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New guinea pig owner - more questions!

22 replies

Monr0e · 08/02/2017 17:08

I posted on here in early January after adopting our first little piggy Tinsel. After getting lots of advice from you all we went the next day to the nearest rescue centre and acquired our second little piggy, Sparkles. They thankfully get on great with never a cross word and I am now the proud provider to two greedy little pigs. Do they ever stop eating? They demand food the minute I walk in the room or open the fridge or they hear anything on the chopping board or the rustle of a bag! I'm starting to doubt how much and how often I should be feeding them so any advice on that would be great.

Also, are they better indoors or outdoors? They are indoors right now and come out to play daily but I'm wondering if they'd be happier in the garden. Also what do your indoor pigs sleep in? Bed? Hay?

How is there health in general? Is there anything I should be looking out for regularly? Also sparkles is long haired, does she require any extra grooming? Do you bath them??

Thank you Smile

OP posts:
Monr0e · 09/02/2017 11:02

Shameless bump - with pictures

New guinea pig owner - more questions!
New guinea pig owner - more questions!
OP posts:
Nowthereistwo · 09/02/2017 11:07

So cute.

They would appreciate being outside to eat grass once the weather is nicer but it's too cold now. They have gotten used to central heating.

I think they enjoy being inside- ours are in the playhouse with hot stones at night as the hay was too much for me last year.

I miss their little noises when in the kitchen.

Monr0e · 09/02/2017 11:58

Thank you. I was considering putting the hutch with a run outside so they could go out in the warmer weather but still come inside in the evening.

What are these hot stones you speak of??
The hay is starting to get on my nerves 😐

OP posts:
Nowthereistwo · 09/02/2017 12:56

I've put their eating hay in a wide mesh bird feeder - so it doesn't go everywhere.
Shouldn't need too much bedding indoors as it's warm - just lots of hiding places.

I've bought the microwave stones that you put in their beds at night - slowly release heat for 10hrs. It's only because it's been so cold.

EastMidsGPs · 09/02/2017 15:03

Currently mine are in a large hutch in the utility room, when spring comes they will move into a summer house.

I find that they will eat all before them if they like what it is.
Mine have mixed salad leaves in the morning. There is always fresh meadow hay which they lie on I think. Camomile hay to eat, hay cookies and Burgess nuggets.

Also they get through a bag of the mixed dandelion/leaf/flower mix a week. They also have hay cookies, parsley bell and various stick things. These are all because DH works from home slot and spoils them Hmm
Around 3pm they share a bag of flat leaved parsley and then around 7 they have their tea of carrot top leaves, carrot, celery, cucumber, 4 blueberries for Sadie, 4 green grapes for Mollie and either kale or cabbage leaves. They also have a handful of fresh grass when it is ok to pick.
All the above is the reason they are rather plump. When younger they had lesser amounts of everything.
In the spring/summer they go out in a pen for the day and munch on grass, consequently they get much less of the above.
Sparkle will need grooming but so will Tinsel as she will moult. Mine do get bathed but not until the weather is warmer. They hate it Grin
As yours are still young make sure there is plenty of poo and pee. Make sure they don't get chilled as piggies are prone to chest infections.
It is worth weighing them - we do it monthly - as when they get older loosing weight is a sign they are unwell.
Loads more info we can give. Just ask πŸ˜ƒ

EastMidsGPs · 09/02/2017 15:04

Gorgeous piggies by the way 🐹🐹

Monr0e · 09/02/2017 15:14

Thank you so much. We are very much in love with them already Smile

Where do you get the dandelion leaf mix? And when is the grass not safe to eat? What is best to groom with? And sorry for all the questions but how do I know if they are warm enough or not? I really don't want poorly piggies!

Love how your girls "have their tea" ☺
And thank you loads for all the information

OP posts:
EastMidsGPs · 09/02/2017 17:32

Any pet shop has mixed bags of dandelion leaves etc some with marigolds and exotic bits in. However, we just had a
Poundstretcher open and DH has found large bags for Β£1. Wilkos also do cheap. They don't really need it and in the spring can eat dandelions from the garden it is just I had a pig once with teeth trouble and I am a bit paranoid of teeth problems.

Grass, when spring comes and it is warm enough limit them to start with, greedy piggies and lush grass = the squirts!
But once they've been out a few days they are fine and are proper little munching machines. Won't 'mow' in straight lines tho much to DH's disappointment.
At the moment as long as the grass is not icy or frozen or wet, we cut then handfuls to eat. In fact, it the grass is any of the above DH cuts it, brings it in, dries it on kitchen paper and then leaves it to 'warm up' - they are very spoilt as he has too much time on his hands!!

