Introduction and questions before we begin our guinea pig adventure

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We have been wanting a guinea pig for months, but were waiting for the right time. We’ve finally decided to go ahead and will hopefully get everything we need on Monday. We really want to do this right, and have some questions for all you experts.

We have 4 daughters (9, 6, 3, 2). Things can get a little noisy sometimes and we’re wondering how a little piggy will handle the noise. Is it better to tuck him/her away in a quiet room or to have them in a more common area and like a part of the family? One option in our house is to put the cage downstairs outside of my husband’s office (he’s in and out of there many times a day) and it’s on the way to the laundry room and playroom, so would get lots of traffic. But it’s a bit cooler in the basement, and also the TV is down there with surround sound. Would the slightly cooler temperature and/or the bass sound from the speakers bother the little guy, do you think? I don’t want to put it in a bedroom just in case there are mild allergies which would be manageable if it weren't in a bedroom.

I’ve read on this site that many feel that a pair are better than a single. We would consider a pair, but that brings up more questions. What if we get 2 and they don’t get along? What if we accidentally get a boy and girl and end up with babies?

If we can’t find what we’re looking for at a rescue and end up going to a pet store, what age is best? I called one shop and they have anywhere from 2 weeks old to 3 months. They said at 2 weeks old they may not be able to tell the gender, but at 3 months they could. What age is better for relocating and getting settled? And how can we tell which piggies are going to be friendly and comfortable being held and not too shy? At what age will this be more apparent?

Also, I’ve found some cages online for better prices than buying new. Is it okay to get a used cage? Should we do anything to it before using it?

See, I told you we had a lot of questions. :) I’ll recap them here:
Location: quiet vs. noisy and cooler temp okay?
Age: optimal age to adopt? (to relocate and also to tell its personality and tell gender)
Selecting: how to choose the best piggie for our family?
Used cage okay?

Thanks for any input you can give us. We’re VERY excited and can’t wait to get our new pet/pets but need some guidance to make this the best experience for him/her and us.

Heather and family
 
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hi there!
I'm brand new to guinea pigs too and so I'm learning all the time. I cant answer all your questions, but i can offer what i have done.
I have a nearly 2 year old and a 4 month old and have put the piggies (we have 2 girls - sisters) in the kitchen, so they can be seen easily from the stairgate on the door but the sides arent smacked my my older child on a regular basis (he is supervised when he sits with the guinea pigs).
As I'm in and out of the kitchen all day they do hear a lot of noise, but are also quite involved being in such a used area - i think this helps.

I think all guinea pigs are nervous and it takes time for them to get used to being handled and stroked, My girls were about 9 weeks when i got them, as they were siblings they get along fine. They are now much happier to be stroked and handled as i spend time doing that every evening with them. They still jump and run at loud noises but are getting better (ive had them just over 3 weeks now).

they are in a temp home at the mo but going into a much larger home soon (see thread "piggy topia is coming on" ).

You sound like a very responsible owner and I'm sure you will make the right decision as to how to take care of a piggy - and this is a pro-rescue forum so try your local rescues first - they often have piggies of all ages that are all ready in pairs for you to choose.

good luck! x
 

flintstones

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Hi Heather,

Glad too see you are asking questions, firstly I would advise strongly against going to a pet shop often the pigs, are mis-sexed, pregnant or ill. Believe me its not the best way too start off piggy ownership. Were are you and we can point you in the direction of a good rescue, were piggies are sexed correctly, quarantined and health checked before going to there new homes to ensure you are getting a healthy pet. They also provide ongoing support.

As for piggies, they are herd animals and very sociable it is important they have interaction of there own kind. I would never get one pig, or advise it they need a friend. With any animal, there is always a chance of fallout, thats why older bonded pigs are much better as the chance of them falling out are less likely, I would say a year plus, or a boy/girl pairing are the best ofcourse the boys must be neutered, some rescues may have boy/girl pairings.

As for cages, pet shop cages are expensive and often 2 small, the minimum cage size for 2 pigs is 7.5 square foot which is 30"x50".

Please don't think Guinea Pigs are easy pets they aren't and when they are show illness they are generally very ill and need the vet NOW as they can pass very quickly which can amount too some hefty vet charges. Also it is important too research your vet, as most vets aren't very experienced with Guinea Pigs but ofcourse this forum will put you in the right direction.

I have C&C cages, which are much cheaper and alot bigger than your average pet shop cage. I made mine myself, as have many others.

038-3.jpg


The above cage houses 2 pairs Boy/Girl pairing on each floor. You would only need one floor for two pigs but that is the recommended size for 2 pigs.

I think the pigs would do well outside your husbands office and ofcourse they can sit on your lap and watch Tv too.

Your doing the right thing by asking Questions. They are fabulous pets but they are hardwork and very rewarding. Please also remember as they are prey animals, they take along time too come round too humans but when they do its lovely.

