New Guinea pig owner(14 Posts)
Hi everyone, I've been lurking for ages reading about all your lovely pigs and bunnies. I'm thinking about getting Guinea pigs as
I my daughter would love a pet after our Ddog passed away.
We are considering an outdoor hutch, have been looking at the 6foot chartwell hutch with attached run. This would be on patio next to back door and we would also get another run to put on grass when we're out with them.
I have a few questions though;
Would we be better getting single level hutch or double? Have heard not all piggies like ramps.
Would girls or boy pigs be better or does this not make much difference?
If our piggies are outdoor pigs would we be ok bringing them into kitchen to play/ get cuddles? We would keep kitchen cool in winter so not too big a difference between temperatures.
Also regarding winter would hutch covers such as scratch and Newton hutch hugger and hutch snuggle be ok or would we be better putting hutch into shed?
I've never had Guinea pigs before, had hamsters when younger but mainly cats and dogs. They seem very characterful though and both me and my daughter have developed a fondness for Guinea pigs by spending far too much time in our local independent pet shop.
Sorry, that was a bit of an essay, want to get everything right though. My daughter's only 3 so these would be my pets but I know she'd be delighted to be involved. Is 3 too young? She would obviously never have unsupervised access and would not be allowed to pick up/ carry pigs but would love it if they would sit with her and let her pat them. As I say I've never kept Guinea pigs so not sure how happy they'd be with small children (she's very gentle and calm)
Meant to say I'd be grateful for any advice.
I've always had boars. I started with 2, then 8 years later 1 passed away so I introduced 2 baby boars. For the last 10 years I've gone between 2 and 3 boars. Mine live in an outdoor 2 tiered home made cage in the summer (between Easter and Oct half term) then they live in the garage in the winter, with heater when really cold.
I don't have a run as we have a walled garden and no predators (and a large dog for protection) they have a hole in the bottom of their cage that they come and go from as they please (they are odd and love being out in the rain and dark!)
Always get more than one. They live in groups in the wild and get very lonely on their own. 2 is a good number unless they have access to a very large hutch / run , in which case you could get more than 2.
Females are best so I would recommend 2 females. Sometimes 2 males will fight. Even if they're brothers and have always been together.
Mine are in a double hutch. One of mine was scared to use the ramp so I made sure all the food and water was where she could access it and in her own time she started using the ramp. So I would go for double if you can - they'll have more space.
What you describe sounds a good arrangement - that's what we do with ours. Bear in mind they poo and wee a lot so if they're coming indoors, avoid carpeted areas.
They'll be fine outside all winter with a cover on the hutch to keep the rain out.
Bear in mind that it'll be you doing all the looking after and especially during winter it's not pleasant going out in all weathers to see to them and clean them out etc.
But they're lovely pets - good luck!
If I had a bigger house then they'd be inside to avoid cleaning out in the rain and they'd have more company but it's tiny so garden it will be for them.
I keep looking at sheds that people have converted for Guinea pigs but my husband may take more convincing in that idea. We have a big shed that hutch could be easily moved into if needed though.
Think we'll go for the double hutch and hopefully they'll learn to use the ramp. Really excited now, just need to wait until we get back from our holiday before we actually get them but might get everything ordered now so we're ready.
Free range in our garden is definitely not an option as they'd get through the fence. Neighbours on both sides have dogs and there are loads of cats about so covered runs will be needed.
I have 2 girls. Have always had girls of varying ages due to them all being rescues.
We have huge, study very well made hutch that is ancient and was bought in the days of independent pet shops. Over the years DH has probably replaced all of it. It is kept in an old summer house with a heater in winter (bought the girls heat pads and they walked round them, peed on them and ignored them ).
When really cold they decamp to the utility room and actually spent last winter there as Mollie had a chest infection I worried would return. It's the damp that gets them
They have a run with a little covered house area for playing out when we're not about. But we have a guinea pig proof garden and they play free if we are in the garden. They are 1 and 4.
But they come in and gave free time indoors every day. When we get home.
