I promised DC guinea pigs for Christmas, to be purchased/adopted when the weather turns warmer. We have a 2-storey hutch, which will be outside on patio (sheltered). It's years since I kept GPs when I was younger - what do I need? What is best to line with? We don't buy newspapers or get any free ones - are there alternatives to newspaper for lining the hutch? Also I know there are warnings about sawdust and shavings - what should we use instead? Any dos and don'ts about giving them veg peelings / broccoli stalks etc?
There's a few threads on here about bedding. I tend to use newspaper and have very good neighbours who give me all theirs. Have a read through the threads as there's lots of debate about bedding. I don't think anyone has found the perfect solution but that's mainly because pigs are quite mucky.
Lots of GP owners say that fleece is the best as you can "whick away" poo and just stick them in the wash.i found it absolutely disgusting and had to pick poo off it at least twice a day, plus the washing of them mounted up. I get newspapers from supermarkets, friends, family, metro distributors... It's easy to build up a supply.
Don't use salt licks or yoghurt drop treats, they're not good for piggies. Cucumber, parsley, Apple and spinach were firm favourites with all of mine. And if you can, get pellet dry food not mixed, as the mixed food (such as gertie Guinea pig) contain things piggies don't and shouldn't eat.
Mine are in a Pighouse (wooden playhouse that DH customised) so they have a haybox to sleep in and the floorspace and added play/hiding spaces, but all enclosed. In good weather, we take out two of the windows (the window soace is re-inforced inside with metal mesh,fly mesh and wooden 'bars' to protect them) which gives ventilation. They have a fan to waft a breeze if they need it.
I wouldn't leave mine out all winter, more the damp and continual dark I think. They can cope better with cold if they are well insulated but it needs to be dry. Though they tend to just sit there in the hay which is no fun for them, really. You can get thermal waterproof covers for most hutches.
I use loads of different things, sometimes depending on what I have. In the Pighouse, I have (on the wooden floor) rubber car mats/ boot liner; an old oilcloth tablecover and a tarpaulin to cover the floorspace. Then cardboard Newspaper Soft straw (has to be soft pet straw, not equine)
In their haybox they have wood pellets (rodent safe cat litter) under newspaper, topped with deep hay
In the indoor cage - woodpellets , a layer of newspaper and a piece of fleece or an old towel.(If I'm throwing them out) I don't wash them, they get thrown out . The fleece costs me £3, I get six pieces. Not worth the risk to my (elderly) washing machine for 50p worth of fleece.
We feed our morning/evening. At breakfast, I check them all (just say Hi Pigs and make sure they're al mobile and look ok) at night they have a cuddle and check.
Broccoli stalks are okay according to mine, In fact they're a favourite. Gingerpig enjoys carrot peelings too. There's lots of lists online about good/bad food, but in general mine will eat: (in addition to hay and grass)
Kale Lettuce (not iceberg - bad for them) Celery plus leaves Cucumber Broccoli Tomato Pepper (without seeds) Carrots Parsley Basil Lavender Salad bags (make sure there's no iceberg lettuce)
They can have fruit but in small amounts as a treat and cut it up first. Mine like:
Apple Grapes Melon - flesh and rind (especially watermelon)