The Twenty Five
Late Spring 2012 and 25 guineas arrived at Cavy Corner …….all in one cage. A big cage, admittedly but there is no cage big enough for 25 guineas, especially when all but 1 turn out to be pregnant.
The piggies ranged from tiny at just a few weeks old to heavily pregnant adult. All were unused to being handled and panicked each time they were approached. They leapt and scratched and jumped in terror. They were so used to being cramped that they literally jumped over each other in the scrabble for space and food. Just catching them to conduct initial health checks (and confirm they WERE all girls) them took 3 volunteers a whole day and it was exhausting. The poor piggies were so stressed. Within just two days of arrival the first babies were born and that set the trend for the next couple of months. Not all the babies survived sadly, but most did. They were split into smaller more manageable “family” groups and as the got more used to human contact they settled and became less terrified. One year on and they are all happy tame and friendly piggies. Many have been adopted to 5 star loving homes and a few still reside here. Baby guineas are born complete with hair, teeth and their eyes open.
Marcie was one of the 25 guineas to arrive in one cage. Terrified and pregnant her 6 babies were born several weeks later. 4 average size, one small and one the tinniest little baby. The bigger stronger babies all suckled from Mum Marcie but tiny baby didn’t stand a chance….. not being strong enough to push his bigger brothers and sisters out the way. Guineas only have 2 teats making feeding any more than 2 babies difficult for the nursing mother. First of all moistened pellets were offered but there was not sufficient goodness and he lost weight rather than gaining, steadily he became weaker and at his lightest he weighed just 47g. It can be dangerous to syringe feed tiny babies so great care was taken and Critical Care feeding was started. Over several days of hand feeding round the clock every few hours the tiny baby became very tame and within a week began readily taking the specialist feed from the back of a small plastic teaspoon handle. His name choice was obvious and he became Little … Also affectionately known as “Littlest Piggie in the World” ( probably!) He was loved and accepted by his mum and brothers and sister and would snuggle up with them but never ever tried to feed from her. Little became very popular with everyone who met him and had a HUGE personality hiding inside his mouse sized body. He grew slowly but steadily and though he will never be the biggest piggie in the world by the time he was 6 months old he reached a healthy size. During that time many of his siblings were adopted into loving homes and Mum Marcie and sister Lamby went to live with volunteers Sean and Naomi. Christmas 2012 they asked to adopt Little too, he was neutered and went off to live in luxury with his mum and sister and in a happy guinea family unit.
Minnow tells her story …
I was with a large number of guinea pigs and rabbits being breed for pet shops in the south of England.. I was in the same place as Brave and Angel . The conditions we kept in were not good. I was pregnant and not in good health. I was scared when we were rescued … I didn’t know what was happening but we were put into carriers and taken on a journey. Sadly for some of my friends it was too late and they didn’t make it.
I arrived at Cavy Corner where I was gently bathed dried and fed. They put soothing cream on my poor feet which were badly swollen, infected and so sore. I was very nervous of people for a while.
The physical effort of having the babies a few weeks later was too much for me and I got very ill. My babies were sadly all born dead . During the birth my hips got damaged and my hind leg is now deformed. I wasn’t eating or drinking and was on lots of medication. I had several infections. I knew I was very ill when the Cavy Slaves sat up with me night after night comforting me and syringing food and water into my mouth. I was too poorly to eat for myself.
The vet asked the Slaves to consider my quality of life. I knew what that meant and I also knew I wanted to get better – I had a lot of living to do yet – after all my nice life was only just starting. Whilst I was being cuddled I used all my energy and dragged myself up and licked (kissed) the Cavy Slave’s face – I needed to let her know that I wasn’t ready to give up.
They understood and thankfully they were not ready to let me go either. I loved them already and I felt loved and cherished for the first time in my life. It wasn’t a quick process but gradually I made steady progress and began to get better. I began feed myself. When I was much better I met rescued Guineas Geoff, Scarlett and their daughter Olivia and we all got along so we know all live together. I am fit and well and very happy. Of course my leg is still deformed but I have learned to adapt and I can run and play with my cage mates. And I still give kisses.
Minnow sadly died spring 2012 causing many tears to be shed by us and the volunteers.
Poor Geoff pined dreadfully for his beloved cage mate Minnow.
Before and After Pics
Wombat on arrival at Cavy Corner with claws growing into the soles of his feet, bald patches, blind and weak from starvation.