My SIL has her hutch constructed an old kitchen cupboard with mesh etc. Watertight and warm her piggies survive the Newcastle winter
Her hutch... for her piggies rather than its where she lives
Another reason I wish we had a utility room...
New plan is now to get a large shed to use as playhouse for my daughter in summer and somewhere to put a hutch in winter. . These may be quite expensive pets by the time we're finished but so excited now. Have ordered a Guinea pig care book
My one bit of advice ... stay away from Amazon
You'll spend a small fortune on things you think they'd like .. when all they really want is the cardboard boxes they things come in !!
I would advise you to get all your information from this forum www.theguineapigforum.co.uk They are really great with loads of "sticky" threads with all the information you need to get started, and of course the information is up-to-date. Unfortunately most books aren't, for example, most of the books my daughter got from the library still say that it is good to feed them stale bread (it absolutely isn't).
Have fun with them. I love ours.
Guineas are lovely creatures - very chatty, all different piganalities and quite vunerable so you yearn to cosset them
They need protected from ;Heat (I find it trickier to protect them in Summer), damp (they are prone to respiratory issues) draughts, extreme cold (Yes, I know wild cavies live in Peru where it's cold but mine have never been further than Kent )
Boars or sows depends on your preferance. Boars are very cuddly love sponges but you need to give them LOADS of space. And they have a boary aroma which is not at all unpleasant , some of ours have been Boarier than others.
Mine are all Rescued as adults apart from GP3 who was 6 weeks.
Amazon are good for things like cages/runs (Bunny Business are good. We don't look at Guinea things, we go Rabbit Provided there's no mesh base, and the gaps in the bars are small enough, bunny cages are bigger, higher, sturdier)
Be aware of allergies to fur and hay.
Read up on common piggie illnesses and what foods they should have and mustn't have.
They are messy ( soooo messy) . We put ours out this morning ( my trio have a 4x4 run attatched to a 4x2 rabbit hutch) my 2 sows have an 84" x 48" rabbit run with boxes and tunnels.
Fresh newspaper in the hutches and they were able to choose if they wanted shade with a nice breeze or grazing.
The inside of the hutch looked like it hadn't been cleaned for a week, these animals pee/pooh for Britain
We clean their bedding daily , its the only way we can keep them comfortable.
They can get problems with their feet and their very low slung bellies on dirty bedding (I have no idea who owns these piggies that only need cleaned weekly. Mine are never that tidy)
We have a wooden playhouse (used to belong to the DC) that DH has customised for the pigs.
They have indoor C&C type caging (very useful and adaptable , folds away flat) and a 4'x2' plastic/bars cage.
And their runs/hutch/box
This year I have to organise indoor accomodation for 5 .
GP4/GP5/GP6 slept in the 4x2 last winter (only at night ,we gave them fleece , a rubber trug house and hay cookies with a blanket over the cage) in the small bedroom.
This year I also have GP7/GP8 so I'll make a night cage for them with the C&C..
DH dreads when I say "Oh, I've just thought of something for the guineas..." because he has to make it.
I do ideas, he builds it
My four year old loves the pigs but he gets very excited and is too noisy around them sometimes. He is gentle and then suddenly can not be gentle, iyswim. It's a tricky age. My 8 year old is brilliant with them.
Ok I have now spent an unhealthy amount of time looking at past posts here and on theguineapigforum
Have ordered a big shed to be playhouse/ Guinea pig winter shelter (will keep them in hutch and run so DD can still have useable playhouse come nicer months when they move back out to the garden). Have narrowed hutch and run choice down to a few. Looked at pets at home hutches but they seem very flimsy especially back panel so will avoid them.
70 I think that's it's exactly you just want to cosset them and listen to their lovely wee chatterings. My DD got a little play set with 3 tiny plastic Guinea pigs, hutch, bucket and scoop. She's been scooping pretend pooh all day saying how messy her pets are so even she's realised how messy they are.
Friends are going on holiday next week so we're pig sitting for them as trial run. I'll see how DD is and make firm decision after that. If she's too noisy, overexcited with them well maybe need to wait a couple of years. Don't want to terrify the poor souls
Ps thank you so much to everyone for all the advice!
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