Cuy behavior and differences

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WindeSpirit
Sewing for a Cause

Post   » Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:50 am


I've been talking off and on with another member here (Jacqueline) about my Cuy girls I got last November and some of the differences that I've found in how they differ from guinea pigs. There is a few things that really are a big difference in the grand scheme and I think more folks need to be aware. Specially with so many popping up, particularly in California. While I might be well versed in guinea pigs, cuys are relatively new to me, so please forgive and correct me if you know otherwise.


What exactly is a Cuy?
For those that do not know, basically, they are a larger breed of guinea pig. Some will also have extra toes. Please visit the Cuy Data page to learn more about their size and identifying.

Cuy behaviors in being afraid and skittish are also twice as great as a guinea pigs. They will need even more time and reassurances to win their trust. Where every guinea pig I have ever seen will eat their veggies without much of a second thought, my 2 cuy will not eat if I am near their cage. I have been told that most will not either.


Some of the things I've been doing to help gain their trust more quickly:
  • Sheet over their cage. For the first couple days I let it drape over the sides, but after three days I started pinning it up so only the top was covered and could see in the sides. And since jumping is a issue with cuy, I used a wire shelf over part of the cage where most likey to jump.
  • Holding them while inside a house they feel safe in. Having enough houses can be expensive, even for me, so I've been holding them every other day after cage cleaning so I have a fresh clean house they can go into for snuggle time. My girls are preferring either pumpkin or jar houses, but I"ve heard a couple others like the sleep & snack or the big pockets.
  • Jumping really is a issue now for us since I put our rope lighting up, particularly at cleaning time and when afraid. Having a sheet over the top and cleaning half of a side at a time greatly helps if you keep them in the cage while cleaning.
  • Food, easily doubles. Veggies are tripling for us and haven't reached the point yet when there are left over snacks after any of the 2-3 veggie feeding a day. Both my girls are in separate cages so I know exactly how much they are eating. Pellets are doubled to 1/2 cup per day per cuy. Hay is also proportional.
  • Strength. Luna only recently decided to enlighten me of the fuller scale. I'm going to stress again of holding them while in a pocket or house. Weather it's just my girls are sly and cunning or all cuy are, remains to be seen, but don't say I didn't mention it. Think strength of chinchilla or dwarf rabbit with sleek & stealth of cat.
  • Eye sight and depth perception I've been noticing are better. Again, the rope lighting clued me in to this. I can't really say how much better, but it is noticeable in how far Beatriz looks up for things. I suppose this one falls into hard to explain how I know, but I do and understand the behaviors. They are more aware of everything and not just what more pertains to them or their wants.
  • Now that it's been 2 months, I've finally heard some wheeking! Gosh, I didn't think I would ever hear it out of them. Beatriz is very quiet and Luna works her level up there. It took them a bit longer, but alas, this is one thing that we can all appreciate that does not differ between guinea pigs and cuys.
So these are a few of the more immediate differences between cavies and cuys I've came upon so far. It would be greatly helpful if others that have (confirmed) cuy to share the different things you've came across. With the growing numbers of cuy popping up, folks need to be aware. Even us seasoned cavy slaves have things to learn about cuy!

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jacqueline

Post   » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:05 am


Thanks Winde! Can't wait to see how Alex and Rosie compare! It's exciting and challenging. Have you taken yours to a vet yet? I've already let my vet know they're coming, but I have no medical references to point her towards

LucyLou

Post   » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:24 am


Unfortunatley I've seen quite a few in Ohio now. I was visiting various petstores for a class project and PetLand, PetSmart and PetCo all had at least one cuy. PetLand had at least 8, I've never seen anything like it. They were lilac and white with red eyes, and they had to have been near 5lbs each. Poor things were kept in one of those cages where the general public can reach in and pick up critters. I thought they were going to kill the normal sized pigs running from kids reaching in.

Is there anything that can be done for these poor things? Or can we only attempt to educate stores and hope the fad dies out?

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jacqueline

Post   » Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:11 pm


I've heard of pigs who are extra large and suspected of being cuy or cuy mix. LAPGR is trying to collect information about verified cuys. here's a link to what they believe constitutes a cuy:
http://www.laguineapigrescue.com/cuy-reports-and-sightings.html

There have been reports of very large pigs in the ohio area. It's hard to tell if they are true cuys or not without a closer look.

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WindeSpirit
Sewing for a Cause

Post   » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:32 pm


Vet check, yes, but only the get to know preliminary, we'll have to go back again very soon, found a tiny lump behind her front leg and it's noticeable now.

As for what medical reference, the way I been reading things, everything is pretty much same as cavies, the only difference is the size. Everything that I've read so far is found in both cavies and cuy so not much other then size. I seen a mention that hearts being enlarged cuys were prone to, but I've not read or heard enough cases to confirm that. If you get the ammonia smelling urine then it's time to check for sure, for that.

I can tell you Beatriz is diabetic. Twice she's had apple bits and her pee stinks afterwards! She's more restricted on sweet treats much to her dismay.

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jacqueline

Post   » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:09 pm


Oh - sorry to hear about her lump. Hopefully it's nothing!

Rosy and Alex are home with me after quite a trip yesterday! I should be able to get pictures soon!

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lisam

Post   » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:49 pm


The one in the rescue right now won't eat at all when the lights are on. Her food dish and hay and veggies are untouched during the day, but in the morning are gone.

She's the third one I've had. The first two have gone to a friend who takes in unadoptable guinea pigs. This one is more tame than the others, but I think a lot of her "tameness" is actually frozen fear.

