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What else do my Guinea Pigs need?

(34 Posts)
Dontletthemgetyoudown Mon 30-Sep-13 13:01:42

We got 6 month old rescue pigs at the weekend (2 boys) and have them in an indoor cage with plenty of out of age exercise and free time (have to lock the terrier in the garden as she wont leave them alone, the Labrador is not interested in them at all). They will be caged when I am at work (10-3) and any times that they cant be supervised with the dogs about.) we have plenty of hay and fresh fruit and veg for them as well as pellet food and water.

We also brought cardboard hidey tubes, a large daisy chain chew/naw toy, a dried corn treat/naw thing. Do they need anything else?

Also a query re bedding, we brought some recycled paper pellets as advised but when I had guniea pigs as a child they had hay in the bed part I assume for warmth and cover, but these pellets would be far too dense if stacked high enough to create cover, do they need hay for bedding as well as food? They are currently living in the hallway, I cover the cage with a fleece blanket at night time as it can get draughty, but as the cage I next to the radiator I will have to turn the radiator off otherwise they will get too hot? (it has no temp control just on or off)

I have ordered an outdoor cage and need to get a cover for it, the outdoor area is mainly under cover (think conservatory with no frontage so covered on three sides and the roof), with a run for day to day usage and have a larger run on order for the warmer weather and when we are home. In the warmer weather/summer would you leave them outside whilst at work? or would they be better in the hutch which has a small run attached and then let out when we're home?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 30-Sep-13 18:06:29

Lovely piggies smile

Boars are gorgeous (ever so slightly biased though).
They need room, lots of play space and sleeping areas where they can get away from each other.

Toys we give ours - cardboard boxes (no staples or selloptape) with two doors cut in.
The tunnels that you have.

I use a thick layer of rodent friendly cat pellets in the outdoor Pighouse then cardboard, newspaper, hay to eat and soft barley straw at the back of the box to insulate.

Hay for food and bedding- it fulfills their need to forage and the need to eat roughage (their natural diet is grass/hay). They need to eat almost constantly (well that's what my boars say) or they get gut stasis.

The cover over the cage is good - I put a duvet over my boys indoor winter cage so they got the idea it was SLEEP time. They went to bed about 9pm but my GP2 used to think it was perfectly reasonable to chew cardboard at 3am hmm.
It keeps them insulated, they need to be constant temperature.

It depends how safe your outdoor cage/run is, I have a family of foxes in aneighbours garden so I don't leave mine alone during the day. If I went to pick DD from school I was out for 45 minutes, they were ok in their rabbit run, (it pegs into the ground) but foxes can dig so I didn't want them having a chance with my pigs.

Dontletthemgetyoudown Mon 30-Sep-13 19:24:45

Thank you for replying. I have added more hay and some to the bedding area for them. The cardboard box is a good idea too.

I had guinea pigs as a child but dont remember much about day to day feeding etc. My boys had guinea pigs about 8-10 years ago but we didn't have them long as unfortunately something got them when they were accidentally left in the run overnight sad so wel aware of dangers of leaving them unattended.

If we put them outside I guess we'd need to add several bolts to out fox the foxes?

fortifiedwithtea Tue 01-Oct-13 15:03:05

YY turn off the radiator, guinea pigs can over heat and find it difficult to regulate their temperature. Having said that they mustn't be in cold or draughts either. Correct extra bolts against foxes too, evil buggers.

IME guinea pigs do not understand specially bought toys unless its a tunnel or cardboard Chube. As 70 says they love homemade cardboard box hideys and mine go crazy for brown paper bags handles removed , lots of shopping at Tesco Homeplus and Primark grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 01-Oct-13 17:34:56

We learned the hard way with Primark bags.
GP1 (when he was chubbier) got angrily and judgily stuck in the handles.
He did an almighty squawk blush

Dontletthemgetyoudown Tue 01-Oct-13 21:26:47

Radiator turned off! Rather embarrassingly I had to get my dad to come and do it!

