cashew didn't approve and found a way to stay in a compact safe-place anyway.

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I have noticed that Cashew will come out while I'm sitting by the cage and since Koda has begun to respond to spending individual time being physically molested by humans I've decided to stop pressing the idea of making Cashew feel exposed into relaxing. I remember once saying how Cashew seemed to respond well to having many hidey holes that he could retreat into, and, he also responds very well to being challenged for food - as Trick mentioned in her "Cashew and Gracie - skitterishness vs intelligence" thread.

Ah - I don't know. I don't see a point in making him feel uncomfortable if he is never going to relax, although Wendi at Thistle Cavies reminded me that with her, with hay to hide beneath, he did become braver and would move to bars for food. I feel like I'm going about this whole thing with Cashew the wrong way but I can't work out what he NEEDS to help.

As I said, Koda is responding to one-on-one (or Koda-on-Many) human time. I have a box with alfalfa hay in it that Koda goes in for a time each day to get him use to every day living room human sounds. It also means Koda is in the line of humans coming and going for a time, he is often fed veggie-tid-bits and cuddled and petted. He seems to like staring at the laptop and wheeking along to youtube videos.

When things become quieter (like, my flatmates stop playing and sit down to do work or disappear) I bring Cashew into the livingroom too. I'm moving slower with Cashew because I don't really appreciate hanging on to a struggling "rocket launcher" piggie whenever someone touches the door handle to come in. Cashew seems to prefer to lie and snooze on the inside of my house coat and sniff at Koda in the box and watch the laptop than being the center of attention.

At some point during handling time I'll go and grab some veggies from the kitchen (cue Koda - WHEEK WHEEEEE WHEEEEK!) and with both pigs I'll whistle at them and hold the veggie until they come to my hand to get them. Cashew seems to huff through this exercise until he realises Koda's being fed and he isn't. Cashew seems more relaxed at taking food from my hand when he's on my lap than when he's in the box (???!)

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We've also identified that Koda prefers 30 Seconds to Mars music wise as opposed to Katy Perry and likes to lie on the left-hand-side of my laptop keyboard and pee behind my laptop.

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