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Could someone explain the realities of keeping guinea pigs inside?

(36 Posts)
Willmouse Thu 20-Sep-12 09:53:24

Still haven't got around to getting guinea pigs yet and it strikes me that now it is getting colder we are going to have to keep them inside.

I know lots of people here keep them inside and am wondering how noisy/smelly they are .Obviously I will have to clean up a bit every day, and I am wondering if they will drive me nuts squeaking.

Also, once they are indoor pets will they ever be able to go outside or will they become acclimatised to being indoors.

I am wondering whether to wait until spring now although I'd rather not

dietcokeandwine Thu 20-Sep-12 10:12:25

I think it really depends on your tolerance levels to be honest!

Mine are indoor pigs, but we are lucky enough to have a small centrally heated outbuilding that is detached from our actual house - so they're inside, but not actually in the house, if that makes sense (in fact the pigs have a better insulated home than we have, as our house is old Victorian with poor insulation and the outbuilding was newly brick built to modern standards a few years ago grin).

They don't smell bad, to be honest, unless they're overdue a cleanout. But they will smell of hay, their dry food mix etc. And you may or may not feel you can tolerate that kind of smell in your house. They are messy little horrors, and will scoot around / spill hay / dry food mix / shavings etc out of their hutch onto the floor (well ours do anyway). And some squeak louder than others! Personally, I think I'd struggle with the mess and noise if they were in our kitchen or lounge permanently BUT we have a small end terrace house, with limited space for the humans (!) let alone the pigs as well. We basically have one smallish lounge plus a kitchen. If we had a larger property, say with a separate utility room, or playroom, then I think I would happily have them in the actual house. In our current house, it would all be a bit too much!

Re the indoor / outdoor thing - some people have their pigs inside during winter and bring them back to an outdoor cage in the summer months. You just need to be aware that they don't cope with big temperature changes very well and extremes of hot/cold will be too much for them. Draughts are a big no-no. But it would be doable to have them outside in a weather-proofed hutch during the summer, and then bring them back in during winter, as long as you managed the transitions carefully.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 20-Sep-12 10:50:19

YY it is the hay that smells more than the pigs (I'm not keen on hay smells but the little monsters need it and it keeps them busy).
I tried them on hay cookies and fleece last year (hay cookies are a solid 'biscuit' of hay).
I tend to use what I've got, but they seemed happiest in deep hay on a bed of newspaper. I used catlitter under the newspaper to dispel little rodent odours.

I make sure the temperature in their Pighouse is up to the house temperature before they go out. I don't think mine would be content in their indoor cage all day. At the weekend ,when I have a lie-in, I get woken by DH or DC telling me the pigs are staging a Jailbreak hmm.

And the squeaking indoors is lovely TBH. They have such a repitoire of noises.

BonkeyMollocks Thu 20-Sep-12 11:30:15

I have indoor pigs and am on the phone so will apologise for advance!

They don't smell as long as you do a minor clean at least every other day. I have a night cage and a day pen. I clean these both once a day. The only time I got smells was in the heat.

Hay gets everywhere....but they need it. I have laminate floor which is easy to sweep.

Noise wise, they will squeak down the walls if you dare go to the fridge anywhere close to feed time. They will speak when you rustle any sort of bag because they want more hay....but its lovely! Night time all touch will hear is the chomp of hay.

Space wise they need a fair bit. Google C&C cages for a good idea on a cage. Mine have a C&C for the day and a standard cage for night.

BonkeyMollocks Thu 20-Sep-12 11:36:26

Mine are permanent indoor pigs. I don't have a garden but if I did then I would try answer get them out during the summer.

Actually if i had a garden the pigs would have their own shed possibly with a wife or two each wink.

My dh hates them being inside. Mainly the mess and the space that they take. They get some sort of 'Im going to put you in a pot' look everyday hmm .

Its the blasted hay! Im a country girl, I love the smell of hay but the bloody stuff manages to get in my bed/ rug/in my kitchen....Its the one thing that I would ditch if i could, but they luffs it soooo much! smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 20-Sep-12 11:38:21

Oh yes the hay gets everywhere grin.

sleepingbunnies Thu 20-Sep-12 11:56:17

I would love indoor pigs but ours are indoor pigs in winter only... Having a cuddle now :-)

guineapiglet Thu 20-Sep-12 15:57:11

Agree with what evryone has said, esp 70 - the squeaking and talking are a brilliant positive to having the guineas indoors, they are so interactive, a friend of mine had a boar who used to have his own mat by the fire. When the doorbell rang he would race across the house to the door squeaking like a guard-ig - he wasabsolutely adorable! They love to be part of the family, and this is the lovely thing about them.

You might want to check out if your kids are reactive in any way to the guineas and their hay. They are very allergenic creatures, and the hay can make you wheeze if you are sensitive, so do consider this when bringing them in, as everyone says, it does get everywhere, sticking to clothing,socks, carpets etc, so if it is something which might be a concern to you, it is important to know the truth!! There is a guinea smell, but, if they are regularly cleaned out, it is a liveable with smell, not unpleasant.

PS Off thread a bit, but isnt it wonderful to see P@H exposed for what it is !!!

guineapiglet Thu 20-Sep-12 16:00:40

guardig?? Guardpig

Willmouse Thu 20-Sep-12 21:10:02

Thanks for the replies. Still not sure what to do confused

Not entirely sure where I could put them inside. Kitchen too small and I would fear for their lives in the playroom. Dining room is a possibility but my bedroom is above and no matter how cute, I don't want to be woken to the dulcet tones of hungry guinea pigs grin

Shocking about P@H. Our local one seems ok- I've had really nice fish from there.

