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advice please! thinking of getting a rabbit or guinea pig

(30 Posts)
nomorethan2thankyou Sat 14-Jul-12 12:12:52

a few things i would like to know please:
-which would you say are generally more social with children? i originally wanted a rabbit but a lot of people have said that rabbits are more likely to hide away than gps (feel free to tell me if this is a load of rubbish)
-is it better to get two rather than one. don't want it to be lonely.
-do males or females tend to be friendlier or does it make no difference whatsoever
-would i be ok getting a second hand hutch and run from a car boot sale or similar? was a bit shcked at the cost of the hutches and runs.
-would we be ok leaving them whilst at work?
-we do get foxes in the garden at night. would this mean that we can't keep the hutch outside in the summer months, or would we be ok as long as we could close the doors on the hutch?
i'm a bit new to this and want to give the animal a nice life so any other advice you could give me would be great smile

fortifiedwithtea Sat 14-Jul-12 12:43:59

I only have guinea pigs so I'm not going to comment on which pet is best as I would be bias towards piggies grin. Do get at least 2 of whatever you decide.

As for hutches. IMO second hand would be false economy as it may need replacing during the lifespan of your pets. Doors must be secured with bolts. Add bolts yourself if hutch/run comes with swivel catches.

Enjoy which ever superfurry you decide to have smile.

MarigoldsInTheWindow Sat 14-Jul-12 12:51:03

guinea pigs without a doubt, you must have 2 though.

BeingFluffy Sat 14-Jul-12 12:59:21

I have had both and still have rabbits. Guinea pigs are definitely the better pet for children. They are social and friendly and interact much better. I love my rabbits, but of the 4 I have owned, only one is placid enough to be cuddled and petted on our terms and not theirs. Rabbits also tend to bite and scratch. Guinea pigs rarely do.

We also spent quite on lot on rabbit neutering. They also need two vaccines every year which are around £70 for each rabbit. They probably need to be insured as well - we had a juvenile rabbit break a leg and without insurance would have had to pay out around £1000.

The only downside to guinea pigs is that they drink a lot and wee a lot so you need to clean their cage every day.

We had a male guinea pig quite happily on his own (he was a rescued ex-school pet) and he was devoted to my dd. If you get two, get females. We got another boy to keep ours company and they fought. Some vets can castrate them but apparently a lot of vets don't do that operation.

We kept ours inside in large plastic cages - around £50. We did have a hutch to begin with but they tend to be more difficult to clean. You could probably get them a run so they can spend time outside in summer. Unless you can fox-proof their home bring them in at night.

I think you need to bear in mind that guinea pigs may also need vet treatment from time to time, though a fraction of what we have spent on the rabbits. At the end of his life, our beloved guinea pig developed jaw problems and the op and treatment for that cost around £500 - though it bought him a few more months of life.

AllPastYears Sat 14-Jul-12 13:07:52

Rabbits are more likely to bite and scratch. I always feel a bit sorry for captive rabbits too, as wild ones run around so much and they don't get the chance to do that as pets - plus, they are usually kept in solitary confinement sad.

Guinea pigs show no desire to run around so I would think they are happier in cages. They are happy to sit on your knee being cuddled (but may wee on you hmm) and yes, the cages do need cleaning out a lot.

BonkeyMollocks Sat 14-Jul-12 13:43:07

Another one here who is biased towards piggies, however I have my reasons!

Pigs will sit with you for cuddles. Very good for children. Rabbits you have to tend to wait for them to come to you. Both are quite skittish to begin with but will get tamer with time and patience smile

Always get 2! They are both sociable animals and prefer company of their own. People tend to say boys are more lazy (true in my case with my piggies) however be prepared that they may fight and they may need to be seperated (like mine have sad ) . In my case my boy GPs are happy side by side.

Rabbits I think its better to have one of each, obviously they will need to be neutered!

Second hand hutch would be fine if its in good condition, however be prepared that you may need to buy another one further down the line as it may not out live your pet.

Both need a fair amount of space. Especially rabbits!

Fine to leave them whilst your working providing they get some attention everyday.

My piggies are inside so we don't have to worry about foxes, however I would take lots of measures to ensure nothing can get into the cage or run! I wouldn't leave them outside unsupervised, just in case! Rabbits tend to dig out on grass and escape so take that into consideration (I spent 4 hours once trying to catch my houdini bunnies, i was not impressed! )

I clean my pigs out everyday, mainly because they are indoors. Pigs poo ALOT!!! IIRC I used to do my bunnies every few days, they were in a shed!

BonkeyMollocks Sat 14-Jul-12 13:46:20

Oh and I have never had a tame Rabbit. Despite my best efforts with mine, they just did not want to be 'domestic' . I got scratched/kicked/bitten until I gave up and just let them be.
I know people who have tame rabbits but never happy to be sat on a lap being cuddled, always on the floor sat next to you whilst having fuss.

