Farm Life Guinea Pig

Things to know before you buy a Guinea Pig

June 22, 2017

Things to know before you make the leap and purchase that adorable little Guinea Pig from the pet store or the rescue group.

Guinea Pigs are smart, I have trained them to spin for a carrot.  I even set up an agility course for Waffles.  He was jumping over a straw held by two toilet paper rolls.  

 

Food Requirements:

They always have to have fresh hay to eat all day long.  Eating hay helps keep their digestive tract running smoothly.  Hay also keeps their teeth from overgrowing.  They are like rabbits, their teeth never stop growing, and you will need wood blocks to keep that in check.   If they stop eating, the first thing to check is the teeth.  I go thru a 48 oz bag of hay a week. I purchase it at Amazon or Tractor Supply as it is the cheapest I can find.

Guinea Pigs cannot produce vitamin C they have to eat foods that contain it.  Every week I purchase a large container of organic spring mix.  I also supplement with orange sweet pepper, this is the highest of all the peppers in Vitamin C.  Important note, they cannot pass gas, so do not give them anything that would cause gas.  Cucumbers would be a vegetable that could cause gas.  

Pellets are another thing they need daily, ¼ cup per pig. A bag of pellets lasts 3-4 weeks.  Pellets will provide them with the minerals they are missing from the other two items.

Total Food Cost for the week: $18.00

 

Cage:

Guinea pigs need room; they like to run and popcorn a lot.  They cannot have a wire frame floor as this will hurt their feet since they are sensitive.

 pee pads

I have purchased the C&C cages, and I keep them on a card table next to a wall.  

They will tend to urinate when they are sitting eating their hay and greens.  I keep that area in paper bedding. The rest of the cage is fleece.  Some piggies will keep a tidy cage and some will not.  You will have to clean up poop pellets daily or every other day.  I use a tiny hand broom and dustpan for this.  I have tried everything including a small vacuum and the dust pan, and hand broom is the easiest.

To handle the urine, I have purchased adult human pee pads that cover the floor of the C&C cage, I then drape the fleece of the base of the C&C cage, put in the C&C kitchen, so it’s snug.  I take the C&C cage and set it over the base.  The cage holds together when I pick it up and put it over the base.

The pee pads are washable, so I purchased enough that I always have a clean set when changing out the cage.

The only downfall to the cage is the paper bedding as it’s very expensive and last about a month.  $20.00 for paper bedding.

Treats:  

I only give baby carrots and never more than one a day.  Too high in sugar and will make your piggy fat.

Nails:

You will need to trim these.  I just use nail clippers that are for humans.

Fur:

Occasionally I have had to clean a poopy butt because they back themselves up in their hut and get it all dirty.  Typically they clean themselves, and you shouldn’t need to give them a bath.   I bought a baby brush to get all the dead hair off.

Lifespan:

Guinea Pigs can live to be 3-7 years old.  

Temperature:

They cannot regulate their temperature.  In the winter we keep a heater in their room so it’ never goes under 65.  They can’t handle cold drafts, so in the summer be careful of the air vent or if they are near an open window.  

Illness:

A guinea pig’s immune system cannot fight off a cold or an infection.  Make sure you know where you can take them if they get sick.  Waffles started getting sick on Sunday and first thing Monday morning we were on the way to the vet.  Waffles went into cardiac arrest while the Vet was giving him an antibiotic.  My Super Cute Waffles passed away that day.  

Let’s recap:

  • Monthly cost of ownership: $100.00
  • Large cage and special bedding required.
  • Must have a Vet on hand.
  • Long Lifespan – Keep that in mind if you’re purchasing this for a child.
  • Social creatures and need attention from their owners.  

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