What I've found is that when regular guinea pigs have been housed with these crazy wild ones, the regular ones tend to get wild as well. I have one male that was housed with a cuy for a year, and he's very wild even though he's been several months with a more friendly male.

Living with the female cuy I have right now were two other pigs, a mom and her baby. The mom is actually more scared and wild than the cuy. She's totally unadoptable. I've got the baby in with a friendly neutered male, and have hopes that she will settle down enough for someone to adopt.

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lisam

Post   » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:36 pm


Argh. I spoke too soon about this new cuy being somewhat tame.

She managed to leap from the cage today while my daughter was feeding her (and my daughter is an experienced guinea pig wrangler) and broke off her two lower incisors and one top one. Seems to be fine otherwise, but we are watching her closely.

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jacqueline

Post   » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:46 pm


Oh my Lisam! I picked Alex up today because I had to do a cage cleaning and move her to her new cage. She s-c-reeeeamed the entire time. She is definitely a two hands on at all times pig!

It's sad to hear how the other piggies became more skittish as they lived with the cuy. I hope that's just a fluke. I was so hoping the opposite would be true - that living with tamer pigs might be a positive influence on the cuy.

Time will tell I suppose.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:43 pm


Must have scared your daughter! I wish pigs knew better than to attempt jumping!

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lisam

Post   » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:04 pm


Definitely, Lynx! She was reaching in with the food dish and the pig ran up her arm onto her shoulder and leapt.

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jacqueline

Post   » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:49 pm


Oh, man! So it's not like she was holding her and she was squirming to get away!

Scary smart!

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CavyHouse
Supporter in '11

Post   » Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:44 pm


Cuys will jump without even thinking out it. In shelters, they're quite prone to just leaping out of the cages when someone opens a door. I've had one cuy who just calmly walked to the side of my bed and then just jump off with hardly a hesitation and continue on her way.

We just got in two cuy recently who are great!. One is a male who is 2550 grams and quite the cuddler and easy to catch. If he'll get along with my 4 year old female cuy (spayed) and my mellow non-cuy neutered male, we'll keep him for an ambassador type piggy.

We also got in a 1550 gram cream and white female who has the general look of a cuy but who is so calm that I wonder if she isn't a cross or something. 1550 grams would be on the small side for a cuy anyway. But it's possible that she's still growing. She was part of a group of 10 females dumped at one shelter that the owner said had been with males and also said "all of them were 10 months old" (which I'm doubting)

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:31 am


This is all very interesting. Makes me want to try and adopt a cuy as my next pig, but don't know how I'd ever get one up here. Thanks for sharing.

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CavyHouse
Supporter in '11

Post   » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:18 am


Our two most recent cuy that I mentioned above aren't typical of what I've seen. Most come into our rescue pretty terrified. Billie Jean, a female cuy that I've had since she was a few months old, is one of the worst we've had. She wouldn't even let us steal a peek at her for many months.
She is now 3 1/2 years old and finally doing much better. I moved her into a cage that is right next to my desk with more open areas and no Pigloos that she can hide in. In other words, she's forced to see me. I paired her with one of the most mellow neutered males that we've ever had. I can now hand her her veggie treats and she'll reach out and grab them from me. I can pick her up much easier than before and hold her.
I really like cuy but they definitely aren't for everyone. I feel bad for something that is so scared of us. I wish Petco and Petsmart would stop selling them.

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jacqueline

Post   » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:39 pm


CavyHouse - that's exactly how I feel too! My sense has always been that I've wanted to be a "sanctuary" for those guinea pigs that are outside the bell curve - the sick, those with disabilities, those considered un-adoptable for whatever reason.

I've fallen in love with these 2 girls. Not because they're so cute (they really aren't cute in the traditional way) - but because their life has been so hard, and I feel like "we" owe them a better life than this.

I may keep all future spaces in my home open just for cuys!

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WindeSpirit
Sewing for a Cause

Post   » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:49 pm


I'd like to add that "ideally" for a cuy cage it could be at least one grid size longer then the minimum standard for a guinea pig. The way they run, their strides are longer and can't really do zoomies in a 2x3, Luna tried and just couldn't get her legs stretched. After she settled in and I expanded it to a 2x4 like Beatriz has had since the start, Luna is able to do zoomies as well.

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lisam

Post   » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:13 pm


I have been trying to figure out what to do with the cuy I've been getting. I've been able to re-home two with an experienced guinea pig friend, but she can't take any more.

The two I have right now aren't adoptable. Unfortunately I don't have room in my rescue for them, since they take up so much room and freak out anytime someone is in the room.

Don't worry, I'd never euthanize them! But I'm trying to figure out a solution. They would be happy in an area with limited human interaction. An outside enclosure is out of the question (although I would consider it if I lived in a different climate). Perhaps a well lit and heated shed? I could use a stall in my barn maybe.

Is anyone here interested in a cuy and cuy mix?

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jacqueline

Post   » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:49 pm


I sympathize Lisam. The 2 cuy I have are so NOT like any of the other piggies I have and do require more space and a much gentler approach.

I'm all the way in NJ, but am always happy to take more cuy if you can get them to me. Flying these gals in on Frontier from LA was a pretty good experience, and the price of a flight was really low.

Anyway, it's a standing offer, if there's anyway you can get them here!

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lisam

Post   » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:42 am


How much was the flight? Just curious, since it's doubtful I could afford it!

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