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guinea pig: Read females do better in pairs.

Have a new female guinea...
Have a new female guinea pig, Hilda. She seems lonely. Read females do better in pairs. She was donated after we lost a rescued male long haired Peruvian. The vet, who was wonderful, tried for a year to restore him. Hilda has a large cage with a house, ledge on the other side, and gets Nurtogold food, fresh spinach or romaine, timothy hay and vitamin water every day. She has chew blocks, a sisal ball, and seed log. I play with her appx. 15mins in the AM and 1/2- 1 hr at night when she is allowed to run free and to have cuddle time. She lives at Church but noone bothers her during the day as we do not have the SS rooms open. The kids (two 7 yr olds) learned proper handling with Hodie, but have not handled Hilda yet. We have had her 3 weeks. she bit me once, something I have never had happen with the male piggies I have had. Is piggie behavior gender related? SO want her to be happy and healthy! Two of her littermates are available. PLEASE ADVISE!! Maryanne
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3/15/2009
Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,645
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello,

Exactly how old is Hilda?

Was she with her littermates until you got her?

Thank you for the additional information.

Anna
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
She is approx. 6 months. She was with three others who I think were all littermates but am not totally sure. Thanks, Maryanne
Thank you for getting back to me, Maryanne. It sounds like Hilda does spend a lot of time alone during the day. She would probably be happier with a companion. But before getting one, check to be sure Hilda got along with the others.

The biting could be the result of a couple of different factors. Some guinea pigs just have a more feisty temperament - that can happen with either males or females. Such guinea pigs take more work to tame. Females do sometimes get a bit temperamental when they want to breed. However, I don't recommend breeding to solve that problem. Problem pregnancies are common in guinea pigs, and as many as 1 in 5 dies in labor.

Finally, it may just be that no one ever took the time to tame Hilda. You can try to start from the beginning to tame her. Begin by talking quietly to her while she's in her cage. Put your hand in the cage and let her sniff it. You can offer her a bite of a treat, like a piece of apple. Next, try stroking her back gently. If that doesn't disturb her, continue to do only that for several days. If even that much bothers her, just hold your hand in the cage for awhile. The next day, try again to pet her. When she'll let you stroke her back, slowly move your hand underneath her as if you're going to pick her up, but don't actually lift her. When she doesn't get scared when you do that, you're ready to try to pick her up.

When you lift her, make sure you support both the front and back parts of her body. The first time you pick her up, don't hold onto her for a long time. Just gently set her back down.

This method will take patience. You'll probably need to spend several days on each step, but if you work at it slowly, Hilda should become tame.If she doesn't, it may simply be her personality.

If you have more questions about this, let me know by clicking on REPLY.

Anna
Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,645
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thank you! But won't that mean she has even less interactive time. 2 hrs or so a day isn't much I know, but I have to work!?! She is NOT feisty at all! She is a sweet cavie: just seems bewildered and lonely as I said. The biting is not a chronic problem. I mentioned it because I have never had a guinea pig do that before. She is healthy. Took her to the Vet for a check when I got her. MMM
OK, I took it to mean that she was biting regularly. Something may have frightened her that time, If Hilda seems comfortable with you handling her, then you won't need to do the long taming process.

Of course, I understand that you have to work. Many guinea pigs don't even get as much interaction as Hilda does, but you're more caring than average and are concerned. It also sounds like Hilda is not adjusting well to living alone. For those reasons, I suggest that you consider getting one of Hilda's friends to keep her company.

There's no need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above, If you need anything else, just let me know.

Anna
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