Friday, July 31, 2009

hanging out



Both piggies take turns laying on the fabric tunnel I hung from their bridge. It forms a hammock. With such big heads, I think they like somewhere to rest them.

Petting

Kazula continues to allow petting, but she prefers it when she's laying on her ledge so she can relax and enjoy it. Sometimes if I stop too soon, she comes running to ask for more. Sweet!

Harmony tolerates little nose touches but not much else from me. My daughter can pet her when she's eating but she always seems nervous.

Treats
Lately when I feed them little treats (a bit of carrot, apple, or a grape), they will take the food from my hands and carry it away to eat. Harmony is the funniest because she runs away with her grape like she's just robbed a bank and has to make a getaway. She reminds me of the IKEA ad where the woman yells, Start the car, Start the car! Her expressions are very funny. Sometimes Kazula seems more interested in stealing Harmony's treat than eating her own. Little rascal.

Silliness
The piggies are now seven months old, about half way to full adulthood. They popcorn only about half as much as they did as babies but they still get pretty silly when I'm cleaning the cage each day or visiting. Some mornings before I come to say hello, I can hear them running really fast laps around both levels of the cage. Burn those calories!

Whistling
Several times a day they whistle for me, hoping for a treat, which they often get. Sometimes they have a full lot of food but whistle anyway, probably just recognizing the sound of the fridge opening and closing, or the sound of the metal colander I use for rinsing their greens.

Food
My veggie garden has been a huge help for providing fresh, cheap pig food. Each day we pick parsley and a variety of fresh lettuce greens, in addition to the other rotated fruits and veggies they are allowed.

Antics
They seem to take turns pulling pranks on each other. Sometimes one will block the way to the food area so the other cannot get through. It's particularly funny when Harmony does it because she has the bulk to really block the path. But neither pig is dominant, it really alternates.

The other interesting thing is that they don't hold grudges. Any mishap seems to be immediately forgotten. There's no retaliation or revenge like you see with other animals like cats (which can be very, very funny).

Heat
They go into heat every sixteen days or so but the last time they did (they start a day apart), it didn't last the full three days. I only heard them purr at each other a couple of times and that was it.

Size
If their current size is any indication, these girls are going to be huge at full adult size. Harmony is your standard big pig, Kazula is much slimmer and looks more like a WebKinz than a real animal.

Advice
Guinea pigs are high maintenance pets. They need food and cage cleaning at least twice a day. You could not go on even a short holiday without having someone come in to look after them (mine would not transport well to another location).

Much of the food sold for guinea pigs in stores is not appropriate for their diet. They should not have corn or nuts or seeds. Every pet shop sells the crap and just a few sell good quality and appropriate pellets and hay.

Guinea Pigs Go Hollywood
The new G-Force movie will be terrible for the guinea pig population. More people will adopt them from breeders, which will create another influx of unwanted pets. The ads for the movie show improper handling of the pigs: you should never pick one up under the arms alone: they always need their front and rear ends supported at the same time.

I hate it when movies come out exploiting a particular type of animal. You know they will become the centre of attention for a while and pay the price with over breeding, mishandling, and eventual abandonment.

Guinea pigs in particular are a big, adult responsibility. A young child should never be left to their care or handling.

Lecture over. We love our pigs.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Petting News



The picture is kind of blurry but you will note that that is a hand PETTING Kazula! For the past six weeks or so, she has been letting us pet her. My daughter can pet her anywhere in the cage but for me, she likes to lay down on her favourite perch and relax while I pet her. She enjoys a good massage. So sweet!

Harmony will tolerate some petting, mostly in the kitchen area while she's munching hay but she still seems nervous about it. We had a visitor recently who didn't know she doesn't like petting and reached in and just started stroking her. It was so funny to see the look of shock on Harmony's face! She put up with it for about 20 seconds and then ran to hide.

We still don't pick them up but being able to pet Kazula is a major step forward. When Harmony doesn't want to be petted, she tries to nip. Kazula doesn't nip but instead gives a little kick with her back leg or runs away.
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