My piggies plonk themselves under my chin and snooze. T'is lovely! My Big pig especially likes Emmerdale! He will sit on my knee and watch the first half before snuggles! grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 14-Jul-12 17:18:55

Another vote for Guinea-Pigs from me!

I've never had rabbits,rats or hamsters (I did have 2 female mice, one was pg when we bought them) but my 2 current GPs are Pig Number 13 & 14 for me ( had GPs from when I was 9 yo - 22 yo)

My DD wanted a hammy (because all her friends had them) but we agreed on a couple of hogs instead.

They are lovely, cuddly, greedy and messy like you wouldn't believe .

We keep ours in on winter nights, by day in their Pighouse.
I use my DC old wooden playhouse. I read about putting hutches in a shed, and thought "Why not just give them the whole thing?" A few adjustments has turned it into their house.

We haven't neutered ours (brothers) but rabbits need neutered.
No innoculations to worry about- just a wash,a nail-cut, and a spot treatment for mites/ticks/worms.
They have an outdoor run for good weather too.

They eat most of the vegetables we have and I buy parsley, kale, pellets and hay for them.

My DD loves her boar, he quite happily gets carried around, sits on her bed, gets wrapped in a towel (in exchange for parsley). AFAIK, rabbits don't lend themselves to this show of affection.
They rarely bite (never say never) but it's a nip rather than a bite.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 14-Jul-12 17:21:25

grin @ Emmerdale.

(Don't let the GPs watch V. One of the aliens ate a GP. They'll be traumatised for life)

nomorethan2thankyou Sun 15-Jul-12 09:02:30

thanks for the advice everyone. i think its going to be guinea pigs for us! still got a thing for rabbits but we do really want the children to have the (supervised) experience of a pet and think guinea pigs is more what were after. i'll just get a rabbit once i've booted the kids out smile
we're going to get two from our local farm where the guinea pigs are kept in lovely condition. they are ALWAYS pregnant there though so think we will get two boys just to be on the safe side. DD1 wants to call one Buzz Lightyear hmm
my husbands auntie is a carpenter and as it turns out made a lovely hutch and run for her old guinea pigs that she doesn't use anymore so were going to get them off her and clean them up. they are fantastic quality - really big. can't wait grin

KRITIQ Sun 15-Jul-12 11:44:35

Read up absolutely everything you can about piggies first - the Guinea Lynx site is the best one. And, find a guinea pig savvy vet in your area and/or join Cambridge Cavy Trust. Most vets don't know alot about guinea pigs and so many times do things that harm rather than help a poorly pig.

I didn't catch how old your wee ones were, but it's really important to supervise them when they handle them and never ever to assume that children (yes, even teens!) have responsibility for caring fro them. That's 100% your responsibility, but children can gain a heck of alot from helping you in care tasks.

I've always had pigs indoors, one because they are so much more fun to hang out with that way smile, but you can also spot if anything's wrong straight away and have more control over their environment (e.g. heat, not run out of water/leaky bottle, predators, inclement weather, damp, etc.) The other thing is that it's easier for kids to lose interest in a pet that's "out of site, out of mind," so find lots of other interesting things to do if its cold or raining than cuddle/feed/clean out the guinea pigs.

However, I know there are folks here who keep their pets outdoors and have secure, suitable accommodation for them. I'd say though it probably takes more time and effort to look after them properly when they are outdoors than when in, so it's important to bear that in mind.

Best of luck.

(Sad to hear the farm you mentioned keeps it's piggies pregnant. I'd be asking why. It's not really fair for the animals.)

guineapiglet Mon 16-Jul-12 09:46:43

Hi - can I join the others and recommend guineas as well - have had many over the years and they are wonderful pets - all the advice so far is brilliant, - so hope it helps with making a choice. Guineas are lovely gentle creatures, they need company ( have just come back from Chatsworth where there is a 'commune' of guineas running around, they are wonderful to watch as a big colony ( what is the collective noun- herd? swarm?) not too sure about all the kids picking them up but there we are. A friend next door has rabbits and they are lovely creatures, but not friendly at all, have dug HUGe burrows in her garden and have joined the escape committee on more than one occasion...good luck.

