So back at Christmas time I was wondering what we could buy for Ruby for Christmas. Santa was bringing wheelie shoes for her but apart from that she hadn’t asked for anything and couldn’t think of anything she really wanted. One day, Alexander brought home a Christmas card that he had made on the computer at school, it had a clip art picture of a gerbil wearing a Santa hat. I told them about the gerbil we had in Primary 5 and I started thinking that maybe that would be a good gift for Ruby.
Well, after much fruitless searching I discovered that there are no gerbils in Australia!! It is illegal to import them (and hamsters). Having learned their lesson from the great rabbit disaster, the Aussies aren’t taking any chances!
We could have bought mice or rats but Michael hates them so I knew that was a no go.
Anyway, I decided to go for Guinea Pigs. I knew some friends who had kept them and they seemed sweet enough – a bit bigger than I wanted to get but I knew Ruby would LOOOOOOOOOVE them.
I picked out two sisters, bought a decent sized cage, some hay, food and a pigloo and then hid them in the garage. How I managed to keep them a secret is nothing short of miraculous!
This was Ruby on Christmas morning when she saw them 🙂 I think she is actually flying here!
I hadn’t bought one each for the kids as I know that Alexander would be likely to make it into a competition (my guinea pig is bigger/faster/louder than yours etc) but I knew that even if they were just Ruby’s, she’d let him play with them and hold them. Sure enough …
Ruby named them Violet and Daisy. Violet has the black and white face and Daisy has the brown and black face.
Just as I thought, Ruby was very good about looking after them. We used towel and fleece bedding which is tidy and doesn’t smell – Ruby just picks up the poop every day and we wash it all about once a week. Daisy and Violet came out of their shells a bit and proved to be really funny wee characters. Violet is all mouth and no trousers – running around and squeaking but hiding if you make a move. Daisy is much more easy going – inquisitive but pretty chilled.
We take them out for a pat every day and it was on one of these days that I thought ‘hmm, Daisy’s a bit lumpy’ and suddenly the penny dropped! Daisy was up the duff!!!
At first I was furious! I was sure the pet shop must have sold us a boy and a girl instead of two girls! I was annoyed that we’d either have to swap Violet (who we already loved) for another girl (and what if Daisy didn’t like this newcomer?!) or else we’d have to pay to have Violet neutered. Then there was the question of would we have to change Violet’s name if she was really a he – even if he had the operation.
The next morning I phoned the pet shop straight away. They have a vet on site and I wanted answers!
The answers were – yes, Violet is a girl and yes, Daisy is pregnant. She must have come to us in a delicate condition as their gestation period is up to 70 days. We were advised to make sure she has plenty hay, lots of veggies (as well as her top notch food) and to just let her get on with it.
In the meantime, Michael had built them a giant run so at least we have room for babies! They go into the run during the day and then up to their cage at night time. They love the run as there is so much space, lots of places to hide and things for them to play in.
Daisy is pretty enormous now. We don’t know exactly when she’s due, but she can’t have much longer to go, poor love!
The internet is full of horror stories about piggies dying in labour or of mummy pigs eating their babies or other disasters but we can only hope that nature will be kind to our wee Daisy and she’ll come through it all ok. Now I am over the shock of becoming a grandmother, I am really looking forward to it! Daisy was sitting on my knee the other night and as I stroked her, I could feel her babies kicking 🙂 I shouted Alexander through (unfortunately, Ruby was already asleep) and let him feel the kicks – his face was priceless.
So we got rather more than we bargained for with these two little ladies, but let’s see how it goes!