Ummmm.....not hard to look after but they take more time that I thought they would!
You will need two - they like to live together mostly .
Everyday I do the following: -Say good morning and while they wheek my house down get them breakfast of salad leaves -Change water -Set up the kitchen so its guinea safe and they go in for a run -Clean cages (Roll up newspaper, take out wet bedding, replace hay - I do a complete clean once a week) -Put pigs back in and clean the kitchen.... -Clean the living room from stray hay -Laptime in the eves - this normally works out about a hour by the time I have had both. Check over for lumps, bumps, and err...stuck poo -Top up food bowl - give evening veggies.
That actually doesn't look like that much but it is when you do it everyday
Obviously my two are indoor pigs - no idea on the workload for outdoor pigs - I imagine its slightly lighter but 70s pigs live outdoors mostly and she does more than I do
I honestly didn't think they would take over my life as much as they have when I got them. I have had them a year now and despite the many headaches they have given me I would not be without them. Life just wouldn't be right without wheeking at 6pm every night (on the dot) for tea!
Hi SUMMERFRUIT - yes my boars are exceptionally spoiled but they are Rescue boars so they reckon they deserve it.
Biggest expense is their accomodation (hopefully a one off expense). Mine have the DC old wooden playhouse (it just needed some minor indoor alterations) Then a run (get a large rabbit run for security) Indoor accomodation for winter nights.
Hay- I buy two bags for 10 days (4kg from The Range IIRC £3.99 a bag) Veg- you'll have alot of it anyway with normal shopping. I buy parsley, sweetcorn and salad bags as extra for the boys. Pellets, about £10 for a large bag, I give a handful every day. Bowls- large heavy ones that they can't tip up (I use dog bowls) and water bottles (that they don't drink from) <<sigh>>
Storage for their hay, newspapers or whatever you are using.
I did look at Pet Insurance but it was expensive . If you save the money in a Guinea-Pigs Savings Account then you'll have it there. Look out a Guinea-Pig savvy vet (hopefully you won't need them) or if you are near enough, the Cambridge Cavy Trust. (£35 per year regardless of how many pigs you have). Get yourself a Guinea-Pig First Aid Box too. There's a thread on here from last year, but we can do a new one I'm sure.
They are lovely. Our boars belong to the DC , but DS is a bit meh so the little boy is mine . We check them morning, they have an evening cuddle. A couple of hours in their run (building up time now) .
Timewise: they have a fresh haybed (cardboard, newspaper, deep hay) every 2-3 days depending on how manky they are. Then the whole Pighouse emptied and cleaned weekly (they spend most of the time in the Haybox) When they were inside we did the cage every night, .
I'm sure I have particularly messy pigs though. They always try to outdo each other
But hey are rewarding- the wheeking and purring The smug look of GP1 when my DD puts him on her shoulder. The purring of GP2 when we have a look in the fridge.
Guineas are gorgeous and generally pretty easy and rewarding to look after. We spent £150 on an indoor cage/stand/hideys/play tunnels, £100 on an outdoor fox-proof run, and probably spend a further £20 a month on average on hay, wood shavings and dry food. For fresh food they can feast quite happily on leftover raw veg or peelings (broccoli stalks, carrot or apple peelings, outer leaves of lettuce - not iceberg lettuce though - celery tops, ends of cucumbers etc) but ours are spoiled and get round lettuces, bags of celery and parsley bought specially for them
The amount of cage maintenance etc will, as Bonkey says, depend to some extent on whether you have them indoors or outdoors. Ours live in a detached office-cum-utility room in the garden which is brick-built/centrally heated. So they're not inside but they are inside, if that makes sense; essentially they enjoy the benefits of living indoors, and we enjoy the benefits of indoor pigs (we're in and out of the utility room all the time so lots of time to chat to and interact with piggies) but don't have any hay-type guinea smells in the actual house.
this is what we do maintenance-wise: twice daily (morning and evening) - feed fresh food once daily (evening) - top up dry food bowl, change water, freshen up bedding, give fresh eating hay, get them out for a cuddle several times daily - pop in to get things from fridge/get clothes in and out of tumble dryer/say hi to pigs and get conned into giving treats during nice weather - pigs go out on the lawn in their run once weekly - full clean out and disinfect cages and replace all shavings/bedding etc.
Agree with getting a guinea savvy vet. Boy-boy and girl-girl pairings both good. Be aware that boar pairs might fight...Sow pairings can still bicker but I think are slightly less likely to have major fall outs. A neutered boar and sow can also make a really good pairing. I had several boar-boar and sow-sow pairings as a child and they never once fell out but we have had a sad experience with our two 18mo boars recently when they had a major fight, resulting in serious injuries (and £130 vet bill) for one pig and they have now had to be permanently separated (so have had to buy another cage/stand). I think we were just unlucky to be honest (they are brothers and had always been together) but it is something to be aware of.
Guineas are amazing but I've got 4 and their not cheap to keep. Mine cost me £40 a month at least and that's on top of the £220 their accommodation cost us! Good job I love the little squeekers
Ours are out for the summer and like others I give the hutch a good muck out once a week with a freshen up when required. They're are out in their 6 x 8 for run whenever we're here and they are quite proficient little lawn mowers.
Hi all - would agree with everything on here, lots of great advice, it is best to know costs etc before you take the plunge. I have a vet nurse friend who told me that sadly lots of small furries are being abandoned because of vets' bills which owners just cannot afford, or keep affording if the pets require ongoing treatment -and Methe is right, the monthly costs including hay, veg, potential vets bills is alot more than you think. Costs are reduced in summer month if they can be out earning money being lawn mowers and garden maintainers ( they provide excellent manure!). One more thing to consider is whether you and your kids are allergic types, ie suffer from hayfever, dustmite, animal fur related allergies. My son was terribly allergic to the guineas, and we had to get a special large shed so they could live outside most of the year. We were in the NW and when it got cold in October we kept them in a heated basement for a few months, so the questions of accommodation, where they will go in holiday time, etc etc need to be thought through before you get them, or indeed any pet.
They are very high maintenance but exceedingly funny and totally worth it. Your fruit and veg bill will go up, but the nuggets/hay doesn't cost too much. In the summer mine earn their keep by mowing and fertilising the lawn for me (think I mowed it myself twice last year - I just moved the pen around instead and they did it for me).
Mine have fresh hay for breakfast, then if it's warm enough and I'm around, are put outside for most of the day and I freshen up their cage while they're outside. They get a full clean out with their cage hosed down once a week. I've started using newspaper and old towels for their bedding as it's easily replaced and I can stick the towels in the washing machine. Their hay is put in a litter tray which does contain it mostly. They get fresh nuggets/water in the evening and usually some veg then, although they do get bits of veg throughout the day if I'm cooking. If they can't go outside then they get to play in the conservatory for a bit each day, although they need more supervision then.