Sunday, April 24, 2016

Second Guinea Pig Introduction Attempt

Well, hello there readers. It's been a tough week as the newest writer here at Cavy Savvy. The humans have been doing their best to make a smooth introduction happen, which I am certainly not opposed to in principal, although my prospective cage-mates have been acting rather ridiculously during our recent encounter. See the video for yourself:

The drama continues!

So it starts out with the two of them getting way too close for comfort. A bit intimidating, but I remain cool as a cucumber. Then Buffy starts up with a back attack! Now I'm not an overly-aggressive pig, but if you hit me, I'll hit you right back. Sorry Buffy, but you were asking for it!

Then Broccoli starts getting rather aggressively close, and even starts climbing on me! Listen up, Broccoli. I'm nobody's footstool, and running circles around me doesn't impress me. Nor does butt-sniffing. And there's only so much foolish behavior I can tolerate before you'll leave me no choice but to headbutt you!

Clearly, Broccoli wants to prove his dominance, but he bit off a bit more than he can chew with me!

That's what defeat looks like.
Better luck next time! I sure hope we can resolve all this dominance foolishness soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Guinea Pig Introduction - Lola 2 meets Buffy!

It's time for another Cavy Savvy guinea pig introduction! This has only really been done once before, when Lola (#1) and Broccoli got into some serious drama. The humans decided it was finally time for us to meet Lola (#2) today without any bars between us. (Although the vet originally told us 30 days is the standard quarantine period, we were told on a second visit that we can introduced early since we were under observation for several days while the humans were out of town, and the vet found no evidence of health problems.)

To introduce us, the humans picked a neutral location (not one of our cages), and placed us at opposite corners so we could discover each other on our own terms. Broccoli decided to be silly and run away at the first sight of Lola (#2). Although I haven't been always been the bravest pig, today I found my courage to walk right and introduce myself!

Hi! I'm Buffy. Who are you?

The humans wanted to give Broccoli another chance to redeem himself, and he ran away again!

Nope nope nope...

When introducing guinea pigs, usually some dominance-establishing behavior takes place. Here is Cavy Spirit's guide to behaviors that you should and should not tolerate during introductions:
  • Safe, non-combative, dominance behavior (don't worry yet!)
    • Rumblestrutting
    • Butt sniffing
    • Butt nudging
    • Chasing
    • Butt dragging (they are leaving their scent)
    • Mounting (any which way: rear mount, head mount, side mount, flying leap mount!)
    • Nose face-offs (higher in the air wins, one must lower their nose to be subservient to the other)
    • Teeth chattering: a little (signal of dominance)
    • Raised hackles (hair on the back of the neck and along the spine)
  • Posturing for possible attack, battle for dominance is escalating (monitor very closely!)
    • Teeth chattering: sustained (signal of anger, aggression, warning)
    • Nips, light bites, may result in little tufts of fur in their teeth
    • Wide yawn, but this is no yawn, they are showing their teeth
    • Snorting (like a strong puff or hiss)
  • Fighting with intent to harm (time to separate)
    • Bite attacks are no longer warning nips, they are lunges with intent to harm.
    • Combination of raised hackles, loud and angry teeth chattering, rumblestrutting in place with the head staying in one position while facing the other guinea pig doing the same thing. Usually a signal of a biting attack. But they may back down before they engage.
    • Both pigs rear up on their haunches, face to face. This is a clear, brief signal of their intent to launch full attacks at each other. Separate if possible before the attack.
    • Full battle. The pigs are locked together in a vicious ball of fur. This is very serious. Separate immediately, but be careful. Throw a towel over them and use a dustpan or something other than your hand to separate them. Unintended bites from their very sharp incisors can cause serious damage.
The humans had a towel ready to throw over us just in case things didn't go well. Apparently, the towel was not necessary.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Product Review: Vitakraft Sunseed AnimaLovens Cookies with Cranberry-Orange Flavor

It's time for yet another suspected bad product review, where we investigate a product we suspect of being good before we have the humans buy it for us. (So far, all our suspicions have been correct, and the humans haven't actually gone back and bought any.) This time, we're reviewing Sunseed AnimaLovens Cookies with Cranberry-Orange Flavor. Anyone care to place a bet on whether we'll finally send the humans back to the store this time?

