Sunday, April 26, 2009

notes on changes in Guineaville

Here are some changes that have happened during this fourth month in the lives of Harmony and Kazula:

1. The piggies started sleeping out in the open. Prior to this, they always slept in the security of a hidey. I attribute this change to a greater level of comfort and security. Yay us!

2. Heat Cycles (every 15-17 days, according to g.p. medical sources):
Harmony went into heat on March 31. The purrs and hip sways last about 3 days. Kazula went into heat on April 1.
Next cycle: Harmony went into heat on April 16. Kazula didn't seem to be in heat again until late on April 18.
That puts Harmony on the 16 day cycle and Kazula at 18 days. We'll see what happens next.

I'm eternally grateful that going in to heat is not a messy affair. It's just a behaviorial change, from our standpoint, and it can be very sweet and funny as well as intense. All we see is lots of purring, hip swaying, and nose to nose touching.

A friend said her guinea pig never seems to go in heat. Perhaps these behaviors are only present when there is more than one pig to act it out on? I want to find the answer to this.

3. We moved the eating / peeing area of the cage to one of the upper lofts. This makes it way easier to keep the cage clean. They will poop anywhere anytime, which is find because herbivore poops are totally inoffensive and easy to sweep up. And because they do most of their peeing while eating, all the pee is soaked into the old towel under the kitchen fleece. I change that one daily and the rest of the cage only needs a fleece and towel change on a weekly basis. Simple!

Also, by isolating the kitchen, hay only gets on that small section of fleece. I change that piece daily and just sweep the hay off the fleece into the compost bag. Done!

4. I made a hay rack for the eating area. I bent a spare cage grid into a tight U shape and hung it on a wall. Soon after, Kazula managed to jump into from one side of the open U and couldn't figure out to get out. I had to touch her rear end to get her to jump along and off it. Goofball! I then added coroplast sides to keep her from repeating the episode. While they will eat what's on the fleece first, it's good to keep spare dry grass and hay in the rack in case they run out while I'm out in the day. Gotta keep those ever-growing teeth chewing!

5. Dominance
We're starting to see some adult behaviours such as quests for dominance. In the past few days, Harmony has been really asserting herself with Kazula. I've seen Harmony use the bulk of her body to block Kazula from walking across the bridge to or from the kitchen area. I've also seen Harmony sort of snap at Kazula after they touch noses. I think I might have heard a growl too. Once I saw Harmony take a light nip on one of Kazula's ears. No mark, no wheek, no blood, but it was a definite sign of the quest for dominance. This is all very funny coming from the one piggie who is the biggest chicken in the cage.

6. Petting / Contact with the Humanoids
We continue to move closer, ever so slowly. My daughter has been able to pet Kazula for about 20-30 seconds at a time, but only when she has kind of cornered her first. If she has an escape route, she'll still run away.

Kazula likes to be near my hands and will touch noses with me! Sometimes I really feel like she's trying to get me to pet her but her skittish side over rules it.

I bring my hand to Harmony many times a day and just let her sniff it. Sometimes I take it away before she is done so it doesn't seem like I'm always imposing on her. Progress is slow but steady. Ultimately we're hoping they'll be so big and happy that they can't much escape us and will enjoy more petting. They are so ridiculously cute that it's really hard to hold back and not snuggle them.

7. Growth
Both piggies have been growing a lot. They are about 3 times the length they were when we got them 2.5 months ago. On May 1st they will be 4 months old. Wow. Apparently growth continues until they are 15 months old. Yikes. Good thing we have a huge cage!

8. Funny
When I place a stack of hay in the kitchen area, Kazula always burrows under it and makes it fly around by heading butting the hay into the air. Harmony ends up with hay on her head as she stands there eating and watching. It's quite funny but hard to capture with the movie camera so far...

1 comment:

  1. Oh hi. I just noticed your other blogs. I've followed your shed's blog in the past and now I find we have another shared interest (not to mention a name). My son has just acquired two male guinea pigs, so we are very curious about your adventures with Harmony and Kazula. I'd love to make some of those fleecy fabric tunnels!


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