Guinea Pig advice

D

DM03030121

Hello, I am thinking about getting a Guinea Pig. I did have guinea pigs as a kidAny answer to my questions would be very helpful.

the guinea pig would be mainly an indoor pet, but when summer comes will take them outside on grass in a run (is quite a big run)

is it ok to have just 1 guinea pig?

where is the best place to get a guinea pig from? I only know pets at home.

what is the best bedding? I was thinking about using wood shavings from wilkos as well as meadow hay. (Any others recommended and where to get them from would be great)

Food wise? I was going to buy guinea pig nuggets that are rich in minerals and vitamins as I read that musli type food, they pick n mix and tend to leave certain ones. As well as Meadow hay and then veg like broccoli, cabbage and carrot that sort of thing. Would that be ok? Water would always be there.

would a little house or tunnels be ok?

would the cardboard toilet rolls be ok to play with? Would cut the cardboard so they could get stuck.

would wooden toys/chews be fun for them?

Would a hammock be ok?

thank you for your answers
 

Siikibam

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Well done on researching before jumping in.

Guinea pigs are highly social so need companionship of their own kind. Boars can only live in pairs. Sows can live in large groups as long as they all like each other. And you can only have one (neutered) boar with any sow(s).

Boars need minimum 150x60cm (12sq feet) while a pair of sows or a sow/boar pair need minimum 120x60cm housing.

If you’re planning to put them out in the summer, you have to be around to keep an eye on them. Prey animals etc. Also beware of the temperature. If it’s too hot they can’t be out and if it’s too cold for you in short sleeved and no socks then they can’t be out either.

Food wise yes pellets are better than muesli. They’re the least important part of the diet with them needing only a tablespoon each a day. Staple veg is cucumber, coriander, bell pepper. Cabbage and broccoli can cause bloating if fed too much. Carrots and fruits should only be fed Max once a week as a treat. They’re not really necessary in their diet.

Bedding depends on your preference and what works for you.

The best place to get piggies is at a rescue. They’ll be guaranteed to be well bonded and in good health.

Piggies don’t really do toys. A carrot cottage or box stuffed with hay is enough for entertainment. Hides depend on what you like. A cardboard tube, wooden hide, fleece, hammock are all options. Have a read of the guides below for more information. They have all the info you need as it’s too much to summarise here
New Owners' Most Helpful How-To Guides and Information
 
D

DM03030121

Well done on researching before jumping in.

Guinea pigs are highly social so need companionship of their own kind. Boars can only live in pairs. Sows can live in large groups as long as they all like each other. And you can only have one (neutered) boar with any sow(s).

Boars need minimum 150x60cm (12sq feet) while a pair of sows or a sow/boar pair need minimum 120x60cm housing.

If you’re planning to put them out in the summer, you have to be around to keep an eye on them. Prey animals etc. Also beware of the temperature. If it’s too hot they can’t be out and if it’s too cold for you in short sleeved and no socks then they can’t be out either.

Food wise yes pellets are better than muesli. They’re the least important part of the diet with them needing only a tablespoon each a day. Staple veg is cucumber, coriander, bell pepper. Cabbage and broccoli can cause bloating if fed too much. Carrots and fruits should only be fed Max once a week as a treat. They’re not really necessary in their diet.

Bedding depends on your preference and what works for you.

The best place to get piggies is at a rescue. They’ll be guaranteed to be well bonded and in good health.

Piggies don’t really do toys. A carrot cottage or box stuffed with hay is enough for entertainment. Hides depend on what you like. A cardboard tube, wooden hide, fleece, hammock are all options. Have a read of the guides below for more information. They have all the info you need as it’s too much to summarise here
New Owners' Most Helpful How-To Guides and Information
thank you. the run is about 8ft by 6ft if not bigger, all sealed and then has a pegged down blanket over for shade, would be outside with them also.