Soft brush will do, we've one that's a babies first brush, but pet shops do them.

Do yours have different personalities?
Mine do, Mollie is so laid back but chats all the time. Sadie is a bit delinquent and sort of clucks, his devoted to DH and ignores me Hmm

EastMidsGPs · 09/02/2017 17:38

They hunch up sort of if they are cold. You might feel that their ears are only slightly warm but this is OK as is if the top of their back is. Their tums will beπŸ˜ƒ plenty of bedding and hay and indoors they should be fine.
My nephew's 2 up in Newcastle live outside in a hutch, even in their coldest weather. They have a snuggle pad, hay and are their hutch is covered with a thick duvet.
I bought mine a snuggle pad and they ignore it, pee and poo on it and walk round it but don't use it.
Beware you can spend a fortune spoiling them πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 09/02/2017 18:52

The hay does get everywhere, there's no way round this than I can find. Pigs=hay Grin

Mine are in at the moment (in the small bedroom) with the radiator on lowest setting (there's no door on this room so they can prattle on to DD when she's in her bedroom and I can hear them at night)

We have a plastic based cage (4x2) and I made a C&C enclosure (I have 2 groups of two)
They've been going outside to their shed by day (until my GP4 was unwell) but its been cold overnight this last couple of days.

I give mine Snugglepads in newspaper under their bedding with deep hay and soft straw bedding.
I do need to change their bedding every day they are mucky pups.

If mine get too cold they'll just bury themselves in hay so I try to keep them ambient (they have a little heater in their shed too)

Your piggies are gorgeous you will need to groom the long haired one. Baby combs are good , just do a bit every time you cuddle her to get her used to it.
Gorgeous Guineas sells lovely shampoo for pigs (and conditioning 'melts' )

I am planning to wash our little rodenty ones this week , then they'll get wafted at with the dryer and sulk Grin Its a two person job !

Ours wheek (GP6 and GP7 are the noisy ones) when they hear us chopping, rustling, walking down to their Pighouse We don't give treats when we cuddle them, they have their 'routine' of veg am/pm, pellets at night and fresh hay daily.
They do actually need to eat fairly constantly , their gut health relies on it. If they go too long (something like 8 hours) without eating, they get gut stasis, which can lead to organ failure.
They are designed to stuff their faces at dawn and dusk (crepuscular) when they're most active then retire to Pooh Eat (delightful) to re digest and get the nutrients.
I cover mine at night time, like parrots, to convince them to go to sleep.

Our boar is a Teddy, cuddly, (thick as mince) loves DD .
GP4 is a beautiful tri smooth , very serene and docile but Alpha Pig
GP7 is a long haired , like a Thelwell pony in cavy form, very affectionate , noisy
GP8 is a sweet little tri (my only Pig now) does very unusal shapped droppings (pointed Confused which are 'normal' for her.

When you do start letting them have grass , give them limited time to begin with. If they gorge they can get bloat especially on fresh spring grass. Until the lawn is dry enough we'll cut grass for ours .And yes, I've put the grass on kitchen towel and let it warm through before they eat it Wink

When you do let the pigs graze you need to protect them against: damp, draughts, cats, dogs, magpies,
Poisonous plants (buttercups, daisies,ivy,bulbs) though mine tend to avoid the buttercups we can't take chances.

One of the nicest things with guineas is the height of summer when we let them out in the evening (when DD gets home) they pooter round in the dusk light, watching us do their beds.

Monr0e · 09/02/2017 20:38

Oh my, it's like a whole other language!
Snuggle pads, tri, teddy, cavy. I obviously have a lot of learning to do.
We currently give them fresh greens in the morning then more in the evening plus a selection of veg, carrots, celery etc, whatever is knocking about in the fridge. Plus they have a constant supply of hay and pellets. Does this sound OK?

I still can't seem to get my head round the bedding. If they are indoors do they sleep in the hay also? Or should I be using something else for them? Tinsel appears to be the dominant one and quite often she will have the "bedroom" to herself with little sparkles sleeping in the main bit of the hutch. I just want them both to be happy and comfortable. And thank you for the compliments Smile

Since getting them I've realised I've never seen another gray guinea pig and sparkles is just a tiny ball of fluff so they are quite special to us

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70isaLimitNotaTarget · 09/02/2017 21:01

WRT bedding, I've tried all sorts (not Licorice Allsorts ), my pigs vote with their paws and like hay Grin
Indoors we're using wooden pellets in the plastic cage , cardboard in the C&C base.
Puppy pads (mine don't eat them) , C&C has a Primark bathmat under puppypads to cushion.
Then newspaper, fleece layer in the sleeping area, big wedge of hay.

