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My DD wants a pet- I'm thinking Guinea-Pigs

(6 Posts)
LordOfTheFlies Tue 04-Oct-11 23:28:24

We are not in a cat/dog suitable situation.I work 3 days and though we have a biggish garden (over 80') we have no way of doing a cat-door.
My DD is 9 so I know the main part of care will be down to me, and I'm fine with that. I had lots of GPs when I was my DD age.
DH is a bit hmm because he doesn't think she'll be responsible and what would we do on holidays etc.
I've told him that I will do cage management and DD will happily chop veg and fill bowls. I would be able to watch the pigs in an enclosed pen when I'm at home.
We can bring them in for a cuddle and in winter they can have a cage indoors.
The local pet food supplier does small animal boarding and my neighbour has teenage daughters who have had rabbits, so I'm sure that holidays wouldn't be a problem.

Question is: my GP lived outside in a massive heavy cage-my dad made it out of an old sideboard and we put a heavy plastic cover over for rainy days.It had an enclosed upper part. They had a pen under the stairs for winter.

In my own garden we have a wooden playhouse about 6' x 4' with clear plastic windows. Would this be suitable to turn into a piggie house? I could line the floor with lino and put a mesh screen up to keep the door secure.Then make the wooden door into a 'stable door' type to leave the top half open when its fine, but still be fox/cat proof.

Then if I give them a wooden box filled with hay to sleep in and cardboard boxes to play/chew in.I can put carpet offcuts inside to insulate it.

We've also got a garage (the car doesn't live it in) next to the wooden playhouse which has electricity, so I can have an outdoor light.

I've seen cages online and they are £85+. Used ones on Ebay are cheaper, but the delivery would be a problem. If we convert the playhouse it will just cost me lino and a wire mesh screen, which DH can do.

I'll ask him to make a pig run. What size would I need for 2? Would you put mesh/chicken wire all round or should they not have it under their feet?It would have to be weighted to stop cats.
(My own GP were free range in the garden or had a washing basket over them!)

Any flaws in the masterplan. ? I haven't told DD that I'm considering GPs because I don't want to get her hopes up.But this way we could have everything in place before we start looking.


KatharineClifton Tue 04-Oct-11 23:49:56

You sound very enterprising! It will be a palace smile

Be careful what you put inside wrt lino and carpet tiles as the pigs will chew them. I would research exactly what is safe for inside. Insulation would be better on the outside I think. There is stuff that you can paint on that is safe if memory serves, but I have no idea what it is called. Also, try to get fox proof mesh as that will be the main danger outside.

And they are lovely - enjoy smile

KatharineClifton Tue 04-Oct-11 23:51:06

I meant that there is safe paint that can be used inside cages (at least there was for degus).

LordOfTheFlies Wed 05-Oct-11 09:54:14

The playhouse is painted with a wood preserver (its about 7-8 years old and still in good nick.Actually belongs to DS but he doesn't use it.It's a really pretty little 'house' like a Swiss Chalet).I could paint the floor and wall to GP height to stop them chewing.

IIRC my GPs from childhood would demolish a wool carpet but left any nylon carpets alone.If they attacked the lino it was just at the edge to sample it, but there were much nicer things to trim their teeth on -books, magazines, shoelaces to name a few!
We used newspaper and hay (to eat and bed in) but I'm noting on this site that alot of owners use paper cat-litter or horsebedding (definately in preference to sawdust or shavings, it gets in their eyes too much).

I'm working on DH now.I think he's coming round.I know the adults have to all be in agreement with pets but I'll be doing all share care with DD.

Thanks for the ideas smile

ClaimedByMe Wed 05-Oct-11 10:02:30

As your dd handled guinea pigs at all? I ask as my dd also begged and pleaded for guineas and as she was only 6 i knew i would be doing most of the care and she would be doing most of the cuddling, she had never been near a guinea other than seeing them in a pet shop, when we got them home we discovered shes allergic to them, cant even sit beside them, he eyes swell, she sneezes, runny nose, watery eyes you get the idea - i now do all guinea care!

Your plan sounds good though, you seem to have everything covered!

LordOfTheFlies Wed 05-Oct-11 10:36:34

She's not allergic to anything, we used to have a cat, she was fine with fur.
One of her friends has a hamster- but I can't get excited out them for various reasons- too small, nocturnal, short life span and more tendancy to bite.
She's fine with horses but doesn't like dogs (understatement).

We went to a childrens farm a few years back and they had a big barn with free range guineas, which the parents were allowed to catch (more difficult than it looks grin ) for the children to cuddle.She was happy to cuddle them, and they were very used to being handled. Though there was one who was very fast and kept escaping so I took it as a personal challenge to catch it (nicely of course) which I did, and I wasn't even peed on!

And she doesn't have asthma/breathing problems so the bedding won't be a problem.

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