The sizes you have said, is the size of indoor cage i was looking to get. I thought about getting a 2 tiered cage but I decided against it as the “stairs” looked too steep and were placed in the middle.

From what I read, I would only give them carrot once a week. I did not realise about cucumber and normally have that in.

I would probably use woodshavings as I have used them before. Would newspaper need to be put underneath? Or something underneath the woodshaving?

I do not think there is a rescue near me.
 
D

DM03030121

Well done on researching before jumping in.

Guinea pigs are highly social so need companionship of their own kind. Boars can only live in pairs. Sows can live in large groups as long as they all like each other. And you can only have one (neutered) boar with any sow(s).

Boars need minimum 150x60cm (12sq feet) while a pair of sows or a sow/boar pair need minimum 120x60cm housing.

If you’re planning to put them out in the summer, you have to be around to keep an eye on them. Prey animals etc. Also beware of the temperature. If it’s too hot they can’t be out and if it’s too cold for you in short sleeved and no socks then they can’t be out either.

Food wise yes pellets are better than muesli. They’re the least important part of the diet with them needing only a tablespoon each a day. Staple veg is cucumber, coriander, bell pepper. Cabbage and broccoli can cause bloating if fed too much. Carrots and fruits should only be fed Max once a week as a treat. They’re not really necessary in their diet.

Bedding depends on your preference and what works for you.

The best place to get piggies is at a rescue. They’ll be guaranteed to be well bonded and in good health.

Piggies don’t really do toys. A carrot cottage or box stuffed with hay is enough for entertainment. Hides depend on what you like. A cardboard tube, wooden hide, fleece, hammock are all options. Have a read of the guides below for more information. They have all the info you need as it’s too much to summarise here
New Owners' Most Helpful How-To Guides and Information
would probably use woodshavings as I have used them before. Would newspaper need to be put underneath? Or something underneath the woodshaving? May mix it up a bit of it is a good idea with some (just called) bedding from wilkos, hay and woodshavings. Then if you say it is ok, i would put newspaper underneath that.

I do not think there is a rescue near me. Would places like gumtree or something like be a good idea? Or would pets at home be ok?

Is there any difference between getting 2 males or 2 female gp? Like temperament or affectionate wise. Or does it depend on the actual guinea pig?
 

Siikibam

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Temperament depends on the individual. What you have to be aware of is that they may not like being held or picked up etc. My piggies chose me rather than the other way round. When you come to choosing, the rescue can help with those that would be suited to your home environment

Have a look on the rescue locator. Don’t discount them because they’re further away. If you decide to go down the pet shop route then you need to have a plan b in case you get boars and they don’t get on. Or you end up with a missexed pair. Or you end up with a pregnant sow(s). Or they come with illnesses. On that note, it’s important to start a vet fund now as well. Guinea pigs aren’t cheap. They can go downhill very fast so you need to be able to get them to a vet soon as

With regards housing, it’s better to get that once you’re on the waiting list and in touch with a rescue and adopting. Some have requirements of their own. Also note that second floors don’t count. Guinea pigs are ground roaming and so need their space requirements met on one floor.

You could put newspaper under the shavings, it’s up to you really.

Another thing you haven’t mentioned is hay...and more hay. Hay makes up 80% of their diet and should be available round the clock. You will have to take out wet hay and replenish a couple of times throughout the day. It’s what keeps their teeth worn down.

Another important thing is lifelong health monitoring. They need to be weighed weekly at the same time. Weight loss is generally down to not eating enough hay = something else going on. Hence needing a good vet as well.

