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Piggies and piggie pregnancy
Member Name: Tranquil Toes
Date: 21/07/01, updated on 21/07/01 (1326 review reads)
Advantages: Theyre sociable, Great family pets, Fairly easy to look after
Disadvantages: The vet bills!
Doris ( male, first pig, no good at sexxing!)
Pinky who is mum to
Fudge and Minstrel
Neil (our only agressive pig - brill with humans not with other male piggies)
Tia who is mum to
Patch and Biggles
Starsky and Hutch (rescues we took in)
and now Pinky is pregnant with her second litter - Neil's fault - he did the deed before we could get him to have his doodahs chopped.
No more pigs please?.....
If you're thinking of having a pig neutered or spayed be very careful. Find a vet who is used to working on small animals, who you trust, and know that there are no guarentees. Guinea pigs are notorious for not coping well with anaesthetic, so think carefully about why you're having him or her done. Operations are life threatening - not ideal when you're trying to improve their life. In the end we decided that Neil should keep his pighood and we seperated him to avoid the agression and pregnancy.
We want to be toogevver...
Pig's need company if they are on their own. I myself don't like the idea of rabbits sharing with pigs, unless they are both introduced as babies because rabbits can be incredibly rough. So that means plenty of gentle handling and care. Introducing new pigs to the pigpad is quite difficult unless they are very young. Our's were introduced for ten minutes a day for a week, then twenty then half hour and so on at playtime, with lots of veggies to distract them. The only time we were unsucessful was with Neil, who wasn't having any of it. Pinky also took a dislike to Tia, but we think that was because we bought Tia pregnant, both pigs get on very well now. If you introduce male and female, that will work, but you will end up with babies, unless you can care for them, don't go there. Males and males only work if one or both of them are very young - they need to be watched c
losely for the first few days. Females and females sometimes work, again watch them closely.
The pig pad......
We keep all our pigs, they are part of our family. They live in the hall in a specially built pen. The pen is cleaned once or twice a week, sometimes more depending on when it needs doing - it is huge, spanning the length of the hallway so doesn't need doing as often as your average sized hutch. Guinea pigs need plenty of space to excercise and 'popcorn' ( a kind of back flip or leaping about in the air when they are happy.) If you're buying a cage, make sure it is big enough, that the floor is flat - not the wire mesh type, this hurts the pads on their toes and basically isn't very nice to walk on. Hutches need to be weather prepared, facing away from harsh weather, with a water proof covering. They need to have a seperate sleeping compartment, preferably dark. Housing also needs to be fox and dog proof - make it safe for them waking up to your pigs body can't be a nice thing.
Dinner times (or when ever they think it's dinner time) is incredibly noisy. Open the fridge, they wheek, if one pig wheeks, the others wheek too. When you've got ten that makes for a lot of noise. We've got a bird who lives in the tree just outside our front door, Patch sees him as her own personal friend and will talk to him when he sings, this is hysterical and the only time the other pigs stay quiet - they probably think she is mad!
Foodwise, pigs cannot make their own vitamin C so you have to compensate for this with their food. Buying rabbit food is not a good option as it doesn't always include the extra vitamin C. A specialised food such as Pet Smart's dried is excellent and good value for money at £4.99 for a medium sized bag. They need vegetables or fruit daily. Veggies help keep their teeth from growing too long and the fruit aids their digestion and u
ps their vit C intake. It tastes nice too, varying their diet makes for an exciting meal time! If introducing new foods though, do it slowly by putting some of the new food with the old type so as not to upset their delicate tummies. If you're going to buy treat's for them, make sure they are just treats, too much sugar is not good which is what the manufacterers tend to use to bind the ingredients, usually honey.
A salt or mineral lick is something that the pigs tend to enjoy, and they last for ages, giving the pigs vital components of nutrition. A handful of hay each daily also keeps their teeth down. Piggies need a plentiful supply of water in a vacumn bottle so as not to a) tip a dish over and b)not make a mess.
Phoar you stink pig........
Actually, no. Guinea Pigs don't smell. A smelly pig is one that is not looked after, or ill. Barring of course the musky odour you get sometimes from the chaps when they are trying to get the attention of one of the girls. Sometimes their scent glands need a bit of a clean, a gentle non perfumed oil on a cotton wool pad will do the trick.
Bedding is down to personal/pig choice - but I'd stay away from straw. Hay is for eating not for bedding. Woodshavings are good but they have to be the sort that is dust vacummed - small parts of bedding can get stuck in their eyes requiring a vet visit if it gets out of hand. Newspaper will be eaten, as will plastic or anything else, guinea pigs are notorious chewers. Make sure anything you put in their pen,hutch or cage is not going to damage their stomachs.
Look at the state of my nails darling.......
