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Guinea pig care

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey guys I just got two cute little guinea piggies. They are boys I am told and I named them Redhead and Brody but I sure cannot tell them apart (see the picture and you will know what I mean!!)

Anyways, a couple questions if there are any other guinea pig owners on here. Can they use a wheel (see second picture)? I have one in the cage, it is a large wheel, but I am reading mixed opinions about it.

Also, this may be a dumb question, but besides their guinea pig food, can they have rat pellets? I have a ton of them and I wondered if I can offer them some pellets too??

Any other suggestions for things guinea pigs like as far as treats and toys and stuff?


post #2 of 26
using a wheel is not recomended for guinea pigs, neither are balls because their backs don't arch that way, and it can hurt them.
No, unfortunately you can't feed rat pellets, because they need the added vitamin C that are in the special GP pellets.
Also give them LOTS of vegies, they dont' produce vitamin C, and like us can get scurvy.
Make sure you're using pine (kiln dried preferably), aspen, or a non wood bedding. don't use cedar, it can cause upper respitory infections because of the oils in the wood.
Water is best served in bottle form, makes it less dirty
Timothy hay is recomended at all times, it keeps their back teeth worn down, which wood blocks wont do. Alfalfa is fattening, and high in calcium so it can cause kidney stones if eaten too much, which is why it's not particularly recomended.
finally, if you're interested in inexpensive ideas to get any of the above, OR might be interested in building them a really nice big cage for when they're full grown (boys get big) which is also inexpensive, OR have any general questions that I might be able to answer, PM me and I'd be happy to help...I lost my girls not too long ago, but I still remember all of the research I did
Hope that's not too much info.

Jess
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks! I know all about the bedding, cedar is horrible, too bad since it smells to good! I am using pine very temporarily. I prefer the bedding called I THINK Care Fresh? Can't remembr the exact name.

I had a little alfalfa left and I finished that up, I am glad you said about timothy hay because I was just going to get more alfalfa tomorrow. I will get some hay instead.

I figured about the rat pellets. I didn't mean as the only source of food, but in addition. But if not then thats fine. And their water is in a bottle on the side of the cage. I hate using bowls of water because they just end up dumping it or getting too much bedding in it.

The cage they are in is 4 feet by 2.5 feet. Is that not big enough? In the summer I might take them out to lounge in the grass, fenced in of course.

Thanks for your help. Only specific question I think I have is whether or not they need those salt and mineral wheels that hang on the side of the cage? My friend when I was young always bought them for her pigs and I saw them in the grocery store. But are the necessary?
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylorna View Post
using a wheel is not recomended for guinea pigs, neither are balls because their backs don't arch that way, and it can hurt them.
No, unfortunately you can't feed rat pellets, because they need the added vitamin C that are in the special GP pellets.
Also give them LOTS of vegies, they dont' produce vitamin C, and like us can get scurvy.
Make sure you're using pine (kiln dried preferably), aspen, or a non wood bedding. don't use cedar, it can cause upper respitory infections because of the oils in the wood.
Water is best served in bottle form, makes it less dirty
Timothy hay is recomended at all times, it keeps their back teeth worn down, which wood blocks wont do. Alfalfa is fattening, and high in calcium so it can cause kidney stones if eaten too much, which is why it's not particularly recomended.
finally, if you're interested in inexpensive ideas to get any of the above, OR might be interested in building them a really nice big cage for when they're full grown (boys get big) which is also inexpensive, OR have any general questions that I might be able to answer, PM me and I'd be happy to help...I lost my girls not too long ago, but I still remember all of the research I did
Hope that's not too much info.

Jess
Boys def get big but all together my boy was one heck of a surprise and well he is just as big as his mama (they are seperated) and also the boy seems to go poo alot more than his mama, what a stinker he is
Also people and sites on guniea pigs have told me things like the old toilet paper rolls they like and boxes, although baby eats his quickly and mama loves to hide in hers, mine get old shoe boxes that I cut up for them to sleep in and hide in, I heard that form a lot of people and well its been doing good here!! (I did a lot of research when I got mine because I never had a guniea pig and my sil's mother was going to throw them in the woods because her neighbor left them on her porch so my brother took one and I took the other and they were both supposed to be females but a little after a month here comes a baby )
post #5 of 26
Nope, you don't need a wheel. Some people like to have the wheels, but they're really more important for other rodents. I had one once, and they licked it occasionally...but since it was on the ground (couldn't hang it on the side) they mostly just peed on it...which was gross, so i threw it out.

Oh, well, in that case, your cage sounds nice and large. I'm so used to talking to people with those little bitty 2X2 cages. I'm not sure how big your boys are going to get, but if you do find the need to expand, really do IM me...I had to when I got my second girl, and the cage was great and cheap, once I got all the pieces together. I think sometimes people go overborad (I used to belong to a group that I nicknamed the guinea pig natzies because they were so agressive about guinea pig care), but you know, the more space the better...sounds like a good sized cage to me though...mine was 2X4 as well for the girls, and they had the perfect amount of room, if not a bit more than necessary.

