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I want Guinea Pigs, talk me out of it! Tell me the down sides!

(46 Posts)
Suddengeekgirl Tue 28-Jan-14 11:55:55

I had guinea pigs as a kid. I loved them!

I am suddenly overcome with the urge to get some for me and the dc (nearly 5&3). Dh would hate them though - I think he's secretly scared if their claws. confused

Please talk me out of it. Tell me all the down sides that I have forgotten! smile

CakePunch Tue 28-Jan-14 12:20:55

They need a lot of space.
They will wee and poo all over everything all the time (they have no control)
They are boring to some people.

Get two or three rats they need less floor space because they climb so you can give them hight. They do don't poo or wee on you (the girls won't anyway). They are funny, hardy and cute
The kids can make them toys out of old clothes and toilet roll tubes.

Littlefish Tue 28-Jan-14 12:25:29

If you keep them inside over winter, you will spend hours every day sweeping up sawdust and hay from all over the house (bitter experience speaking here!)

You will end up nagging your dc to put something on to cover up their school uniform when they want to hold them just before you leave the she (more bitter experience).

Sorry, that's it! Dd absolutely loves her pigs and is brilliant with them. (She's 9).

stilllearnin Tue 28-Jan-14 12:29:10

You will waste lots of time talking to them in a baby voice...oh that's just me! Then all of the above - the poo is outrageous and they have taken over a whole room of our house as we will not put the ickle darlings in the garden permanently. There is hay everywhere and you find poo in odd places- eg dropping onto your bedroom floor when you get undressed at night. Does this help, no?! But yes rats is a good alternative. Must go- my babies are squeaking for me!!!

fortifiedwithtea Tue 28-Jan-14 12:30:23

There was a similar thread last year. Someone with a good memory will give you the link. The conclusion was, there are very few down sides to having guineas, they are adorable. I currently have 3 sows smile

Due to the age of your DC I recommend you go to a rescue and get a couple of young near / full grown guineas. Say 6-9 months old. They won't be so fragile and easier to hold. Although they will still be mighty quick. You will need to supervise your DC when handling the guineas so they don't get dropped or squashed.

Down side, hutch cleaning, they poo and wee for England other than that .... Hmm ....erm... no that's it.

I love guinea pigs grin

Reincarnatedpig Tue 28-Jan-14 12:30:57

They spray wee all over their cage which you need to clean every other day minimum. They squeal "quee, quee quee" when they hear your footsteps and won't stop til you give them food. They eat more fresh food than my rabbits.

Suddengeekgirl Tue 28-Jan-14 13:17:14

Ah yes the poo!

I remember having to sweep it all up from the grass at home. My dad love the guinea pigs (they were his idea!) but didn't love what they did to his immaculate lawn!

Rescue centre would be my first port of call - the let shop my childhood ones came from obviously was a bit lac and both girl piggies had babies! shock

The poo is probably what will put me off tbh. But even that I could cope with....

Suddengeekgirl Tue 28-Jan-14 14:04:52

What would you all recommend cage wise?

I don't want house piggies. They could have the gather in winter with a light and heater if necessary. (too much junk for a car!)

I had a look at the cavy cages but I remember my pigs jumping out of boxes that were about a foot tall so not sure that'd work... confused

Lancelottie Tue 28-Jan-14 15:24:36

Going by this week: they can get really, really expensive, with trips to the vet for mystery weight loss. And you spend your nights despairingly feeding them invalid mush by syringe. And you the kids will cry when they die.

Stripytop Tue 28-Jan-14 15:29:18

They will be permanently terrified of your cat (if you have one).

They do not like to run about on Lino / tiled floors.

Your own kids will forget about them and all visiting kids will pester you to hold them and then squeeze them too hard.

VelvetGecko Tue 28-Jan-14 15:46:28

Have a look at this website OP veterinarypartner.com and go to the small mammal section and type guinea pig into the search bar. Lots of info re housing, diet, health etc and way more accurate than petshop advice.
Also best to go to a breeder but am sure you know that. The majority of problems seen by Vets in small mammals are related to poor diet/housing conditions so it pays to get these right.

Suddengeekgirl Tue 28-Jan-14 16:07:03

No cats here (dh HATES them due to allergies)

The neighbours at the back of us have a huge dog though - do you think it would be forever smelling them and wanting to eat them? It doesn't look like the friendliest dog confused

Also is there any way to know if the dc would e allergic to them?

Lancelottie Tue 28-Jan-14 19:10:18

We've had guineas from a carefully chosen breeder and from random people handing them out at soft play centres ... yes, really. The random mongrel sorts have been far fitter, sturdier and longer-lived than the nicely bred ones.

Definitely not a scientific sample...

LittleBabyPigsus Tue 28-Jan-14 21:39:20

Definitely get rescue piggies, too many too-young babies being sold and pregnancy is dangerous for the females (they have a very long gestation period so the babies are comparatively huge when born).

Is the dog kept in a secure area? I'd be much more worried about dogs than cats around piggies tbh, cats don't care that much. Also for outdoor guinea pigs, make sure the hutch/run is fox-proof.