Piggie claws will need to be cut regularly if they are not let out to run frequently on concrete. If they are not done your pig will go lame. Make sure to trim the claw away from the vein or it will bleed and keep on bleeding. You can buy a special product that stops the bleeding just inca
se - the name escapes me, I'll update when I remember!
And I must get my hair done............
Piggies always have a bald patch behind their ears, any other baldness or scaleyness is a sign of ill health, and needs investigation. It is possible to buy shampoos for mites at pet stores, but I've never had to so can't recommend them. I'm also reluctant to go putting products on my pigs that might irritate further any skin conditions. I'll be taking mine to the vet if I have these problems but it's up to you. It should go without saying, but watch their eyes if you're going to treat them.
It's a........ piglet!..........
Ok my pet subject... Pregnancy!
Our first pregnant pig was Pinky. At the time she got pregnant we were convinced that she couldn't get pregnant as nothing had happened. This was our first big mistake because we were'nt genned up enough to keep her safe. Guinea pigs must have their first litter between about 5 and 10 months of age. Pigs who have their first litter after 12 months of age are at risk of death. Pinky was over 12 months old. I spent a week before she was due watching her, sleeping downstairs waiting for the birth. The worry isn't worth what a few hours of reading could have saved. What happens is that in the female guinea pig, after 12 months of age the pelvis fuses, making birth difficult and life threatening. As it was Pinky was fine, had two healthy babies (Minnie and Fudge) and was a good mum.
General care of the pregnant pig........
Pregnancy lasts for between 63-72 days, and the babies usually begin to move at about three or four weeks. You can see and feel them, gently, while having piggie playtime. Remember to support the mums tum when handling her, shes heavy and uncomfortable just like we get. If she gets a bit nippy, shes trying to tell you to back off and leave her alone. You need to provide somewhere quiet fo
r her, with a dark area for when she wants to be left alone. Plenty of water and dried food. Birthing is a tiring business.
More vitamin C Please, pregnant pigs need extra. Seperate the preggie pig from the other pigs just before they are due, We tend to seperate ours about a week or two before incase our mum pig pines for her friends. The reason for this is that although some pigs will help at the birth with the sack and whatnot, they may also trample the new babies. Pigs are very tidy birthers, cleaning up the majority of the mess themselves, a throwback to predators smelling blood. Don't disturb her and do it for her, youre smell isnt her babies smell.
The birth is a wondefull experience, we've been fortunate to be quietly present at both of our pigs births. It starts with a strange squeak and then restlessness, like shes trying to find the best place. It will look like she has hiccups, these are contractions. Both of our piggie births didnt last very long, about three quaters of an hour from start to finish. If it looks like shes contracting and nothing is happening for ages, then phone your vet. Caesarians are risky, but then having an impacted (stuck) baby is as well. She will then reach between her legs in a sitting position, hook her teeth behind the babys teeth and pull it out. Using her teeth punctures the bag, hen she will chew the bag off. By the time shes done that then the next one comes and she does it again, licking and stimulatiing them both to breathe. If there are a lot of babies the mum may not have time to get the bag off and they will suffocate, gently get your nail underneath a bit of bag and tear it, pull it over the babies face and then leave well alone. A baby that smells of human may not feed, if the baby doesnt smell the way it should the mother may eat it. This is rare but happens. Now and again the mum might accidently nibble on a baby ear while trying to get the bag off. This is usually ok, but
again, the mums priority is to get her babies breathing and get rid of the smell of blood.
The baby pigs are mini duplicates of their parents, and are up and mobile in the first day. Tbey also eat pellets and dried food the first day, but dont find the water bottle till much later - they have mum for fluid. Handle the babies too soon and you'll end up with a mum that wont feed. The temptation to find out if they are boys (boars) or girls (sows) is worth ignoring as you cant tell properly for the first week or so anyway, and thats with experience.
The new babies shouldn't be seperated too soon, take your signal from mom, if she refuses to feed - between about 4-6 weeks then shes ready and the pigs are weaned. If she refuses to feed after delivery that could indicate a young pig who hasnt quite got her instincts yet, a nagging pup (baby guinea pig) will usually nudge her into getting on with it. If she still doesnt feed you need to phone a vet pronto.
Handling the new babies requires care. Not just in the act of handling them but thinking about when. Too soon and mum will refuse to feed. Too late and you will have pigs who arent as sociable and trusting. We tend to handle ours fairly early by about day three, but wouldnt recommend this. I'm prepared to get up hourly during the night to hand feed and rear them if something goes pear shaped and to take responsibility. Never handle the babies on their own without mum, this is stressfull for her and the babies. She needs to be close to them and they her. Probably the best age would be about two weeks old. Children handling pigs should be supervised as they can be accidently rough.
Pigs are really sociable creatures, love human caring company and are very entertaining. Enjoy them!
I think thats about it, I'll update if I remember anything else!