Vet Locator
Vet Locator
 

Piggies&buns

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:wel:

Just to echo that getting them from a rescue centre is best, even if you have to travel a little further afield. You can be sure that they are properly bonded, healthy and aren't pregnant.
If you really cant get to a rescue centre, then a pet shop would be the next best thing - there is a risk of bond issues, pregnancy and illness but its not always going to be the case that it definitely happens. If there are issues then you do have some consumer rights at least. If you do take on pet shop piggies, then ensure you check their sexes yourself before you purchase. As pet shop piggies are generally just put together for sale with little regard for character compatibility (which is vital for them to have a successful bond), you can boost your chances of it being a successful bond by picking two piggies who are choosing to be together in their enclosure - while it isn't a total guarantee (the teens hit and hormones can cause problems) if the Piggies are choosing to be together, then its because they like each other. Always have a plan b though.
I would steer clear of selling websites - rehoming piggies from such sites can be rather risky, sellers can be economical with the truth and you could find yourself in an expensive situation.

Whether you have boars or sows is your choice.
I personally love boars. They are more territorial and need more space (as Siikibam has said a cage of 180x60cm is recommended, 150x60 is the minimum size for boars but from my experience keeping boars, it was a little on the small side. My two were upgraded into a much bigger space within weeks) but they are such funny little characters and they tend to mellow with age.
Their sex has nothing to do with their affection though - its very individual. As prey animals, most Guinea Pigs dont like being handled. Some can come to enjoy it in time, but its absolutely not a given. Its a misconception that they are cuddly creatures, most of them just aren't. My boys have been with me for three years - it took a year and a half for one of them to stop running away from me. Even now, three years down the line, both hate being handled so my interaction with them (aside from the health checks) is sitting with them in their shed but not touching them. They'll come and take food from me, but that is it.

Enrichment wise - mine have two exit hides (essential that they have two exits - single exit hides can mean a piggy can get cornered inside it by the other), tunnels, cardboard boxes but their favourite thing is huge piles of hay! Its the main part of their diet, but also lots of fun for them to hide in, run through, sleep in!
 
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D

DM03030121

Temperament depends on the individual. What you have to be aware of is that they may not like being held or picked up etc. My piggies chose me rather than the other way round. When you come to choosing, the rescue can help with those that would be suited to your home environment

Have a look on the rescue locator. Don’t discount them because they’re further away. If you decide to go down the pet shop route then you need to have a plan b in case you get boars and they don’t get on. Or you end up with a missexed pair. Or you end up with a pregnant sow(s). Or they come with illnesses. On that note, it’s important to start a vet fund now as well. Guinea pigs aren’t cheap. They can go downhill very fast so you need to be able to get them to a vet soon as

With regards housing, it’s better to get that once you’re on the waiting list and in touch with a rescue and adopting. Some have requirements of their own. Also note that second floors don’t count. Guinea pigs are ground roaming and so need their space requirements met on one floor.

You could put newspaper under the shavings, it’s up to you really.

Another thing you haven’t mentioned is hay...and more hay. Hay makes up 80% of their diet and should be available round the clock. You will have to take out wet hay and replenish a couple of times throughout the day. It’s what keeps their teeth worn down.

Another important thing is lifelong health monitoring. They need to be weighed weekly at the same time. Weight loss is generally down to not eating enough hay = something else going on. Hence needing a good vet as well.

Vet Locator
Vet Locator
Thank you for getting back to me, I appreciate it.

do you know where i could get a good indoor cage from? I am in the UK
 
D

DM03030121

:wel:

Just to echo that getting them from a rescue centre is best, even if you have to travel a little further afield. You can be sure that they are properly bonded, healthy and aren't pregnant.
If you really cant get to a rescue centre, then a pet shop would be the next best thing - there is a risk of bond issues, pregnancy and illness but its not always going to be the case that it definitely happens. If there are issues then you do have some consumer rights at least. If you do take on pet shop piggies, then ensure you check their sexes yourself before you purchase. As pet shop piggies are generally just put together for sale with little regard for character compatibility (which is vital for them to have a successful bond), you can boost your chances of it being a successful bond by picking two piggies who are choosing to be together in their enclosure - while it isn't a total guarantee (the teens hit and hormones can cause problems) if the Piggies are choosing to be together, then its because they like each other. Always have a plan b though.
I would steer clear of selling websites - rehoming piggies from such sites can be rather risky, sellers can be economical with the truth and you could find yourself in an expensive situation.

