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GPs. What do I need now?

(37 Posts)
baddyface Fri 07-Apr-17 14:16:57

I have a cage! It's a c and c one and is 6 x 2 (so that's 221cm x 77cm).

What's next on my shopping list? (before I get the GPs).

I know they eat LOTS of hay and fresh fruit and veg, with some GP food.
What do I need for the cage though? What do you recommend for lining the cage with? Just newspaper and hay? Or do they need something like wood shavings down too? I'm just aware that they will get wet often and need changing a lot - so was wondering if there's a cheaper alternative. Also is that ok dust wise? We have gerbils and they burrow in wood shavings as I know saw dust is bad for them just like GPs.

I've seen pictures of them in cages lined with pet blankets. How does that work for cleaning them though? Not sure I want to put GP wee blankets in my washing machine!

A shopping list of stuff would be great too - houses, tunnels, etc.
Water - bowl or bottle (they always leak when I get them!).
Do they need a place to put the hay or can I just chuck it in?

Sorry for all the questions. I just want to get it all right for when we get the Guinea pigs.

pipsqueak25 Fri 07-Apr-17 14:52:58

hi there, my indoor girls have sawdust layered with straw, fabric covered beds, hay is in hay racks to keep it clean, large card board tunnel [wilko/ebay/amazon do them] so they can hide in and chew and def. bottles for water but they need to be totally full before being tipped up for hooking on the wire as they leak.
hope you enjoy your gps they are great characters once they get tame.

FernieB Fri 07-Apr-17 17:29:52

I use newspaper and then just put some hay in their igloos. I find it's the easiest as I can just roll up the paper every day and throw it away (takes 5 minutes). Then each week they get a deep clean - I brush out the cage (or Hoover it) and clean it with a weak vinegar solution. I have friends and neighbours who donate their newspapers to me specially for the pigs/rabbit.

Igloos are great for hiding in. They need a hidey hole each so they can get space from each other if they want. Tunnels are great but I find the plastic/fabric ones are difficult to clean as they wee and poo in them. I tend to make tunnels from boxes (remove the bottom bit of cardboard, so it doesn't get wee'd on and then it lasts longer). A hayrack can keep hay off the floor for eating, but I don't bother with one as they either ignore it, or pull it all out and put it on the floor anyway. Loo roll tubes stuffed with hay are good fun for them.

I find a water bottle is best as they have a tendency to walk through/tip up/stand in water bowls.

Don't give too much fruit as it's quite sweet and can pile the pounds on. A small bit each day is fine, but stick to a main diet of hay and pig nuggets with fresh veggies. I usually give them a sliver of my apple to share. They also like melon rind - mine prefer it to the flesh. Pigs are like people in that they have their own favourite foods, so have fun experimenting. A previous pig of mine only ate green veg/fruit, but he was an oddball.

You don't need a huge amount of stuff in the cage really. What you can do (as piggies aren't the sharpest intellectuals) is move things around every couple of days. If I so much as move the food bowl 3 inches to the right, they're very confused and take ages to find it again - that keeps them busy.

FernieB Fri 07-Apr-17 17:31:01

Forgot to ask - when do the pigs arrive? We will require photos - it's the law.

baddyface Fri 07-Apr-17 18:16:47

Thank you for the great advice. Really useful thanks.
I like the idea of newspaper - you make cleaning up sound easy!
We are shopping this weekend for the stuff for the cage.
I have spoken to a lady who rescues and breeds guinea pigs but she's on holiday until the end of next week.
I wanted to get all my information and stuff for the cage before I found the guinea pigs. Maybe a while till I get you a photo but I will.
My girls are VERY excited (me too!).

baddyface Fri 07-Apr-17 18:17:48

I meant to ask - are plastic igloos ok? We have gerbils and although plastic stuff says it's for gerbils they would destroy it and probably swallow some of it too. Are guinea pigs likely to gnaw on plastic?

pipsqueak25 Fri 07-Apr-17 18:49:50

piggies sometimes gnaw but in my experience it depends on the pigs themselves, loo / kitchen roll tubes are good for gnawing and can be easily replaced, they can't be sick so it goes in one end and out the other as a rule grin

FernieB Fri 07-Apr-17 21:07:02

We've had plastic igloos for years with no problems. Plastic makes them really easy to clean too.

baddyface Sat 08-Apr-17 07:09:18

Thank you that's great.
The lady at the rescue place has said she has two boars that are only 5 weeks but once old enough we could have.
I have read though that boars are slightly more likely to fight, and can mark territory so likely to be smellier than sows.
I'm thinking of waiting for two sows.

