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Talk to me about guinea pigs..

(29 Posts)
JoshGrobansFurryHamster Fri 20-Oct-17 21:20:18

Hello everyone..

My much loved pug has died, we are all bereft - and we are considering getting some guinea pigs

However blush I know zero about them; except that they like to be in pairs and I’ll need to neuter them

Do I keep them inside or out? What kind of enclosure do they need? Lifespan?

I’m willing to spend money to ensure they’re in a life of luxury, won’t be rushing into anything and I plan to research thoroughly

Thanks all 🐹

outabout Fri 20-Oct-17 21:29:26

Yes they like to be in pairs (possibly more as well?).
If they are the same sex you don't need to neuter them.
Given a reasonably sheltered hutch/house they will be fine outside (assuming UK and not far north in V cold areas).
Lifespan can be quite long around 7 years or so? Problem comes if one dies 'early' you need a 'replacement' so the remainer won't 'pine' which will then last longer..........
Their idea of 'luxury' may not be yours, warm bed at night and interesting food is largely it. I don't remember ours being that excited by 'toys'.

wowimamazing Fri 20-Oct-17 21:31:19

They are very dull pets. The work to reward ratio is all off. Avoid avoid !

greatpumpkin Fri 20-Oct-17 21:36:45

I agree with wowim. We have two, they are not very friendly, run away when we try to approach them although they are will sit on your lap once you’ve caught them. They do make a cute squeaking noise. And they live indoors so in theory should be well socialised. I would get another dog if I were you.

booellesmum Fri 20-Oct-17 21:37:16

We have 2 guinea pigs.
The amount of pee they produce is phenomenal. They live in an indoor cage but need cleaning out twice a day. They constantly act petrified and hate being picked up.
Get a cat.

theconstantinoplegardener Fri 20-Oct-17 21:41:05

Guinea pigs make lovely pets. With regular handling and lots of treats (parsley!), they will become very tame and they are usually gentle and tolerant pets. As PP says, they must be kept in pairs or small groups. We kept ours indoors because we found we interacted more with them that way and they became very tame. If you opt to keep them in the house, you will need a large cage and ideally an indoor run (like a playpen) or else let them out of their cage for supervised playtime each day. Although our guineas lived indoors, they absolutely loved going outside during warmer days.
As PP mentioned, it can be a problem when one dies. Some guinea pig rescues will allow you to "borrow" a compatible piggie as a companion for your remaining one, with the option to return it when your other guinea pig dies.

JoshGrobansFurryHamster Fri 20-Oct-17 21:42:37

Oh good Lord

Mumsnet led me to believe they were the ultimate in small pets

I had Russian and Syrian hamsters as a child and they did nothing but bite me..

I thought they’d be cuddly and loving sad

MyCrap Fri 20-Oct-17 21:43:32

They smell.

PurpleDaisies Fri 20-Oct-17 21:44:36

I can't believe all the negative posts-guinea pigs are brilliant pets. They don't need all that much work really-feeding, cleaning out and cuddles. Mine get cleaned out about twice a week. They live indoors because we've got foxes nearby and get loads of attention. They're proper little characters and love attention. Loads of squeaking, running around, lying around looking cute. They will sit for ages being cuddled.

Guinea pigs can be expensive if they get ill so don't assume they'll be super cheap. Definitely get two or more, ideally from a rescue. The ones no one wants are always the best. We've got a c and c cafe and an outside run for warm days.

Sorry about your pug. flowers

PurpleDaisies Fri 20-Oct-17 21:46:19

That should say "cage" not "cafe" but ours expect waitress service so cafe is an appropriate typo!

thisismadness77 Fri 20-Oct-17 21:46:53

We have two. Six months in, they are no bother at all. They live in the indoor area that leads to the garage, so not in the house but not outside either. They do pee and poo a lot. Sometimes they come inside to watch The Bake off.

JoshGrobansFurryHamster Fri 20-Oct-17 21:49:12

Thank you. Sidney was 14 and it was the right time..I’m gutted but I don’t believe a house is a home without something furry to spoil..

I had a lovely rabbit when I was young too, but it was an exception if I’m honest - the other rabbits I had weren’t great hmm

Lots of guinea pig positives and negatives here

Keep them coming. Taking everything on board

RaininSummer Fri 20-Oct-17 21:52:29

They get very tame so long as you handle them a lot. They squeak when they smell food or hear the fridge door. Much nicer than hamsters or rabbits.

outabout Fri 20-Oct-17 22:04:03

Whilst quite cute they are hardly the most dynamic of animals.
Children are likely to be bored with them which means they become the 'adult's ' pets after a while. Outside in a run which is covered to protect them from hawks etc and foxes/badgers you can largely ignore them if you wish.
Letting them run on concrete/stone for a while helps keep the claws short. If you handle them a lot when they are very young they get used to it and are more friendly afterwards.
One of ours escaped and lived in the wild (neighbouring field) for a couple of weeks but was recaptured with no harm.
Dare I say they are a delicacy in South America.

