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Tips for Guinea Pigs

(28 Posts)
Icedfinger Tue 28-Jul-15 17:24:01

We've got three lovely, rescued guinea pigs arriving at the weekend. They're sisters and are 6 months old.

We have a big hutch and a run. Any tips for making their lives wonderful?

I keep reading conflicting information about bedding for instance, what should I put in the hutch?

What do your gps like to eat? Any firm favourites?

FernieB Tue 28-Jul-15 21:43:01

Congrats on your new family members! They will soon have you well trained to fetch delicious things for them several times a day.

Mine are indoor boys and I use newspaper (have a steady supply from family and friends). I just line the cage with it, then when it's manky (almost every day), roll it up and bin it - very simple. They have a couple of igloos in the cage and I stuff these with hay, plus some in a hay rack.

As for food, they are gluttons. I have one boy, Scruffypig, who only eats green food. So he loves cucumber, green peppers, kale, broccoli, melon rind etc. Gingerpig likes all these plus tomatoes and red peppers. They adore hay but their most favourite foods are basil, parsley and lavender leaves.

MrsRogerSterling Tue 28-Jul-15 22:53:35

Hi, I line the hutch with newspaper then put a layer of wood shavings on top of it, in the sleeping compartment I fill with deep hay. They then have several wooden houses, tunnels etc which I put a handful of hay into each.

My 4 girl pigs love basil, parsley, kale, red and yellow peppers, strawberry tops, celery, corriander and salad leaves, cucumber, tomatoes, carrot and romaine lettuce.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 28-Jul-15 23:08:34

Oooh new piggies. that means pigtures grin

I have to warn you (not putting you off but you need to know) sows pee rivers. DD and I had boars (GP1 would do a huge pee as soon as he went into the clean bedding, but my sows take it to another level)

At the moment they have cardboard and newspaper on the floor.
Newspaper then animal friendly cat litter (like little wood based pellets) in a thick layer. More newspaper then hay.
The hay and top layer of newspaper gets rolled up and replaced daily. The woodpellets last 2 weeks if I spot clean.
Megazorb is good but ££ and I need to order it.
In winter they had Ecobale on the floor (equine chopped cardboard)
I also use very soft straw in winter but mine are lardy adults, it;s not recommended for babies or skittery pigs. Sometimes I wrap it in newspaper to make 'pillows'' to insulate.

You need lots of boxes and tunnels, big paper bags (not handles) like Primark bags.
Make sure there's no sellotape, staples or any handles .

What do they like to eat? Easier to list what they don;t like grin

Not wild about lambs lettuce or basil. Strawberries . Regular carrot but they love leafy ones. Don't like brocili.

Favourites are cucumber,parsley, GP4 loves mint, peppers except green.
Bought them chard which they scoffed.
Kale is tolerated if there's nothing else.

SuburbanRhonda Tue 28-Jul-15 23:15:31

Agree with all the above (and yy to Megazorb - it is expensive but I only have one piggie now so a sack lasts ages).

Don't forget to handle them every day! They are very sociable animals and love being cuddled and chatted to.

Food-wise, nothing comes close to parsley for my little old lady pig smile

SuburbanRhonda Tue 28-Jul-15 23:19:04



70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 28-Jul-15 23:21:47

They will quickly let you know when they want to pee but pop them on a towel to begin with, makes them feel secure.
GP4 (my DDs lardy trricolour) usually jumps off my lap when she wants a pee but yesterday I was on a chair. I thought she was chattering to GP5.
She wasn;t, she was giving me The Warning. I didn't heed.

GP5 (my pig) dances backwards.
GP6 just seems to hold himself.

Icedfinger Wed 29-Jul-15 06:03:16

Thanks! Brilliant information, thank you.
I'm very excited, can't wait to get them at the weekend.

ImBrian Thu 30-Jul-15 07:07:10

I have 4 girls and they pee and poo every where! I use carefresh as wood shaving can't cope with them but I'm going g to try some megazorb.

Mine have lots of hay in their bedding area (to pee all over) and seem to eat everything! They love coriander and dandilions.

millimat Thu 30-Jul-15 16:59:52

We buy megazorb from a horse food and bedding mill, and it works out cheaper than shavings, esp as it's so absorbent so doesn't need replacing quite as often. It's much less of a mess on the garden too (though grass is dreadful from two GPs!!).

nobodyknowsimhere Fri 31-Jul-15 13:35:51

Don't worry too much about expensive toys and things - ours love nothing more than a shoebox stuffed with hay to jump in and out of (lid off and cut holes in the sides so they can get in and out). Also loo roll inners - ours like them stuffed with spinach leaves.

fortifiedwithtea Sat 01-Aug-15 09:02:44

Congratulations for your new arrivals smile Guinea pigs are wonderful small Super Furries.

We currently have 3 sows, all unrelated and all over 4 years old. They became a trio nearly 2 years ago when we got 2 rescues to befriend our bereaved sow. Our rescue girls had each come from a different home and had her own unique reason for needing a new home. They have all made friends with each other. That's the good thing about sows, its easier to bond a new friend.

I think if my girls could talk they would say happiness is jumping through hay in a freshly cleaned hutch, a bowl full of Burgess Excel nuggets, a fresh water bottle and parsley.