Whether you have boars or sows is your choice.
I personally love boars. They are more territorial and need more space (as Siikibam has said a cage of 180x60cm is recommended, 150x60 is the minimum size for boars but from my experience keeping boars, it was a little on the small side. My two were upgraded into a much bigger space within weeks) but they are such funny little characters and they tend to mellow with age.
Their sex has nothing to do with their affection though - its very individual. As prey animals, most Guinea Pigs dont like being handled. Some can come to enjoy it in time, but its absolutely not a given. Its a misconception that they are cuddly creatures, most of them just aren't. My boys have been with me for three years - it took a year and a half for one of them to stop running away from me. Even now, three years down the line, both hate being handled so my interaction with them (aside from the health checks) is sitting with them in their shed but not touching them. They'll come and take food from me, but that is it.

Enrichment wise - mine have two exit hides (essential that they have two exits - single exit hides can mean a piggy can get cornered inside it by the other), tunnels, cardboard boxes but their favourite thing is huge piles of hay! Its the main part of their diet, but also lots of fun for them to hide in, run through, sleep in!
Thank you for getting back to me. Do you know where i could get a good indoor cage from? I am in the Uk
 

Siikibam

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There is the ferplast plaza on zooplus or you could get grids for a c&c cage. The grids must have 9 holes though. For those, check Amazon, eBay or Grendle Enterprises
 

Siikibam

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As mentioned previously, wait to buy cages until you’ve been in touch with a rescue and know their requirements. It won’t help to buy a cage only for them to tell you it’s not suitable. We look forward to seeing them if you do decide to get them.
 
D

DM03030121

As mentioned previously, wait to buy cages until you’ve been in touch with a rescue and know their requirements. It won’t help to buy a cage only for them to tell you it’s not suitable. We look forward to seeing them if you do decide to get them.
Yeah, I havent brought it, just booked marked it.
I have looked for rescue places near me but can not find any that I can travel to so far.
 

Tigermoth

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Thank you. I was eyeing up one on zooplus. I have it booked marked

i will definitely think about getting a pair of guinea pigs or not.
Welcome! Have you found the new owner guides yet? If not then I suggest you head there and start reading, everything you thought you needed to know (and a whole heap you didn’t) is found there.

If you don’t feel you can commit to a pair then May I politely suggest GPS aren’t the pet for you? They are animals that need company to thrive and a human just can’t meet their needs like a piggy companion. There are other pets that need to be on their own that may be more suitable for your circumstances if you can only get one of something.

I would also read the first half a dozen threads in the pregnancy forum. Almost all threads in that forum are surprise pregnancies described by new members who come here for help at discovering their pet shop or breeder purchase came with extras they weren’t bargaining for! That might also focus your mind on travelling to a rescue. My nearest rescue was about an hour away. Pets at home is about 5 minutes. I’m soooooo glad I did as you have done and came here before buying (although I was looking at a breeder in the mistaken belief that was better...)

Good luck!
 
D

DM03030121

Welcome! Have you found the new owner guides yet? If not then I suggest you head there and start reading, everything you thought you needed to know (and a whole heap you didn’t) is found there.

If you don’t feel you can commit to a pair then May I politely suggest GPS aren’t the pet for you? They are animals that need company to thrive and a human just can’t meet their needs like a piggy companion. There are other pets that need to be on their own that may be more suitable for your circumstances if you can only get one of something.

I would also read the first half a dozen threads in the pregnancy forum. Almost all threads in that forum are surprise pregnancies described by new members who come here for help at discovering their pet shop or breeder purchase came with extras they weren’t bargaining for! That might also focus your mind on travelling to a rescue. My nearest rescue was about an hour away. Pets at home is about 5 minutes. I’m soooooo glad I did as you have done and came here before buying (although I was looking at a breeder in the mistaken belief that was better...)