Sounds like you're doing a great job! keep it up!

Oh, and the grass is lots of fun, just make sure no pesticides. You'll also want to supervise them...birds and other animals are an issue...I actually knew a few people who lost some guinea pigs that way on the other forum (they literally disappeared). I do not recomend the harnesses by the way, they're junk...fencing them in is the best way to do that (and it's sooo much fun to have them outside wheeking at the grass)!
post #6 of 26
They are so cute!! My brother had a guinea pig but I don't know much about them.
post #7 of 26
this site is very helpful. I had guinea pigs when I was younger. besides dogs, cats, and horses.. guinea pigs are my favorite animal/rodent.
http://www.guinealynx.com/healthycavy.html

Congrats on your new additions! they are so cute!!

also you can build your own cage for your gps.
http://www.guineapigcages.com/
post #8 of 26
My guinea pig, Piggy, was a 9 inch long boy, and he was huge.

I agree, no wheel, they are not big hamsters.

Mine used to love, in addition to his piggy pellets, to eat the following: Carrots, especially the tops with the greens, Violets (flowers and leaves), Dandilion leaves, romaine lettuce & corn husks (not the corn kernals, just the husks.)

I used to go to a local vegetable stand and ask them for the romaine leaves that they would take off the lettuce heads before displaying them for sale, and I got LOTS of free veggies for him that way.

Daily greens are a must, and they do poop a LOT, so be prepared to clean their litter (I used cedar shavings) at LEAST every other day.
post #9 of 26
haha, one of the favourites for mine was watermellon, but we could only give it to them in small doses cuz of the water content. Theyd drool all over themselves!
Just no potatoes...it can be poisonious
post #10 of 26
Cavycages.com has a TON of information on guinea pig care. They're babies now, so the cage you have is big enough. However, they'll get HUGE (truly, mine are gargantuan) They need vitamin C, which is only in guinea pig pellets, and not other small animal food. They can also get vitamin C from things like green peppers and tomatoes, but not TOO many tomatoes, because they'll cause mouth sores. Timothy hay... they will love you forever. Congrats on getting new babies! Guinea pigs are so cute and playful. Cavycages.com also has a forum, so you can ask them anything as well.
post #11 of 26
Oh, also, don't give them the mineral or salt wheels, it's just a waste of money. And if you take them outside, make sure they're in the shade, they get hot SO FAST. I took mine out once in the sun, and almost instantly he was in obvious distress. Poor baby just had too much fur. Also, the wheel isn't good for their little claws, they can break.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I figured the mineral and salt wheels were pointless. They just seemed silly. They are both mostly made up of salt anyway.

I was just at the pet store and I picked up some timothy hay, they LOVE it. I got some more food for a little variety. It has some other little bits of food in it besides the guinea pig pellets. I gave them some carrots and in a bit I will cut up some green pepper for them. I hear them making that cooing sound all the time. That means they are happy right? Reminds me of a cats purr.
post #13 of 26
yup, it's a good sound.
Any popcorning yet? That's when they spontaniously jump in the air...you'll know it when you see it, it looks like a popcorn kernal bursting. It means they're REALLY happy
with the "variety" foods, make sure to pick ones without sunflower seeds. They love them, but they make them fat and can choke on the husks.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylorna View Post
yup, it's a good sound.
Any popcorning yet? That's when they spontaniously jump in the air...you'll know it when you see it, it looks like a popcorn kernal bursting. It means they're REALLY happy
with the "variety" foods, make sure to pick ones without sunflower seeds. They love them, but they make them fat and can choke on the husks.
Oh when I just moved them to the big cage from one that was WAY too small (they were only in it for a week) that is when they jumped and ran all over the cage. I could tell they were SO happy! Popcorning is the perfect name for it!

Oh and no sunflower seeds in their food. I think there were just a couple large white pumpkin seeds, but very few.
post #15 of 26
Yeah guinea pigs cant run in wheels. But they sure are cute.
post #16 of 26
Sounds like you're doing well with the piggies. They must be very happy since they're purring. I love hearing that sound too.

I agree with what everyone has said. Wheel is bad. And a variety of fresh veggies everday. And timothy hay should be the staple of their diet, not the pellets. Limit the amount of carrots you give to your piggies 'coz they contain way too much sugar. And like everyone has said, they need vit C, so try to go with veggies that provide the most vit C.

And the guinealynx and cavycages sites are awesome.

One thing, though. You might want to try to sex your piggies yourself. The mentioned sites gives you ideas on how to do that. You may have been told that they're both males, but it could be wrong, especially if sexing was done at a very young age. You don't want a male and a female together 'coz pregnancy could be bad on the girl. And if they ARE both males, you might want to keep an eye on them when they get older 'coz males can tend to be aggressive towards one another. But since they're young and are growing up together, the likelihood of aggression in the future is minimal.

Keep up the good work. And they are absolutely adorable.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks, i will check out sexing them myself. They are the same whatever they are! They have identical "parts".

