Monday, 10 April 2017

Introducing my Family - part 6 - Daisy

Daisy


Friday 31st March 2017 was a particularly bad one at work. We needed to pick up our mood, and some more hamster and guinea pig food, so dropped in to Pets at Home on the way back from work.

We started our visit with a look at the baby boy guinea pigs, so many colours, so many hairstyles, so much cute! Then we moved round, past the bunnies to the baby girl guinea pigs, they were really outgoing! There were around 8-10 girls in the pen, definitely at least three different age groups, and probably from more litters than that, as they were all so different.

One of the larger girls looked very like Molly, Rex coated, but in white and lemon - very cute! then suddenly another tiny baby appeared from under a hidey! She was tri-colour, with long wavy hair...Oh My Goodness!

Daisy our new baby guinea pig
Daisy
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

MrPB spotted her first, and instantly fell for her. He started talking about where we could house her, who she might bond with!! I agreed she was lovely, but we already have five piggies, could we really have two trios? A quad and a pair? One big herd?

I suggested we go and look in the adoption area, just to give us both a minute to think. We looked at the beautiful Lion Head rabbit, multiple hamsters and a trio of HUGE adult female guinea pigs who obviously needed to be rehomed together. Definitely no space for any of them!

We went back over to the the babies and looked at the tiny little girl again - she really was beautiful! MrPB gave me final say, but I knew she was coming home with us, and I reasoned that as we don't know how old Molly is, it might be wise to bond Emmeline with a younger piggie now. We know Emmeline isn't the most sociable creature in the world, but maybe she would accept a baby better than an adult. With the baby being so small, Emmeline shouldn't feel threatened by her.

An assistant got her out and let us have a cuddle with her. I checked her over, made sure she was definitely a girl, checked her bottom was clean, eyes bright and nose clear. We explained our intention of bonding her with our existing pigs to the assistant, hence why we weren't looking at more than one baby. He asked us lots of questions about our set up, feeding regime, our experience of bonding piggies, and quickly he recognised that we knew what we were doing.

By this time MrPB had already named her, she was to be Daisy.

Please Note:

I do not advocate impulse buying pets. Remember that I am an adult with my own home and a good job to cover any unforseen expenses (ie. vet bills). I have kept guinea pigs and hamsters since I was very small, I have five guinea pigs already so I know what I am doing by taking on another one. I would prefer to adopt if possible, but sometimes a little face just steals your heart.

...Back to Daisy

I believe she is (at least partly) a Lunkarya. She has the curly sideburns and two rump rossettes that differentiate the Lunkarya from the Texel. This means her coat is going to get very crazy as she grows up. At the moment the fall is quite short and tidy, but we'll keep it trimmed so that it doesn't get tangled or matted.

When we got her home at about 3pm, we separated off one level of cage, cleaned it thoroughly, put in fresh newspaper, hay and Burgess Excel nuggets, and put a fresh water bottle on the bars of the cage. We also made Daisy a little hidey area, and then put her in the cage. We also gave Molly and Emmeline a dose of Ivermectin 'Spot On' treatment to be sure they wouldn't pass any parasites on to Daisy.

We left Daisy quietly until 10am the following day. She had been silent, very nervous and desperate to hide in the cage, so we decided to try bonding her with Molly straight away. She was so relieved to see another piggie that she dashed over to Molly, squeaking excitedly. Molly gave Daisy a little reprimand to calm her down, chuttered her teeth and had to keep defending her food. Daisy was trying to eat anything Molly ate...as it disappeared into poor Molly's mouth!

Bonding baby guinea pig with adult guinea pig
Daisy was very keen to interact with Molly
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

Bonding baby guinea pig with adult guinea pig
...very keen
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

Initially we thought we would bond Daisy with Molly, then put them back in their own cages overnight, and start again in the morning, but Daisy was so desperate to be with others that we decided she would hate to be on her own again. So later that day, once we were happy with Molly and Daisy being together, we put Emmeline in too.

The dynamic of the three together was fascinating. Daisy rushed over to Emmeline to say hi, Emmeline ticked her off soundly, displaying all sorts of dominance behaviour, Then Molly faced-off to Emmeline to quieten her down. So Molly wasn't exactly defending Daisy, just asking Emmeline to respect her dominance. Daisy obviously felt much safer with Molly, but was still excited to be with everyone, popcorning, zooming and squeaking all round the pen!

Bonding baby guinea pig with adult guinea pigs
Emmeline joined in the bonding session
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

Eventually all the excitement was too much for them, and they all flomped out for a nap, Molly first, then Daisy, then Emmeline.

Bonding baby guinea pig with adult guinea pigs
Exhausted, they all flomped out for a nap
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

When we were satisfied that the bulk of the dominance behaviour was over and they were being calmer, We cleaned out Molly and Emmeline's cage really thoroughly and put them all in together.

With lots of levels in the cage, everyone found their spot, Emmeline tried to keep Molly to herself by blocking her into a corner, while Daisy set up camp in the hayloft. We monitored them closely, as dominance behaviours can start up all over again when the environment changes. When we were happy with them, MrPB and I went into the next room to watch some tv.

About an hour later, there was some alarmed wheeking, which became a whimper. I rushed into the kitchen to find Emmeline now in the hayloft and Daisy down on the next level looking terrified. I scooped up Daisy and gave her to MrPB to hold while I went and got Molly and some lettuce. We all sat together for a few minutes, then slowly moved Molly over to be with Daisy. Daisy was so relieved she tried to burrow under Molly as if she was going to nurse from her. Molly was not interested in that (it's been a long time since she had babies of her own!), so with the help of the lettuce we persuaded Daisy just to sit next to Molly.

The following day we bought Daisy a toy giraffe (one suitable for a new born human baby, so no plastic eyes or loose bits). We made sure the giraffe smelt of us and we put it up in the hayloft with Daisy. She loves it! When we get her out for a cuddle, Giraffe comes too, and Daisy tries to burrow underneath. Giraffe even came out to play on the grass with everyone yesterday!

When I posted on Instagram that this was the fastest bonding session ever, I might have been a bit over-optimistic, but they are doing very well. Good job girls!

guinea pigs giraffe grass sunshine
Six guinea pigs and a giraffe enjoying the grass and sunshine
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

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