Icedfinger Sat 01-Aug-15 20:46:46

We have them!

They arrived on Thursday. We popped them in their hutch and left them to it on Thursday afternoon.

Yesterday, I was around a bit more so spent time giving them lovely treats. Today we caught them and popped them in the run which they loved.

They are enjoying lots of greens and parsley, they also like pepper and cucumber.

We'd like to start handling them but they're a bit nervy. Any tips?

Sleepingbunnies Sat 01-Aug-15 20:49:03

Yes yes to what 70 said about the pee!!

fernie out of interest, you just use newspaper? I was told that the ink would come off on their feet etx?

FernieB Sat 01-Aug-15 23:05:01

So pleased they're here and enjoying themselves. Start handling them as soon as you like - put them on an old towel on your lap with some yummy treats/bribes.

Sleeping - yes, I just use newspaper. Their feet are fine. I change the paper daily if they haven't been outside much that day. I give them hay which I carefully arrange in their igloos and they wander in and throw it everywhere, so they really wander on the hay. I've tried putting other stuff on top of the newspaper but it's very messy.

Icedfinger Sun 02-Aug-15 19:52:35


Ignore blanket in the background trying to give a bit more shade in the run as it was v hot today!

Methe Sun 02-Aug-15 19:56:20

How cute are they!

I use wood cat litter under some shavings in my pig house. It absorbs a phenomenal amount of urine!

Another tip from me is get a decent hay rack. If you put it on the floor they wee on it and it gets wasted. My 3 pigs waste very little hay now we have a rack that I bodged together, before then we wasted loads and had to muck out every day.

Methe Sun 02-Aug-15 19:57:29

Oh and mine all love broccoli, peppers, coriander and parsley, cucumber and greens. They'll eat pretty much anything really!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 02-Aug-15 20:48:00

Such lovely piggies, all beautiful markings and they look bright eyed and inquisitive which is always a good sign.And good to see them eating, means they're settling well.
Catching them - we use a canvas type tunnel, they usually run into it and we trap them. It's soft so safe for them, but they can still give us the runaround. They don't see 'Making Your Life Easy' as part of their job description grin.
They'll run into a box or similar and you can catch them. Even when you put your hand in, the worst they'll do is run to the back and shriek, very few guinea=pigs protest (though my GP5 is a bit of a bitey girl sometimes)

YY the hay - this time of year they can get quite warm in hay (they will still burrow into it) . Mine never fathomed a hay rack, they pulled it onto the floor and sat on it <<sigh>>

When our boar was neutered we stuffed toilet roll tubes with hay which worked well so we do this in really hot weather.

If they have grass time, build up their time slowly , hopefully they'll have been grazing in their previous home so you can let them have a good lard about in their run.
If our pigs graze we give a smaller supper and plenty of hay/pellets/water.
You might find they don't drink much, some piggies drink loads. It's if it changes you need to investegate (though it's tricky with 3 to know which one is doing more/less)

And your piggies will need MN Super Furry Animal nicknames .

sleeping I use newspaper and even my Himmy is ok (she has chocolate feet but white fur, no ink transfer)
Though our new boar was prowling round with pooh on both front paws.hmm
"Oh, I'm a sex god " he purred."C'mon and get me, Laydeez"
"Erm, nope" replied the girls

clippityclop Sun 02-Aug-15 22:31:28

They look gorgeous, lovely markings. We have two girly pigs, one smooth and one curly. They live indoors in a big double decker hutch but stauncly refuse to brave going downstairs despite all bribary/engineering with tunnels and carpet etc. They have newspaper and hay underpaw, lots of ordinary hay in their sleeping compartment and then munching hay, fancier stuff in a holder thingy or stuffed in kitchen roll tubes. I diligently replace the water in their bottle every day but have never seen them drink. They love their muesli stuff, pellets, kale (but only M&S for some weird reason), celery, cucumber, cutted up pear and pepper, lettuce but only eat the stalk bit of broccoli. They spend as much time as pos outside in nice weather, pottering about their run which has little plastic house things, tunnels, balls stuffed with hay etc. They are delightfully dim, easily bamboozled by re-arranging stuff and bimble into their tunnels when we come to catch them which is very convenient. Their favourite things are their fleece snuggle sacks, v. cosy. Come back and tell us how your all getting on!

FernieB Mon 03-Aug-15 08:25:00

Mine also don't understand hay racks. No matter how low the rack is, they're not prepared to reach up for hay,so they just ignore it. I'm jealous of all those with piggies who've worked these contraptions outwink.

Beautiful new piggies - yay.

millimat Mon 03-Aug-15 09:19:08

I think we must have well trained GPs! They eat from a hasty rack AND use the ramp in their hutch grin

millimat Mon 03-Aug-15 09:20:03

Although I'm not well trained at spell checking for auto correct before posting a message!!

Sleepingbunnies Mon 03-Aug-15 11:00:28

Poppy says hello smile

fortifiedwithtea Mon 03-Aug-15 11:24:13

Aww so many pretty pigtures, Poppy doing a magic trick making cucumber disappear wink smile and the new Super Furry Girls are lovely too.

I'm going to guess that the mostly white guinea is 'Top Pig' grin

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