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Guinea pig advice sought

(39 Posts)
perceptionreality Fri 15-Feb-13 14:55:38

I have decided to get two guinea pigs (female) - sorry I'm aware there are loads of GP threads but I want to get this right so I was wondering;

what cage do you all use (we will keep them inside)
what food do you buy them?

I know you need hay but not sure what to use for the floor? I have heard wood flakes are not suitable for GPs.

I will make sure we have a run and toys for them - we have lots of space where I will be able to set up an enclosed area for them to get exercise.


perceptionreality Fri 15-Feb-13 14:56:37

Oh I meant to ask - is it cheaper to buy the cage online than in the store?

Astelia Fri 15-Feb-13 15:15:58

I would get a big cage, biggest they sell, and just use the base. GPs cannot climb over anything more than about 10cm.

We use newspaper for the base and change it twice a day. We have used the cotton pet bedding before which was ok, the wood shavings weren't very nice and I worried about them getting hurt by it.

We put the hay into metal balls, available from the pet shop. It keeps the hay nice as they can't climb in it and wee all over it.

GPs need proper guinea pig food and loads of hay plus clean water. We use a bowl of water not bottles as it is easier in the tray.

guineapiglet Fri 15-Feb-13 16:18:32

Hi perception welcome to the glorious guinea world - lucky you getting some girls. Do try local guinea rescues who will be able to advise best local place for you. If you have time, I would recommend you have a look through some of the threads, lots of people on here have great advice and tips and are very experienced guinea carers, so they might help you.

If you are keeping them indoors, I would agree to go as big as you can, some use indoor hutches and some use C and C cages. They usually need lots of space indoors and a large run with sleeping area for outdoors. If you have any kids, it is worth knowing that guineas are very allergenic and can cause eczema and asthma ( it happened to my son), so do be aware of that - they are usually best handled by slightly older children with adult supervision. I got some of my guinea equipment from gumtree and freecyle, but there are lots of guinea magazines and websites who might be able to point you in the right direction. I used newspaper and hay only, my girls sneezed at wood shavings, and hay is just too strong and can poke them in their eyes.

Good luck with your guinea search, they are lovely creatures, and hope all goes well. smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 15-Feb-13 16:55:15

perceptionreality - yes guinea-pigs are lovely little creatures but as guineapiglet says do read all the GP related threads (yes there are hundreds of them and some subjects do come up repeatedly but well worth spending a few happy GP related hours before you get them)

Cage: as big as you can. I've got a 4'x2' and my boars are very hmm even though it's only for winter bedtime.
I've never tried C&C but you can customise them to suit (and add to them)
GPs aren't really athletic so if you do have two levels they might not bother with the ramp.

But I'd have to challenge Astelia on the 10cm climb. One of my GPs when I was a child could run upstairs- literally sprinted up 13 steps without batting an eyelid. Another GP would climb downstairs. And these were fully grown adults grin

If you go to a rescue , you'll know you'll be giving two pigs a good home and be more likely to definately get 2 girls (unless you get very young ones, it's hard to tell when they are babies). I've had 2 sows that weren't...result- baby piglets surprise .

Bedding- I use cardboard, newspaper and hay. All easy to dispose. They love a few boxes to hide in, tunnels.
I gave my boys a box with a fleece to sleep in and a pile of hay .They slept in the hay confused, totally ignored the fleece.
Fleece is a nightmare to get the hay off. Shavings and sawdust can irritate their eyes and respiratory systems.Shavings can dry their feet and fur.

There's loads of food threads (some things are toxic or unsuitable for hogs.Some things they should only have 1-2 times a week)

You'll be told what dry food they're eating and given a supply.If you want to change it, you can mix the two types over a period of time.
I use Burgess Excell. Easy to get hold of.(about £10 for 4kg bag. They're meant to have 50g /hog/day ) so it last a while.

I do tend to overdo the hay for my boys. They play in it , hide in it, eat it, nest in it- so of course pee/pooh in it. (So alot of waste)
But the way I see it, I pay £3.90 for 4kg hay + same for soft barley straw. A full bed (half a bag of hay + half a bag of straw) lasts 3 days or so (hay need replenished more .Indoor bed changed daily because they are messy little boars).
The hay costs less than a vet visit for an unhappy or ill pig.

And have a look locally for a good guinea-pig vet. If you can go on their websites and look at each vets speciality. Alot of vets will treat cats and dogs but might not be so experienced with small furries.

Good Luck. You'll love them
Even though my GP2 cuddled me last night and tucked his head under my chin......aaahhh.........then peed.Extensively.Little git. hmm

perceptionreality Fri 15-Feb-13 17:05:40

Thanks for your replies. What is a C&C cage?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 15-Feb-13 17:31:03

if you google C&C you'll get
They give the minimum and preferred sizes for pig cages.
(IIRC C&C stands for cube and coloplast) It's grids and fasteners with a plastic floor liner (I think you fold the edges to make a tray). You can enlarge or change it with extra pieces.

