Background info...Over the years I’ve had several people ask if I would take in their guinea pigs. (I volunteer with a rescue group that handles dogs and cats.) Each time I researched the care of guinea pigs and have decided not to take them because I was afraid I could not care for them properly for various reasons (newborn twins with health issues, one of my dogs was a full-time job, etc.). Based upon my reading, caring for them properly is a lot of work and space.
I am again considering taking in two guinea pigs.
My first two questions (I’ll probably have more)…
Bedding - Have any of you used fleece? I’ve spent I lot of time on cavyspirt.com, guineapigcages.com, and other similar sites and from what I’ve read the layering or quilting together of towels and fleece seems like a cleaner option – and possibly better for the pigs. Although it seems difficult to keep the hair out of the washing machine and a little gross to wash. What is your experience?
Location – I believe the cage they are currently in is too small. My husband has been researching designs and would like to build a larger ‘guinea pig housing system’. We thought we should put it in the dining room which is on our main floor open to the living room, foyer, and near the kitchen. We spend most of our time on the main floor and we’ve read that guinea pigs are social animals that prefer to be near the household activity. However, our dining room is already a little tight and the thought, aesthetically, of having a huge guinea pig housing complex in our dining room does not appeal to us - but we can get over it. Another idea we had was to put the cage in the children’s playroom which is on the second floor with their bedrooms and their bathroom. It is a sunny room with a south facing window so the guinea pigs would be placed on the north wall out of the direct sunlight. Since we do not spend much time up there, I thought I could get a playpen type system and bring the guinea pigs into the kitchen with me during the day and again in the evening when the children are home. Would that be a bad idea?
Misc. Concerns - My dogs mostly stay on the first floor although they do have free access to the entire house. I have gates I can close to keep them away from the guinea pigs so they do not sit at the cage and stare/drool over them or come near when the guinea pigs are outside the cage. My children are only seven so they would be supervised with the guinea pigs. My husband has asthma that was severe when he was younger but he now has attacks only around cats. I am not sure if guinea pigs are a common asthma trigger but we would have my husband spend time with them prior to adopting the guinea pigs. My son has mild asthma but is with the guinea pigs all day at school with no problems. The guinea pigs are currently at the school and they have been looking for a home for two months. The school is becoming desperate and I do not want them to go to a bad home. (Like my neighbor who keeps two guinea pigs in a plastic storage tote with no air circulation, feeds them grass from her chemical filled back yard, and replaces them from a pet store when her three year old throws them across the room and kills them. If I sound judgmental…I am…it makes me sick.)
Anyway, sorry for the OT rant. Any advice would be appreciated. Anything I am not considering?
I used large storage tubs for cages, you could probably configure a connecting pipe if you wanted to. guinea pigs are very easy to care for, they just need to stay warm. They are pretty easy to take into a small fenced area of a yard also, although with supervision and without the dogs for playing/space/ eating dandelions.
I tried fleece when I first had guinea pigs, but it needed to be changed 4 or 5 times a day. I preferred using pine bedding (though that is a pain to vacuum out of carpet). Wood stove pellets work really well as bedding and are easy to spot clean.
It's pretty easy to build a larger house with coroplast, though I found that hard plastic swimming pools worked really well as cages.
I don't think it would be bad to have the pigs with you in a play area during the day. The more time they spend with you the better pets they make.
I don't think guinea pigs are as bad as cats for asthma, but I feel like I've heard they do cause a small reaction (probably depends on the severity of the asthma though). I think it's wise to do a test run before bringing them home.
cancer-beating wife to DH since 7/4/09, mother to DS 5/1/11 + DD 8/21/2013
You should look into making a C&C cage- they're awesome and fairly easy to make.
Yes, we are planning on making one. We are also considering purchasing a C&C kit because we have too many projects on our list.
I am spending too much time reading threads on that site – more than on mothering! I am obsessed with the little guys. Right now I am trying to find a way to remove all the matted fur from Duncan. They are getting a little more comfortable here but are still frightened. I am afraid to start working on the matted area and get him upset. They also need a nail trim.
Those guys are cute!
I have a Skinny pig if that helps? it's basically a bald pig.
We keep him in a regular cage and we use carefresh bedding for him, the colorful cottony stuff.
He's pretty low maintenance the kids are in charge of him, they change him, feed him etc.
They need lots of hay and fresh fruits and veggies! it's not ok to just feed them pellets.
I find more people are allergic to the Hay than the pigs themselves.
We had to switch to Oxbow orchard meadow hay ( I think its called) because the regular Timothy hay gave my son a severe allergic reaction where his eyes were basically swollen shut!!
I'm glad it wasn't the piggy because he has become best friends with that little guy!
I have not tried fleece bedding.
We have a dog and a couple of cats, the cats worry me more, our tiny dog likes to play with the piggy (he's 3 pounds)
Due to the cats I won't leave our guy in an open topped cage he is in a regular rabbit type cage.
You have to socialize them well, they should be kept in pairs ( I am bad I did not do this mainly due to availability reasons, was unable to find another young Skinny pig) however if they have constant human attention they are ok.
We keep ours in our living room, he squeeks when he see's us, it's pretty cute.