Sunday, 12 April 2009

Not Easter bunnies...

... and not garden watching either! We have been kept occupied 'hutch' watching and I'm not talking about Hedgehog Manor this time. It has been fascinating stuff. Now, I wonder if you can guess what we have been watching. We have good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad, the sad news, out of the way first.


Do you remember this little lady above who was admired in my January GBBD posting? My daughter got two guinea pigs for her 14th Birthday. Sadly just a few days after my daughter's 16th Birthday, Elisa shown above, died. It appears that guinea pigs hide ill health very well as they have so many predators in the wild. We did all we could to help her.


Elisa’s hutch buddy Dora, shown above, was now all on her lonesome. Aw… we waited a week then made a return trip to the pet shop where we bought her and Elisa. This time we were organised with a pet carrier! However, we never considered calling ahead to see if they had any females. Our choice was limited to one but she seemed a friendly and chatty little thing and we were delighted to take her home.

Dora has been a very placid and good natured guinea pig. However, she did take exception to having Izzy, her new hutch buddy, move in without any introductions. We completely got it wrong by expecting her to be okay with sharing her space with a stranger and let’s just say their was enough of an issue to warrant getting the spare hutch down from the attic!

Izzy remained a chatty thing and like Dora enjoyed being handled. We Googled our problem with getting them together and it seems we should have began with a neutral space first. However, there was quite a size difference between them which was a little worry. More research was going to be required here.

Izzy was only 14 weeks old (March 21st) when we got her. We did notice she was a slightly different shape from Dora but thought nothing of it at the start. However, after a conversation at a friend’s house one evening we began to wonder about this now ‘pear shaped’ guinea pig. We Googled images of pregnant guinea pigs and yep… they looked just like Izzy! Now… just how was Dora going to cope with this? What to do next?

A visit to the vet confirmed that we had a very young pregnant guinea pig. As expected we were told to keep Dora and Izzy apart. What we didn’t expect to be told was that Izzy was just days away from having her babies. True to estimate she had them last Thursday morning. She had four, one died and three appear to be fine - although clearly we are no experts in this field.

Hutch watching has been tricky as they hide inside the igloo of the hutch most of the day. Izzy is young herself to be feeding three young and by evening she appears to have had enough! We have been concerned by her agitated behaviour then.

The young guinea pigs were born with hair, eyes open and were able to stumble around walking after a short time too. Just three days on and they are able to build up speed running after and away from Mum. Poor Izzy, she is appears tired as a young Mum. Photographs have been hard to get. I don’t want to use a flash and moments of seeing the young guinea pig babies (who look just like Mum) are still brief.

You can see Izzy peeking out her Igloo above. The not-so-sharp photo has been taken through the angled plastic sides of the hutch. So far we have taken few photos of her. If you look closely below her chin you will see the ears of two of her young babies. Sometimes she'll stay in the entrance and stretch for food. We are guessing she is trying to stop her young getting out!


The final photo above is the best I can get of our new arrivals for the moment. It was taken earlier this evening by gently and quickly lifting the Igloo roof up when Izzy was having something to eat. I daren’t use a flash with them. The young are often seen in line and usually all facing the same way too. They are now starting to show an interest in solid foods which should take a little pressure of Izzy soon.

Spare time wise, it’s a good job we don’t have any nest building going on in our nestbox at the moment! However, I have spotted Starlings collecting material from around my ornamental grasses so nesting is underway now. I am wondering if we will only get a rooster in our Camera Nestbox this year. Time will tell.

The photo of the three guinea pig babies shown above was taken on April 12th 2009. The guinea pigs were three days old.

11 comments:

Liz said...

Bless, little piggies!

So sorry to hear about Elisa passing away :( My friend has Guinea pigs and he's had a few problems with them just suddenly falling ill, however each time they have recovered after emergency vet visits.

I don't know if you've found these websites but try guinealynx and Cavy Cages (not only about housing piggies but all aspects) these are probably the best two piggie websites out there. Although be careful of Guinea lynx as they can be rather harsh on people, so if I were you I'd avoid posting on their forums and just read the information available instead :D

I hope Dora takes to Issy soon enough, I'm sure they will as piggies are very sociable - especially the females.

Midmarsh John said...

It is always a sad time to lose a pet. They become part of the family. Good luck with the new additions. No doubt they will keep you all busy for some while to come.

Some years ago I had one in my classroom. Sunshine (her name) used to start squeaking loudly if I talked to the class for too long and generally kept me in check!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Nothing like a sequence of dramas to keep one busy.

Joe said...

Hi Shirl,

Sorry to hear about Elisa. Our rabbit, Jake who used to live with Maisie, died within a year of us having him. It is quite sad to witness the death of a familiar pet. Our second male partner (Sparky) for Maisie however is very healthy, and they are very happy together.

I hope you had a great easter!

easygardener said...

Fouir guinea pigs for the price of one - quite a bargain. They do make lovely pets, so lively and unthreatening. You may end up with a male and a female household unless you find homes for the babies!

shirl said...

