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messageAny advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by Saffron 22 June, 2018 16:13

We've rehomed a gpig from friends of friends, and we are first time gpig owners looking for advice. Any experienced owners out there able to offer us tips? xx

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by Jules-and-Boo 23 June, 2018 11:15

There's lots online. Just google - how to look after guinea pigs.

They like living with each other - they're very friendly - don't keep them outside in winter and when they are outside, they like a run so they can play on the grass but need to be safe from predators who can dig under the edges of the run.

they like fresh hay and straw and a water bottle. Lots of dandelions and other green things, and carrots especially.

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by civilservant 23 June, 2018 11:29

they are lovely little beasts - but we've never had any of our own, as our dog objects
i know that one guinea pig will be sad and pine, so you need to get it a friend or two
do make sure they're all the same sex, though, or you might end up with more gps than you bargained for

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by Saffron 23 June, 2018 17:10

Thanks both! smiling smiley Yes, we've Googled but come across some conflicting or incomplete advice, particularly relating to diet.

Luckily we ran across the John Hankinson Vet stall at Hilly Fields Summer Fayre today, and we managed to speak with Dr Hankinson himself. His top tip was to avoid fruits and feed veg instead, as too much sugar can be a shock to gut. I'm going to make a vets appointment to have our furry friend definitively sexed. Then we'll be looking for a same sex friend from a rescue.

I'm very happy to hear more about anyone's experiences. We're keen to keep our little pig happy and healthy. xx

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by Jules-and-Boo 23 June, 2018 17:18

I think two males might fight but you could check that out online. We had a family of GPS and they were ok, but maybe because they grew up together - it might depend how old yours are.

Rabbits make great friends for GPs too.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2018:06:23:17:19:43 by Jules-and-Boo.

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by tomskip 25 June, 2018 16:40

It would be lovely if you could find a friend for your single guinea pig. There is a local rescue charity, GBH Rescue, based in Beckenham, who will let you bring your piggy in for a few days and see if he or she bonds with one of their rescues. Then you can have a happy pair. [gbhrescue.webs.com]

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by Angelina 25 June, 2018 17:31

that is a lovely idea!

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by jay66 25 June, 2018 19:55

hi I know a lot about guinea pigs....

Initial advice:

1) Find out the sex of your pig and if it's male find out if it has been neutered (though you'd be able to see if it hadn't?!)

2) If it's a boar and not neutered, find a competent vet to do this as it can be a nightmare if it goes wrong. (The only vet I recommend to do it is in Reading..Tilehurst vets... they used to be experts in guinea pig care... and probably still are as there is a good community of guinea pig lovers in Tilehurst!)

3) Then you need to find your guinea pig a guinea pig friend... they cannot live alone as they are social animals. DO NOT pair them up with a rabbit!! This is really awful and I've heard terrible tales of the injuries rabbits cause to GPs. They are not the same at all and rabbits can be over-sexed and cause horrific internal damage to a GP, plus they kick. A guinea has to be with another guinea. This can be tricky as males do not take well to living with other males and almost always end up fighting in the end (unless they've been brought up with each other from a young age). So... neutered boars need to live with a sow, and sows can live with another sow or a boar. Don't just go and get another guinea pig and expect them to get on... ideally you should present your pig with two different pigs to see which one they like the best. Some rescue centres may be happy to do this with you.

4) They need a BIG hutch. 1 - 2 pigs need a hutch 120cm by 60cm. Anything smaller is cruel really. And a safe fox-proof run on grass ideally, failing that then a good safe space to run about indoors out of the hutch (this is the best bit about pigs as they can be hilarious once left to roam free-ish).

5) they need a constant supply of good hay - not the rubbish you get as bedding but good Timonthy Hay or other speciality hay. There's a great website: [www.thehayexperts.co.uk]. But this is possibly more important than anything else - hay all of the time (alongside fresh veg, bit of fresh grass but not too much, water and uncoloured pellets)

6) they need guinea-pig friendly... NOT SAWDUST.. this gives them breathing problems.

7) And they need to live indoors in winter - they can't cope with UK winters. Mine came in to the kitchen for 4 months of the year and would get very excited at Christmas dinner.

They do need special care really as they get an awful lot of things wrong with them otherwise.

Here are some good resources for you:


Enjoy them - they are great animals.

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by nunheadmum 25 June, 2018 21:35

If, like us, you feel bad about keeping animals in small spaces, you can look at this stuff for setting up runs around the garden for them. (www.runaround.co.uk)

And if you find a way to stop the kids turning the house into a barn with straw everywhere - can you let me know the secret!

If you're getting a second one and have the opportunity to introduce them to more than one, do. We didn't get the chance and had a rough few weeks worrying that they hated each other - and a few scars along the way. Luckily they've come through it and are like a couple of grumpy old men now. Very sweet grumpy old men.

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by Saffron 25 June, 2018 22:53

Thanks again for all the very kind advice. It's great to hear that some places will give you a trial introduction to a little friend for your pig. Our guinea-pig was rehomed and came to us just as a singleton, but we're now really looking forward to getting another one.

If we've got a boar, then we'll consider neutering. John Hankinson Vet on Shardloes Road have extensive small animal experience and are one of the largest surgical teams in South London. We currently take our cats there, so we'll have an initial consultation with them on our little pig.

He's in a large hutch now with a little 'house' and a mini hay manger, but we'll look to expand. I see some larger hutches have shallow climbing areas. Do they like to climb, or is that a marketing gimmick? We have noticed he likes to sit on top of his house.

We're keeping him indoors mainly, but we have a makeshift run that can be used when we're in the garden. It's not sturdy enough to leave unattended at all. Wouldn't dream of leaving him outdoors in winter!

Is there anyway to encourage them to litter train when they're out of the hutch? We've only had him out for short periods on a blanket. He really enjoyed the attention.

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by nunheadmum 26 June, 2018 14:13

We have a tray with some cat litter topped with straw and they tend to do most of their wees in there. We have them out a lot and don't get many wees these days. We have fleece in their cage and a fleece for them to sit on out the cage - gives a bit of protection if they do anything (mainly poos). But then our two are big and incredibly lazy, so don't move around much.

Earlier on our two did like climbing on top of their sleeping area - we had a carrot topped box from Pets at Home which they loved to jump on and nibble. But not massive climbers I've found - but that could be because they're quite big piggies. (Unlike our hamster who is a ninja in comparison!)

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by StevenRN May 03, 12:17AM

I can give you a couple of important tips. First of all, guinea pigs are very tender and loving animals. You will not be able to buy a guinea pig and not pay attention to it ... Secondly, you should pay attention to the mobility of your pet and if it is active, then most likely it needs a large and spacious cage in order to play. The guinea pig of my neighbors died, because she had too little cage. This was a lesson to me and before buying a pet, I was very long and carefully selected the cage. I found detailed reviews on different types of cells on officiallypets.com and it helped me a lot. So remember that the guinea pig loves care and games!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was may 05, 07:25pm by StevenRN.

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by johnie May 03, 09:06PM

I last had a pig 45 years ago, but mine loved dandelion leaves. She could also stand up to my Wire-haired dachshund, and eventually, they slept together every night. Quite surreal.

messageRe: Any advice from guinea-pig keepers?
Posted by Bigs May 19, 02:10PM

Don't let yourself get lazy and think "I'll just clean the cage later." You'll regret it.

A guinea pig poops roughly four times its own body weight every half hour or so.

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