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Old 02-20-2013, 09:13 AM   #1
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Talk to me about guinea pigs!

We are moving this summer and will hopefully have enough space to get a pet. I'm thinking a pair of guinea pigs would be a great match for our family. My boys will be 9, 7, 4.5, and 2 in the fall when we'd be settled in and ready for animals. (Yes, I'm thinking several months out, but I need to start setting money aside so my husband doesn't have a heart attack at the initial costs of the cage setup and animals.)
I'd love input from experienced piggie parents! I've had lots of small pets growing up but my guinea pig experience is limited to keeping a class piggie over spring break when I was 14.
-Am I right in thinking guineas would be a good choice for a first pet given my kids' ages and little-boy-ness? They would of course be supervised, but my kids do have plenty of experience with grandparents' pets and are pretty good about being gentle.
-What monthly or yearly food/vet expenses should I expect?
-I'm looking at C & C cages, something along these lines http://www.guineapigcagesstore.com/c...uxe-wide-jumbo. Thoughts? I know it's pricey but I want them to have plenty of space, and the loft would give them a nice area to hide under if my kids are bugging them. Is this too much though? Should I skip the loft and save the $75?
-Anything else I should be taking into consideration?

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Old 02-20-2013, 09:24 AM   #2
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I took care of two once for quite a while and swore I wouldn't do it again. *dodges flying tomatoes* they STINK even when you're vigilant about clean up. And I honestly think my dogs are easier to take care of and "hardier' than a guinea pig would be. Probably not what you want to hear but that's my experience anyway.

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:17 AM   #3
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

They do stink. But not too bad if kept clean. Its been a few years since ours died so i don't remember the cost but they are fairly inexpensive. Ours never went to the vet so I don't know about that cost. But the bedding generally costs more then the food, especially since you can give them lettuce, carrot greens and such. We use to give ours pellets, hay and a leaf of romaine lettuce. I don't really think they are that difficult. you have to clean the cage, clip the nails, make sure they have stuff to chew for their dental health, they need vitamin drops because they are prone to ?? i think its scurvy. We did not cuddle with ours and we had her before we had kids though. We actually took her as a rescue and she was already an adult and not very social. She did not really like to be held very much. She also did not like going in her ball around the house. She preferred being in her cage. The biggest problem we had with her was we could never find a water bottle that didn't leak. Her and my newf had a little run in that ended up with me getting a tetanus shot but that was because of a curious newf puppy. She was sniffing the cage while I was opening it. the pig did something I am not even sure what- she didn't bite or anything, whatever it was scared the mess out of my newf. She got the hook for the cage door stuck in her nose and went a little crazy. Animals perfectly fine and calm within 30 mins, while i had a nice slice on my hand and had to get a tetanus shot.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:30 AM   #4
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

We had one when I was young, it was sweet enough. Here's a good resource for pet requirements- http://www.cavyspirit.com/care.htm
They are considered an exotic animal so you'll also want to make sure you have an exotic vet who deals with them
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:35 AM   #5
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

We have had 3 for almost 2 years. They STINK no matter how much you clean and I don't care what anyone says. The female we have smells worse than both males together. No idea why. Allergies are a real concern because of them needing to eat Timothy Hay and the pine/cedar bedding. We actually use fleece bedding and wash about every 3 days to keep odor down. It is also MUCH cheaper using fleece. Otherwise you are spending a fortune on bedding. They eat ALOT. By that I mean non stop all day.

You should look for a vet upfront. We did not and discovered the nearest vet that will treat our cute lil piggies is 3 hours away. Thankfully they don't really need treatment unless acting sick. The vet told us there are no vaccines required, they really don't get worms unless they are subjected to something with worms such as another pet, fleas, etc... The only real time to take them in is if sick and for yearly check up and labs. We only had sick pig happen once and because the vet was so far away the piggie died before we made it 1/2 way into the drive. He was a new piggie that we apparently bought sick. That is another thing, if buying piggies from different places QUARANTINE them for 3 weeks so if one is sick it does not infect the other. The vet we saw is considered exotic so the prices are about double that of a vet visit for dog or cat.

