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Small pets

Getting Guinea Pigs!

11 replies

OneTwoOrThree · 08/05/2015 19:43


I'm new around here, but have lurked around existing threads, so have picked up bits and pieces of advice.

After much consideration, we've decided to get guinea pigs. We plan to get two, and realise we need big indoor cage plus outdoor run / cage.

I've still got a few questions though, which I hope you can help me with...

What do you think about getting guinea pigs on gumtree? It's obviously very sad that people put pets on gumtree in the first place, but given these piggies are now homeless, is it silly to think about taking them on? Is there anything in particular I should watch out for?

Also, I'm undecided about getting males v females? I've read males can be a bit more feisty, smellier and prone to constipation in old age. However I've also read females urinate more often. We have primary school age children - (both used to small dogs and chickens, so have a good idea about being gentle) - would that influence choice of sex?

Finally, sawdust. We saw some guinea pigs in a pet shop earlier today living on sawdust, but I think I've read this isn't good for them. CAn someone tell me why it's not good, and what I should use instead?

Thank you all v much

OP posts:
Lolimax · 08/05/2015 19:50

Hi. No expert but have kept them for years. Suzi pig lived indoors til she was 6! Now have 4 boys living in an outdoor hutch. All have had sawdust with no issues and I haven't noticed a difference in their pee. I've had ours from babies from pet shops but I'd say just look at their general health- eyes and noses and how are they at being handled? They make lovely pets for children and mine have always talked to us especially at feeding time. Good luck :)

MrsEricBana · 08/05/2015 20:01


Don't want to be a doom monger but everyone I know has regretted getting their guinea pigs and so I'm pretty sure that that would account for them being on Gumtree rather than there being anything wrong with them per se. In which case giving them a new, loving home would be wonderful.

We have two male guinea pigs and they are absolutely lovely and aren't feisty or smelly that I've noticed!

Our pigs have a layer of sawdust in the whole upstairs level of the cage and then hay on top of that in the nest box. I think you need it for urine absorption but I can see that there could be some respiratory implications though I have never heard of it and mine are fine.

I know you said you are decided so don't want to be negative but I wish I'd known more before we got our two chaps. The children begged me for them but once I gave in, they were interested in them for precisely 24hours and then showed them no interest at all. We have ours in the garden (as do all my friends as the hay etc gets everywhere indoors) so it is a pain for them to go out to them when they are at school all day and then might be dark and or wet when they get home. Obviously I should force them to do the piggy care but we have had so many rows that I now just do it all, every single day. I honestly thought it would be a brisk clean out once a week plus giving them a bit of veg and water each day but I do much more than that. Every day I give the cage a tidy up, water, dry food, wet food, add bit extra hay and sawdust (all this really adds up costwise too), putting them in and out of run etc. Always going to buy piggy supplies etc. I would never let them down now we have them and I do love them but they are very timid, do very little but require a disproportionate amount of work and really the children aren't keen at all. This exact scenario has happened to ALL my friends and we all regret getting them. Please ignore me if none of this applies but I do wish someone had told me!!

Good luck and hope your children really love them.

MrsEricBana · 08/05/2015 20:01

(Oh and they live to up to 12 years old)

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 08/05/2015 20:39

WRT Gumtree, I get really Angry reading some of these adverts


"Kids lost interest" (Well as the adult YOU are responsible. Take charge, Either tell them to Man Up or You take over .

"Allergy" - yes it happens , check before you get them that your child isn't allergic . Seems a bit convienient too , how many allergies crop up Hmm

"Child has outgrown him" WTAF. It's not a pair of shoes

"We want £80 to guarentee a good home" . Why? Because you sure as heck didn't give one and you paid .

Steps off soapbox

My guineas are Rescue. You get back up, you know that the piggies have been checked.

If ( big if ) I bought a Gumtree pig, I wouldn't need their "huge cage" which is usually a piddly 3' long. I have my own accomodation.
I'd take the pigs and tell them to sell the cage (as they mainly seem to want to profit from these 'much loved animals' )
I'd donate a fee to a local rescue to show my interest was true and send them an email to let them know they'd settled.

OneTwo have a good read through the Pig Threads (that'll keep ya busy for a while Grin ). I love our guineas but they need constant looking after. There are definate do/don't to keeping them.
Some people might find they're a bit "boring" Sad.

Boars v Sows?