Anyways, the wheel is still in there but they sit on it sideways and let it rock them back and forth. I will take it out soon though, it will be too small when they get a whole lot bigger even if they did know how to run on it.

What sort of veggies have a lot of vitamin c in them? How do I make sure they don't get too much of it?
post #18 of 26
Congratulations on your new addition! I cant offer very much advice, since its been a few years since my first and last baby who I named Kisses. We got her at a PetSmart adoption and she was full grown, brown and white with very long hair. We fed her guinea pig pellets but also lots of carrots, lettuce, a bit of tomato, pieces of fruit and she loved them all!

Sadly she passed away when I went away for the night. We drove down to an aunts house in the afternoon, and came back the next night and the poor baby had died. My moms co-worker told her Guinea Pigs get very lonely and if they feel theyve been abandoned they die. Now I dont know if thats true but I was so young and it just broke my heart
post #19 of 26
Here is a direct link to a list of veggies and fruits that contain vitamin C:
http://www.guinealynx.com/diet_order-c.html
Every piggie is different, though. Mine particularly likes her "hard" veggies that make a lot of crunching noises when she eats them. She doesn't like leafy veggies.

Aw, JulieKit, sorry to hear about your baby. Yep, piggies are very social animals and will get very attached. She might've gotten really sad when you left.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oh thanks T-Cat I don't know how I missed that vegetables chart. I saw just checking out that site too! Thanks.

I guess one more thing I am not too sure of is if you can give them too much Vitamin C? I mean, I can load them up on those veggies, but how much is too much?
post #21 of 26
nope, you can't give them too much vitamin C
Just like us, any extra gets peed out. BUT you can give them too much water (too much iceberg lettuce-which isn't recommended anyway, since there's not much vitamin c to begin with, tomatoes, watermellon, etc) and that can give them the runs sometimes, which can be risky.
Some people will dose the water, but vitamin C evaporates almost immediately after contact with light, and if not then, just simply over time...plus they're less likely to drink as much with the flavouring in the water, so i'd avoid it.
Veggies really are the way to go. If i remember correctly the cavy cages forum always recommended about a cup each a day, I never could get 2 cups worth every day (student) but do what you can.
Parsely is fun to watch them to eat...they eat it like spegatti, and it's nicely high in vitamin C, just as a side note
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
ooo I will go parsley shopping tomorrow then!

oh and one more thing! I know you can litter train them. What kind of litter do I use? For my cats I use Feline Pine pellets. Right now I used pine as their bedding because that is all I had. I hate pine bedding and plan to get the cottony stuff next time when I clean it. But it would probably confuse them if I gave them pine pellet litter. Is regular kitty litter okay or what?
post #23 of 26
We used Yesterday's News for the Guinea Pig at the shelter here. However, she was already litter trained on arrival & we didn't want to switch litters & confuse the poor girl more.
post #24 of 26
I tried to litter train my girls, however it is much harder to do than with rabbits (or so I'm told) and I was never quite successful. Basically from what I've read, GP's tend to "go" in the corner more often anyway (which I found to be true) and sometimes-especially males- they have a favourite corner. SO you put a litter pan (I had a corner one that I bought) in the favourite corner and that will help with the majority of the bathrooming, but not all. I used to call my girls "little poo machines" if that gives you any idea of what to expect...it's like they leave a trail behind them. As for peeing while you hold them, most will learn to hold it as long as they can, but I always had an old towel that i held them with, and that saved many a pants (I held them for too long I think). It also catches the poos
You were right about the cottony stuff...it is indeed carefresh and was always my litter of choice, however it does get expensive so I tried just about everything (carefresh, pine, aspen, and even blankets that I washed every day...tried hay once too..NOT recomended) If you can afford the carefresh I'd go with it...I think I ended up with a layer of pine (less expensive) and a layer of carefresh over that (nicer) but I could be wrong. They kicked it all together anyway! lol! yesterdays news was used by lots of people on the forum, but I never used it...I'd think you could put it in your litter pan...it's not like they need the clay sensation.
PS. I've been meaning to mention, that homemade cage I had...was a cavycage cage. I loved how versitle it was (had extra grids and when the girls got to fighting in their old age, I seperated them, but they could still see each other and interact). Also, if you don't do the cage, those grids + zip ties make a great pen for outdoors.
post #25 of 26
Our guinea pigs really like parsley, carrots and snap peas. My husband made a cage for outside...no bottom, with two by fours for the base and a metal mesh/wiring with about 1/2" squares for the other five sides... It definetely has a top. Birds, cats, dogs, etc could get them if they didn't. I leave them in my yard for about 30 minutes at a time in the cage and they love it. I did read where they could get sick and die from deer feces so if you need to, watch for that.
My neighbor lost two of her young ones from sun exposure. She said they have no way to cool off, so make sure they have shade.
post #26 of 26
In regards to heat exposure, frozen water bottles are useful. Guinea pigs can lay against them to cool off. Rabbits like them too.
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