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Not sure I'm looking after the piggies properly

(8 Posts)
beadyboo Wed 09-Mar-16 11:06:48

We got 2 baby girl piggies in September and have followed all the advice from the pet shop on food, toys, hutch etc. But having read a few threads on here, I'm not sure they are being as well looked after as they should be.
They live outside in a hutch, and come in for cuddles but they don't like running around. When we put them down for a run they just hide under sofa / in book case etc.
They have a small triangular run, but again just hide in the bedroom bit. I've bought them a huge metal run, with stakes for ground and a metal top as we have foxes here but they haven't been in it yet. I'm not sure it's stopped raining here since the pigs arrived so they don't go out on grass much. I'm worried about their lack of exercise.
I was also told that they only needed cleaning out weekly. They have cardboard, newspaper, wood shavings and then hay all layered up. They get extra bedding and eating hay every day, with green veg and a small portion of nuggets and fresh water but I'm thinking that this probably isn't enough attention.
Vet was very happy with them when I took them for their nails checking.
How often should I really be cleaning them out and how can I encourage exercise?
All advice appreciated. We love our wheekers and want them to be happy pigs.

FernieB Wed 09-Mar-16 14:36:53

Sounds to me like you're doing everything right and they're lucky pigs. I do clean my boys out almost daily as they're fairly mucky, but some people do have tidy pigs that don't need cleaning out so much. Just judge it by how much poo/wee is about.

As for exercise - they're prey animals so will tend to hide under things for protection rather than be exposed to the possibility of Eagles in your living room by staying out in the middle of the floor. During the winter I put mine on an old blanket in the kitchen with a few boxes with doors cut out of them to use as tunnels. If I space the boxes out and move them around a bit, the pigs do wander about a bit. I put veg in various locations on the blanket so they have to move to find it. Photo attached shows what's currently going on in the kitchen. Only Scruffypig is out and about. Ginger is hiding.

In their outdoor run (not used it yet this year) they just have a couple of igloos for hiding in and they do wander to graze. If yours are feeling a bit exposed in the uncovered bit of your run, could you throw an old towel or sheet over the top bit to provide a bit of a roof? It might make them feel more secure. Try putting cucumber or some other treat in the exposed part to tempt them out.

Pigs aren't the most energetic animals and don't really bound around much, but mine do have the odd burst of energy and my young Gingerpig has just done 3 fast laps of the blanket to prove me wrong and show he wasn't hiding reallyconfused

987flowers Wed 09-Mar-16 20:53:07

It hasn't been silly cold here every day so our pigs have been out in their run. We find at twilight they have lots of exercise and run around like mad things, for the rest of the time they sit in their pigloo and nibble the grass.

EastMidsGPs Fri 11-Mar-16 12:14:40

Ours live in large hutch in utility room in winter and this goes into large garden shed with big windows for the summer. They get a run around in the kitchen most days and cuddles during TV time.
As soon as the weather is warm enough the pigs go outside on the grass in big run when i am at work .. if i am sitting in the garden they are allowed to run free. Well i say run they generally sit in their tunnel, under their wooden frame, or squashed together in a 3 junction plastic soak away soil pipe - New was intended to be used but gps took up residence in it and it has been theirs ever since.
When i work from home they sit in my office with me.
Must admit there isn't ever much movement from Mollie apart from her jaws, bowels and bladder. Sadie is still young enough to run and race about just for the fun of it 😀

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 12-Mar-16 19:12:22

Mine ( 2 sows and a neutered boar, all adults) have been a bit "neglected" (their words) this week because I've been really unwell since Tuesday.

We left them outside in their shed (with the heater on) one night and yesterday they stayed in their indoor cage all day.
They have been fed and cleaned as usual by DD, but I can't cuddle them so she's been Stand In Mum to GP5.

When they were indoors, I didn't hear them, they larded about , ate, slept.
In the Pighouse I know they move from Housie-to-Housie by the signs that they leave grin

They aren't athletic unless they choose to be.
Mine haven't been in their run yet but I'm going to start leaving them in the Pighouse at night now (unless we get a sudden cold snap) I'll clean the cage but leave it in the bedroom .

My sows are much messier than my boars were, heaven knows where all the pee comes from (part camel I think)
So, we clean their sleeping areas daily.
Indoor cage, Haybox and their Bookcase Hide in the Pighouse..
The Pighouse has a complete clean ( floor paper and hay/straw) every week. The cardboard might last 2 weeks if I'm lucky.

FernieB Sun 13-Mar-16 05:57:41

70 - sorry to hear you've been unwell, hope you're feeling better now. You do understand that illness is no excuse (in the eyes of the pigs) for neglectful behaviourwink. However, it did give them time to really get into training your DD as a Guinea-slave - she is a future 'mad pig lady' after all.

TreeSparrow Sun 13-Mar-16 06:09:00

Guinea pigs' volume of wee is really quite remarkable isn't it? When I kept them I used to use wood-based cat litter as a base for their hutch. It soaks out up really well and is easy to clean out. Especially if you have it in small trays that fit the corners of the hutch where they tend to sit and huddle.

EastMidsGPs Sun 13-Mar-16 12:03:09

Sorry to hear you've been ill 70. Hope you're feeling better and on the mend 🌹🌺

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