The poo isn't that bad - it's just pellets so not squishy or messy like say dog poo. Just poover them up with a hand-held hoover!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 29-Jan-14 12:25:28

D'you want the down-side.
OK, here goes:

(Disclaimer : my DD wanted a pet a couple of years back when she was 9yo. I had GPs when I was 9-22 yo, so we decided on pigs. But DD wanted a boar - which meant TWO boars )

They are manky beasts grin. Yes it's only chopped up veg that comes out of them and it's solid and inoffensive but it does get into every space.They can get good at bladder control (ours do the Dancey Dancey Stamp Stamp which means they want to pee. Ignore at your peril)
But the pooh? They give lift their bums and out it comes.

The hay : ditto. Everywhere

I wake at 3am and think "Are they ok" if they are outside. Too hot. Too cold.
Mine are in at night in winter and will probably go back out in March if it's ok.

They need a load more space than you'd imagine.

Cleaning out their accomodation too (which is my job. DD does loads but I clean) is constant.

When they get ill, it's a worry, they are 0-60 . Our boy was ill for 2 days and even though he saw his Guinea-Vet, he died that evening.

Alot of prevention is the key though.
Safety (escape, predators -cat, foxes, dogs-, things they aren't meant to chew- plastic, cables)
Damp, cold, heat, bullying, draughts
Keeping them active especially when they get a bit middle aged

They do a good line in Judgey. "what's THAT? I don't like celery stalks. FFS"

And they CAN bite. They rarely do. (DH was snapped at by GP3 who doesn't like having his Right Side touched. DH didn't know. He does now grin. No teeth were sunk in, but the warning was there)

When you go away you'll need to have someone look after them. They need fresh water and pellets daily. We give fresh veg twice a day.

But we adore them. They are lovely.
Between mice, hamsters, degus, chinchillas, rabbits,rats and Guinea-Pigs....I'd pick guineas every time.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 29-Jan-14 12:27:38

Oh yes lino/tiles.
DD can leave GP1 on the kitchen floor (I'm watching him from my computer chair) go off to the loo, come back and he's still where she left him.
He won't walk on tile.

MrsMarigold Wed 29-Jan-14 12:35:19

I had them as a child and they were quite low maintenance they had a hutch outside, and slept indoors in a cardboard box in the kitchen at night. I used to cuddle mine in bed before I went to sleep - he sat on a special cushion and very rarely weed or pooed.

Lovely little things and no tails. DH and I bonded over a mutual passion for them on our first date!

Suddengeekgirl Wed 29-Jan-14 13:26:59

I thought long and hard about the piggies last night. smile

Call me mad but I think the sudden 'want' for a pet is my version of broodiness! shock blush

Poor piggies would be miserable moving in here in the middle of winter so whatever I decide I don't think piggies will be moving in until spring.

What's the easiest type of outdoor hutch/ cage/ house to clean out?
I saw some eglu type ones online which looked like a great idea for cleanliness but were very £££

Suddengeekgirl Wed 05-Feb-14 12:56:25

Well my piggie plans are definitely on hold long term now.

Dd's ongoing cough has required an inhaler which makes me worry about asthma. Which means all pet plans are on hold for a few more years so I can see what sorts of allergies/ asthma etc dcs might develop.
It wouldn't be fair to the piggies or the dc if we got some and then realised there were problems with allergies and asthma. sad

FernieB Wed 05-Feb-14 13:42:03

Sudden - sorry to hear about your DD. hope whatever it is clears up.

Wish that all potential pet owners were as thoughtful as you.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 05-Feb-14 13:43:54

Oooh very sad . (But as you will appreciate, it's not fair on your DC if there's allergies. Guineas are quite allergenic creatures, there's the hay as well. And grass pollen will get in their fur)
They like to cuddle at your neck, so they'd be right under your DDs nose.

We had a smooth and an Abby.
Now we have the smooth and a Rex. My DD is sensitive to the Rex (but no trouble with the smoothies fur or the Abby when we had him)
She gets a red 'rash' on her face (not breathing problems) but it means she can't hold him near her neck.
(She still does though. <<sigh>> )

Suddengeekgirl Wed 05-Feb-14 14:56:39

Yes there is no point buying a family my pet if the dc might be allergic to it. I would have to do all the animal husbandry then and the dc would have none of the fun!

As long as my pet broodiness doesn't develop into baby broodiness it'll be fine! smile

guineapiglet Wed 05-Feb-14 15:18:28

Hi - sorry to hear about your decision not to go with guineas, but I think it is sensible, my son has an inhaler, is massively asthmatic and really didn't come in contact with the guineas at all, except when they were out in the garden, it was very sad for him....... but......

We did invest in a bio orb and he had lovely silver red finned tetras, which he enjoyed looking after and caring for--only guess who did all the water changes and filter changes and cleaned out all the fish poop-- they are not cuddly but he still enjoyed having them as 'his' fish...... smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 05-Feb-14 15:57:42

As long as you don't have a very furry baby (and the baby fur falls off when they are tiny << baby DS had hairy ears, I was Sooo sad when it fell off >> ) then at least there's no allergy risk grin

Are you in the realms of Baby Broodiness? I can lend you a teenage boy to put you off (and a 11.6 girl but she actually inspires people to want children)

Suddengeekgirl Wed 05-Feb-14 16:02:13

70 - I am SO in the 'no more babies camp'! But dd has just started 2 mornings a week at playgroup and I think I'm possibly missing the dependency of a little one (lord knows why!). But rather than a baby I wanted a pet! blush

There won't be any more babies - ever! But there may be a pet, in the distant, distant future when I have a better idea about allergies/ asthma etc.

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