Has anyone kept guinea pigs before?

Discussion in 'Other Companions' started by Livyaahh, Jan 11, 2012.

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  1. Jan 11, 2012 #1

    Livyaahh

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    I'm thinking of getting some :/ I'd probably get two females, and I've found a massive guinea pig and rabbit cage for them. I have some questions for people that have had them:
    1) are they good pets?
    2) the thing I find most off-putting about them is how skittish they are, can they be tamed enough so that they come to you instead of running away from you?
    3) would I need to get them spayed? I hear that rabbits get nasty if you don't spay them, does this apply to guinea pigs?
    4) can I put them in the same room as my rats? Would my rats get along with them? I'm just wondering about this, I won't let them near each other if any of you say not to.
    Thanks :D just answer as many as you can <3
     
  2. Jan 11, 2012 #2

    Kitsa

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    I technically never owned one before but my cousin had one and I basically took care of the poor thing because it was so neglected.

    I can only tell you what I know from that one little guy.

    Guinea pigs can be skittish but its usually depends on the personality. I do know that every single one I've ever met be it someones pet are a pet store one they will slam their water bottle against the cage until you fill it back up with water.
    I don't know if they all do this or if its something you have to teach them not to do but its very loud and some of them make this screaming type noise.
    They like Hay and leafy green vegetables, need a vitamin C supplement and treats are always nice.
    They need their claws trimmed twice a year. That's what I was told anyway.

    I never let the rats near my cousins guinea pig so I honestly don't know and i'm not sure about the spaying but its always nice to spay because it usually helps with the animals life.
     
  3. Jan 11, 2012 #3

    mia9_28

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    1) They are pretty good pets. (not as great as rats, of course!)
    2) I had mine when I was around 11 and they were both from the pet store (the most skittish ones). We got them when they were both babies and they were actually really tame once we had them for a while. One of them would sit on our lap as we watched tv and the other one was pretty hyper, so he'd be out exploring. They would actually start screaming of joy as soon as they heard us coming through the door, eager to get out of their cage. They were also best friends with my cat, haha. My friend told me she had a guinea pig that was just like a dog, had free range, would come to his name and knew tricks.
    3) I don't know about females... but I had two males and they were just fine. The only problem is that I had a long haired one and a scruffy one, and the scruffy one would eat the long-haired one's hair until he became scruffy too! lol
    4) It shouldn't be a problem to have them in the same room. I personally wouldn't try to let them meet. It could turn out nasty, but that's just what I think.
     
  4. Jan 11, 2012 #4

    Unepuce

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    I have 3 currently - got them before I started with rats.

    1) are they good pets? Yes! They're skittish at first, but eventhough I am allergic (and that is definitely something to check before you get them, they have that reputation) and don't handle them very much, they have come a looooooooooooong way! I have to shove them away when I spot clean the cage now! :giggle:

    2) the thing I find most off-putting about them is how skittish they are, can they be tamed enough so that they come to you instead of running away from you? See my answer above! :heart:

    3) would I need to get them spayed? I hear that rabbits get nasty if you don't spay them, does this apply to guinea pigs? I have 2 intact females and one neutered male - none is nastier than the other. The worst off is that to get rid of an annoying pig, they'll shot pee at them :sick2:

    4) can I put them in the same room as my rats? Would my rats get along with them? I'm just wondering about this, I won't let them near each other if any of you say not to. I have one "pet room". The rats are allowed to visit the piggies, but only under supervision. Once the pigs get used to them, they generally ignore them unless the rats get too pushy and scare them - my piggies don't like to be touched too much (as I said, I don't handle them much), so if a rat wants to play or sniff, the piggies run off - with a rat shadow that needs to be caught! I have read here that there were known facts of rats killing piggies et vice-versa.
     
  5. Jan 12, 2012 #5

    smilez_n_hugs

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    First off I just want to mention that most commercially available cages are too small for 2 pigs. C&C cages are the way to go.

    1) As pets they are just like teddy bears with a heart beat. I don't find them to be super affectionate but they are cute and will talk to you.
    2) Thy can definitely be tamed.
    3) My sisters girls aren't spayed and they didn't get nasty.
    4) You can put them in the same room with no issues. I have never let mine meet my rats but that's just me.

    My pigs have never slammed their water bottle when they are out of water. They will just keep trying to drink out of it until you get them more water. Also they will need their nails trimmed more than twice a year but as long as you have someone to help it's a pretty easy job.
     
  6. Jan 12, 2012 #6

    Unepuce

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    Totally agree with that! I've got a 2X5 C&C cage, which is the minimum requirement for 3 piggies, and I added a 1X2 mezzanine for sleeping area. They make great cages, cheap and easy to clean!