I bet a carrot slice this won't be the one.
As usual with suspected bad products, we're going to have to take a look at the ingredients:
A lot of these look familiar from previous suspected bad product reviews.
Here we go again:

  • Ground Corn - Although guinea pigs can eat corn, the diet expert at and Guinea Lynx states that, regarding "Corn products (including corn bran, corn germ, corn gluten, ground corn, etc.) There is no legal definition of 'corn' alone in animal feed, so it may be any combination of products. Corn is not a normal feed for cavies, may contribute to allergies, and can be high in fat and certain sugars/starch depending on the product. Additionally, some corn is contaminated with deadly aflatoxin which can cause liver failure and death.)"
  • Sugar - Guinea pigs should not have excess sugar. If you feed us the right amount of fruits and veggies, we'll get the right amount of natural sugars. We don't need added sugars in our treats.
  • Vegetable oil - GuineaLynx forum says that nuts, seeds and oils are "too high in fat and protein, not a natural food source, often present in animal feeds in seed byproducts that have little to no nutrient value."
  • Calcium carbonate - This is an ingredient we have a tough time deciding if it's okay or not. On the one hand, Oxbow uses it in some of their products, and Oxbow uses an advisory board of veterinarians and scientists to develop their products. On the other hand, some people on have expressed concern about Oxbow's use of calcium carbonate in their pellets.
Honestly, we've seen worse treat products out there, but this still isn't good. We're still giving this one 1/5 stars. (If you took the bet, you owe us a carrot!)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Adjusting to a New Home as a Guinea Pig

Hi readers! Lola again here. This past week living in my new home has been a real whirlwind. There has been so much to get used to. Let me share with you all of the new things I've had to contend with this past week.

Weird New Foods
The new owners have been feeding me all sorts of new foods, some of which I like, and some of which I'm very suspicious of. The Oxbow pellets are delicious, and I like the brand of hay that these new humans have been feeding me. And they still give me carrots, which are one of my favorite vegetables, but they also try to feed me slices of weird foods like zucchini and cherry tomatoes. I've sampled the zucchini and it's okay, but it's no carrot, that's for sure. The cherry tomato I don't trust at all.

The humans assure me that as soon as the 30 day quarantine period is over and I join the other pigs, I'll start to try new foods. They claim that when I see the other pigs eating and enjoying these new vegetables, I will learn that they are safe for me to enjoy, too. But until then, I'm going to be very careful with what I nibble on.

Terrifying Whirling Noises
Then today, I heard the most terrifying noise I've ever heard in my life. I was just minding my own business in the afternoon, when all of a sudden this loud whirling sound appeared out of nowhere in the next room! I ran for cover in the sheltered area of my care and didn't come out for a full hour. The pigs over in the other cage hardly batted an eyelash. Go figure. Apparently they don't know terrible danger when they hear it! [Humans note: It was just the vacuum! It's okay, Lola!]

New Furniture in My Cage
Also, the humans have been talking about replacing the sheltered portion of my cage with something called a pigloo. It sounds like a glittery plastic house made especially for guinea pigs. They think it will make me easier to pick me up, When they reach into the covered area of my cage, I can get pretty deep in there and I can sometimes bite, so having a pigloo would make it easier for the humans to get at me. Hmmm. Again, not sure how I feel about this change.

New Vitamin Drops
These new humans have started feeding me some kind of orange liquid every night. They call it "vitamin C syrup", and apparently it comes highly recommended by the vet. I was concerned when they put it to my lips but once I tried it, it honestly wasn't bad.

What new adventures await me next week? I can't wait to find out!