Welcome too the forum! xx>>>
 
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Lady Kelly

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Ok I knew nothing about piggies when I got my girls a few weeks back but they are so rewarding. I got two and they had been living together at the rescue for nearly 5 months so were used to each other. On top of that one is now approx 2 years 1 month and the other approx 7 months so a nice age gap. They were scared at first and we have them in the living room with us but then its just me and my fella and no children at present.

We get them out for regular cuddles and have a run that gets set up inside at the weekends for them to have more space and a change of scenery. The run is put right in front of the TV and next to the settee where we are and in the past couple of weeks they have come on in leaps and bounds with getting used to us and now don't run away so easily.

I would recommend a rescue as they will have piggies of all ages and many of them will be living together already (properly sexed) etc so there will be less chance of getting them home to find out they don't get on. Expect some arguing as they establish who is going to be the dominant piggy and some squeals of protest from the underpiggy this is normal as long as there is no full on fighting/blood drawn.

I've read that if you get two males of the same age then they are more likely to fall out when they both hit puberty at the same age
 

Alicia

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If you are worried about guinea-pigs not getting along, I'd recommend getting female guinea-pigs. Although there is still a chance they could not get along, boars are harder to pair up. I've had guinea-pigs for 10 years and never had a problem with females not getting along. But, if you go to a rescue, there may already be a bonded pair of males you could get if that's what you'd like. I'd also recommend a C&C cage, you can make them to any size you'd like and they are often a little cheaper than pet shop cages.
I would also suggest you don't go to a pet shop to get your guinea-pigs, I have gone to a pet shop for guinea-pigs before and one of them was a boy (I was told it was a girl) and I had 4 litters of babies born here. I bought another girl who was pregnant (I didn't realize she was pregnant until I opened the hutch door one morning and two little babies were staring back at me :)) ) and I bought another guinea-pig from a pet shop and she died recently aged just 1 (and I think bad breeding could have been part of it)
Sorry, I don't mean to put you off, I just wanted to let you know that there are lots of better places to get guinea-pigs from then pet shops.

To get your guinea-pigs used to you, it is better to keep them in a place in your house where people go regularly, so they'll get used to people being around and so they will become tamer, but if possible try not to put them in a place where its too noisy, as they can get scared easily. I think that you could get any age guinea-pig really. If you get two boars though it might be difficult to keep them together when they have their 'teenage years' they can often fall out at this age, but if you go to a rescue or just look on this forum people can help you with that.
Good Luck with your new piggies! :)
 

piggyme234

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Welcome to the forum. Glad to see you are doing your research. Like the others I would suggest going to a rescue to find your new piggies. Whereabouts are you? We can suggest rescues near you.

A used cage is ok as long as you clean it well, it should be atleast 4x2ft or 120x60cm. Bigger is better. Many people keep their piggies in the living room or other well used areas of the house. It is nice for the piggies to be in with the family not just tucked away in a corner, as long as it's not too loud. In order to find the piggies that are most suitable for your family you should all go to the rescue and decide on which ones you feel are best for all of you.

I love my girls to bits but I have had some wonderful boars in the past. There are so many boars in rescues but lots of people want girls. A pair of adult boars that have been together for a long while might be perfect for you. They wouldn't be as skittish as babies and they would already have got over the teenage years. The thing with boars is that they would be best off in a slightly bigger cage than sows. Hope you find your perfect pigs :)
 
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Dont do a petshop buy. Again another pregnant piggie and and extra 2 faces staring back up at me a few weeks back.
As for noise. I have 3 very noisy boys, and my piggies dont take a blind bit of notice. Its just part and parcel of my household. When its time to go out in the hutch I think they will relish the peace and quiet.lol
 

summerleaze

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I would strongly suggest you double check none of your children have any allergies either to the pet hair or to the hay. One of the most common reasons that guinea pigs are surrendered to rescues is child allergies.

With the age of your children I would also advise against getting young piggies. Baby guinea pigs are extremely fast and very quick to slip out of young hands.

Adult piggies that have had some handling from a rescue would perhaps be a better option.:)
 

Doeylicious

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I would strongly suggest you double check none of your children have any allergies either to the pet hair or to the hay. One of the most common reasons that guinea pigs are surrendered to rescues is child allergies.

With the age of your children I would also advise against getting young piggies. Baby guinea pigs are extremely fast and very quick to slip out of young hands.

Adult piggies that have had some handling from a rescue would perhaps be a better option.:)

I agree with this.

Also any pet shop that has guineas only two weeks old should not only be avoided but reported to the relevant authorities IMO...they should not be rehomed until at least 6 weeks...