FernieB Sat 08-Apr-17 11:16:31

Boars are lovely, full of personality. They can squabble (so can sows). The danger age is around 5-7 months when they start to assert themselves to establish dominance. Most boars come through this together with a few minor scuffles and an established pecking order and then settle down. My original pair came through okay (I learnt to ignore squabbling) with only a tiny piece of ear missingwink. Then they settled to a lifetime of petty grumbling and the occasional scuffle but if you took one out of the cage the other went frantic looking for him. They're no smellier than sows.

baddyface Sun 09-Apr-17 17:24:46

We have them! Two Rex boys. 13 weeks from a lady who rescues.

I collected them this lunch time and they were very easy to pick up and seemed fine being held.

After a car journey and a new home much bigger and brighter than they're used to they are now very scared little things. We have left them alone all day with just occasional very calm, quiet and slow moving checks on them both. They have hardly moved. One is 'hiding' behind an igloo, the other one in an igloo.

They haven't eaten or drunk anything. It's a hot day so I hope they manage to do that soon.

Any tips on helping them to relax?
Does the cage look ok for them?

FernieB Sun 09-Apr-17 18:32:01

It looks wonderful. Daren't show my pigs or they'll want to move in with youwink.

Everything is new and scary for them (very cute boys - squeee), so it'll take them a little while to adjust. Leave them some tasty veggie things to eat and you'll probably find they disappear even if you don't see the pigs eating them. They'll probably be eating hay anyway. It can take a good couple of weeks for them to be really brave with you. Be patient.

baddyface Sun 09-Apr-17 19:54:37

Thanks FernieB. They were also in a hutch in a shed so it was a dark quiet place. And now it's not either of those!
I have closed the curtains in the room to help too.
They haven't had any of the veg in there and when I put my head round the door they are both in exactly the same place.
I'm sure they will perk up when they get used to things.
Do we just go slow and do quiet chatting in the room for the next few days? I don't want to handle them too soon but also don't want to leave it too long!

dietcokeandwine Sun 09-Apr-17 20:05:33

Aww gorgeous pigs smile and I love their home!

Don't worry about them seeming to hide away and eat nothing. By tomorrow morning chances are they'll have sneaked out in the night and snaffled the lot grin

It will take them a while to relax and trust you. When our newest little girl came home she just hid away in a corner. We started handling her after day two, just short stints of cuddling to start with. I would say it took her a good five or six weeks before she was happy to sit or snooze in the main area of the hutch without wanting to hide all the time, but now she is quite confident. They do take a while to relax and become more adventurous. But every day they will become a bit more used to you and your household.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sun 09-Apr-17 20:13:32

I bet you find they are much more cheerful in the morning.

GPs LOVE fleece so I would definitely treat them to a couple of fleece houses/ sleeping bags/ beds. There are lots of crazy guinea pig people crafters on the internet who make this stuff.

They are very cute OP. smile

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sun 09-Apr-17 20:15:22

Also pinterest is your friend for your c&c. Not that I look at these things. Not ever.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 09-Apr-17 20:18:58

They are gorgeous baddy , I was going to reply to the boars/sows question but this thread has moved on grin

Boars are lovely, snuggly ,cuddly piggies - our boars have all been lazier and huggier than the sows.
Boars might smell a bit more 'boary' (its not unpleasant at all) but only our GP1 did.
Sows pee more !

They only know each other at the moment, everything else is unfamiliar and that is scary for two little rodents. Food is the way forward. Offer them water but they might not bother (our sows will polish off half a bottle - I use the small hamster bottkes- a day , the boar doesn't touch it ). Lots of fresh crunchy veg will give them fluid.