Good luck!
I can offer them what everyone has said, just been put off by pet shops, there isnt a rescue centre near me, I can not find one anyway and I am limited to where I can travel due to not being able to drive.
 

Jemima

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Ferplast Plaza 160 seems to be one of the best cage out there. Plenty of space for the piggies and I know some of the members here have that cage.

Ferplast Plaza 160 Small Pet Cage
Ooo this looks really affordable! I am currently looking at enclosure options with lids, as I have a cat. Do you think it is definitely spacious enough? What about for three piggies? Not meaning to hijack your post, OP!
 

Piggies&buns

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Ooo this looks really affordable! I am currently looking at enclosure options with lids, as I have a cat. Do you think it is definitely spacious enough? What about for three piggies? Not meaning to hijack your post, OP!
It’s a lovely cage. I have it as my spare cage/emergency for my two boars. Theyve just been indoors while the weather has been cold and they’ve been ok in it, but for any longer than a few days stay indoors, I set up their c&c cage which is much bigger.
For two boars it’s ok, but could be little tight for a permanent home (particularly if you’ve got young hormonal piggies). The minimum for two boars is 150x60cm so it Is just above that, but 180x 60cm is better. It really does make all the difference to give a boar pair above the minimum.

It’s a lovely cage for two sows and meets the recommended size.
So a 120x60cm is the minimum for two sows. For every additional piggy you have you then add a further 30x60cm. So in terms of meeting minimum sizes, it does that if you were to have three.
However, every cm counts and giving them bigger than minimum should be the priority. We recommend 150x60cm for two sows, and then 180x60cm for three sows. Having this cage myself and seeing the space, once hideys are added, i would not keep three in it.

(You can joint the ferplast 160 and 140 plazas together to make a really lovely cage (in a straight line or even L shaped))

To add, You can put lids on c&c cages to make them more cat secure.
For two sows you need a 2x4 c&c. This measures 150x77cm. Then for every additional sow you add another 1x2 grids, so for three piggies you need a 2x5 c&c cage (180x77cm)
For two boars you need a 2x5 c&c. This measures 180x77cm.

Cage Size Guide
 
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Jemima

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It’s a lovely cage. I have it as my spare cage/emergency for my two boars. Theyve just been indoors while the weather has been cold and they’ve been ok in it, but for any longer than a few days stay indoors, I set up their c&c cage which is much bigger.
For two boars it’s ok, but could be little tight for a permanent home (particularly if you’ve got young hormonal piggies). The minimum for two boars is 150x60cm so it Is just above that, but 180x 60cm is better. It really does make all the difference to give a boar pair above the minimum.

It’s a lovely cage for two sows and meets the recommended size.
So a 120x60cm is the minimum for two sows. For every additional piggy you have you then add a further 30x60cm. So in terms of meeting minimum sizes, it does that if you were to have three.
However, every cm counts and giving them bigger than minimum should be the priority. We recommend 150x60cm for two sows, and then 180x60cm for three sows. Having this cage myself and seeing the space, once hideys are added, i would not keep three in it.

(You can joint the ferplast 160 and 140 plazas together to make a really lovely cage (in a straight line or even L shaped))

To add, You can put lids on c&c cages to make them more cat secure.
For two sows you need a 2x4 c&c. This measures 150x77cm. Then for every additional sow you add another 1x2 grids, so for three piggies you need a 2x5 c&c cage (180x77cm)
For two boars you need a 2x5 c&c. This measures 180x77cm.

Cage Size Guide
Lovely - thank you for the info. Having looked at photos, I wasn't sure it was spacious enough. We intend to get three, maybe a boar and 2 sows, but I am not sure yet! We could also get just two. They would live inside in the winter, with floor time, then outside (maybe) in the summer, but if not, then they would definitely go out in the run at the very least, with shade, etc.

I think I will start another thread on whether to get a two story (to save on space) or not!
 
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