Bringing A Guinea Pig Home

In this section you can read about settling your new guinea pig in their new home and what to expect.

I've had quite a few e-mails from worried owners ( who haven't kept guinea pigs before ) about their new guinea pig being very nervous and that they try to hide away as soon as they set eyes on them. Firstly, guinea pigs are nervous animals by nature. In the wild they are a prey animal and mother nature has given them one defence and that is to runaway. If you can try to see things from a guinea pigs point of view. First they are taken away from familiar surroundings and perhaps also taken away from their mother, even though at 6 weeks plus they are no longer dependant on their mother for nourishment, they still have a close bond with her. They are then taken to a very strange home, they don't know you and are very confused and worried. It will take a few days for your guinea pig to adjust to their new home, getting used to the strange noises that go on in a busy household. For many guinea pigs it will take even longer for them to trust you. Please don't see it as a rejection, it takes time for a guinea pigs confidence to grow. It dosen't just happen in a few days, it can take many weeks and some piggies are naturally more nervous than others.

I hope by reading some of my other pages that I have persuaded you to bring home two guinea pigs, main reason being is that they need company of their own kind. It will also help with the settling in period. Its a well known fact that two guinea pigs together feel less nervous than a solitary guinea pig. They can cuddle up for reasurrance and they won't feel as afraid knowing they aren't alone going through this very worrying time.

Quarantine period: Please remember that if you are bringing home two guinea pigs that have come from different places, you will need to keep each guinea pig away from each other for a minimum of two weeks. This allows enough time for any illness to surface which they may have had before coming to you. Not all guinea pig illnesses show themselves straight away and guinea pigs are known to hide illness until an illness has really taken a hold. This is a survival strategy for wild guinea pigs so they don't appear to look weak and could be singled out by predators. The domestic guinea pigs acts in the same way. The quarantine period also applies if you have brought a guinea pig home to join your exsisting guinea pig or herd.

Getting to know you: For the first 24 hours leave your guinea pig to settle in their new home. Obviously watch out for signs of illness, but try and resist the urge to handle your new guinea pig, unless its necessary. Gently talk to your little friend. Yes, she may dart away as soon as she sees you, but just gently talk to her so she slowly becomes accustomed to your voice. On the second day you could try and handle her. Always let her see your hands first as this will make her even more nervous if you suddenly lift her and she didn't see you coming. You'll notice they will try to struggle so always have a firm grip ( do not squeeze ) so she dosen't fall out of your hands. Read my page on Handling your guinea pig Remember that even after a while your piggy may still want to runaway from you. My Jasmine still dislikes being picked up even though she's known me for over 3 years. Please don't think your piggy doesn't like you, its just their natural instinct and some are more confident than others. If the guinea pig is for a child, you will have to supervise at all times. A child will also be excited and want to show off their new piggy to all their friends. Please don't allow the piggy to be seen as a parcel that needs to handed around, it really isn't fair on the guinea pig. Even an older, adult guinea pig would find that stressful. At first, guinea pigs need to get used to their owner.

All the very best with your new little friend and we hope you have many happy years with your guinea pig.

A very cute picture of Sweetpea meeting Clover and Peachy for the first time

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