They like to have friends but my experience is that it is very hard to take full grown and introduce to new piggies. Even placing them in bath together so their scent is gone they still try to rip each other apart. If you get piggies from different people get young ones so hopefully one will give in and one will be dominant.

Try not to mix sexes unless you plan on getting one fixed. The vet said he does not really recommend fixing because they are very sensitive and die easily with ANY surgery.

As far as the caging goes. That looks like a great cage to me. You can do it cheaper though simply by going to Walmart or Target and purchasing some of those storage cubes that snap together and then to a local sign shop and purchasing a sheet of coroplast. You can look up c&c cages on youtube and see a bunch of cute homemade cages.

They also don't mind peeing and pooping on you. The older ones seem to be better and not doing that but the ones we have when they were under a year did it ALL THE TIME. We would hold them on a hand towel for our protection.

My kids are 12, 11, and 7. They do wonderfully and the piggies love them all. Cleaning the cage is the hardest part. Making sure they have constant food and water (they drink a ton also) in their cage means several checks per day as well. We have a group effort of everyone in the home checking on piggies.

As far as the loft in your cage. Some say no to lofts because piggies don't climb and they can injure their little legs if falling off and others say piggies love it. Personally, my piggies are very sociable and prefer to be with the family. We never did a loft, but we did place the plastic houses that they can hide in or eat. When they want to be left alone they utilize those and I don't have the fear of piggies injury from them falling off a platform/loft.

Sorry for the book. Hope I have answered some of your questions. Please let me know if you have more I might can help you with.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:38 AM   #6
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

I know it sounds weird, but I've heard that rats are way friendlier and better pets than guinea pigs.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:53 AM   #7
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

I agree that rats are great friendly pets. Any rodent is goign to stink if the cage isn't cleaned every couple days. I had a couple guinea pigs when I was a kid. One was hairless and looked like a tiny hippo...so cute! I wasn't really old enough to be responsible and give them the attention they needed. I love the sound they make and their little pink lips . I think if you get babies and handle them plenty, clean the cage regularly, and generally give them a lot of attention they can be good pets. Rats are also up there with being friendly. i had mice growing up that I loved but rats a litle bigger and less fragile.I have a rabbit right now who is just the coolest and she poops and pees in a litter pan which makes clean up way easier. I don't think rabbits are generally recommended for little kids b/c they don't really like to be picked up and their backs can break really easily. I think guinea pigs might be litter trained though.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

All the responses so far have been very helpful, thank you! Keep the advice coming if you have it!
I've heard that about rats, but rodents with long tails gross me out for some reason. I'd bw open minded to other small animal suggestions but they would have to be hardy breeds. I would prefer a cat honestly but we will still be renting so that probably won't work out.
I did think of another question--do guinea pigs tend to go potty in one corner of their cage like my rabbit and hamsters did, or do they just go wherever?
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoyCrazy View Post
All the responses so far have been very helpful, thank you! Keep the advice coming if you have it!
I've heard that about rats, but rodents with long tails gross me out for some reason. I'd bw open minded to other small animal suggestions but they would have to be hardy breeds. I would prefer a cat honestly but we will still be renting so that probably won't work out.
I did think of another question--do guinea pigs tend to go potty in one corner of their cage like my rabbit and hamsters did, or do they just go wherever?
Aww, honetly I would get a kitten if thats an option over any other small pet. They are so easy and fun.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:14 AM   #10
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Re: Talk to me about guinea pigs!

They can be trained to go in one corner or to use litter pan. Unfortunately all 3 of mine chose to eat the litter rather than potty in it. AND I have been unsuccessful at getting them to use one corner of their cage, but then again I could not house train the dog either
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