They seem to like the cardboard tubes and I've saved a small box that an amazon delivery came in to replace the tubes. They've been chewing the daisy chain thing and they clear out all the hay and fresh veg we put in im worried im not putting enough in as they eat it all. Or would they eat anything I put in?

Dd1 is loving her morning cuddles and play with them and as soon as she gets in from school. We've been letting them run around the hallway as they cant hide under any furniture or chew any wires and most importantly away from our terrier who is still far too interested in them. Ds2 is also quite taken with them lets hope the fascination continues.

I wish we had room to make those huge grid cages recommended here but we haven't so will make sure they get non cage time every day

Thanks everyone

Meglet Tue 01-Oct-13 21:30:45

Parsley leaves / celery leaves / watermelon for warm weather.

My piggies ignore pretty much every chew I bought them. Chewing the door frame of their hutch was much nicer.

FernieB Tue 01-Oct-13 21:36:02

They will eat everything you put in for them and then look at you accusingly as though you haven't fed them for days. Mine love boxes, tubes, the rabbit's basket, door frames and books that children leave where they shouldn't grin. They are in an indoor cage but get run time every day.

DumSpiroSpero Tue 01-Oct-13 21:54:51

Re cardboard tubes - we went to a local flooring shop and got a couple of the cardboard tubes that carpet comes rolled round for free.

They live in the shed and we're just cutting off chunks as we need them.

Dontletthemgetyoudown Wed 02-Oct-13 10:16:50

oops we were late for school this morning as playing with the guinea pigs in the hallway. I am surprised at how quickly dd who is 7 has learnt to pick them up properly and to handle them properly. Lets hope the fascination continues and not seen as chore like the dogs are. As its only muggins here who walks the dogs, with the dd's moaning all the way.

hamncheese Wed 02-Oct-13 10:22:20

Get a brick with the three hole in and stick a carrot in each, ours loved that! In summer we would put them outside all day with shelters and shaded areas they were always happiest at grass smile

MoneyMug Wed 02-Oct-13 10:33:48

Pick some grass for them if you can. They LOVE grass.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 02-Oct-13 10:35:31

OOH ham I was a bit shock when I read get a brick..... (then I read the rest) grin <<phew>>

I find moving their belongings around keeps them interested and bamboozles them a bit.
Mine aren't sharp enough to fathom it out
"Whay aye, Man, where's my wicker house,,,,,,,,and what's THAT "

(It's your wicker house you daft piggie, just facing the other way)

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 02-Oct-13 10:38:13

If you want a tip to make them easier to clean out, line their cages with old towels instead of newspaper (and top with fleece to keep it dry if you really want to spoil them!) - you can then shake the bits of hay and poo off and wash the towels rather than messing around with soggy, smelly paper.

This is also good outside because it keeps their cage warmer through the winter smile

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 02-Oct-13 10:41:21

We used to make huge "adventure tunnels" for them using those cardboard crates you get from the supermarket and cutting holes, attaching extra bits of card on to make tunnels etc. (Not sure how we did this - probably glue or sellotape and then we just discarded them and started a new one when they got too close to the dangerous part with their chewing) This was for when it was too wet for them to go out, we'd put the run down inside with the adventure playground thing inside.

Dontletthemgetyoudown Wed 02-Oct-13 14:41:42

thanks everyone great ideas. those tubes from pet shops would soon get costly at £3 a go.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 02-Oct-13 16:06:57

I got the P@H ones when they were on a 3 for 2 .
I was a bit hmm at the price but they've lasted well.
We've got a long green plastic tunnel too (a bit chewed at the edge) but they love it, they trip through like the Billy Goats Gruff grin

DumSpiroSpero Thu 03-Oct-13 19:27:20

Oooh I'm going to have sooo much fun making Piggie adventure trails out of cardboard boxes grin !

70 can I ask you something as a resident piggie expert?

We've had our girls for a week now, bought them the same food they've always had (pellets) but they don't seem that interested. They are 14 weeks and we're giving them about 60g a day but they probably only eat 2/3 at the very most. They don't seem to drink much either.

They are ploughing through phenomenal quantities of fruit, veg and hay, and mowing the lawn for us when the weather is OK!

