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Pets Whether you prefer four-legged creatures, reptiles, or any animal in between, use this forum for any questions you have about your pets or pets you would like to have.

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Guinea pigs! - December 4th 2020, 11:18 PM

Next week I should be getting guinea pigs if everything goes right I'll definitely show pictures when I get them. I ordered the supplies online but have to get the piggies after the supplies get here. Has anyone had some guinea piggies before who can share tips? I had them as a child and I definitely didn't do right by them and want to do so much better for them this time, so any tips are appreciated.

Here's what I have so far:

Housing:
I am getting two because I know that they like to have a buddy. I researched the size of the cage they need for two piggies and ordered that.
I know that they like a lot of hides, so I got them some hut type things.
I got them a little playpen for out-of-cage time.
I got a cage cleaner that Chewy had.
I got paper-based bedding.
My friend said they can be litter box trained so I got a little litter box for the cage, LOL.

Food:
I ordered food, of course haha.
I ordered hay. I hear they also like piles of it to burrow in so I'll make sure to stack some.
I know they can be low on Vitamin C sometimes so I got them some supplemental vitamin C.
When I get them, I heard they like bell peppers, so I will be buying some. I didn't want to buy those in advance because I didn't want them to rot. I will also get carrots, but I heard those should be more of a treat.
I wasn't sure if each guinea pig needed their own food and water bowl, so I got two of each.

Toys:
I got them toys for enrichment. A lot of them are chew toys because I know that they need to wear down their teeth. Some of them are little chew toys that double as balls.

Grooming:
The grooming kit I wanted was out of stock so I had them notify me when it comes back in stock. It has some little brushes in it and nail clippers. I also bought this thing that you use to stop bleeding if you cut their nails too far down. I am really nervous about clipping their nails though so please help! I will also watch videos before I ever try it.

Handling:
Obviously I want to handle my piggies, but how much should I handle them when I first get them? I don't want them to freak out. I was thinking maybe for the first few days I can pet their noses through the cage and talk to them and things like that? Or, is there something else you suggest I do? Is there anything special I can do when I handle them to make them happy?

Any other tips would be appreciated? I really want them to have a good quality of life. I know I was a kid when I last had guinea pigs but I feel very guilty about how they were treated. I've obviously learned since then. I know they are going to do a lot to help me and my moods and I definitely want them to be happy too.


   
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Re: Guinea pigs! - December 7th 2020, 01:40 PM

Yay!!! I am so happy for you!! I love piggies. I had them a lot as a kid but my last one died when I was fifteen. I had her for seven-ish years I think. It's been a while so I don't know if things have changed from what I know.

In my experience, guinea pigs like most fruit and vegetables but fruit should be more of a treat. Mine especially liked blueberries and pomegranates. I used to feed them to my last girl by hand. They like lettuce (like romaine). I think I also fed mine spinach and kale. Try to stay away from iceberg lettuce though because it doesn't have much nutritional value for them. And yeah, they love hay. Lots of it. I had a cute little holder that attached to the side of the cage for them to pull pieces out.

I used to get mine toys that take a while to play with, like the chewable sticks for hamsters and whatnot so they had some extra items for when I couldn't handle them.

Paper based bedding is good. Also the colors are fun. You can line the cage with newspaper or cardboard if you want, so there's an extra layer under the bedding. I did that all the time and it made cleaning easier.

Also: their water bottles are a pain or they used to be. There's one I had for my hamster that guinea pigs can use. I really recommend it and I'm going to see if I can find it and link it. Mine used to drip all the time and soil the bedding faster. I also recommend eventually getting some glass food bowls since they are so much easier to clean, at least for me.

If you have the space and if the weather is okay, they do like to spend time outside. I had a tiny playpen for mine and used to sit with them and let them eat some grass and clovers. I just never left them unattended because of hawks and stuff.

I'd say definitely talk to them the first few days, and maybe give them a bit of time before petting them. You can probably pet their noses through the cage before holding them. I had small fleece blankets just for my guinea pigs and used to put them on top of the blankets on my lap and they loved it.

For nail cutting it can be pretty easy depending on what color your guinea pig is. I had two as my first ones, a black one and then a fuzzy white one with red eyes. The nails are easier to clip if the piggy is a lighter color but don't be nervous! The more you do it, the easier it'll get. Also, I don't know if this has changed but I did use to bathe mine every six weeks or so when the weather was appropriate. I bathed them inside, of course, but not when the weather was cold because I didn't want them to get too cold.

I noticed each guinea pig is different but they talk, and some more than others. They squeak and squeal and it's really cute. Mine use to do it in response to any kind of plastic bag because they thought it was time to eat. Also some food for thought: be careful when purchasing females depending on where you get them from. I got a young female and she was pregnant. We didn't know until a few weeks later when there was a tiny little piggy in the cage. I of course thought that was the coolest thing but I was young then and now I know that can be an added expense.

They are going to have an awesome quality of life with you. I have no doubt about that. Also we need pictures and their names.


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Re: Guinea pigs! - December 8th 2020, 06:04 AM

How exciting! I used to have guinea pigs, but that was a very long time ago. The best advice I can give you is to do as much research as you can and maybe ask a vet to see if they can give you any advice on what more you may need but it sounds like you're well prepared!


   
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Re: Guinea pigs! - December 9th 2020, 06:32 PM

Iíve never had any guinea pigs so I canít provide any personal insight, but it seems like you've already received some good personal insights!

When researching for caring for guinea pigs, I believe that the housing, food (I think having 2 bowls each is a good idea!) and toys that you have already listed are in agreement with my research, so youíre probably on the right track!

You might want to consider getting your guinea pigs used to handling before you need to groom or cut their nails. I do remember reading somewhere that grooming can also be good for bonding and getting used to being handled.

As for handling, you might also want to consider letting them getting used to you and being handled by you as soon as you can, providing they donít show signs of stress. You might find this and this guides to looking after guinea pigs helpful. We also have an article on keeping guinea pigs too.

Hope this helps a little


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