Author Topic: guinea pig?  (Read 4381 times)

scrubbyfish

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guinea pig?
« on: October 24, 2016, 03:22:28 PM »
Do you (or did you relatively recently) have one?
Was this awesome for you, or do you regret it?

Did you bring it on long car trips or leave it at home/at a friend's?

Could it be trained to mess only in its cage, thus run around the house much of the day?
Does it wreck carpet (pee, scratch, chew)?

How noisy was it?

If you had only one (vs the recommended two or more), was two hours a day of human social time sufficient for GP's happiness needs?

We are hoping to foster one before making a bigger commitment, but your experience would be appreciated :)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 03:33:04 PM by scrubbyfish »

Goldielocks

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 06:05:24 PM »
Hi Scrubby,

DS bought 2 g.pigs a few years ago.  I like them a lot.

We have / had them in the "baby cage" from the store, but they need a lot more room, so made a 2ft x 4ft cage with spare materials.  A even larger size for two would be better, but this is good for a large adult.   This past summer we put them in a hutch outside (they love to eat grass, dandelions, fallen apples, etc). 

Unfortunately, one got out of the hutch a day or two before we brought them in for the winter, so we are down to one only now.   But I would still get two if possible, as after the first few months, people interact less with them, and they do interact with each other quite a bit.

Note that the cage is smelly a bit, unless cleaned more than once per week.   We use fleece baby blankets (bought at thrift store) for bedding and wash / reuse them.  waste material is shaken into the flower garden.  If you use the commercial bedding it may be less smell, but the cost goes up.   Amazon is great for delivering supplies the cheapest.  They eat a lot of kitchen veggy scraps at our house, which cuts down on the amount of timothy hay that they naturally eat, and I will pull a couple of dandelions a week for them, too.

They are not noisy like hamsters, and not nocturnal, and you can give them a bath, trim nails, and cuddle up and pet them a lot better, as they are large (two hands).   Mine like to sit on laps (in a blanket) while we watch TV.

They are poop machines, but it is mainly grass / hay poops, so easy to clean up on a hard floor.   They can be left to roam for a few hours on hard surfaces, if they have access to food water and a hiding place. Mine don't chew anything except if left for a long time in the cage without attention.

We can leave them for 3 days or so when we travel, (like the cat).  They are friendly and come out to say hi and to ask for food and pets.  They vocalize in several different ways, including a purr, so are more tactile and interactive than a hamster.

TLDR -- I like them the most of any pets we have had.  No cat urine all over my camping gear...  No dogs that can't be left alone for more than 2 hours or they go crazy / barking.. actual pet to hold and cuddle, interactive.  Low care / effort.

sisto

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2016, 07:56:17 PM »
I love them as pets, don't have them anymore though. I single one will do fine with lots of handling, but they are very social for sure. They are nocturnal by nature though so maybe not best in a child's room. Here is a great link, I built a cage similar to the one shown. Easy to make and easy to clean as well as not hard on their feet like a wire bottom cage.

https://www.guineapigcages.com/toys.htm

rufflina

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 10:16:30 PM »
Guinea pigs! I have two. I had just one growing up and highly recommend two. They are more than twice the fun! :)

Check out the forums here: https://guineapigcages.com/forum/index.php

If it's just three days or so, we can get away with leaving them a lot of food and water and leaving them alone. Longer than that and I have someone drop by and check on them every other day. It only takes the friend maybe 10 minutes of work each trip. Long than one week and I use a boarding service provided by the local guinea pig rescue. The fees go towards the rescue so I'm happy to support them. It costs $14 a night for two pigs.

Buy hay and pellets in bulk for sure. I order from kmshayloft but depending on where you are you might find hay from a farm or something.

I get new guinea pig toys for Xmas every year so have accumulated some nice ones to spoil my pigs with. I've never had any other pets other than betta fish, but I think they're pretty easy. I've had mine for almost four years now and will take a break after these two pass away as we'd like to have kids next and I'd like to wait to have pets again. They do live 4 to 7 years, but you could consider adopting an older one from Craigslist. I got one from the Humane Society (1 year old) and the other from Craigslist (2 months old).