We had GP1 + GP2 (brothers) and yes there are issues withs boars but it's mainly down to space and their pecking order.
GP2 died we got GP3 (piglet)
GP1 died , we had GP3 neutered and bonded with GP4 and GP5 (sows)
GP3 died , we missed having a Lardy Boar so have introduced GP6 (neutered but not bonded yet) boar to our herd.

That's one thing to consider with keep adding Grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 08/05/2015 20:44

All piggies are different.
Our boars have all been Love Sponges. GP4 is very docile. GP5 is feisty.

They can certainly live till 12 but it's rare.
4-7 is the usual lifespan.

You also need a good GP vet. And read up on all their possible ailments.
Though they don't tend to linger when they're ill. They don't hang around once they put their paws on The Rainbow Bridge Sad

tadpole39 · 08/05/2015 20:54

Hi, a cautionary gumtree tale. I wanted another sow to go with male and sow and saw jane on Gumtree, lots of conversations later, met up and paid £40 plus smallish cage for jane.

Short quarantine later, tried intro and my boar was not having any of it, tried "extruding penis" as per you tube with little success. Trip to vet for sexing was £15, and jane was in fact james.

Contacted previous owner who said of course she'd have him back then mysteriously and urgently left the country! I took him to our local rescue and paid £40 towards his neuter. So the whole sorry episode cost me nearly £100 and no guinea pig!
Oh boy have I learnt my lesson!
Rescue, that's the way to go!!!!

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 08/05/2015 21:17

On Gumtree (today) are :
12 boars
4 sows
20 piglets


And the day ain't over yet

Piggiefan · 09/05/2015 21:54

We have two guinea pigs and i love them, I'm cuddling one now. Both sows, one is quite nervous and will allow cuddling but doesn't particularly like it. The other one dislikes being caught but loves being on my lap, she will sit snuggled into my arm for an hour or two and purrs with happiness. These are our first so I cant compare to boys. They live inside in a ferplast 120 cage plus an extension made from a small dog crate with liner. Because they are indoors they interact with us a lot, come up to the bars and squeak like crazy if they hear the fridge being opened, and are very entertaining to watch. The children are still interested in them after a year and will help a bit with feeding and stroking, although I do all the cleaning out. I think they are lovely pets but if they are kept outside we wouldn't get anywhere near as much from them and they would feel like more of a chore. Although they are small, the time and cost does add up like MrsBana said, so if they are primarily aimed at the children rather than you I would be cautious.

On the bedding, we use Fitch ordered online, it comes in an enormous bale. Seems to be good at reducing smell, I change bedding roughly twice a week as well as poo-picking most days. I'm considering changing to using fleece though. I've also used mega zorb, which was good when we kept them outside initially but when we brought them in I discovered it made the whole house smell.

OneTwoOrThree · 10/05/2015 11:10

Thank you all, very much. Lots to think about.

OP posts:
slalomsuki · 10/05/2015 11:37

Can I just add a positive story to Gumtree about our piggies.

We came across them by accident and made contact in Gumtree. We had been looking for a while but the local RSPCA had boars but we wanted 2 female ones. The local pet shop ones were a bit dire so we were pleased when we found ours.

They were 10 months old and came with 2 cages and an outside run. The person we got them from said they had been rescued and they certainly had other guinea pigs that they had. They refused money for them including the cages and they suggested we donate to a local charity. I think they were just mad about guinea pigs and had set themselves up as some sort of inner city piggy rescue place and took piggies in from all these people that had had them and then rejected them.

Ours had obviously been socialised before and were fairly tame although I am not convinced they had either had hay to snuggle in or greens on a fairly frequent basis as they flatten the hay down to lie on it and initially ate only lettuce.

I wouldn't recommend Gumtree normally but I think in our case we ended up with the best piggies for us.

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep · 11/05/2015 22:34

Oh blimey. We are just about to get guineas...I think.

I definitely agree about the outdoor piggies. Our childhood ones were outdoors and though we did the majority of the care (when I say 'we', I mean 'I', my dsis was useless- yet she's the vet!) my mum said the nights she had to go out at 9pm to sort the pigs were awful. Our neighbours have an indoor guinea pig (his friend died) and they still love him- the daughter whose pig he is is 16 now and even her mum says she likes having him on her lap and stroking him in the evening.

I think indoor piggies who can be picked up and cuddled or stroked, and fed/cleaned out with less faff will be the best option.

I did want rats but my dh really isn't into the idea and actually getting them is much harder. You're making me worried about getting the piggies now though! I don't mind doing most of the work but to do it all and them have no interest at all would be hard- they are going to be mainly fr my DD for her 5th birthday. She's animal mad.

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