BeerBaby Fri 20-Oct-17 22:10:48

We love our piggies. They are two girls with lovely characters and great company. You have to put in the effort to bond with them. We've picked ours up and hand fed, talked to and played with them for 15-20 minutes a day for months and they're lovely. They come say hello. Squeak when we come in the house and especially if they know lettuce is coming.

They naturally run off when you try to pick them up but they've never bitten us and are far friendlier and fun than hamsters. They are getting tame but you do need to work at it.

They aren't as much of a companion as a dog but they don't smell if cleaned out regularly. They're alot cheaper, don't need walking and don't get hair everywhere. They can be left during the day.

They poo and pee alot more than I realised but it takes less than a few minutes a day to tidy up their cage. We've part litter trained ours so the majority of the wee goes in the tray which we clean out daily.

Lovely pets for children as they like being stroked and are a good size.

Ours are outside for summer, indoors now for winter and we have them in the main room most nights. They like being with the family. For treats we give them apple cores, herb plants from supermarket that we get if on discount and give to them that day. They love lettuce. We go through half a round lettuce a day.

They need about 10 minutes a day maintenance. They eat alot of veg and they need constant hay and gp nuts which aren't expensive. You can bed them on fleece and wash it. See YouTube for cage liner options!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 20-Oct-17 23:49:36

I love guineas, I kept them as a child through my teens.
Six years ago (when DD uttered the I want a Pet dreaded phrase) we got two boars .
Since GP1/GP2 we've gone through a cycle and now have GP6/GP7/GP8.

Bad things (you'll overlook them but you need to know wink )

They are completely defenceless little animals , you as the owner have to do all the planning to keep them safe.
So whether its predators, heat, cold, damp, draught, you need to protect them.
They need to eat pretty constantly (I think mine sleep but the jaws go the rest of the time)
They have quite specific health needs and can die out of the blue sad

The hay gets EVERYWHERE.
They pee and pooh a lot
You get out what you put in.

Mine live in an old Playhouse, they come indoors in Winter. They like their deep hay to snuggle in and space to explore, especially if you have boars.

Sadly there are loads on sites like Gumtree where people buy them for the kids who 'outgrow' them. Or the boars squabble usually because the cage is too small . Or allergies.

My DD was fine with our first 2, allergic to GP3 and very allergic to GP6 (her soppy neutered boar. I've offered to have him but she would rather have the rash)
Our sows (all my pigs are from Rescue) don't get along with the boar.

Once we're down to a singleton, it'll live inside all the time in the lounge and I will wind up my pig keeping (the pigs are all 3yo, DD is 15.6 so she'll be off to Uni in a few years)

They are the most gentle, (I had one bitey pig) chatty, lazy, greedy, messy, unprepared to defend themselves little rodents.

And we Love 'Em grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 21-Oct-17 00:03:42

They do run away because no matter what you do they are prey animals. They cannot kick hard like a rabbit (though our GP3 kicked grin ) cannot twist their heads quickly, cannot jump or climb (though again GP3 could leap out of the travel box), not like rats. Cannot escape into tiny areas like mice.
And in spite of having no defences but a very sharp set of teeth , they very rarely bite.

So if you spend a bit of time getting to know them , reading up on them and making their life the best it can be .....they really don't ask for much from life.......they are lovely .
Ours have huge rabbit runs , the grazing season is coming to an end now, might get the odd warm day.
I love feeding them , making the beds nice.
Our boar is a tidy boy , the girls much messier.
And every bloody day they run into their hay boxes while I'm trying to put the fresh bedding in.
"You don't get any better at this girls" grin

NightTimeIhadaBrainChange Sat 21-Oct-17 12:37:06

They are absolute darlings. Had them as a child, and then for the last 5 years (no children, they're absolutely MY pets).

They live in the bedroom. Currently have H (3.5 yo) and B and F (4 months). B and F were acquired when H lost her sister, P. P and H were ex breeders, so deserved to be spoilt. They both took it to extremes and decided to move as little as possible! H took exception the day I put her on the floor a whole 8 inches away from the pile of food!

