A few weeks ago, my supervisor called me on her afternoon off to tell me that there was a little girl sitting on a street curb with a cage and a sign that said guinea pig for sale. She pointed out that it was really hot out and they had been outside at least a couple of hours, and thought I should go take a look.
I made it 45 minutes before I broke down to take a look.
Sure enough, a little girl was out there with this darling silver agouti pig.
"Why are you rehoming him?"
"I got him for Christmas last year and then we got two dogs and two cats and my parents said that was too much and to get rid of the guinea pig," she tells me.
So I acquire Barley for $15 because I loved him at first sight and brought him home.
His physical needs were met; he was healthy and clean. But he wasn't very well socialized. He's a big, muscular pig (1240 grams) and skittish. We kept him separate from the other guys for several weeks because he needed time to get used to us.
We introduced him to the other guys during floor time and he did okay. We expanded Frost and Milo's cage and put them together.
Barley is not looking for dominance, but he's doing things that just annoy the heck out of the other guys. He will sniff at them while they're sleeping. He invades their space. He's not threatening, but when the other guys react, Barley takes their actions as threats and a fight breaks out. Barley also isn't used to noises from the cage (because he was a single pig for most of his life) and will run in fear if he hears the hay rustle or a water bottle clink. About half the time, he'll end up sprinting into Frost or Milo, which they find irritating.
Milo is holding his own just fine and he and Barley seem to be figuring each other out. We're worried about Frost, though. Frost is six years old, and even though he can handle himself, he's getting that look of paranoia, like he needs to be watchful at all times.
We're hoping they'll settle into a routine, but any advice you might have would be appreciated.
He's so cute and so huge!! ^^ About his issues getting used to his new cage mates and environment I can only think that time will solve all that on itself. Guinea pigs are from nature skittish, we've also lived many episodes of skittishness and piggie paranoia through these years as piggie parents, but time made it all better and eventually they learn to live with their cage mates and to get used to their new home and its noises, smells, voices, etc.
Do you have an idea of his age? Have you already tried to cuddle him or to spoil him with some pieces of veggies or something like that? How does he react to you guys?
Wishing Barley settles in soon here! :-)
- Poop Obsessed
I would separate them with a barrier and then introduce them in another space for feeding times and maybe small running around time. No hidey houses. Try that for a few days, gradually increasing the time.
When we saw how skittish Barley was, we gave him extra time to adapt to our home. He spent the past three weeks in a little cage next to the cage Frost and Milo share. They were all very curious about each other! No grumbling, just curious.
Tonight we noticed that Frost appears to be retaining his top-level alpha male status, but sweet little Milo has become his enforcer. The squabbling seems to be lessening a bit, but there are many bits of fur from all three guys in the cage.
I did take Frost out for an hour and he napped with me on the sofa. Poor guy was tuckered out.