Just not sure if I need to worry about the pellets/water or if they are likely to be getting everything they need from the fresh stuff.confused

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 03-Oct-13 19:45:23

Hi Dum

They do need the pellets ( I know they are quite wasteful little animals) you could maybe cut down the amount but monitor if they eat the lot.

(I don't weigh mine , it's recommended 30-50g per piggie. I give a couple of handfuls, but with boars I'd rather have waste than fighting)

Water - yes mine never drink it either grin but it's on offer, daily, in a clean bowl or bottle.
And the only thing that happens is my pigling boar steps through it hmm

The pellets have roughage, Vit C,
My Burgess Excell have mint ooh , anti-oxidants double ooh and prebiotic.

The day you don't offer water and pellets will be the day they decide they "don't like anything on the plate Mummy" and get all judgey.
Unlike a GP to refuse food though, but they go through funny phases with food.
I gave GP1 and GP2 fresh beetroot- scoffed.
Now it gets left
Rocket meh

Carrots have suddenly got popular again

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 03-Oct-13 19:47:50

I'm going to show GP3 the resident piggie expert bit.
He's eating my oilcloth tablecover and when I tell him "No" I get the old fisheye look.

You're not my Mother look

DumSpiroSpero Thu 03-Oct-13 20:54:27

I know the pack says 30-50g each per day for adult piggies, so am probably giving them a bit more than they need. For the last two days have been giving just pellets in the morning and fresh food in the afternoon.

DH is a chef and has been bringing loads of different things home for them to try - they've eaten more veg in the last week then we have!

So far they've had cauli florets and leaves, cabbage, lambs lettuce, carrots and carrot tops, beetroot leaves, runner beans, broccoli, red & yellow peppers, apple, orange and kiwi fruit!

I think carrots, peppers, cabbage, apple and runner beans are their faves so far. DH is bringing them home sunflower seeds as a special treat tomorrow - 9 years of insisting he didn't want pets and he's totally besotted grin .

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 03-Oct-13 21:12:40

Don't give them seeds Dum
They can choke and they're really high in fat.

(OK for little rodenty people like mice and hamsters but not hogs)

And the beetroot leaves shouldn't be given (toxic , high levels of folic acid)
Beetroot -the actual round root - is fine , if a bit messy.
We used to give it to GP2 to fatten him up.

I give my boys the fresh sweetcorn (especially if I can buy it with the leaves on, they love it) but I'm not convinced about the dry ones that they sell (and I see the P@H guineas eating) I think mine would be very judgey.

DumSpiroSpero Thu 03-Oct-13 21:18:58

Blimey, no more beetroot leaves then!

The guinea 'piglopaedia' we've got says sunflower seeds without the husks are OK in tiny quantities as they're good for their coats (ours are Abyssinian - well, definitely a bit Abyssinian, I suspect there may be something else in there too) but not to give them in mixtures as they tend to get a bit addicted!

Not sure I like the sound of choking risk though.

Haven't tried sweet corn yet - DH is allergic so he was not impressed when he heard they usually love the stuff!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 03-Oct-13 22:15:56

I give mine some banana to give them something 'fatty' , with the skins on.
Not too much it can make them constipated. blush

The pellets will have oil/fat (I've just read the really small writing on the guineas Burgess Excell) .
Soya Oil, and 4% fat which should be enough to keep their skin/coats in good shape.

My little piglet (not so little now) when I got him, I was told he was a Swiss. He came from a Rescue who got him from a breeder a couple of days before.
He was very fuzzy but as he's grown, I'm sure he's a Rex. His coat is still fuzzy but coarse. Curly tummy fur and crinkle whiskers.
His coat will always be like that whereas Smooth GP1 looks like he's wearing a skin tight satin suit. grin

DumSpiroSpero Thu 03-Oct-13 22:41:12

Have put a pic of our piggies on my profile. There are definite ridges - especially on Luna the tricolour, but no distinct rosette.

We don't care anyway - they are healthy, cute & squeaky which is all we wanted!

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