B and F, being younger, are lively wee things. Love running around the place, popcorning and climbing. (H gets tired watching them!). Highly amusing to watch. They're not that tame, yet, but we'll get there. If they think a meal is late they will let you know, similarly, if they hear a plastic bag rustling they'll remind you of their presence, in case you've forgotten they're there and are attempting to eat their food yourself. Saying that, they definitely have their preferences, and if you give them something 'poisonous' (ie something they just don't like) there's no way they'll eat it, regardless of how hungry they are, and despite hearing about the starving cavies in Peru!

Yes, they would win the weeing and pooing golds at the Olympics, but they're great wee things. And they have the advantage of making your shopping trolley look really, really healthy!

EastMidsGPs Sat 21-Oct-17 13:18:45

We've two sows. One almost 3 and a 12 week old - our elderly pig died a short while ago. Two old adults wept buckets that day sad
They are a delight, if you put on the time, talking to them, handling them and generally being around them, they will become tame and friendly.
Then they watch and listen out for you, and call for attention or food.
Yes, they bedding and gay can be messy .. but then I could never pick up dog poo without heaving, and wet dog food smell makes me e gag, so suppose it is swings and roundabouts or horses for courses.

And 70 I reckon the day you become pig less is the day oceans freeze overwink someone will come to you with a sob story and suddenly your vacant pig house will have tenants again!!

Tilapia Sat 21-Oct-17 13:22:28

We have two females. They live outside. They are absolutely lovely - like to be held and cuddled, and get on well together. My 8yo and 10yo love them. We only clear them out once a week blush

dietcokeandwine Sat 21-Oct-17 14:45:29

We have four guinea pigs currently, and like 70 I had guineas throughout my childhood too.

I love them. They are ostensibly for my DC but they're mine really, and I wouldn't be surprised if I'm still keeping guineas long after the DC are grown and gone.

Ours live indoors and are confident and sociable and tame, well as confident as a guinea pig gets anyway. Their instinct will ALWAYS be to run and hide as you try to catch them, because they're prey animals, but when they live in a busy household (we have three noisy DC who often bring friends home for noisy play dates!) they adapt very happily. They are lovely for children, they are a good size for them to hold, they will happily sit and be cuddled and you'd be really unlucky to get a bad-natured one.

I would definitely try and house them indoors if you have room. Our current pigs are far more confident and get far more interaction and food related spoiling than my childhood pigs were/did, and I'm sure it's because they live in the house.

Google C and C cages, or go on Pinterest. You can make some amazing indoor living spaces for guineas. I am in the process of constructing a big c and c cage for our little gang, they are easy to assemble and look good too.

As with all pets there will be an element of grunt work in terms of cleaning them out etc. And you're either the kind of person who wouldn't mind cleaning out a small animal cage or you're not. For me, the faff of cleaning out guineas is absolutely worth it because they give us so much pleasure and the pleasure outweighs the faff. A friend of mine always says 'oh I could never have anything that lives in a cage that I'd have to clean out' but then has no issue with dog hair all over her furniture, or dog claw scratches on her floors, or with picking up dog poo and putting it in little bags...all of which would drive me nuts (I love dogs but I couldn't have one because, for me, the stress and the faff would outweigh the pleasure).

So there are pros and cons definitely, but for a small furry pet they are generally fab.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 21-Oct-17 15:06:36

grin EastMids I will have to relinquish guinea keeping eventually because I physically cannot get the little toads out of the rabbit run, I have to send DD in !

DH wants cats eventually so we will still have animals (and the cats will be Rescues like the tortoiseshell girl we had years ago, she was 17yo when we had to send her on her way)

I will just have to stay off Gumtree and Rescue websites.

Our piggies are still in their prime (all 3-3.6 yo now) so I'm not facing piglessness for many years.
Though DD at Uni and me having to prod them to get them into a corner of the run just might kill me off grin

EastMidsGPs Sat 21-Oct-17 16:35:00


One word ..... grandchildren 😉😉

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 22-Oct-17 00:59:30

grin too early to be thinking about Grandchildren yet but knowing my luck they'll be the type who shriek and won't touch the piggies.

I'm hoping the pigs will take pity on me when I get ancient (er) and become catchable in the run.
No sign of this happening.

When DD is away DH and I have to catch them, NDN used to laugh at our efforts grin
(There was lots of calling of Tilly, don't be an arse )

EastMidsGPs Sun 22-Oct-17 18:48:37

We take great joy in watching our neighbours trying to corral their two rabbits when it is time for bed. Rainy days are best, when there is a need to hurry. They use tennis rackets to corner the 2 of them😂
Although I have heard on occasion (late on and after a fruitless capture attempt) 'Florence, you stupid rabbit, say outside then, I don't care, you'll be sorry when the foxes get you'
add your own expletives

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