Tuesday, February 24, 2009

8 weeks - cage improvements & first wheeks!

Water
When we got our piggies, we got some pet store sales advice that turned out to be wrong/not helpful. I know this won't come as a surprise to many of you who love animals and realize that sales come before proper care and knowledge at a lot of these stores.

We were told that one big water bottle would suffice. I knew from my reading that the piggies would probably get enough water from their veggies if they were hearty eaters (they sure are!), but I also noticed that they never touched the water bottle. After some reading I learned that it would be wise to have at least two water bottles: and small ones at that: the size of their little mouths. The big water bottles are way to big right now.

The piggies had been drinking from a shallow water dish. To switch them to the bottle, I placed the dish beside the small water bottle spout for a few days. This got them investigating the water bottle. Eventually I removed the water dish (which was interfering with their lap-running route) and now just provide fresh water daily with the two bottles (big and little). I rarely notice them taking a drink. They seem to be satiated from their wet veggies, but I'll always keep the bottles there just in case.

Cage Improvements: Moving Up
You cannot explore guinepigcages.com without admiring all the two-level cages. We added a 2x2 grid loft and built an access ramp from double-thickness corrugated plastic. Because we are taking the laid back approach with our pigs, we didn't want to force them to use the ramp or loft so we left it to their initiative.

One day I was cleaning up and discovered Kazula on the second floor. She had braved it up the ramp but evidently did not yet know her way back down. It was kind of sweet and sad at the same time.

I thought about it a while and it occurred to me that because they were so hidey and enjoyed their tunnels so much, I should try making the ramp like a tunnel.

Ta-da! As soon as I added a ramp roof, they were up and down that baby like nobody's business! The loft became a favourite play place. I will post some videos that show the new loft.

First Wheeks!
Around 7-8 weeks old, our piggies got their voices. We had only heard very faint chatter from them up until this point, but suddenly one day when I was getting hay from the bag, Kazula did her first wheek. It was so sweet in her little baby voice. She did it a few times that day and by the next day Harmony was wheeking too. They are still so young so their voices are fairly soft. I imagine there will be some major wheeking in our future.

By the end of week 8, they knew to wheek whenever someone opened the fridge (which is located in eye-shot and about ten feet from their cage). Whether they are hungry or not, if they're not napping, they wheek for the fridge. Very optimistic, these piggies are!

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