Tuesday, March 17, 2009

11 weeks - patience rewarded

Big changes have been happening this week. First of all, the piggies are really warming up to us.

Food and Handling
We've gone from initially having to leave food and step away for them to eat, to gradually hand feeding them at the side of the cage. And now this week I have been able to put my hands right in the cage and hand feed them from there. Our patience is really paying off.

Harmony really loves apple, and while she shouldn't have much of it, I use tiny pieces to hand feed her. Because she has such a skittish nature, it's very touching to have her trust me this much. While we're hand feeding, a person might make a noise or cough or something and that might send them hiding, but they always come back right away and continue on. It's as if their nature is becoming a background situation and their desire to interact with us is starting to overpower it.

I will remain patient because I see the payoff already but I can't tell you how much I want to be able to eventually hold them on my lap and pet them. It seems we're on our way. Small steps.

Sexual Maturation
I think my girls are coming of age. If I was a betting woman, I would say that Harmony is perhaps two weeks older than Kazula, though we'll keep their guesstimated dates of birth as January 1, 2009, and Harmony seems to be getting her first glimpses of womanhood.

I haven't read up on it much but here's what I've noticed:
Harmony started doing this deep purr in recent days. Kazula sometimes answers it with her own purring. Sometimes they are sitting still when they purr but other times they are actually running and playing. I can't tell if it's sexual, contentment, or something else. My gut tells me it's a hormonal thing and they are happy.

Along with the purr, Harmony started nuzzling Kazula's neck. She'll do about three strokes with her nose and purr deeply while doing it. I can't tell you how many times I've checked for a penis, worried that she's actually male and ready to reproduce! NO. NO. NO. There are zillions of unwanted pets on this planet and I do not want to breed more. That's why we got two females: no breeding, no accidents. Just two loving pets in a caring home.

So, no penis on that girl but lots of desire in her, I think. Kazula doesn't nuzzle Harmony but she deep-purrs too. I don't know if she's just imitating Harmony or her time is coming too. If I'm way off on this, feel free to leave a comment telling me what's actually going on.

First Feud
When I'm hand feeding the piggies, I try to keep them both eating so they can trust what I'm doing and not squabble about equal portions. However, once this week I gave Kazula a piece of romaine. Harmony was hungry and zotted over and took it from her. Kazula took it back. Harmony lashed out. I don't know exactly what she did because it was over in a flash (less than a second) but it seemed to be a sort of growl/hiss/bite gesture of some kind. It was interesting because this is the first annoyance they've shown each other besides escaping the other's butt sniffing. I gave Harmony her own romaine and that ended that. It was a very minor episode but a new behaviour, for sure.

Mom Love
This week when I was cleaning the cage, taking my time so I could entice them with my charms, both piggies came over in turn and nudged my hand with their noses. They each then ran off but it was another huge step. I know they look forward to cuddles as much as I do. Lots of times when I'm passing by the cage I'll flirt with them, using my voice to lure them over and have a little hello. They're very receptive to this and so cute. We're become fine friends.

These are not pets for the impatient or insensitive. And I'd never leave a child in charge of their own guinea pigs. It takes a lot of care and supervision but it's also very enjoyable. I find it very relaxing to clean their cage and chat with them each day.

Emergency Preparedness
It recently occured to me that one downfall of having such a big, comfy cage is that it is not portable. I'm going to keep a suitable carrier cage (with a towel in it) under our cage table. If there was ever an emergency where we had to hurry to the vets or flee the house, I could quickly pick up the piggies and bring them to safety.

1 comment:

  1. They are so cute. Wish I could adopt some too. But then so do our four cats ;)


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