Hi again Liz, John, Lisa, Joe and Denise :-)Liz – Yes, they are quite sweet little things – and fast on their feet tonight too! Oh… and I don’t really do pets either! Yes, Elisa was a bit of a shock. We took her to the vet to discover she had pneumonia and she had also been loosing weight. She was given antibiotics and was to be separated from Dora as the water contained her antibiotics. They were a close pair so we divided the hutch with a barrier. Elisa squeezed under to get back to Dora so we swapped them around knowing Dora wouldn’t get under the hard plastic mesh. That didn’t hinder her in her plight to get back with Elisa – overnight she chewed through it. Thanks for the links, yes I do believe I have printed info from both. Yes, forums can be dodgy places at times I agree. Yes, we have a lovely two storey outside hutch ready for Dora and she would rattle around it on her own. Not sure yet how we will handle this. We put Izzy and crew out in their hutch to the utility room where Dora is in her indoor hutch. Izzy got rather vocal about that and we had to take them away after her and Dora exchanged a few words! Izzy was clearly taking her new role as Mum seriously and made the most noise. Yes, they are sociable animals so hopefully it will all work out :-D

John – Yes, it was sad and this is the first time we have been through this. We have never done pets ‘till now. Thank-you, the little ‘uns appear to be fine and are running around relentlessly after Mum for food. I had planned another posting tonight but have lost time watching them all. I had to smile at you having a guinea pig in your classroom but at the name too. My friend’s son is lined up to get one of the babies and if it is female (which he hopes) he has already named it – Summer :-D

Lisa – Yep… there’s always something going on! Today, I’m pretty certain now that a queen bee has moved into one of the caves around my pond. So there’s something else to watch if I was ever bored :-D

Joe – Thank-you, yes although we are new to having pets we did find it sad especially as Dora and Elisa were such good buddies. Great to hear that your rabbits are now happy too. Delighted to hear you had a good trip to your Grandma’s and spotted lots of birds too. Thanks, it has been a lovely weekend weatherwise here and we have been out and about. My next posting will be on ‘my patch’ which will be a first for me :-D

Denise – Yes, that’s one way of looking at it ;-) I agree, I have been pleasantly surprised at how sociable they are too. Nope… the planned outcome will not be a male and female. My daughter wants to keep one, understandably, so we are hoping there will be two females so my friend’s son can have one too. We will only keep a female. If they are all males that is another matter entirely! My friend’s son is keen to take two then but what about my daughter? Mm… we don’t want the garden filled with hutches. We will take them to the vets to get absolute confirmation of their sex and go from there :-D

ShySongbird said...

Well you got a jolly good bargain for your money there Shirl! Poor Izzy what a lot of work for a single underage mum!!
I hope your vet gets his diagnosis right. Someone I know bought two rabbits which she was assured were the same sex. She also visited the vet just to be on the safe side, but yes you've guessed it, before long they were joined by baby bunnies!
Hope you and yours had a lovely Easter.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Beware of pear shaped Guinea pigs! LOL

Pets, they keep us entertained and sometimes make us sad as well, especially when we lose them.

Good luck with the triplets!

Mel said...

Hola Shirl,
Sorry about the loss, it's always sad to lose a pet :(
Kisses to everyone over there!
Besos,
Mel

Tricia said...

Oh what a family you have there Shirl!

I can remember (some many years ago) when one of my daughter's first guinea pigs died - it was such a sad occasion too.

I think you're going to have your work cut out for you..... :)

shirl said...

Hi again ShySongbird, Yolanda, Mel and Tricia :-)ShySongbird – Yes, that’s one way to look at :-) Yep… poor Izzy indeed, she isn’t getting any peace. Athough they are now out exploring without her which is funny to see as they taste a little bit of this and that. They love grass and that has helped them try other foods. They are popcorning (jumping up in the air with joy) now too which is a lovely sight. Yes… that is a slight worry if the sex ID is wrong I did think on that! Thank-you, we did have a glorious few days. Have a great weekend :-D

Yolanda – Oh yes… oh yes… and oh yes… they have been keeping us entertained in the evenings especially! It isn’t bird TV this year its pig TV ;-) Ah… this pet thing you are an expert on… this is out first time with it and I can appreciate now the time and dedication you and others must have had over the years. Thanks, the triplets are getting a little more independent now but are still relying on this very young Mum. Their popcorning (jumping up in the air) tells us they are happy little pigs :-D Have a good weekend :-D

Mel – Hola and thank-you, this has been our first pet loss and all new to us. Thank-you, Izzy and the triplets haven’t replaced Elisa at all. Dora is still on her own and we were thinking of her when we got Izzy. We are probably only keeping one of the triplets but it will be hard to separate them when the time comes. Best wishes to you, great to see you’ve been out and about birding with Tommy again. Have a great weekend :-D

Tricia – Yes, indeed for the moment at least! Yes, being the first pet loss it was sad. Dora still looks lost without company but hopefully we will be able to resolve that yet. She loves being outside but I think Izzy and her crew will go into the outside hutch first and we will get the final crew (we will keep) and Dora into a neutral space that they will all love (the lawn) for them to get used to each other. Only prob is that Dora is a different breed and quite large. Yep… we are going to be busy! Wishing you a great weekend :-D