HecateHarshPants Thu 20-Sep-12 21:12:17

Oh, it's lovely. They're FAR happier and better inside than out. They're such happy, sociable little critters and they love being part of daily family life.

We had several and they barely spent any time in their cages.

sleepingbunnies Thu 20-Sep-12 21:15:37

Am I missing something about pets at home?! Don't get me wrong I know they are shit but has something specific happened?!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 20-Sep-12 21:36:33

P@H -
they have a ridiculously short 'guarentee' on their animals (something like 24 hours)
they sell VIP Rabbits which are imported, neutered and vaccinated- but at a really young age (I'm not a bunny person, but I did read up on the age they should be done)
their 5 week old guinea-pigs were imported from Spain. Why? What do they have to endure in transport?

I've reported GPs will stuck-shut eyes and waited till they were removed to be treated. To be told they were 'tired'. No they are not tired, there's something wrong with it's eye
Shavings in pens.
Animals past their 'cute-by' date shoved into rehome ( and what then?)

The Watchdog prog showed dead fish in tanks, guinea-pigs with ringworm, rabbits with health problems.
Not giving the right information and advice sheets but getting buyers to sign that they had.

Ludicrously small cages that the sell as suitable for small furries.

sleepingbunnies Thu 20-Sep-12 21:41:03

70 that's awful :-( makes me so fucking angry!!

alemci Thu 20-Sep-12 21:59:08

the watchdog was awful.

our piggy is coming in very soon. he lives outside in the Summer.

i put him away tonight and left the door ajar which was daft whilst i grabbed some hay and he fell out from a height. the hay broke his fall but it is so upsetting.

my son cuddled him and he seems ok but feel really mean.

MrsShrek3 Thu 20-Sep-12 22:03:37

Bookmarking to read tomorrow- our piggies are still out in the hutch but plan to clear out the porch and have them in for the winter.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 20-Sep-12 22:08:52

alemci my GP1 jumped out of my arms early this year (I was stooped so from my shoulder but not full height) but he didn't fall on hay. I still 'see' his little back legs as he landed on his front paws on the wooden floor.

He was a bit shock . I kept an eye on him (after DH and I gave him a thorough check). Nothing was broken, no bleeding, no teeth damaged.

We put him in his cage with the soft pet bed and his brother next to him for company.

I was torn between "OMG, do I stress him with a vet visit? What will they do?"
and scientific neglect ie do nothing.

A couple of hours later he was moving gingerly, and getting off his bed to eat parsley, so we didn't go down the vet route.

Poor DD had to go to school worrying all day.

Daft little bugger (GP1 not DD) didn't learn his lesson, and about 3 months ago jumped from DD arms onto the lid of the haybox - much less distance and it's carpeted.
He walked off , she was in tears.

Blardy creatures.

sleepingbunnies Thu 20-Sep-12 22:10:48

One of our girls jumped out of my dads arms when they were looking after them for us while we were on holiday... Made an escape to their next door neighbours garden... My dad was mortified!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 20-Sep-12 22:16:15

When I first got GPs (in 1975) I bought A Guinea-Pig Book. Too bad the GPs didn't read it:

GPs don't jump- yes they flipping well do. But not up they jump down
GPs don't climb- we had one that climbed upstairs and 2 that climbed downstairs
GPs don't dig- I'd agree with that, mine are all too lazy
GPs don't have tails- one of ours had a tiny tail/long spine
GPs don't bite- yes and no. My mother was badly bitten when one of our GPs was dying (literally half an hour before she died. So forgivable)

Throw the books away, my GPs said. We'll tell you what you need to know grin

sleepingbunnies Thu 20-Sep-12 22:20:00

When I was checking pepper's mites she bit me :-(

One of the books I got said you could feed GPs potato peelings but everywhere else iv looked says NO WAY!

BonkeyMollocks Thu 20-Sep-12 22:28:04

Little Pig is a jumper.

As soon as we are near the cage he gets all wriggly .
Has jumped out of my arms(standing height) and if the sofa onto hard floors ! shock

Fine both times but what a arse !

He is also very mouthy . Drew blood once...close to it again a number of times! hmm
Then he looks at me with those doey eyes as if to say 'what?' .

Oh and get digs water! hmm

Screw loose!

BonkeyMollocks Thu 20-Sep-12 22:28:18


70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 20-Sep-12 22:40:55

I've always been told no potatoes especially bad if green bits.

We have to really clamp the boars down to our shoulder- I won't trust GP1 with DD now (to take to the Pighouse, he's a lamb the rest of the time). I can carry GP2 with one hand, but GP1 is a big wriggly blighter.

The biting is 99.99% a response to pain or fright. Or in our GPs case if we annoy their greasespots (but maybe they think it's the other pig and they give a 'naff off' warning. It's not a real bite TBH just a tooth/skin kiss.

The digging water grin confused - no idea why. grin
Virtual glare at LittlePig wink

BonkeyMollocks Thu 20-Sep-12 22:57:17

Hmm the biting mostly happens when his legs/feet are touched. Blood was drawn whilst trying to but nails!
Sometimes its a lick that goes to far iykwim. I must taste nice to Gpigs because Big Pig has the occasional nibble too. hmm

Always, always heard potatoes are bad!

alemci Fri 21-Sep-12 11:00:19

ours sometimes bites when he wants a wee and is sitting on you. he pulls at your clothing.

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