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Thread: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

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    Cavy Slave
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    Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Hello, I'm brand new and actually I'm not a GP owner yet. I'm researching what it takes to be a great GP owner before purchasing a pair that's up for adoption. I have a question that I'm having a hard time finding an answer to and hope you can help me.

    I'm looking for info on how much it costs to properly take care of 2 GPs per month. This would be after all the intital costs of cage, water bottle, etc...

    Here's what I see my costs will include, please add to this list as I'm new to this:
    Timothy Hay
    Oxbow pellets
    Fresh produce
    Bedding - Care Fresh?

    Also, how often do I need to take my GPs into the vet for check ups and what does that cost?

    Thanks, I really appreciate your help!
    Last edited by Ly&Pigs; 04-15-10 at 10:17 am.

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Hi Taiha, and welcome to GPC.

    Fleece bedding, if you're interested, would cut down on your ongoing costs.

    I usually take my pigs to the vet when I first get them, for a general health assessment and to get them set up with the clinic, but other than that, pigs really only need to see a vet when something's amiss. I'm not in the regular habit of taking pigs in for yearly checkups or anything like that unless there's a reason to go, or cause for concern. The cost will vary depending on your location, but for me a checkup (and nothing more) is $55.

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    Cavy Slave Sugar&Ellie's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    I have 3, and I actually don't spend too much money on them. Reason being, I have fleece bedding. So I wash their cage twice a week and I don't have to deal with the mess of shavings or carefresh all over my floor and tracked through my house. I also don't have to deal with the yucky mess it leaves in the cage or the smell. =S

    I do, however, buy carefresh and hay monthly for their hay bed. Because I only buy small bags of carefresh and the biggest bag of hay, it usually costs me $30 dollars.

    Veggies is another cost. For you, you're thinking of 2 cups per day of a variety of veggies. 2x30=60 cups of veggies per month. That would come to 40-50 dollars a month.

    Like Paula, I only take my pigs to the vet when I'm concerened about their health. I see no point in going for a check up and paying the money for someone to tell me they're fine when I already know they're fine.
    My vet is very cost efficient. Yesterday I went to get my dog's kennel cough vaccination updated and she gave me a check up too, it was $26..
    I believe for a guinea pig's check up it would probably be $15.

    You can call around your area and asks vet's how much they'd charge for guinea pig check up's. This will also help you choose a vet that's guinea pig/small animal experienced. Some vets never see small animals and some see them everyday!

    There's always random costs too, like when you go to the store to get a bag of hay and walk out with 3 cozies and a new pigloo.. so consider that as well!

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    Cavy Slave WildRye's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Here is what I spend on my two pigs per month in fixed costs:

    -Veggies: approximately $35-$40.
    -Pellets: ordering in bulk from KM divides to approximately $5/month
    -Fleece: $1 to wash every week (I have coin-op laundry) for a total of $4/month. (I air-dry on a rack to save the dryer fee.)
    -Hay: I get hay for free from friends with horses.
    Total of about $50/month.

    Sugar and Ellie's vet is frankly quite cheap. I paid around $60 for a wellness check on my boys when I first got them. It is wise to start an emergency vet fund for when your pigs (or other pets) need to go.

    Good for you for doing your research first! Your future pigs will certainly appreciate it.

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Duffinvt's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    $40 for a well pig visit here.

    When I buy my lettuce, etc. my cost for veggies, hay and pellets is probably near $40 per month for my two adult females. I grow wheat grass in the winter and have a huge vegebable garden in the summer. I also have land with forages like dandelion and raspberry and strawberry leaves as well as lots of fresh grass. I hope to reduce my costs come summer with these additions.

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    Cavy Slave fieryone's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    I have four pigs. I buy pellets and hay in bulk which ends up being about $65 (with shipping) but this lasts me about 6 months, so its about $6+ a month.

    I also buy large bags of Carefresh and Yesterday's News online for the kitchen/litter box area which probably ends up being about $10 a month.

    I use fleece bedding which is a one time cost, so no monthly expense there.

    Veggies are the biggest expense but there are ways to cut costs by visiting farmer's markets or bulk stores (Costco, BJ's, etc). I spend about $20 a week on veggies for 4 pigs. But I also feed them probably twice as much than you "need" to. Mine get about a cup each per feeding (2) instead of per day.

    A vet visit here in CT is about $30 (plus any medications, etc), but I only bring them in when there is a reason to. They don't need check ups like dogs and cats since they don't get shots.

