New owner in need of advice and thoughts, please

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dainenable

Post   » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:24 pm


Hi all. First time guinea pig and pet owner here in need of a bit of confidence and direction. I've lurked the forums for a couple of months and decided now is a good time to get direct advice. Please bear with the back story (or skip to the dot points below).

My husband and I got two little guinea pig brothers, Rusty and Red, from a society in September after a few months of deliberation. I know that this community advocates shelter rescues / adoption. However, we could not find one that allowed us to adopt pets as we live in a rented property and did not want to ask for owner consent as we fear getting kicked out. The boys were really good, active and naughty, and seemed to adjust well to us.

Sadly, Red passed away middle of this month at approximately 5 months old. It was very heart breaking. Two weeks ish prior to his passing, Red ate very little, wheeked a lot, had tiny, uneven beans (the poop thread was very helpful) and was steadily loosing weight before we brought him into a specialist vet. The vet could not find anything outwardly wrong with him (coat and teeth were fine, no breathing issue, no odd internal sounds or bloating) gave him an injection (I can't remember what it was) and advised us to force feed him Critical Care as well as some of Rustys good beans. Two days after, his weight stablised and he started eating a little more. Unfortunately, on the 6th day he passed away. We did not show Rusty the body but I feel he knew it was going to happen.

I'm still really sad about Red, but I want to concentrate my energy on Rusty. Since then we've really gotten to know Rusty better and he's adorable, inquisitive and seems normal. He still popcorns at times and comes to snoop whenever we are around. I've been leaving the radio on while we are at work to keep him company, and letting him run the living room and interact with him as soon as I'm home (the rest of the house is not piggy proofed). I am also actively looking for a buddy. It's a bad time as we are going away for a week, leaving Rusty in the care of relatives (They've never had guinea pigs but I will leave them a cheat sheet, the whole cage setup, safe veggies, hay and oxbow pellets). We've scheduled to have a look at some babies from Gumtree this weekend that will be weaned by the end of the month that we can pick up mid Jan.

My worries now include:
  • should we be rushing to get a new buddy
  • whether Rusty is being left alone for too long and will not get along with the new baby
  • as Rusty nears puberty (I've read in the forums this goes between 6 and 12/18 months) if it will affect the new relationship
  • if there is a need to separate the baby from Rusty for a few weeks even though it's supposedly mite/mange treated and healthy
  • if we should just wait for Rusty to be a year old and hopefully not pubescent and therefore better off in bonding - but he will be alone
Thank you for reading through. Would love to hear any thoughts and advice. Please be kind, we're trying to be good guinea pig parents.

JX4

Post   » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:13 am


This is just my opinion, but I think the sooner he gets a new companion the better -- but wait until after your vacation is done and you can be home with them for a long while. However, Yes, you do need to quarantine the newbie as per the information on this site. Also do introductions (when the time comes after quarantine) as per the information here too.

Yes, he's entering adolescence soon, and you will see spats. It might be best to get a baby companion for him, so there's not as much temptation to spat as much. However, make sure your cage is big enough for two adult males (they will all grow). A 2 x 5 grid C & C cage is the minimum recommended space for two adult males.

That's just my opinion. Others with more experience might have a different view.

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dainenable

Post   » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:02 am


Thanks JX4, I appreciate your opinion. I'd also feel better if he has a buddy soon to accompany him during the hours we are not around.

We've set up a 2x3 C&C cage for the moment but have more squares to expand. Now that it's just Rusty, that should be enough room and we'll use the leftover squares to quarantine the newbie. Instead of a 2x5 could it be 3x4 instead, or would it be better longer?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:56 am


Read over www.guinealynx.info/alone.html too. Weigh him frequently to make sure he is doing okay.

You are taking a risk not getting permission to have them in your apartment. Do you have a solid plan if you have to give them up? It may be heart breaking for you.

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dainenable

Post   » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:36 pm


Thanks LYNX, and yes I have read the Living Alone page. But I'm not confident to be able to tell if Rusty is getting depressed by being alone. I saw one chat where it was advised to introduce the new guinea pig immediately if that were the case. Rusty is still eating, popcorns, does zoomies and hops out of his cage for floor time but his weight's pretty static at the moment where before it increased every week. Could I quarantine the newbie in on the opposite side of the same room instead of in a completely different room?

Yes, I know we are risking not getting permission but we factored in that the risk is low. We keep the place well that the landlord never has reason to complain and never comes around. In the event of an inspection, we have friends that can house them (or just Rusty for now) for the short period of time who also own small animals or we can tell the inspecting officer that we are just sitting for a friend. We are planning on finding our own place soon as well.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:31 pm


Quarantine is the safest choice. There are sometimes exceptions.
www.guinealynx.info/quarantine.html

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dainenable

Post   » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:25 am


Thanks LYNX, I've read the information on quarantine as well. I'm just anxious and looking for an experienced opinion.

Have to assume, since it's not commented on, that Rusty is doing fine. The Gumtree person cancelled on me so the buddy search may have to wait until January. I am trying to get him a buddy as soon as possible and have already rang 3 shelters / adoptions without success. Thanks for your help.

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dainenable

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:02 am


Hi all, just reviving this thread with some updates and questions.

Rusty has been doing very well even with multiple moves and strangers caring for him. His weight has not dropped past 30g difference but it hasn't increased by much either. I know that there's an age/weight table on the site but could someone here with more experience help me out please. At approximately 6 months old, is 800g normal/ok weight for a boar?

We're also 5 days into quarantining a new fluffy black abyssinian, almost 7 weeks old. He seems to be doing well although so shy that whenever he does come out from his hidey to eat, I stop moving to prevent him from running straight back in. Gearing up to introduce them in 2 weeks on a weekend so we have time to observe. If introduction goes well (hopefully within a couple of hours!) will it definitely be safe to place them in the same cage or would we need to keep careful watch for longer?

Lastly, I am just a little concern that Rusty will hog all the food once they are in the same cage as he's like a vacuum compared to the new ones dainty eating character. Any advice on how we can balance these eating habits (until hopefully the new one picks up) ?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:37 am


Let the introductions go on until both are thoroughly tired and have had a nap. Do it at a time when you've got hours to give to it, if necessary.

You can put multiple piles of food in the cage -- Rusty can't hog them all at once. Or you can take the little guy out and put him in a laundry basket for some uninterrupted food time.

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dainenable

Post   » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:21 pm


Thanks for the tip bpatters. I have encouraged husband to also read up introductions and will prepare to watch them the entire day if necessary!

As with taking the little one out to feed, will this disrupt the bond? I am mainly thinking about the pellets which Rusty inhales, while the little one takes more an entire day to eat his share. He's eating hay and veggies alright, but I'm less inclined to remove him from the cage for hours on end so he gets his share of pellets.

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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:23 am


We have a food hog (a baby whom we paired with an adult a few months ago), but two bowls work well. As bpatters said, he can't commandeer both. ;)

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dainenable

Post   » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:30 pm


Thanks sef1268, will try two bowls. I think Rusty will certainly try!

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