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should we keep guinea pigs?

(39 Posts)
looseleaf Mon 05-Nov-12 19:49:39

A lady locally had 2 guinea pigs (sisters ) and her children no longer interested. Dd (6) and I love animals and I've only had rabbits but suggested we'd be happy to give them a go for a week or two then see...
They are very lovely guinea pigs, very friendly and we've definitely taken to them but I need to decide whether we're a good enough home.

We have a garden
We have bought them a tunnel and ordered an xl fleece cosy as worried they'll get cold (owners kept them outside) but I don't think we can do more than this as our flat tiny
Dd gives them lots of time and is gentle and great with them
We say hello to them several times a day and take them out for exercise and cuddles once or twice
Different Veg twice a day

We have a 1 year old so any involvement I have with them is limited and exhausting as either uses up the little time I have (much needed for house-keeping, cooking etc as our children have allergies and it's hard to take shortcuts!) or I'm constantly trying to control DS's enthusiastic attempts to be with them . He's stroking them softly but over enthusiastic so I basically watch him constantly and can't do anything else
No grass in our garden

Do any of you have advice? We've only had them 3 days but I sort of need to work out my thoughts before dd gets even more attached (she knows they're temporary to see if we have time to really look after them)

Thanks for your thoughts!!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 07-Nov-12 17:12:25

but just don't drop

or in the case of my GP1, leapt out of my arms onto the floor of the Pighouse.
He was shock but unhurt.
I aged 10 years.

Little blighters that they are (but we love them)

alemci Wed 07-Nov-12 17:17:16

I got our original GP's when my dd was 6 and she absolutely loved them even my little boy (about 2) was involved. We still have one now. They are not vicious IME and if you love them yourself it will be fine.

just make sure they are warm in the winter and bring them inside if you can.

I think my DH and me will always have them somehow. They seem to come and find us. Our current one is the 2nd one we have rehomed.

Mintyy Wed 07-Nov-12 19:21:39

Does anyone mind if I hijack slightly to ask if the piggy experts think I should get a new companion for my gorgeous girl Peggy? She lost her sister Cookie (rip sad sad sad) a week ago to an undiagnosed condition and is looking very lonely in her cage. She is only two and a half years old and I can't bear to think of her being alone if she lives a long and healthy life. We would love to offer a home to another guinea. We would try and find a rescue piggy of roughly the same age. What do people think? Any tips? We are heartbroken over loss of Cookie btw, I can still get tearful thinking about it.

guineapiglet Wed 07-Nov-12 19:37:40

Hi there - I know exactly how you feel, I STILL have to see a photo of my special guinea who died last year and it sets me off!! It is rotten for the one who is left, so you have to kind of make a decision, IS this going to be my last guinea, in which case you bring her in and make a big fuss of her for the rest of her life ( she may live to be 5 or more, or less,, it is hard to predict!), or do I get some more so that I am in a non stop circle of never having one on its own. I kept going with our 'circle' over 8 years! - My advice would be to try and get a younger pair of baby girl sisters who will be looking for a mum type figure, and try and integrate them over a few days/week, depending on how friendly and mum like your remaining guinea girl is. You could try guinea rescues to see if they have a youngish girl singleton, and try and integrate them both. ( But then you get back to the circle thing when one dies) - I have done both things several times, and a lot depends on the character of your lonely girl, you dont want her getting too stressed. IF she is pining I would go for the companionship option, am more than happy to help with ideas, as Im sure most on this thread will be. Do get a separate hutch ( Freecycle?) before you start tho' as they will have to be separate for a while.

Good luck!!!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 07-Nov-12 19:39:23

Definately worth phoning round some rescues. There will be lots of single female GPs of all ages .

(When I got the boars they had lots of sows in rescue but my DD wanted boars).

They can help you match up and introduce your guinea-girl to some suitable cage-mates.