Our GP3 was a Rex he grew huge grin I think he weighed in at 1/4 kilos at the vet when he was a year (he was in for neutering)

Let them explore in their own time. You'll find one is braver and bossier . Cuddle them in a towel for security (and wee accidents) . They will find their own way of letting you know when they need to go ( some of ours prattle on urgently, GP5 used to step backwards to put her bum over the edge. All subtle but you read the signs)

So- you have accomodation, the hidey spaces, the piggies...........they need MN Nicknames grin

Oh and when you let them out in the garden, built up their time slowly. An hour to begin with, then a bit longer.
In the hot weather ours don;t go out till 5pm then have 4-5 hours till dusk. Just need to look out for foxes.

Welcome little Rex boys .

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 09-Apr-17 20:20:34

That should be 1.4 kilos (about 3lb in old money) not 1/4 (which is about 8oz )

FernieB Sun 09-Apr-17 20:49:14

Building confidence does take time, so be patient and I'd start handling in a couple of days (and giving them parsley during cuddles too).

Madampig has been with us nearly 3 months now and still doesn't come to the bars of the cage for food, unlike Gingerpig who did that from day one with us (he's very confident). They're all different and you may find that one becomes very confident (almost cocky) with you, but the other is more shy. Madam may regret her shyness today as she missed out on lavender being offered and it was snaffled by Ginger before she even got a sniff.

baddyface Sun 09-Apr-17 22:00:30

Thanks for all the replies. As yet we have no names. Dd did suggest Bloodtooth for one of them but I didn't want him to feel he had to live up to that name! She's started calling one Freeze and one Run after their reactions to her little very quiet sneeze.

Any suggestions to rival those would be greatly appreciated! hmm

We have a lot of foxes about here. I saw one chase a cat across our garden in the middle of the day a few weeks ago so they will definitely only be going out when they have a human guard on duty.

I was shown how big the Rex can grow to and it's pretty impressive. The lady I went to said they should make about a kilo so I feel prepared.

They have some peace now as both dds are asleep (for now!) and so the house is generally much quieter. I'm hoping some veg disappears in the night.

Lavender - can they have any, from the garden?

I will be hunting dandelion leaves and parsley tomorrow. Might make to a trip to the supermarket too for some more healthy bits to try to tempt them out. I've heard watermelon is very popular.

baddyface Sun 09-Apr-17 22:06:24

Oh and thanks for the fleece recommendation. I will have a look.

FernieB Sun 09-Apr-17 22:08:30

Watermelon is wonderful, so my pigs tell me - they actually prefer the rind, so if you and the DDs want to eat the flesh, that'll be okay with the pigs. Yes, lavender from the garden is fine, although don't let them have too much or your lavender bushes will end up bedraggled and won't flower. The pigs, however, smell lovely after eating it. I grow my own parsley and various salad crops for them during the summer. I've even grown carrots purely for them to have the leaves and I never, ever, dig up dandelion plants and instead I cultivate a patch of them (much to the disgust of my mother).

baddyface Sun 09-Apr-17 22:22:57

I love the idea of a guinea pig greens patch!
My older dd loves to garden so I might set her up with a pot and get some parsley and lavender growing. So they like carrots and the leaves from carrots.
Any other sugggestions?

FernieB Sun 09-Apr-17 23:05:47

This year I'm growing kale, broccoli, spinach and lettuce, plus parsley and lavender. Mine also love cucumber, peppers, tomato, the occasional green bean, celery (especially the leaves), round lettuce, little gem lettuce and the contents of those fancy salad bags at the supermarket, although they rarely get those. Don't give iceberg lettuce - it can make them ill.

Fruit should only be given in small portions so mine enjoy a small sliver cut off my apple and bits of melon rind. Some pigs like strawberries and blueberries - mine think they're 'foreign muck' and won't tolerate being anywhere the stuff.

Just try them with different things, they'll soon let you know what they prefer. If you wish to waste several hours there are many websites with lists of pig friendly foods.

baddyface Mon 10-Apr-17 08:45:28

Well last night they have eaten all their fresh food apart from a cherry tomato so clearly they don't like those.

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