Don't put them in a kid's room. They can be a little messy. I wouldn't say they're nocturnal...they seem to take naps throughout the day and night. Unlike hamsters, they're always up for action.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 10:21:09 PM by rufflina »

Erma

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2016, 10:27:35 PM »
We had between 2 and 3 when I was a child. We kept them the whole year in a big cage outside so neither smell nor noise was a problem.

letired

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2016, 11:11:50 PM »
I had one when I was a kid. I vaguely remember that someone from my mom's work was trying to rehome theirs and we got it. It ended up that it had some sort of foot injury/infection that we treated (it was pretty upsetting/gross), but I think that it was hard on the critter, so it didn't make it very long. Also I dont know how old it was when we got it. In general, they are pretty chill animals with some amount of 'self-potty-training'. Mine always went in one corner of it's cage. We didn't let it roam unsupervised.

In contrast, I also (at a different time) had pet rats, and while they don't live very long (~2years), they were great pets and much less fragile (from my limited, childs viewpoint). I never got the rats 100% potty trained, but they were great! They were also not allowed to roam unsupervised. :P

scrubbyfish

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2016, 11:22:45 PM »
Thanks, everyone!!

We'd narrowed it down to hamster or GP, and when anyone says hamster my whole body remembers what it felt like to have one's teeth go deep into the index finger of my right hand when I was a kid. Initial website comparisons said yep, common. Most other differences also favoured the GP in our case.

rufflina, yours have hammocks! :)

letired: I forgot about rats! My sister and I each had one as adults. Incredible little creatures. My heart sure broke when mine died. Heartbreak and guilt are big reasons I have resisted getting a pet for a long time, but it may be time...

GP will need to be indoors (colder winters), and in kid's room (his room is about a third of the very small house). Websites say they do sleep at night, though. Is this not true? Because in a tiny house, we will definitely hear everything, and I sleep lightly.

We have only carpet, and it's poo coloured, and we're in a rental, so I need to make sure this decision wouldn't harm the carpets?

I really appreciate the links to forum and cage, too, thanks!

Goldielocks

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2016, 09:14:41 AM »
GP are exceptionally easy to clean up after. You may want to shampoo carpets when you leave and spot clean as needed, but no stains or residual orders that I have seen.

On a separate note, I was thinking about your framework of current self working for future self. ( may not be yours originally, but the way you describe it  gets the heart of it).

I realized that I am at the point where current self is meeting future self, and maybe each is posturing a bit to see who will get to take over.   It may be that my annual review is this week too, and influencing my brain.

I think you will be happy with GP. Our like dawn and dusk and are quiet overnight.

Spiffy

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2016, 09:18:12 AM »
We have one. They really have different personalities, so you never know who you will get. Ours is not cuddly, but will sit in your lap to be petted. He chews a lot, so we don't let him roam the house unless we are watching him. Poop is not the problem. It is easy to pick up and doesn't smell, but the pee stinks. If he goes on the carpet, that smell stays. We have friends who got two because everyone says they are so social the need another piggy friend, but theirs hate each other and spend their time either fighting or trying to get away from each other. So if you can, get got to know the personality before you bring them home.

ooeei

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2016, 09:34:24 AM »
My sister had two when we were kids, I wasn't a huge fan.  She was really into them for a couple years, but after that they were mostly an annoyance my parents ended up caring for.  They had a hutch my dad built in the backyard that was probably 5x10 on the ground, and liked it.  Eventually one of them escaped and our dog killed it.  We gave the other one away a bit later to one of my mom's friends as she had kids who wanted one.  I seem to remember letting them roam around the house, but generally with supervision.  There were more than a few times where one went rogue and was just loose in the house for a day or two.  They weren't like the rabbits who'd chew holes in cabinets and whatnot, I don't remember any damage from them.

