Saturday, January 31, 2015

Our New BARN hutch

It seems like it has been forever in the making... BUT our new chicken tractor style barn hutch is DONE! 

We found a local business who were able to come up with a practical design based on what we needed specifically for the guinea pigs. The girls now have 2m x 1.2m of both sleeping and grazing space. They've been running up and down that ramp like it's a personal challenge to see how fast they can go! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Aussie Day baby boom

Both Abby and Buttons were pregnant to Boris, and showing signs of being due at a similar time. I thought it might come down to their deliveries being maybe a day or so apart, but as the week drew on and they both dilated at the same rate I realised that they were very likely to deliver on the same day. Or at least as soon as one went into labour, she would most definitely set the other one off as well.

And sure enough after watching the girls like a hawk in the comfort of our airconditioned lounge room, Abby gave a sqeak and we knew it was all systems GO! I had been checking for fetal movement about an hour earlier as she was looking very uncomforable, and had estimated at that stage that we were in for a litter of 4-5 bubs. And sure enough Abby effortlessly and without any complications delivered 5 little boars. The only intervening we needed to do was to gently push the first born bubs out of the way of her sitting motion while she delivered the next one. The newborns instinctively want to crawl to mum and snuggle under her, but while she is leaning back on her rump and delivering the next baby she doesn't really care who she is crushing in the process!

Buttons was very aware of what was happening, and helped lick a few of Abby's bubs, but seemed a bit over excited. She started grooming one of the younger girls (6wk old Mary who was in there because she was too little for the outside cage) in her enthusiasm!

Within about 30mins Buttons was delivering her litter as well though. It's not always quite that quick, so I didn't fully believe my 5yr old when she came to tell me Buttons was having babies too! But in the few minutes I left the side of the cage Buttons managed to also deliver without complication. Two HUGE babies. A 155g boar and a healthy big 102g sow. In comparison to Abby's bubs (the largest of which was only 80g, the smallest 48g), Button's two seemed like monstors.

Both mums positioned themselves ontop of the pile of newborns and set about systematically cleaning and licking and feeding each of them. Even the tiniest of the litters got a look in. This is one of those times when I'm really thankful for the way things have worked out. Having both girls due so close together has been a godsend. Abby would have struggled to care for 5 babies on her own, but with an extra mum and extra milk all 7 babies are doing really well.

They're not out of the woods yet. I want to seem some steady weight gain before I'll relax. But they are all bright-eyed, running around after the mums and annoying the 6wk old girls no end! (think of 6wk old pigs as pre-teens. They think they're pretty grown up, but they're really just big babies themselves!).

This is the big 155g boy. My daughter has fallen head over heals in love with him and has called him 'Axel' (I think after a boy in her preschool class! lol). In the photo below you can see a size comparison of Axel next to one of Abby's smallest bubs. The photo does not do the size difference justice. Axel is all blubber and fat. The little bub is all limbs and ribs!

It's fascinating how different circumstances can bring about such different birth weights. Both mums lived in the same conditions throughout their pregnancies and were offered the same foods. Abby's bubs had to share the nutrition she was able to consume amoung the 5 of them, while Buttons only had to nuture 2 passengers. And even then, Axel somehow managed to score more then his fair share of the nutrients! I wonder if this means he'll naturally be a larger pig as an adult? Or if the size will all even out as the boys grow?

Some individual pics of the bubs below. Not all of them have names yet, so feel free to share any suggestions you might have :)

'Axel' - 155g 

'gold agout and white boy' - 56g

'chocolate agouti and white roan sow' - 102g

'Tiny' - 48g

'Tri-agouti roan boar' - 78g

'cinnamon agouti nose, white roan boar' - 85g

'cinnamon agouti nose and butt boar' - 73g 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New bedding

We had a few international sales for piggy bedding come through in the last week or so... which nearly cleaned us out! And being hot as hell here in Australia I honestly wasn't thinking that I'd need to sew up any more for a while. (Totally forgot that while we're sweating our butts off - the other side of the world has snow! I could so go for a bucket of snow right now! lol)

So to make sure we have something at least in our store I whipped up a few new Piggy Roll-ups yesterday. These are the great 'all rounder' of the bedding we stock. They can be a play-toy for running through, they can be a sleepy spot, and they can be pulled apart into a lap mat or a cage liner.

We only have one of the plush igloos in stock, and just a handful of cuddle sacks as well - so we'll try and fit some more sewing into the next few weeks.

Ben and Beethoven

Ben and Beethoven (I think their names will be changed!) went to their new home today with a lovely family who drove over an hour to come and meet them! It will be sad not seeing their fluffy little butts running around the boys cage, but I know they will be treasured! And - as with all of our bubs - they're welcome back here again if their new family's situation changes and they can't keep them.

I'm hoping to get some update photos of their coats in a few months too - they should look spectacular!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Custom guinea pig plushie

Had to share these gorgeous photos of one of our customer's plushie guinea pigs and her real pet pig! This is a custom we made for her a few weeks ago. I love the photo where it looks like the real pig is giving he plushie a little kiss!

If you'd like your own custom look-alike plushie made up, or would like to order a ready-made guinea pig plushie you're most welcome to check out our etsy store. We have different items in stock all the time :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Blast from the past - free ranging

I stumbled across these photos of some of our girls free ranging in amongst the kids toys in the backyard from a few years ago. It was so lovely being able to sit on the patio and watch them all popcorn and play and interact with each other. You would notice little 'friendship' groups that would hang out with each other and follow each other to new spots.

A very cool experience.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Guinea pig soft sculpture - Patch and Popcorn

These little cuties were created by us today over at our Emma's Bears studio. They come from a pattern I drew up about 3.5yrs ago but never made into anything. I found it again recently and thought I'd see if it actually worked!

The design was inspired by that look guinea pigs get when they sit back on their bums and their little feet stick out. These guys are 8" tall, fully jointed and stuffed well with lots of glass and steel shot - making them heavy and squishy and fully posable. They are available for adoption in our etsy store - Popcorn is here and Patch is here.

Clyde - 7wks

These are some recent update photos of Clyde. He went to his new home last weekend at 7wks old. He is a stunning, gentle big boy. And I fully expect him to grow into a very handsome adult boar. I hope to get updates from his new family :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

boarding pigs

We have some gorgeous little boarders staying with us at the moment. They arrived before Christmas and will be here for 5wks. The mumma pig is actually the great granddaughter of our main girl 'Kobe'! She came with three daughters of her own and her 5wks old half-sister 'Harriet'. 

The owner asked me to find good homes for the baby girls when they were weaned, but we've fallen in love with them all. They're going to stay with us after the mumma pig goes back home. You can see a photo of them above when they were 2wks old, and below at 4wks old. We've called them 'Midget', 'Curly Sue' and 'Quinn'.