Belle2828 Tue 28-Feb-17 09:34:38

I would suggest piggies.No one should get rabbits for their children to look after as they are hardwork and most of them end up stuck in a hutch that is too small at the bottom of the garden and lead a short miserable life.
Rabbits need a lot of care and attention ,they are wonderful pets if they are looked after properly.I have two house rabbits,one I re homed as he was taken back because they said they couldn't handle him.I suspect he had outgrown his cute little baby bunny phase. But he is the most placid tame rabbit now you could meet. I also have a little dwarf house rabbit....these look cute and cuddly and they are, but they do not enjoy being cuddled and mauled .So would not recommend them for children's pets. Rabbits need a lot of space and if most of the rabbits time is going to be spent in a hutch especially without a run I would not even consider getting a rabbit. Rabbits need a constant supply of fresh hay daily as well as a large cage with a run and this can work out expensive. Please do not get a rabbit unless you read up on them as they are very complex and not ideal pets for children contrary to the widespread belief which seems to prevail.

Belle2828 Tue 28-Feb-17 09:37:51

Sos just seen its old but hope you got piggies

LoveMyLittleSuperhero Tue 28-Feb-17 09:38:52

I would think she probably already made her decision 5 years ago when she posted this.

Belle2828 Tue 28-Feb-17 11:01:22

Yes as I said I made a mistake with date, considering I find them hard to read because of partial site loss I don't think that's a shootable offence.However I suspect you are probably one of those ignorant mothers who got a cute little bunny for their superhero and then found you were completely ignorant of its needs.

LoveMyLittleSuperhero Tue 28-Feb-17 14:59:46

Actually we cross posted confused
But as far as the ignorant mothers comment, I worked for a charity as a foster home for rabbits and guinea pigs for a few years, I stopped when I had my first born because I didn't feel it was fair to the animals as I no longer had a spare room to house to house their massive indoor cages in nor the time to care for them what I felt was properly hmm try not to get your judgy pants too twisted grin

Belle2828 Tue 28-Feb-17 18:52:20

Sorry. I think it is very commendable you were a bunny foster mummy.I get so worked up with the amount of rabbits cruelly let loose or taken back because people just don't know what goes into looking after them and really aren't suitable for children's pets unless parents are willing to step in with care most of time.I was pleased to read you kept them as indoor pets as well. Sorry about getting my Knicks in a bit of a twist.smile
What charity was it .I hope you can go back to it in the future..

LoveMyLittleSuperhero Tue 28-Feb-17 20:10:29

Don't worry it works me up too, I think they are the loveliest sweetest little animals. Keeping them indoors was a personal choice but i thought apart from them being easier to look after inside, they were safer, and I didn't have to worry about the weather. Plus it was nicer for me for cuddle time! I'm always horrified when people get them as their kids pets, they are so much work, but definitely worth it! It was my local RSPCA branch, (I know lots of people on here dislike the rspca), I'm hoping to in the future, but right now we have a 18 week old and two elderly rescue greyhounds, so I don't think we are suitable, I would hate for dd or the dogs to hurt one of them.

Belle2828 Tue 28-Feb-17 21:17:55

I totally agree they are and I find them the most calming pets.Yes ..sounds like you have your hands full at the moment.My rabbits are definitely part of my family.This is Banjo who I was told when I rehomed him the people who were feeding him couldn't go near him.But he comes up to me and puts his front paws on me standing on his hind legs...very tame now....you just wouldn't build this kind of bond if he were stuck in a hutch outside. It can be sooo rewarding as you obviously must know!

LoveMyLittleSuperhero Wed 01-Mar-17 00:48:48

He is beautiful! And I love the look of your setup. I failed at fostering one of my bunnies, he was a litter trained house rabbit, a French lop, I used to love getting home and him greeting me when I went through to the living room, people were always very shocked though when they found out my rabbit had free run of the house! grin

Belle2828 Wed 01-Mar-17 09:32:44

Thanks..that is actually the Cattery ,they get through to it from house. I had it built for cats but my rabbits go out in it.I also open the door sometimes so they have the whole garden as I had it enclosed to protect my cats from neighbours. They also have free run of the house but both use litter trays.I know what you mean its funny when people come in and see a rabbit just calmly lay on living room floor.grin

Belle2828 Wed 01-Mar-17 09:35:52

Do you know where I can get a good electric cable covering from?
Also what did you mean ..you failed,that seemed a bit harsh on yourself??

FernieB Wed 01-Mar-17 09:58:51

Any DIY store will have the plastic cable cover that you can wind round cables. After nearly 12 years of housebuns, we've found that to be the best. You used to be able to get a large bag of it at IKEA quite cheaply.

I always forget to tell visitors there's a bun on the loose, but they soon find out when he decides it time they stroked him and sits on their feet for attention. Everyone thinks it weird at first but they always ask after him. I had some building work done a couple of years ago and would often find the builders in the kitchen chatting to the rabbit.

MollyHuaCha Wed 01-Mar-17 10:03:43

Whichever you get, make sure you personally are comfortable caring for it. Because I can guarantee that after a few weeks all the cleaning out etc. will be left to you and you alone.

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