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How do I get our rather portly guinea-pig to exercise?

(12 Posts)
Summersoon Sun 04-Oct-09 17:17:27

Dear fellow guinea-pig lovers,

we have an 18-month old male guinea-pig who last night tipped the scales at 1.5 kgs! His weight has been creeping up steadily.

He is a very nice, extremely tame guinea-pig but he will not take any exercise - if you put him down on the floor, he just sits there or runs for the nearest cover and then sits under that.

Any ideas and suggestions gratefully received!

RubysReturn Sun 04-Oct-09 17:20:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Summersoon Sun 04-Oct-09 17:48:00

My Daughter has him out on the floor trying to coax him to walk with pieces of basil leaf (I know - expensive taste blush) and the first few times he actually did it and even stood on his hind legs to get a leaf reward but he is not daft and has figured out that if he refuses to move the leaf will move closer.....

Pyrocanthus Mon 05-Oct-09 09:52:58

Ours like to mooch around the garden under heavy supervision. They do eventually come to rest under cover though - back in their run, under a garden chair, and so on. The can't resist a tube either. Or a box. Have you got some willing children who could rig up some sort of interesting box and tube playground?

Or he might be a bit more active if he had a mate - they take courage from each other.

Fennel Mon 05-Oct-09 09:54:37

Ours live outside for most of the year and if you don't top up their food they have to range further to graze (we use them as mini lawn-mowers so they have to work hard). Hunger motivates. we have tubes and things for them to hide in but they have to move around to feed.

FernieB Mon 05-Oct-09 11:12:42

Fennel - have a mental picture of a herd of guineas going up and down your lawn - can they do stripes?

Make him work for his food. Don't have guineas (yet) but our rabbit does not get any treats unless she says please (begs). Kids also rig up adventure courses for her with peanuts at the end.

Pyrocanthus Mon 05-Oct-09 11:32:35

Ours are rubbish at stripes - our lawn is covered in overlapping run-shaped patches.

Summersoon Mon 05-Oct-09 18:01:58

Thank you for your replies.

It is true that, although he is a very big boy, he is also a bit of a scaredy cat. When he went to stay with a friend's very attractive girl guinea-pig in the Summer (strictly separate dormitories grin) he was quite happy to bounce around in adjacent runs on the lawn. When I put him in a run by himself in our garden, with me sitting close by, he just sat under the shelter and didn't move!

I sometimes regret that I didn't buy a pair but so far I have always successfully kept single guinea-pigs and, in truth, I don't have room for a bigger cage. He lives in the kitchen, next to the fridge, which he believes is there to house his fruit and veg....

Pyrocanthus Mon 05-Oct-09 19:59:50

It's nice that he's indoors with you if he's on his own. If he's determined not to be an active pig, perhaps he just needs to have his food reduced?

Summersoon Mon 05-Oct-09 20:37:19

Ah, yes.

I have tried that one and it has gone down like a lead balloon.

To tell the truth though, I find it difficult to gauge how much he needs to eat. I know that guinea-pigs are graziers and that their stomachs empty every 2-3 hours. So they do need to have food available to them all the time but perhaps he does eat more than he should. I will try and have this conversation again.

The other evening, I had given him a piece of lettuce and left it on the counter while talking to DH. I was putting the lettuce into the fridge when the guinea-pig let out a loud shriek, which stopped me in my tracks. He then squeaked loudly until I gave him another piece blush. I think that he is pretty good at owner management....

Thank you for your advice so far. Any further input especially with regard to amount of food required is very welcome. What colour are your piggies, Pyrocanthus? Mine is a lemon agouti ridgeback.

Pyrocanthus Mon 05-Oct-09 22:15:53

OOh, he sounds posh. Ours are all the guinea pig equivalent of moggies. We started out with two tortoiseshell and white sisters, who turned out to be pregnant. One had two red and white boys, the other had two tortie and white boys and a beautiful grey and white lad, like a little cloud. A friend took the 3 boys and we kept the red and whites. One of the girls died earlier this year, sadly, leaving the boys and their auntie.

Your little guy sounds very loveable, but clearly thinks he's the kitchen compost bin. Do you leave his cereal in all day? He probably only needs breakfast and an evening meal. The packet might say how much he should have. Then a couple of portions of greens, and unlimited hay for grazing?

It's clearly not going to be easy to cut back if he's going to stand by the fridge and shout at you...

Summersoon Mon 05-Oct-09 22:39:17

Thank you. Yes, he is very cute - that is why it so difficult to resist his squeaking!

He is the only guinea-pig I have had (and I've had a few, including some that loved to run around) who will roll over on his back with paws in the air so that he can have his tummy rubbed while he chirps away. He only does this when sitting on me though, not in his cage. Perhaps he was a dog in his previous life and that is why he eats so much!?

Seriously, though, I think that we need to cut down on the fridge treats <squares shoulders>

Your pigs sound very cute, too!

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