Personally, I don't see the appeal.  They live a longer than their cuteness entrances most people, require a decent amount of attention compared to something like a cat, and aren't as fun as a dog (to me).  The cuteness works for a year or two, then most people quit caring about them, especially kids.  Guinea pigs and rabbits show up on craigslist all the time (granted, so do cats and dogs).  I do know a few people who've had rabbits for years, so I guess it's possible, but it seems that when parents get them for their kids it ends up being sad for the animal.  My girlfriend's 12 year old cousin has a rabbit that she used to play with all the time, now it sits in its 2x3 cage 95% of the time, a 5x5 indoor playpen on a tile floor 4% of the time, and the other 1% she takes it out and carries it around.  It's really sad to see, and she just sees it as a pain in the ass.  She can't stand to get rid of it though, very frustrating.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 09:36:17 AM by ooeei »

onlykelsey

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2016, 09:41:00 AM »
Thanks, everyone!!

We'd narrowed it down to hamster or GP, and when anyone says hamster my whole body remembers what it felt like to have one's teeth go deep into the index finger of my right hand when I was a kid. Initial website comparisons said yep, common. Most other differences also favoured the GP in our case.

rufflina, yours have hammocks! :)

letired: I forgot about rats! My sister and I each had one as adults. Incredible little creatures. My heart sure broke when mine died. Heartbreak and guilt are big reasons I have resisted getting a pet for a long time, but it may be time...

GP will need to be indoors (colder winters), and in kid's room (his room is about a third of the very small house). Websites say they do sleep at night, though. Is this not true? Because in a tiny house, we will definitely hear everything, and I sleep lightly.

We have only carpet, and it's poo coloured, and we're in a rental, so I need to make sure this decision wouldn't harm the carpets?

I really appreciate the links to forum and cage, too, thanks!

I would also lean guinea pig over hamster.  They are a bit sturdier and seem to have more of a personality. 

I would really not expect to let them loose around the house unattended, though.  They have some vague idea of toilet training, in that they will often pick the same corner of their cage to pee/poop in, but they will pee all over your carpets and your house will smell like a cheap pet store very quickly.  If you can corral them to a kitchen (or just generally on hardwood floors) for free ranging, that could work.  When I was little I loved bringing in our cheap $5 plastic pool in the winter and letting them run around in there with me and toys and blankets.

sisto

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2016, 11:10:15 AM »
GP over hamster for sure, even a rat over a hamster. Hamsters bite and are not nearly as sociable as rats and GPs. GPs only bite if they have to pee or poop while you are holding them as they don't want to do it on you. Usually it's very gentle and an indication to put them down to do their business.

WootWoot

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2016, 11:37:37 AM »
Hi, Scrubby:

I had many guinea pigs while growing up, and a few in adulthood. DH also had many and so did his family. The only reason we don't have one now is he says they pee too much! They make terrific pets for children as they are rather docile and friendly. I've only been nipped by one once or twice.  They are easy to hold and play with, and friendly.

Yes, they are nocturnal, but I don't recall any of mine making much of a racket at night. They're pretty quiet. Some develop the habit of squeaking when they know you are bringing their food, or when the fridge doors opens!

Never tried to litter train mine. I suppose it is possible; you could try!

Unasked for advice: Don't get a rabbit for a child. Maybe an adolescent. But they are prone to nipping, scrabbling (like digging a hole), chewing little holes in your clothing or other stuff like blankets. I love mine beyond words, but I'd never get one for a kid. I suspect that is how so many end up in the SPCA. They sure are cute, but you have to know what you're getting into when you get one. Mine threw a temper tantrum last night and bit my wrist, for e.g. Then he settled down on DH's lap like the sweetest, most innocent little baby. LOL

scrubbyfish

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2016, 04:20:19 PM »
Continued thanks, everyone...  :)

I am concerned about the lifespan. I don't want to commit longer than I expect my kid to be in the house. I'm also very supportive of rehoming pets, as everyone's needs (including the pet's) shift. We would look first to foster and, only if that were a hit, we would look to adopt an older one.