    Same behavior with water bottles here... as for nail trimming, I do it quarterly and alone, once the pig learns to cooperate, it is way easier than the rats! :giggle:
     
  7. Jan 12, 2012 #7

    kscanuck785

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    before getting my rats, I had GP for years...

    unepuce really summed it up nicely, I don't have much to add...LOL

    -they do live on average 5-7 yrs, this is a longer commitment than rats.
    -best cages are C+C...never saw a really adequate cage in stores
    -cage option on a budget, which works wonderfully if you have the room for it: kid wadding pool.
    -they are not as "rewarding" as rats are IMO...they are most like rabbits in that aspect, they are skittish but can learn to "like" and "tolerate" you but most aren't like rats who can sleep in your shirt and lick you to death...lol

    the best website to educate yourself on GP plus they do have a forum as well.
    http://cavyspirit.com/

    this was my c+c cage (48long x 24 deep x 12 tall each level.)
    I had 4 boys in it.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jan 12, 2012 #8

    SQ

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  9. Jan 12, 2012 #9

    kscanuck785

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  10. Jan 13, 2012 #10

    breakthenight

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    I'm probably not the BEST person to ask about this, because I have a disabled piggy with really specific requirements which vary from what is required for the average GP owner. I did keep 2 females when I was a kid though, so I've had some experience with the regular GP care and behavior.

    Guinea pigs are great pets as long as you have realistic expectations about what you want from them. They aren't generally as outwardly loving and curious as say, rats. Many do like to be cuddled on a lap, and they will recognize you and become excited by your presence. Generally they like to explore and will run all over and around you checking things out. They "talk" to you and have a large range of vocalizations and behaviors. When they are excited to see you rather than a rat who might climb up on top of you and start giving you rattie kisses and perch on your shoulder, a GP is more likely to vocalize and then popcorn around a little.(This is a kind of erratic hopping..and not, as the first time I saw it, a seizure..LOL)

    Guinea pigs should be kept in pairs at least which you know, and generally speaking should have a larger cage size than what is commercially available- but people have already gotten you up to speed on C&C caging which is great. The aspects that most people find most off putting about GP care are actually that they can be VERY loud. They use their voices very expressively and are extremely good relational learners, so if they know the veggies come from the fridge, they may wheek(The guinea pigs loudest vocalization...it is quite loud) every time they hear the door open. The other aspect would be that they MUST have their cages cleaned frequently, a daily or every other day scooping of dirty litter or replacing of fleece is mandatory.


    Guinea pigs are not always "skiddish". They are, however, prey animals so their instinct to run when something reaches from above at them almost always remains intact. This is important because in the wild anything reaching from above like a hawk would be deadly. In captivity a hand reaching above usually triggers the same response. This means a GP may approach your hand happily from the side and adore cuddling and playing with you OUTSIDE the cage once they are there, but you may always have to give a little chase to catch them. It does NOT mean that your pigs are not tame or friendly. It's a survival instinct.

    Spaying is not required to make a good pet, or to have a healthy pet. Surgery on guinea pigs can be quite risky so it's important to weigh the risks and benefits before making any decision on health care. A spay for a pig is optional, whereas for a rabbit or rat it may be necessary to ensure future health.

    You could keep them in the same room (I will be) but I would never allow them to interact. Guinea pigs have a powerful and damaging bite(they rarely use it, they are gentle creatures) so if they were startled or felt threatened they could easily kill a rat. Rats are actually extremely predatory and will kill birds and other prey animals like mice and other rodents. They are efficient and unlike cats they do NOT play with their prey. They could do serious damage or even kill a pig in seconds before you had a chance to react. I know this sounds extremely harsh but it's important to realize that it would be very risky to have them interact. With cage bars between them you shouldn't have any issues though.

    Hope I helped some. I really DO adore my pig and he is spoiled rotten. Give a pig veggies and whole lot of hay and they will love you forever, they are just wonderful animals.
     
  11. Jan 16, 2012 #11

    Kitsa

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    Ok so far I've learned that people here have GP that don't slam there water bottles. I think I know why the ones I've met do. My cousins gp when I first met the little guy was in a cage much to small with moldy old bedding and no water and the petstore ones never have water, I think maybe they learned that if they made enough noise they would get water because that's the only time I saw them get filled.

    Now this is a guess but its the only thing I could come up with. Which if I'm right it just makes me furious.
     
  12. Jan 16, 2012 #12

    Livyaahh

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    Thanks for your help guys :D I appreciate it <3
     
  13. Dec 20, 2018 #13

    Dave

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    4 main causes of health problems that guinea pigs suffer from!
    Teeth!
    lack of Vitermin C like humans there bodies can not make it,
    Respetoty problem's!
    Overeating!

    Teeth the best way to avoid costly and sometimes fatal dental work is to feed them unlimited amounts of hay! But not just ordinary hay, the best hay is alfalfa King Timothy Hay, it has just the right course texture essential in maintaining even wear in there molars, it may be a lot more expensive than ordinary hay, but believe me, the extra cost is well worth it, as an abssess caused by a malaclused molar can , and often dos lead to gum absesses , (very dificult to treat)
    None of my pigs have needed molar work since I started using it many years ago!