Good Luck wink

There's a really good site called Barmy4Boars and they have information on boar match-ups. They've got a sow-site but I haven't looked at that one (because I've got chappie-pigs) but worth a look.

recall Wed 07-Nov-12 19:53:03

I have just got a pair. I am keeping them in an outside run on the grass that I move every other day, and I have ordered a very small shelteroff a bloke on e bay who will make it to your specifications. It is the right size to fit a heat pad i the bottom, is raised off the ground and is weather proof. I plan to place this in the run. Because the shelter is small, they will keep each other warm. This is my plan. Less mucking out to do because it will go on the grass, and the little shelter will be easy to tip out into a bag, rather than having to clean a hutch out. When it gets freezing, I will bring them in at night.

guineapiglet Wed 07-Nov-12 20:17:51

Hi - hope your new pair are settling in OK. Not sure where you are, but do watch out for them being on grass at this time of year, it gets very damp and the guineas will not be able to cope well if on a damp surface - at this time of year they really need to be inside, warm and dry if possible. Your shelter should have lots of hay in it ( sorry, that kind of ruins your cleaning out plans!) -they are very prone to illness from damp and drafts, so need to be as insulated as possible - if they are young they will not have any resistance to cold nights, even if snuggled up together, they still need lots of bedding. Another thing to watch for is making the run as animal proof as possible, we had lots of problems with cats and foxes at night, even tho ours were in a locked shed, runs are just not lockable and the guineas will smell lovely to a predator.....!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 07-Nov-12 20:33:51

recall make sure your pigs have enough room though.
My adult boars were in a side-by-side set up (I had to divide their cage into two 2'x2' spaces last year for night time)

I tried them in their cage (as a 4'x2' space) with 2 seperate boxes of hay and they were a pair of right little gits (this was 2 nights over Guy Fawkes)

I've banished them to their Pighouse with a radiator for night-time. DH has ordered a thermostatic adaptor so we can keep their cage at a constant even temperature.
They seem quite happy with the space+ warmth set up.

If they get in each others' faces (which they will do at some time grin ) they need a get out space.

looseleaf Tue 22-Jan-13 22:28:29

I just thought I'd say we still have the guinea pigs and your advice was lovely when I felt stuck! So glad we gave them a go, the shy one has slowly become much happier about bring handled and even she makes happy noises a lot now. They love racing round our sitting room and get very excited about the variety of veg we get in our wonderful Riverford boxes! Dd is SO diligent about giving them lots of attention, checking food etc even when she feels over stretched . (She's 6 on Thurs). . She got hysterical last night saying it was too much for her and she feels we should give thrm back but she loves them too much! So I had to console her and explain I can give them attention for her too smile
Anyway, having always thought rabbits were great and guinea pigs less appealing I'm won over and they are an important part of the family!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 22-Jan-13 22:49:24

Winter is the worst time really -and trying to give them enough variety of veg too.

They are lovely aren't they?
DD and I were cuddling the boys tonight (They were indoors today because I had to leave home ridiculously early to get to work in the snow).

GP2 (my DS pig who's mine really ) was soooo relaxed he rooled over on his side grin. Then he fell asleep and did this weird hog-snoring noise. Then woke up all blush "Not me . I don't snore"

Sleepingbunnies Wed 23-Jan-13 19:54:28

I have never known a vicious guinea!

My daughters (4yr old/16 month old) love ours. grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 23-Jan-13 21:45:10

One of my old sows (the original pair when I was 9yo, 2 sows but were boar/sow) was a right madam.
She hated a bath and bore a grudge, even waiting an hour to bite us. (We learned to wrap her up and keep her off skin, but she was devious)

She attacked her mate and he concussed himself running away (hit a wall) sad

Plays jumper tug of war, but if it didn't go her way...

But I would never in a million years have called her vicious. You just had to respect her grin

guineapiglet Thu 24-Jan-13 09:53:59

smile 70 - you had to respect her lol!

If you think about a little guinea the ONLY reasonably scary thing about it is its set of gnashers - and possibly over sharp and long nails - so if they are unhappy/grumpy/wanting to show displeasure/cross etc the only thing they can really do is bit/nip/gnaw etc. Our 'mutant' girl - the one with four toes on her bag legs would turn round and nip once she had had enough of being held - but was as gentle as anything with her fellow cage mates. We had a couple of rescues who were used to being 'picked up' by young children, and clearly, backs to the wall, used their teeth as a way of saying 'dont pick us up like that' - this scared the children, who were, in my opinion way too young - and were unsupervised so goodness knows what else these guineas were subject to.
After a few months of gentle handling - letting them come to us, they became settled at being picked up. These things take time, especially when you have to undo months of ill treatmentsad

Curlybrunette Sun 27-Jan-13 22:05:26

Looseleaf I'm really glad you've posted an update. We got our 1st piggies around the same time as you did, on the 14th November for ds's birthday they are so mine really and I cannot believe how attached we are to them.

Bertha is more shy but once she's being held is fine, and Betty is such a character. And never stops eating!

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