My kid feels no need for a cat or dog (or rabbit, or fish, or), and those are more involved, so it's really just the GP or nothing. I think fostering for a while will fill kid's craving while also de-enamouring him of the cleaning, etc. So, we would commit to fostering for the period of time I am willing to provide back up care, but if I'm actually doing back up care more than I'm thrilled to, we would not take on a bigger commitment. In that case, I might agree to do some of the petsitting we're frequently asked to do, see if that is the ultimate balance.

scrubbyfish

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2016, 09:54:08 PM »
...I might agree to do some of the petsitting we're frequently asked to do, see if that is the ultimate balance.

See? Got asked today already and because of this thread, found a way to be able to say yes in a tricky week :)

Perhaps I'll see how willing Kid is to clean the litter box...  I'm always happy to in petsitting, but if Kid is serious about a GP, this is a great opportunity for assessment.

We've also located some foster GPs, so are in preliminary discussions there.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2016, 05:06:17 AM »
when i was a kid my friend's mom had a dozen of them.

They smell, they smell, they make annoying sounds with their paper, and they smell.
I found almost no fun in them, but i am not a pet person. They wouldn't do much, just want to hide or make annoying noise in their cage.

edit:
Yes they can trained to crap in their cage. They were taken on road trip alot, 10 hour + raides across texas.
And yeah they do have personalities so i guess they could be fun for some people, but god i hated the smell!

scrubbyfish

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2016, 02:08:54 PM »
Thanks for another experience, MoonLiteNite :)

It sounds like these GPs were left in an unclean space. Like humans, other animals can have strong smells too, but they shouldn't smell bad/offensive/overly strong unless their den or bodies aren't attended regularly. Smell-sensitive, clean-freaks like me would clean the cage top to bottom as often as recommended, and probably at least 50% more often ;)

I wonder too if those GPs weren't fun because there were so many of them, i.e., maybe the Humans were leaving them to play/socialize with each other, rather than playing with them directly 30-120 minutes per day as is recommended for GP happiness and human-relationshippiness?

happy

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2016, 05:03:31 PM »
We currently have 4. (down from 6). The oldest will be 8 in December, if the age I was given when we adopted was correct.  They don't smell, but if you don't clean the enclosure it will. if you feed them poor quality food like old veges, they won't eat it and it will sit rotting and smelling.

We don't cuddle ours much at all. Cuddles are for the humans not the GPs. They are however very interactive - they are indoors, and will come out and talk to you ( always hoping for food), sit still for chin scratches and so on. We handle regularly for health checks and to clip toenails.

They are herd animals, its not advisable to keep just one. Probably you would need to give attention every day if you only had one. But one piggy is a morose piggy, compared to those in pairs/groups.

Ours do intermittently scurry around at night, but generally don't vocalise at night. Except for one who chirps like a bird. This is quite rare and she doesn't do it very often, but when she does it wakes me up for sure.




JoJo

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2016, 07:46:25 PM »
The spanish word is Cuy.  Google "Cuy images".

MuttIsMyCopilot

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Re: guinea pig?
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2016, 10:00:49 AM »
Cuy is also what guinea pigs are called in cultures that consider them edible livestock, so be ready to see that before you GIM cuy.

I had pigs for years and was pretty active in the rescue scene. Kept clean and given enough room, the cage will smell like fresh hay and not much else.

They're definitely not cuddly, no matter how much you interact them. You can acclimate them to handling and some are more mellow than others, but they don't really bond with people the way dogs or rats or parrots will. They definitely have unique personalities and are fun to watch. They'll happily munch carrots on your lap while you watch TV and scream for veggies every time you open the fridge, but they aren't the least bit invested in your specific existence. They're actually a lot like chickens.