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    Cavy Slave PiggyKat's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    I buy hay once a week(they didn't have large alfalfa bags so I have to get the tiny ones) that is about 5$ a week so that is 20$ veggies are about 5$ a week since I have a local market that sells them pretty cheep So another $20 and I bought my pellets in a huge bag but it's lasting me forever so I'm guessing it is going to last about 3 months at the rate I am going through the pellets. So about 2$ a week?thats 8$ So a total of around 48$ as a guessatimate for me.
    My pigs cost 26$ per pig per visit now(So 52$ total). My first visit was about double that since I had never been their before. I believe it was 47$ per pig(but she let me have one pigs as a recheck to save money).
    I also have fleece bedding which I bought and made myself. I own my own washer so I don't have to pay for washing. To make the piggy bedspread was under 15$ but like I said I made it myself and the fleece was on sale. I have my mom and dad save the coupons for deals and it helps a lot. I'm not sure about carefresh sorry!
    Hope this helps! It sounds like a lot now that I type it all out but as I'm buying everything it doesn't seem that much.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Can you tell me more about the fleece option for bedding? Are we talking polar fleece? Not quite sure what that is but it sounds like a way to save a bit. I'm pretty passionate about high quality food for us humans so I know I won't be saving any cash by purchasing cheap GP food. Bedding sounds like a safe place to find a cheaper alternative as long as it's safe.

    Thanks for all the input, I really appreciate it

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    Cavy Slave fieryone's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Too late to edit. I did my math backwards . My pellets and hay equal about $10 a month for both.

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    Cavy Slave MyZoo2's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    On average, we spend:
    $50/month on veggies

    Every 6 months:
    $50 for 45-50lbs Bluegrass Hay (from KM)
    $16 + s/h Timothy Pellets (from KM)
    *The last time I ordered my pellets w/ hay so I don't know how much the s/h is for just pellets.

    As needed:
    Fleece & mattress pads. I usually pick this stuff up when I see it on sale.

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Duffinvt's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    I am too late to edit, also. I paid the vet $40 for both pigs so $20 each for a well pig visit.

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    Cavy Slave CavyLuver516's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Here are the costs for my 2 piggies:

    -Hay: I will get it from the bale, which is up to $4 per bale. I got 2 flakes from a friend, and it's GREAT stuff! Plus, bales are much fresher, cheaper and last much longer than store bought bags. If this isn't an option, try www.kmshayloft.com , I've heard it's the best hay out there.
    -Veggies: $5 to $10 a week
    -Pellets: I get Oxbow Cavy Cuisine from the local shelter for $14, and a 10 lb bag lasts around 3 months for my 2 pigs.
    -Bedding: Fleece bedding is the way to go. I got 2 fleece throws (50" by 60") from Walgreens for $7 total. I use crappy towels from around the house, but I'm thinking of switching to a mattress pad to make a bed spread for them.

    Hope this all helps!

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    Cavy Slave Lady_Magoo's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Every week I spend about $5 in veggies. I went to the store the other day and bought a head of cauliflower, baby carrots, a cucumber and an apple and it was only $5. They get about a cup every feeding put together and they eat about three times a day. They are still babies, so I don't give them the normal cup they say, but they are fat.

    What I have found is hard for me is finding the right lettuces since ice berg isn't good for them at all, let alone humans. I have stayed clear from that area simply because I have no idea what to give them still.

    I use fleece, and right now I change the cage and wipe it out at least 3 times a week. If you spot clean your fleece every day and depending on how large your age is, you could possibly only have to fully clean the cage about once or twice a week from what I have read and heard. Fleece is reusable, and a good idea is to try hobby lobby or jo anne's for it. I bought $40 worth of fleece at hobby lobby the other day for about $17 because it was reduced and some was on sale. My piggies love it because it's soft, and my cozies are made of fleece too. It also cuts down on the mess when you clean out the cage. I just take my cage outside, pull out the fleece, shake it out, turn the last of the poo out of the bottom and clean the inside of the cage.

    Good luck with your new piggies! They are loads of fun, and cuteness!

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    Cavy Slave Sirene's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Hello! I have 2 boars and spend the following:

    Hay: $14 per month (I buy in bulk from Sweet Meadow Farms and this price includes shipping)
    Pellets: $7 per month (again from Sweet Meadow or Cavy Cuisine, 10# bags for around $20, lasts 3 months for 2 pigs)
    Fresh Produce: $20 per month (each week I buy 2 different lettuces, 2 bunches cilantro, 1 bell pepper and a cucumber for the pigs). They then get apple, orange and baby tomatoes from our "people groceries".

    A "well pig" visit to the vet is $55 for two guineas.

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    Cavy Slave lizzybones's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady_Magoo View Post
    What I have found is hard for me is finding the right lettuces since ice berg isn't good for them at all, let alone humans. I have stayed clear from that area simply because I have no idea what to give them still.
    Here are some helpful images of lettuce that is good for guinea pigs (and humans!) to eat.


    green lettuce.


    romaine lettuce.

    red leaf lettuce.

    They should be pretty easy to find in your produce section of the supermarket.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    I spend about $10 per week on veggies, but I would consider that the low end of the spectrum; it's hard to do without careful budgeting and oftentimes I blow my budget so that my pigs get a healthy variety of vegetables. Not sure how everyone else manages their veggies so cheaply but I could use some pointers.

    As for hay, I purchase it locally by the bale if possible. I get a 50 pound bale for $6, which based on how fast I use hay, will last around ten months (I have only recently started buying by the bale and haven't had to buy a second bale yet, but I know I use about five pounds of hay monthly).