Wooden hutches look nice and cosy but it's not the easiest thing to keep clean. (I use a hand held steamer to clean the boys outdoor Pighouse and one of those Animal Safe Sprays for indoors)
They can get whiffy if not kept clean but TBH it's the smell of hay that you'll notice more than the pigs.

perceptionreality Fri 15-Feb-13 18:58:45

Thanks again for your replies. I was going to get a rabbit but after reading up on them, decided a GP would be a better pet for my dds. I've managed to locate some local babies from people who have bread them and will also look to see if a rescue center is near us.

perceptionreality Fri 15-Feb-13 18:59:30

bred! haha

(goes off to read archived threads)

BonkeyBeadyMollocks Fri 15-Feb-13 19:00:07

I have a c&c much better than my other shop bought !

I will also challenge the 10cm climb - I will lend you LittlePig to prove it if you like wink !

fortifiedwithtea Fri 15-Feb-13 20:39:55

Sit them on your lap one at a one. Tell them their name and tempt them with small pieces of cucumber. They will love you very quickly also be prepared to be wee'd on grin.

The advantage of Burgess Excel is its a balanced mix. They cann't pick and choose what they like and risk missing out on some vital nutriment.

I well remember my lovely Old Boy climbing 2 stairs to get to my nice sow smelling coat. smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 15-Feb-13 21:10:32

It's parsley in the 70boars house. GP1 would sell his own mother for parsley.

And the boys had a slice of banana yesterday. Very much appreciated.

lappy Fri 15-Feb-13 21:21:54

Ours have always had shavings but we get good quality dust extracted ones. Spot clean them once a day and full clean once a week. They absolutely love green beans,apple and cucumber and go crazy when given a large paper bag to play in and destroy.
You'll love them, especially when they start singing for their supper! Sounds like "Wheek wheek"

Astelia Sat 16-Feb-13 01:35:32

Mine go crazy every time the fridge door opens- they have us well trained and are spoiled rotten as a result. Must admit I don't bother with the cage at all now and mine are free range in a huge room. They don't go far from their igloos and as long as I clear up the newspaper twice a day they stay clean and tidy. I have a stair gate just in case.

70isalimit I'm impressed with yours being able to climb the stairs, mine never even bothered climbing out of the tray. It wouldn't have mattered if they had, they would have been safe.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 16-Feb-13 01:45:45

It was one of our accidental pigs (when I was 12 yo I bought a black&white sow who turned out to be already pg) She had a single sow piglet (Ginger) who was a complete character, little squared off muzzle and a tail shock. She has a longer than normal spine so at the base of her spine was a short bony tail.

She never got very big (probably because her mum was young) and was always agile- so the stairs were no trouble,

The Resident Boars (my DDs pigs) couldn't climb a stair if their lives depended on it hmm . Lazy toads.

perceptionreality Sat 16-Feb-13 14:01:08

Is it possible to train them to use a toilet area? I have bought a very big cage with a seperate area for the hay which is a good idea.

I am happy to see you can buy interactive toys for them. Dd is animal mad - I do think she'll cherish them, whoever we end up having. In any case, I am prepared to take full responsibility for them whatever happens.

Astelia Sat 16-Feb-13 15:18:53

My gps tend to use the back of their igloos as a toilet, so I clean them out twice a day (very quick as I just roll up the newspaper and put clean paper down) and I wash the igloos once a week.

If they can clamber in the hay they may well use that as a toilet. I wasted a lot of good hay in this way so I bought some metal balls that you fill with hay and the hay can be pulled out. Keeps it all clean and dry.

Floralnomad Sat 16-Feb-13 15:28:19

Ginger pig was 5 just before Christmas and earlier in the week looked like she was gasping her last but she climbed out of the sink in the utility room this morning whilst I was trying to cut her toenails , so yes they can definitely climb ! Her favourites are parsley ( curled variety) and shredded curly kale ( green only) . Piggies are lovely .

perceptionreality Sun 17-Feb-13 13:11:29

I have found someone local to us who breeds animals and who has two baby girl guineas from the same litter that she's going to sell us - so we are going to pick them up on Friday. They are very sweet.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 17-Feb-13 17:22:34

WRT to toilet training- they don't have a set corner like rabbits or rats do. They tend to walk'n'drop so scatter their droppings far and wide. And have a pooh nest in the hay where they sleep.

Mucky little toads grin

perceptionreality Sun 17-Feb-13 17:25:28

Ok, I won't bother with one of those corner toilet things then.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 17-Feb-13 17:31:17

Oh and envy @ baby guineas.
They are lovely wink

perceptionreality Sun 17-Feb-13 18:36:10

They are lovely indeed - dd is very excited to pick them up. She loves animals smile I have spent lots of time reading up on how best to care for them - I'm sure they will be a welcome addition. Thanks everyone for your advice.

Curlybrunette Sun 17-Feb-13 21:37:17


I can't add too much to the advice given about but would say the guinea pig forum is definately worth a visit. They've given me so much advice


perceptionreality Mon 18-Feb-13 11:50:56

Thanks very much - that forum looks very helpful.

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