Today I want to tell you about a successful project which has improved the circumstances of the male Guinea Pigs in our care.
From just before Christmas and into the first week of the New Year, three of the Guinea Pigs had babies. I posted about these events at the time.
Then I decided that no more babies would be forthcoming. Namusa and I caught each of the youngsters, checked their nether regions and brought them indoors for Grant - with the help of Google - to confirm the gender. We then put the boys in the cage where the two older males: Ulgar Pulgar and Hurricane, had been living since Christmas.
I've also posted about the routine I established between having dogs, cats and Guinea Pigs in the garden. Every morning after the dogs and I return from our walk, I feed them and close them in their sleeping quarters. I then call the cats who've been out since 3 am and feed them in our rondawel. I close them up as well.
The Guinea Pigs are let out at about 5.45 am to graze on the lush lawn. Females only. They stay out until Namusa has cleaned their cage thoroughly, (it's now about 8.45am). She places the food - that I've cut up in the kitchen - on their feeding plates and calls them in. They need no second invitation. She closes the gate.
The boys... well, they've had to stay in their beautifully spacious cage while Namusa cleans around them. If they're let out, they run away across the vast lawn and hide in the garden forest (this is what happens when men don't have women to keep them in place!) These escapades have caused me and two ladies to spend an absolute age begging, cajoling and eventually shooing them back to their cages.
I wanted a solution to this problem: I wanted the boys outside but they couldn't be out at the same time as the girls, because I didn't want any more pregnant Guinea Pigs.
I asked Grant to build a free-standing cage three by two meters and which stands about a meter high. I had the idea of placing this on different parts of the lawn with the boys inside. Grant duly bought square tubing and welded and melded the bars into a cage. He added a small door. He also bought chicken wire and he and Namusa enclosed the cage.
The girls, who are used to being let out of their cage, rush to get onto the lawn
Apple Blossom sniffs at the mulberry leaves on the ground
The girls are used to regularly getting out onto the lawn...
Finally this week the cage was ready and I couldn't wait to test it. It was after lunch and the cats and dogs were safely behind closed doors. The girl Guinea Pigs were already out on the lawn, grazing and sunning themselves. The males were sitting inside their cage watching longingly.
...while the boys had to watch from inside their cage
I picked up Ulgar Pulgar first and carried him to the temporary cage. He sat down on the lawn and froze. Then he sniffed at a blade of grass, had a nibble and suddenly he realized that at last he could enjoy being outdoors again. By now I'd brought Hurricane and the younger ones and they ran around and sniffed at the wire and then also realized they were on the lawn and they started to graze.
The males are enjoying their new-found freedom
Now the boys also have three hours in the morning and two and a half hours in the afternoon, grazing on the lawn and enjoying the sunshine.
I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here
HAPPY SATURDAY TO YOU ALL.