Re the best piggy, I have ALWAYS ignored my head and followed my heart :red rolleyes every guinea I have I have gotten pretty much by chance/being in the right place at the right time, even to Honey who was pregnant when I got her and I didn't know...but had I not been on Gumtree reporting a dodgy advertiser, and not seen her ad which was just 5 mins from here, and the lady saying 'come and see her now if you like!' and her being at home that evening...fate's a funny thing!

I have all mine in hutches, they are in our conservatory over winter tho as it's a bit too chilly to be right outside. I am personally not a fan of used hutches as you have no idea why they are not needed, and ringworm or fungal can literally incubate in wood for over a year and be passed on to the new occupants. You can pick up a perfectly good hutch for 2 pigs for around £50 if you shop around, or as Flintstones suggested C&C cages are good for indoor pigs.

My only concern re the surround sound is piggies have a different frequency range to their hearing to us, and sometimes tv's etc emit high pitched sounds we don't hear but could hurt their little ears.
 

Dindypig

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Hello and welcome, looks like you're getting plenty of good advice from some very competent people here.
 

Jacs

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I know alot of people always recommend rescue centres for piggies but can I just add I have had a few piggies from petshops and all of which have been healthy and gone on to perfectly happy piggies so just to rule out petshops for new piggie owners I think is a bit unfair as not all petshops sell unhealthy or wrong sexed animals.

I do think rescue piggies all deserve loving homes and probably a good place to start but I just think it is unfair to tie all petshops together as being bad places to get animals as there not all like that. Thats just my opinion.
 
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I am only a pretty new piggie owner - but I have to echo the warning about pet shop piggies - as I bought two piggies, and 6 weeks later - lo and behold - I have 4 piggies! I don't think it is a simple black and white case of 'don't buy from a petshop' - but if you do, be aware that they may be pregnant and make sure you know what you would do if this was the case :)

Also - I have a lot of animals (parrot, cat, tortoise, fish - and rats until last year)and I have to say that the piggies take up more of my time than any of the others. They just seem to need a lot of cleaning out, and a lot of attention to get and keep them tame. Maybe thats just my experience...

Best of luck with your decision! The piggies take up a lot of my free time - but they are SOOO rewarding :) worth every second!

x
 

flintstones

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I know alot of people always recommend rescue centres for piggies but can I just add I have had a few piggies from petshops and all of which have been healthy and gone on to perfectly happy piggies so just to rule out petshops for new piggie owners I think is a bit unfair as not all petshops sell unhealthy or wrong sexed animals.

I do think rescue piggies all deserve loving homes and probably a good place to start but I just think it is unfair to tie all petshops together as being bad places to get animals as there not all like that. Thats just my opinion.

I'm sorry but please think about were the pigs have came from they are bred for profit. Most of these pigs are also bred in substandard conditions (ie farms). These animals are not Quarantined, health checked or given any ongoing support. The most you will get from a pet shop is an offer too take the animal back or pay for vet fee's when the animal is sold ill.

I for one being a new owner once would much rather know my pet was healthy and that I will receive ongoing advise from the rescue, which I do when I need it. Thats not too say rescues won't give advise most rescues "rescue" Purely for the love of the animal and will be happy too advise anyone but I would much rather support people that care.

By going to a Pet Shop you are merely funding a company that chooses money over a life. They do not care were the animal is going and it will merely be replaced by another. How can you support such a business?
 

summerleaze

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By adopting from a "reputable rescue" you are able to reassure yourself of the conditions that the animals are being kept in and possibly a little of their history.

Buying even a healthy piggy from a petshop does not allow you to see the living conditions in which the breeding sows producing the babies are being kept in.

Baby guinea pigs are not brought to the shop by a stork, they are often bred from

*sows who are kept in appalling condition,
*sows who are bred back to back,
* guinea pigs who are culled when too elderly/barren/sick
* sows who are kept confined and used only to make money

If you buy from a petshop without knowing how these piggies were bred then you are saying that this type of breeding is acceptable. It's an individuals choice of course but please consider the wider picture.

Be part of the solution - not part of the problem :)
 
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Update

Thank you all very much for your responses! We were in contact with a rescue near here, but when she tried to put the 2 girls together that we chose off the website, they didn't get along. Meanwhile we found an ad online for a pair of girls in a home where they also just had a litter of puppies and didn't have time to care for the guinea pigs properly. The pictures looked adorable, and the girls obviously love each other. There were several pictures of them cuddling. They came with the cage and some food.
We also bought all the stuff to make a big C&C cage, and have that half built. But at least they have their original cage (too small!) until we get it done tomorrow. My daughters have spent the evening holding and cuddling and picking names (Fawn and Tickles). We are going to have a lot of fun with these girls. This means my husband is now outnumbered by females 7:1. :)

Thanks again for your help,
Heather
 
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I love the name Tickles! Pigtures please? x)x)

Hope you have hours of love from them. Piggies are the best!
 
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