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Getting a rescue guinea pig

(8 Posts)
PatsysDouble Wed 17-Oct-12 22:14:44

Please help, I'm overwhelmed with information and the library books I've ordered are not going to come for a couple of weeks!

We're going to visit a guinea pig rescue place at half term, and the lady on the phone said we would be able to take guinea pigs home that day all being well.

We have a hutch ready (2 storey, bottom level open to the ground). I understand we won't need a run for a while as the grass is too wet.
The hutch will live in the carport in the winter, and the living level has lino on the bottom to help keep it clean/dry.

We have a bag of guinea pig food, dish and water bottle.

What else do I need to get before the guinea pigs come home?

What should we put on the carport (concrete) floor for them to play on?

I have read about temperature differences not being good for them - is it ok to bring them in the house to play and then put them back out for bed? If in a carport, can they sleep out there all winter?

Shredded paper seems good for bedding - is printed paper (i.e. stuff from work) ok?

Any tips for choosing rescue piggies? The place seems to be highly thought off so assuming their advice will be sound (we're novices!)

Anything else I need to know?

Thank you (and please excuse my ignorance)!!!!

fridayfreedom Wed 17-Oct-12 22:31:12

well done for getting rescue piggies...am assuming you are getting two, they shouldn't live alone as they naturally live in groups.
re the hutch, piggies are not built for climbing so any ramps should not be steep and have edges they can't fall off.
re bedding they need hay not paper as it is better for bedding they can eat it and it can be packed in to keep them warm. Paper with ink could be poisonous, would be too harsh and not hold the warmth.
you also need something like megazorb to act as a soft flooring and absorb urine.
see other posts for hints on keeping hutches outside in the winter. you do have to keep them really snug.and concrete may be a bit cold for them in the winter.
They need veg and small amounts of fruit, as they can not make their own vitamin C. There are lots of websites which gives tips on what to feed them.
Ask what the rescue feeds re dry food and try and use this or gradually swap, but may be best to stick to what they know.
Good luck

PatsysDouble Wed 17-Oct-12 22:37:14

Thanks for replying so quickly! There's so much information about that I've been feeling somewhat swamped!

The kids have been asking for ages for a guinea pig, but I've always had a thing about keeping animals in cages (love the animals, it's the cages) so rescue piggies seemed to be the best compromise as the animals are already in cages and need a new home. (I have spent far too much time overthinking all this!)

Yes, definitly getting 2 (slightly concerned that taking the 3 kids to the rescue place might end up with us coming back with 3 piggies....)

We've re-built the ramp and made it nice and long, so not steep. Will add ridges and edges as necessary.

guineapiglet Thu 18-Oct-12 09:48:42

Hi - very jealous of you getting rescues, hope it goes well. If there is an established 3, dont be put off - we ended up with 3 sisters and there is really no difference between2/3 in terms of food, bedding etc. It sounds like you are well prepared! friday's advice is great, I would be a bit worried about 'ramps' as they dont seem to have much spatial awareness and may well not rush up and down - you will have to see. You can always try Freecycle for old hutches/runs/equipment, we got a lot of our stuff that way and were able to pass our stuff on. Definitely dont use paper with ink on it - hay is what they need, and you can get big bales at local farm shops quite cheaply if you look around.

Ours were in a large shed, protected from the wind, you will probably need to insulate a bit with carpets, old duvets or such like ( again freecyle may help you!). I used to put ours in an indoor run when the weather was awful - you can line the run with lino/old newspapers and give them shoe boxes with little doors cut out as 'poo houses' - this may or may not work, but you can fill the run with hay/grass/ stuff that will keep them interested and then they can get some exercise.

They are wonderful pets, very interactive and responsive. It will take some time for them to become confident and trusting of you and your family - they need to get used to routine, to your voices, and being handled - not sure how old your kids are, but better that an adult is there to supervise initially as they can jump and may injure themselves if they are timid - when you rescue them, try and find out as much as you can to see if they are used to being handled etc. They are excellent creatures for using up 'bits' as well - try banana skins, apple cores, cauliflower leaves, broccoli stalks and so on - if there is an ALDI near you do try it, their fruit and veg is much cheaper, we always use it for us! Life with guineas is much easier in the spring and summer as they can go out all the time and stuff themsleves on grass, so less expense then - do hope it all goes well, let us know what happens!smile

PatsysDouble Thu 18-Oct-12 22:16:00

Ok, I'll relax on the 3 pigs front. Thanks!

And keep an eye on them with regard to the ramp. The rescue has lots of hutches too, so can always go back to them for a replacement if necessary.

We have an Aldi at the top of my road!!!

For the hutch insulation, do you just drape the duvet/carpet etc over the hutch? And the run area underneath could be lined with cardboard/lino I assume too. What about carpet off cuts? How much of this stuff will they just eat?

Thanks so much for the replies.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 18-Oct-12 22:39:06

Hi PatsysDouble - congrats on your piggles when you get them. We've had our rescue boars for a year now (got them for half term last year so that they could have the settling in time)

If you want 3 ,you might get 3 'bonded' pigs (not necessarily related, but might be ones that get on). 2-3 girls or 1 neutered boar + 1/2 sows.
Boars shouldn't be kept in trios except in very exceptional cases (and experienced owners) and only one boar with sows.

My boys live in the DC old Playhouse so they have plenty of floorspace. We made a ramp (carpet covered) to go to the top of their haybox. It is broad and shallow incline, but they are too bally lazy to climb it. Occasionally GP2 will go halfway. DD puts them on the haybox when they go to bed.They run down the ramp as fast as their little legs will carry them..towards the food grin

I put rubber car mats in the bottom of the haybox (where they can't get them) and layers of cardboard and newspaper. Mine don't chew newspaper but some do.

When it gets cold they'll come in at night.At the moment they still have a heater and hay so are warm enough.Last year they came in early December at night and in the Pighouse by day.

Concrete is cold but has the advantage (over woo) that it doesn't 'hold' damp. My boys were in temporary accomodation in our garage for a week.It has a concrete floor (no car in garage) in their big rabbit run. I gave them layers of cardboard and straw (soft barley straw) and hay. They had boxes and fleeces and I put a duvet over their cage. They were quite happy, but it was only for a week (they were a nightmare to catch grin

Look through all the GP/Winter threads on here, it'll give you ideas.

Any more questions, ask away.

envy as this was me last year (I had 12 GPs as a child and my DD wanted some). She insisted on a boar which was why we got the boar brothers.
They are lovely (but stinky) grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 18-Oct-12 22:43:00

BTW mine haven't tried to eat the carpet but my little boar is a right little so-and-so for ingesting inedibles (yes GP2 that's why I make sure there's no sellotape on your boxes). Little swine had a bite at Duck Tape shock

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 18-Oct-12 23:01:39

Your food might not be the same as what they are eating. If it's different, change over gradually (start on theirs them mix it bit by bit until it's all the new stuff). I give my boys Burgess Excell pellets. Change food and water daily.
GP food loses Vit C .Water gets stagnant and harbours bacteria. You can clean their bowls/bottles with weak Milton -rinse well.
Veg change daily. And check in their beds for any bits they hide)

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