    Frount teeth, a guinea pigs insizers just the same as molars, never stop growing , but faster, and can easily grow malformed and overly long! This can be a real problem as they easily snap off ! Granted they will grow back very quickly! But problem's arise ,when they snap off below the gum line as this often leads to abssess just the same way molars do !! Important! ,some people will recommend clipping them with nail clippers, , (some vets use this method, but they use very expensive segical quality incisor clippers!
    There are people demonstrating this on utube! But there is a real danger of the tooth shattering
    Probably the best way to keep front teeth in trim is to give them hard room veggies like carrots ,turnips, parsnips ect, though parsnips can be an aqired taste ! In general pigs seem to favour carrots !

    Lack of vit C ! Vit c is an important Vitermin, it helps fight off infection! Best scorses of vit C is red/yellow bell peppers, parsley (though not to much, like all greens to much can cause runny poos, and that can be fatal ), don't just feed the highest vit c veg like bell peppers, mix and match

    Respiratory problems are often fatal, ld go as far as to say the majority of respiratory pigs die !
    What causes respiratory infections, ! Overcrowded, damp and mouldy living conditions, itreducing a sickly pig (quartering for 7 to 10 days should be sufficient for you to be able to identify a pig with a problem )
    A sick pig will be lethargic it's hair may be fluffed up, eyes may be dull and or watery or sticky!

    Though to my mind the things that kill the most pigs prematurely is digestive issues brought about by the keeper feeding two much green veggies, diarea can dehydrate and kill a pig very quickly, it can be controlled but it is hard work!
    Bloat oftern called the mother of all emergencies, bloat can be brought about by bad feeding practices like too much veggies, vegetables that are past there sell by date ! Dried food that is passed it's sell by, mouldy dried feed , and some times even changing there food types two quickly can cause a problem, though l've never heard of it casing the dreaded bloat!

    Not to forget probably the biggest problem of all and not just for guinea pigs!
    Is overreacting to a potential problem, (that in its self is not a big deal ) we are all worry guts when it comes to our fur babies! The problem is the vets that are not knolageable in small animals! , Oftern a pig will get a molar work just because the vet is not familiar with a pigs molar profile! And yes you are surtain to get metercam and sepretin!
     
  14. Dec 20, 2018 #14

    Dave

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    Half an hour ago some one asked about guinea pigs sorry for the long post
     
  15. Dec 20, 2018 #15

    Dave

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  16. Dec 21, 2018 #16

    Dave

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    Not sure if this is the right section to post this question! I have a visitor in my house, a big old boy wild rat, (there may be more but l have only ever seen and heard big boy!
    My question big boy is not overly frightened of me ! But he is chewing wire, he has already caused a power failure!
    I have a rat friendly trap but if l do manage to cach him , how far would l have to take him before it was to far for him to find his way back !
    I know he is the only rat l have "seen" but l am aware of the strong social bond rats have , so he may well have family under my garden shed !

    Other option, does anyone know wether it is possible to cage and tame a wild rat /s

    Any other ideas? Not prepared to poison
     
  17. Dec 21, 2018 #17

    SQ

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    Actually posting about the boy in his own thread will get you more answers

    Why do you think he is a wild rat?
    He may be an abandoned pet rat.
    If he is a pet then you will need to provide him with a good home.
    Does he have any white on him? Where? Pictures? If he doesn't he could still be a pet.

    Orphaned baby rats (and mice) are kept as pets as they will die if released - and they adjust if given enough socialization while young ......…
    but wild adult rats do not normally adjust to captivity because of their extreme startle reflex etc ……..
    but he could be a frightened or a feral pet rat - escaped or abandoned ..….
    or have had one domestic pet as a parent and thus does not have the instincts to survive in the wild.

    What do you mean by he is not overly frightened?
    Read the info by Post by Sorraia, a field biologist in California in this thread https://www.ratshackforum.com/threa...-be-released-into-the-wild.35656/#post-495767

    Wild rats do live in family groups and need their family groups for survival.
    Rats also have territories. If taken very far - ie out of their territory, then they will be in the territory of other rats who will kill them.

    I believe that Jorats on this forum and her family once had a wild mouse problem, and they put bales of straw in their shed, and provided food and water for the wild mice in their shed for years. It kept them out of the house as they were safe, warm and had food and water ............. something you might consider once you determine for sure that he is a wild rat.

    If you are sure he is wild and not domestic, there are things you can do to convince him to leave such as ultrasonic devices (as long as you do not have pet rodents etc, and bock entrances (steel wool, peppermint scent etc), stop providing food and water sources inside your home etc - or use a live trap and move him to a good home in your shed (as mentioned above) to live out his short life as a happy, free, fed wild rat. …….

    If you convince him to leave without providing him with a home, food and water in your shed (and making him aware of it) then the next person he meets may not be as kind as you obviously are
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  18. Jan 5, 2019 #18

    dspch911

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    I currently have 2 skinny pigs. They are easier to take care of than the rats, but not as social
     

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  19. Jan 5, 2019 #19

    Lhawley

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    When I had GPs, I bought their food and hay thru www.smallpetselect.com and it was always great quality and it was delivered right to my door.

    FYI - they do have rat food but I have not yet tried it.
     

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