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Joined: 12/31/1969
User offline. Last seen 42 years 37 weeks ago.

Hello,
My new Guinea pigs are petrifed. They've been in their home for a day and I know it will take some time. They're only 2 months, should I be handling them after a few days even if they're still timid or should I let them come to me instead?
How long does it normally take for younger guinea pigs to adjust to new surroundings?

Joined: 12/31/1969
User offline. Last seen 42 years 37 weeks ago.

I just got my two month olds on April 30th..=) And I think that you either wait for them to open up to you,wait for them to get comfortable or just listen to the other person, maybe they know more. I guess, cause I don't know my babies came to me and my sister on the second day, but I guess each is different

Joined: 12/31/1969
User offline. Last seen 42 years 37 weeks ago.

I have two piggies who are about 16 months old now. I've had them since they were about 2 months old. I have a background in animal behavior, but caring for guinea pigs was new to me when I first got them. I made sure I researched, read and spoke with other "piggy parents" just like you're doing now. Here's what I can tell you from my animal behavior knowledge as well as my own personal experience with my pair (who I adore). Because piggies are "prey" animals they are by their very nature and instinct going to be afraid naturally. And what I've learned is that some will never completely get over it, even if they eventually like to be petted or picked up. There will always be that instinct, but it doesn't have to get in the way permanently, even though it does initially. The most important thing is to respect where they're coming from. And to always remember that's where they're coming from. So you asked whether should you handle them or should you let them come to you. My advice is to do a bit of both. Spend as much time around them as possible. And make time to sit with them, talk to them, put your hands into the pen, gradually inch your hands near them. If they run, don't reach for them. Just lay your hands on the bottom of the pen. Guinea Pigs are incredibly curious. They can't resist checking something out. But because fear dictates initially, they may not come up to you right away. But they eventually will. So you need to be sure you get them familiar with you first by "gentle exposure". Like all animals, they love their food, so in addition to what I just suggested, I'd also suggest doing what I do -- I make feeding time and pen cleaning time, our special interactive quality time. There is much more I can add, but it would be too long of a response. So for now, if you do as I suggest, it is a very good first step. I'll add onto this very soon, so you can progress along the path of being buddies with your piggies. Mine are very comfortable being petted, held, and they love when I spend time with them, etc. And it did take time and patience on my part, as well as caring enough to respect and understand their nature; and to work within that understanding by not forcing my eagerness to bond with them! And it all was WELL worth it! It sounds like you are sensitive and will be able to do this beautifully. I'll be back in touch.
P.S. You also asked how long does it normally take younger ones to adjust? The best answer is it varies with each individual piggy. Of my two, one adjusted MUCH faster than the other - and both got the exact same exposure, treatment, etc. Just different personalities. And the other part to the answer is, it also depends on how much time you can devote to them during this transition period. The more exposure you have to them, the better, and the sooner they'll be acclimated not only to their surroundings but to you. So it really could be anywhere from a couple of weeks with *constant* attention to a couple of months or "never" if one doesn't interact with their piggies much at all. Especially if regular attention isn't given early on and regularly.

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