It gets rolled up and binned each night.

I sometimes try fleece and hay cookies to keep the mess down but they do the DailyMailSadFace .

Cavy: proper name for guineas (I sometimes shout "Oi, Cavies" if I'm being posh)
Tri: tri coloured (ours are black/fawn/white , fawn/chocolate/white, ginger/,agouti/white , Bert has about four shades on white , just to be unique )

Teddy - dense soft short hair, springey but not coarse. (Rex are similar but curly whiskers) Huge feet and claws. Lardy but lovely.

There are more and more breeds , the mind boggles. Some are so removed from the original smooth its a shame. Like a walking coat rather than a little animal.

EastMidsGPs · 10/02/2017 07:17

6.30 am DH to Sadie, 'good morning sweetheart, did you sleep well?'

7.10am DH to me 'i'll be back about 4, oh we need some coffee' πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Monr0e · 10/02/2017 09:36

Love that

The DC's and I have decided our evening will be mostly spent making beds for the girls out of old cereal boxes, an old towel and a fleece blanket. My crafty skills are minimal to say the least. It will be an interesting evening Confused

OP posts:
FernieB · 10/02/2017 11:37

Don't worry about your crafty skills. Whatever you make out of a box will be chewed into a shape the pigs find more acceptableGrin. I've currently got a lot of boxes of varying shapes and am able to construct great tunnel runs for my two - they love it. Get family and friends to donate their boxes and have some fun with that.

East - that sounds very familiar. My DDs often complain that they are told off for not clearing up a few crumbs after making toast, but CurrentBun can rip a box apart and scatter it all over the kitchen floor and still be told he's 'my best boy'Wink.

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 10/02/2017 16:49

Grin in our house there's an Animals Fed First Rule.
My poor DC (lazy teens) watch me trundling off with the guinea-pigs breakfast before I offer them toast (though now, they can get their own breakfast - DC not piggies)

glenthebattleostrich · 11/02/2017 20:09

Oh your girls are gorgeous.

I find with my Silkie I need to groom him most days or his hair gets notty, I also trim around him bum otherwise his poo can get caught.

They are demanding little boys and apparently starved. They tell me that other pigs get 4 meals plus snacks each day. And as much cucumber and parsley as they want and a basil plant in their houses. I'm not sure this is true.

I can't eat salad in the living room (where their cage is). They sit and shout at me until they get the cucumber, peppers and occasional leaf. Then they tell me off for giving them funny coloured (red) food, demanding banana and blueberries as compensation.

Soon you won't be able to walk past a pet shop without popping in to buy the right shade of green hay or some other treat for them. I even buy them a treat whenever I pop to co op.

PrincessPotsie · 11/02/2017 22:06

We have had our DGPs since October and I still think that they don't like us very much! They run away and hide as soon as they hear us and don't seem to like being picked up or stroked. I know they're only young (not 1 until Aug) so I'm hoping they become more friendly with time.

glenthebattleostrich · 11/02/2017 22:45

They will princess. They do take work but when they trust you it is so worth it.

Monr0e · 12/02/2017 09:21

Where do you buy this mythical parsley everyone mentions? I haven't seen any so far. They are not keen on banana, will definitely try blueberries. And they like red grapes but not green 😐

Princess, ours will still dart away from us as well but they are so much more comfortable with us already than when we got them early January. When picked up they don't squeak or wriggle or try to get away and Tinsel will sit on my sons knee for a cuddle

OP posts:
EastMidsGPs · 12/02/2017 11:44

We don't red grapes, green are perfectly fine thoHmm
We buy bags of parsley from supermarkets - but DH also grows it for them in the spring as we get through so much.
There is a great YouTube video of a gp called Bert eating a banana to the tune of the banana boat song!
We don't like banana😞

EastMidsGPs · 12/02/2017 11:52

They will get more friendly over time. When you are near talk to them, using their names, and they'll get used to you being about.
When picking them up try not to loom over them from above - they'll think you are an eagle swooping down on them Smile
If if they wriggle about you need to handle them or it won't improve. We have resorted to wrapping piggies in an old towel or fleece to cuddle them when young - they can burrow in and sit in the dark but are getting used to you and your smells. The towel/fleece will smell of them over time and this will help.Gentle stroking calms them. They like routine.
Ours love to watch television. Sadie loves sport and watches intently with DH. Mollie prefers cookery programmes and nature.

We had one who used to love cricket and got really excited over an Ashes series, egged on by DH.

I'll bet a pound to a penny in a short while you'll be on here saying they never shut up!!

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