    Pellets, I use around 5 lbs monthly, which at the pet store is $15 (I get them wholesale, not through the pet store, and pay $5).

    I use fleece bedding, so bedding costs are minimal -- a set of fleece and towels cost me $15, and that's a one-time fee.

    So that brings me personally up to just over $45/month, $60/month if you pay full price for pellets but still use fleece, buy hay by the bale, and budget veggie money well. It sure does add up!

    My vet charges $45 for a well pig visit and I have had antibiotics run me in the $25 range, if you ever need those. As you can see vet costs vary tremendously by location.

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    Cavy Slave Sirene's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Holly&Fred View Post
    I spend about $10 per week on veggies, but I would consider that the low end of the spectrum; it's hard to do without careful budgeting and oftentimes I blow my budget so that my pigs get a healthy variety of vegetables. Not sure how everyone else manages their veggies so cheaply but I could use some pointers.
    Not sure - maybe it's just where we live, but here in TX the produce seems to be a lot cheaper than it is in some other places. I pay the following prices for produce at my local supermarket:

    Red leaf lettuce: $1.77 (for a lettuce the size of a basketball)
    Green leaf lettuce: $1.50 - $1.77 (for even bigger than a basketball!)
    Romaine: $1.50 (football sized lettuce)
    Green bell pepper (these are the cheapest where we are): $0.80 each
    Red bell pepper: $1.28 for a HUGE one
    Cucumber (not the English kind, I get the kind with the thick skin): $0.50
    Cilantro: $0.38 per bunch (one bunch makes 2 big handfuls)
    Parsley: $0.58 per bunch (same)
    Oranges are cheap right now, you get the small ones at $0.20 each, and I can usually pick up organic apples (which I share with the pigs) for about $1 each.

    The most expensive things are tomatoes - I buy a big box (about 2-3lb I think) of pesticide-free cherub tomatoes for $5 at Costco. I eat most of them myself, though! :-)

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    Cavy Slave Wednesday_12's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    I adopted my guinea pigs and after several months they both had mites
    I had to take them to the vet about 4x each, each time costing my about $80. It was expensive and it was not a good start to being a guinea pig owner

    I recommend that if your guineas start to show signs of mites that you do take them several times in a row, so that you can stop the mites re-occurring and get rid of the mites completely. Although, your vet should advise you on what to do.

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    Cavy Star Cogni's Avatar
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    I prefer not to look at the piggie expenses sometimes!! Their vet check-up after I got them was $75 each, plus they charged me extra for ear cleaning and toe nail clipping! But Paula is right--if you really pay attention to their needs (rather than wants), including the right veg so they don't get stones, the right hygiene so they don't get URIs etc., they do not generally need vet care. I put away a bit of money for it each month as a kind of self-insurance, or old age pension for the piggies when they get old and need more vet care.
    I eat out less and spend freely on veg for the pigs with the savings. I want to be at home more with my piggies anyway. Using fleece saves a boatload of money on bedding in my opinion.
    If you can get fresh, good local hay, that will be the cheapest option, but the next cheapest is quality hay online. It looks like a lot but works out way less than any pet store hay could cost.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Monthly costs of 2 GPs?

    Hi,
    For me I just started on fleece but I buy a big bale of hay at the beginning of the year for ten dollars (thats NZ dollars mind you) and that lasts me at least 5 months possibly more when they were in the hutch with hay and newspaper. that's probably an underestimation. It's quite a big bale so it takes me a while to get through it!!

    I spent about $10-15 a month on pellets.

    For vegetables I don't actually spend that much extra. We always buy heaps of leafy greens and lots of carrots and vegetables. If we have some that look a bit 'guinea piggy' as we describe, those go to them generally. You will find that food scraps to us are a meal for a guinea pig. Like the scraps from capsicums (i think you call them peppers where you are? like red peppers or green pepper) they eat the water melon skins too. Ends of carrots that you cut off. They dont mind lettuce being a bit limp, even though it's not as nice looking as it could be and you dont want to serve it, your guinea pig won't know the difference! So when you cut your vegetables definitely save the bits and peices you won't be eating!! They can have the ends of cucumbers too.
    That way you don't have to spend that much extra on vegetables for guinea pigs. basically what we get from the grocer for ourselves becomes shared with the guinea pigs. The only thing we probably end up buying extra of is carrots. But that's more because the rabbit loves them.

    So my monthly cost is probably only the pellets and maybe a tiny bit extra on vegetables. Once i've bought my big bale of hay which I get from a guy who gives it quite cheap, I don't really have to worry much about on-going costs.

    Also by giving your guinea pigs the bits of vegetables you don't want to eat you don't waste as much. Seriously, when you go to a non-guinea pig owners home and you see them throwing the scraps in the bin you'll cringe!!! They are perfectly good food really, and the guinea pigs love them.

    As the others say, you don't normally have to do check-ups. You'll know when your guinea pig is unwell and then you can take them. But they don't really need check-ups. It's just a big expense if you take them every month to the vet for the vet to tell you they are fine.

    Hope I was some help to you!!

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