14 October 2011

guinea pig fever!


Earlier this year I got my 1st guinea pig, Esme. I'd been pining for one ever since we saw some in Antigua the first month we moved to Guatemala. They had them at my favourite little pet supply shop there with a sign calling them Raton de India! That really cracked me up and was the ultimate kickstart to my love for guinea pigs. Now, I mostly refer to them by their Spanish name: cuyos.
Enid & Esme hiding out on their 1st day in their new home.

Upon bringing Esme home I started reading all about cuyos online. Maybe that's the reverse order that I was supposed to do those two things but, that's how it happened. Pretty soon into my reading I found out that they aren't meant to live alone. In Sweden, by law you have to buy two at a time. So of course there I was back at the market that day to get another one.  I chose another girl from the another bunch of pups that were a few weeks older. I was happy to have 2 sweet as pie girl guinea pigs!
                                         Esme & Enid. Their 2nd day together.
It didn't take very long for me to realize that Enid was not a girl but, a BOY! This discovery was much to my delight as I secretly wanted to have a cuyo family. I couldn't be happier to have gotten a boy & a girl. <3.
Grown up Enid. A very handsome Papa cuyo!
 In a couple of months Esme was with child, ok, pup. Her pregnancy suited her just fine, she became serene and sweeter than ever. She got huge, I charted her pregnancy on the calendar and she was overdue by 2-3 weeks. She was so big and I just couldn't imagine how many pups she was going to have. Online sources say that the average littler is 5-7 pups! But, alas on June 26th she delivered! Another surprise!! She only have one, not so small, pup. She had him all by herself on a bed of dried corn husks in a house fashioned out of a tipico basket (handles cut off, turned upside down, a little arched door-way cut out and then sunk in the dirt a couple of inches). It was the most dear and darling event to happen in our little backyard courtyard.
 1st litter. One pup. Pup-e. 'Baby' 1 day old.

While Esme was in her final month of her pregnancy we separated her from Enid. They were only separated by a chicken wire divide so that they could still keep each other company. Esme could have cared less but, Enid was a little bummed. In the natural Guinea Pig world the females surround the birthing mother and don't let any males near her for a while after she gives birth. Male pigs want to mate the minute the female pig has given birth and it's very unhealthy for the lady pig's body to get pregnant again that fast.

Esme & her 1st pup, Baby, nursing. So sweet.

Baby & Esme munching on some greens.

As soon as it was safe for Esme to be back with Enid we allowed the little family to be together. It was fun and interesting to watch them mingle. Baby hangs with his mom sometimes and with his dad other times.
We knew that it was only a matter of time before Esme & Enid would get some buns in the oven. And we decided to let this happen in high hopes for a little girl cuyo so we could split them up into two groups. Esme is such a docile darling mama pig. Her 2nd pregnancy was shorter and she was larger by a mile. I knew that she had more than one pup in her belly this time. She gave birth in a rainstorm early on the morning of September 18th to 3 little pups; 2 boys and 1 girl on a bed of shredded carrots.
 2nd litter. 3 pups. The only girl, she's the smallest.

Rosebud, the little girl.

Esme & her one-day old 2nd litter of 3 pups. One is hidden under her.

Cuyo pups are cool. They are born with all their hair, whiskers, teeth and nails. They can eat solid food from the start and can run the first day they are alive! And if you've never had the pleasure of being friends with a guinea pig you are missing out on some of the coolest animal noises ever! They whistle and squeak and eek...it's too cute! We now have 6 pigs whistling at us! Yay!

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