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Old 11-04-2012, 08:30 AM
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Default Tell me about guinea pigs

A teacher has two guinea pigs he wants to give away and asked me if I wanted them. My last experience with a rodent was in my childhood when I had one sweet and one evil hamster and my fox terrier killed the sweet one.

I know NOTHING about rodents. Like cage size, feeding requirements, would they need out of cage time, how stressed they would be in a home with 4 dogs 3 of which would love to eat them for dinner... I know I could keep them from becoming dinner, but if they need out of cage time and interaction, that gets trickier.

Gentling techniques would be nice to know if I do get them. Iím not good with rodents, apparently they find me tasty and I donít like being bitten. Iím sure its my lack of knowledge, but would be nice to not get bitten...

Oh, and how long do they live?
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:17 AM
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I'm not a giant fan. But my friend has kept them for a long time.

I haven't really met any mean ones. Sometimes one of the more out going ones would get a little nibble happy but never anything that was a bite bit and hurt or drew blood.

As for cage size I'm not sure how big of one you are getting but you'd probably want the biggest you could afford especially if you are keeping two. They're pretty large caged pets and you want enough room for them to wander around and play in.

For feeding blocks and fresh veggies are probably the way to go. You could get one of the mixes but a lot of the time they'll just pick out what they want to eat and leave the rest.

They do need some out of cage time but all of my friends were happy just being out of the cage being held and petted. So it was something she could do while watching a TV show. The ones I have met have been pretty mellow. They'll explore a little and they might run. But I mean they're pretty big so as long as you are careful not to take them somewhere they can squeeze behind something they are pretty easy to catch again.

I don't know about the stress level. She had cats but they didn't seem to mind each other. I watched one once and it didn't mind Yoshi. BUT I think the one I watched was a little... gone mentally. So I can't really answer on that one.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:28 AM
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I LOVED my Stanley! He was the greatest lil guy, and I miss him so, and his little noises. It does help though if they were raised in a situation where they were not only handled, but handled the right way, any of these types of pets raised in the wrong environment or hands can turn into evil little biters. I don't remember how old Stanley was when he passed, around 6-8 years old I guess? He was neutered when we got him, he was a B-day gift to me because one of my best friends in school had one and you know how that goes. My older brother picked out the name, I thought it was the greatest, lol. As far as care, I know I did everything wrong with him, he lived half his days in a small pen only about 5 times his size, but spend the other half out of it running around the living room (this was long before Jinjo) and we even put him out in the grass on nice days. We bathed him and trimmed his nails once a week, I'm sure that was probably a bit much. But oh, how I miss them! If I could I'd have another, heck, I even found a breed that has "usable fiber" to give me a reason to get another, LOL!
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danefied View Post
A teacher has two guinea pigs he wants to give away and asked me if I wanted them. My last experience with a rodent was in my childhood when I had one sweet and one evil hamster and my fox terrier killed the sweet one.

I know NOTHING about rodents. Like cage size, feeding requirements, would they need out of cage time, how stressed they would be in a home with 4 dogs 3 of which would love to eat them for dinner... I know I could keep them from becoming dinner, but if they need out of cage time and interaction, that gets trickier.

Gentling techniques would be nice to know if I do get them. Iím not good with rodents, apparently they find me tasty and I donít like being bitten. Iím sure its my lack of knowledge, but would be nice to not get bitten...

Oh, and how long do they live?
I LOVE Piggies. Love love love. They are the best little boogers in the entire world once they're tame and know you are their person.

I've owned four piggies in the past and my sister just rescued three more. All are so freaking cute.

I have never been bitten by a Guinea Pig. They chitter and growl when they're unhappy and typically, unless they are just REALLY antisocial, that is all they'll do. Most piggies don't like being "caught" to be held (if they aren't used to being handled/are young), but once you are holding them they're just fine.

As for cage size: The "proper" size cage for a pair of piggies is 7.5sq feet. 10.5 is best. IMO, at that size, out of cage time isn't as important as in cage enrichment. Others would argue with me, but meh. If you're in a smaller cage than that, then out of cage time becomes more important. C&C cages provides cages at the proper size, but Midwest just released their own version of a C&C cage available at Petsmart that fits the bill - and it's only $50.

Diet: a no frills pellet diet is the best, coupled with fresh veggies and timothy hay. Oxbow (Oxbrow?) makes a wonderful pellet diet, but it's a bit pricey. I haven't had bad luck with Forti-Diet, but that's considered to be the "dog chow" of the Guinea Pig world. Not as bad as some, but not great. Again, meh. They did just fine on it. The important thing is to provide plenty of hay (Timothy, Bluegrass, mixture, but NOT just alfalfa) and to make sure they get plenty of vitamin C as they can't produce their own. Most piggy pellet diets have vitamin C added, but feeding veggies helps, too.

Don't use cedar bedding, obviously. Aspen is the best, or paper based.

All of our Guinea Pigs lived in a house with dogs and cats and did just fine. I'm sure the wouldn't like to be constantly pestered, but Chloe jumping up to say hi doesn't phase them.

Taming is something you go slow with, as you would with anything you are trying to build trust with. They'll soon learn you are the one that provides the veggies and hay and they'll greet you when you walk into the room with wheeks and popcorns. Louie would actually climb up onto the side of the cage and beg. LOL Some may never like being grabbed to be held, but that's fairly normal.

They're also social, so its great that they are a pair.

Life expectancy is 4-6 years, I believe. Unless they are long haired, the only maintenance they need is to have their nails trimmed. An occasional bath wouldn't hurt, but I don't think it is very necessary (unless they are long haired and get urine stains).

Ummm....I think that's it. Any more questions and I'd be happy to answer them.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:12 PM
Laura1 Laura1 is offline
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I love guinea pigs. Never owned one though I do know that guinea pigs cannot run on rodent wheels, and should be fed a guinea pig diet which includes fruits and veggies.
Guinea pigs are indeed social animals so it is great that they will be together.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:35 PM
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Without seeing the other responses:

Guinea pigs are AWESOME. I'm not a fan of caged animals that can't be litter trained, so that's why I don't currently have any, but if you don't mind cleaning the cages, GO FOR IT.

They need a varied diet, lots of fruits and veggies, not just pellets.

They're very tamable and often love attention, affection, being held, etc.

They're big enough that they won't disappear under your furniture/in pipes/etc. if you let them run around - obviously use common sense, but it's not like a hamster or something.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by *blackrose View Post

Life expectancy is 4-6 years, I believe.
Ummm I think it's more like 8-10? I'm not sure, but I had a friend who's lived to 9, and mine lived to 6 and 8 years and died of illness not related to old age.

Also, shorthaired guinea pigs shed like you wouldn't believe. Keep a lint roller on hand. Brush them. Vacuum a lot. It's bad. Like poorly groomed/fed siberian husky blowing their coat bad.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:48 PM
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The guinea pigs are on hold. My very wise 9 year old said ***8220;I think we***8217;re good on pets for now mama.***8221; Granted, at the time she was being smushed by a great dane laying in her lap...
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
Ummm I think it's more like 8-10? I'm not sure, but I had a friend who's lived to 9, and mine lived to 6 and 8 years and died of illness not related to old age.

Also, shorthaired guinea pigs shed like you wouldn't believe. Keep a lint roller on hand. Brush them. Vacuum a lot. It's bad. Like poorly groomed/fed siberian husky blowing their coat bad.
I'm pretty sure it's like... 4-8. If you do everything right, and have some luck, it'll be the longer end.

Everything else I was gonna say got said already, haha. Diet is super important, but lots of freshstuff !
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