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View Full Version : New here! A few important questions...



GuineaGribbles
05-27-11, 02:20 pm
Hello! My name is Dana and I just joined, but I have been visiting this site for some time now. :) I currently have two wonderful piggies, Bean and Peanut Butter. Hopefully I can get some pictures up soon! If anyone is wondering about my username, "gribbling" is the term my mom and I use when guinea pigs purr. I don't know where it came from, but we have just always used it!
I have owned Bean for about a year and I bought here when she was about 6 months...I have to admit I got her from a pet store, but I just fell in love with her. She's huge! She is also very laid-back...she loves being cuddling and taking naps in polar-fleece "dino hut" that I made her. She is very quite and only oinks pleasantly when you pet her, but that's really her personality.
Peanut Butter, or Pean as my roommate likes to call her, we got from a Flea Market, believe it or not. I wasn't planning on buying another guinea pig, but I didn't want Bean to be lonely and Peanut was just so cute! She was just a little baby when we got her. She is very energetic and loves little noises like keys jingling or cell phone rings...she is always gribbling. Even though she looks like she owns the cage, Bean is definitely the one in charge. But they compliment each other wonderfully!

I do have a few questions. My first one has do to with guinea noises. My guinea pigs seem to love each other, they cuddle up frequently and purr at each other a lot as well...but sometimes they chatter at each other, and more recently, Bean chatters when you try to pick her up, but stops immediately when you are holding her and loves being pet and cuddled once out of the cage. Additionally, they are still quite skittish. Both enjoy being held and petting once in your arms, but usually run away when people try to pet them and sometimes even when people just pass by them. Any help? And is the chattering something to worry about? They have never bitten anyone, except one time when Bean bit an ex-boyfriend of mine, so it was definitely justified.

Another question I have has to do with bedding. First, I am new to C&C cages, and my piggies have a 4x2 cage at home with an upper level but 3x2 cage with an upper level at college to save space (dorms...). We had guinea pigs when I was young, but usually only ever had one at a time and used pet store cages. My mom bred guinea pigs for years when she was in her teens and 20s (so about 30 years ago...), but from what I understand C&C cages are a newer development, so she didn't know about them until now. Anyway, I have been using Carefresh bedding, which is really absorbent but it is REALLY expensive...it also smells bad. I saw a video of a women using sawdust, and it came in a huge bag which is nice and I think is much less expensive. However, I have also been reading about using fleece. Does anyone have an opinion on the matter? The thing is I am still in college and only really have time to change bedding about once per week. I am fine with picking up poop every day or every other day though. I just need a way to save time and money.

If I use sawdust, does anyone have an idea as to what brand I should buy, and if sawdust is okay for my guineas? I know cedar chips are not healthy, and I just want to know is there are any risks of using sawdust/wood shavings.

If I use fleece, is polar fleece alright? And, after washing the fleece about 3 times, would it be sufficient to use one layer of towels on the bottom, and then two layers of fleece to properly wick the pee?

Lastly, I'm very excited to be about of this forum. :) I love my piggies and just want them to have a healthy, happy, and long life with my being able to afford it!

GuineaGribbles
05-27-11, 02:30 pm
I managed to locate some pictures. Here are my piggies! Bean is the lighter colored of the two with more colors, and Peanut Butter is the two-tone black and brown one. Both are girls~

GuineaGribbles
05-27-11, 02:37 pm
I just have a few more pictures. I also forgot to mention that some of these pictures are old...Peanut Butter isn't a baby anymore! And that girl in the grass who fell asleep in the grass is my awesome roommate.

Cogni
05-27-11, 02:38 pm
Fleece is definitely the cheapest and easiest bedding there is. With poop-scooping, and perhaps an extra towel or pad underneath where they like to lie a lot, you don't need to change it more than once a week and it does not smell. One layer of fleece will wick the pee nicely. Two might block it from going through to the towels.

Don't use sawdust, it will stick to their bums and irritate them, and probably also they could breathe in fine particles which would be terrible for them. If you have to use a wood product, use hardwood shavings like aspen. I use that in their litter pans and as a bottom layer (over a vinyl liner) in their hay baskets. But fleece is definitely the nicest surface and most cost effective bedding for nice large c&c cages.

Chattering is a sound they may when they are protesting something, like getting picked up. As long as they are happy when once on your lap it is fine. But I like to avoid irritating my piggies so I pick them up carefully in some other object, like their haybasket (carefully surrounding it with my arms and moving slowly) or in one of their other containers --e.g. a bin on its side--that I lure them into with a treat and then gently turn so that they have to walk onto the bottom. Some people have luck with a 'piggie elevator', or piece of drain pipe that the piggie learns to go into and then the ends are covered with the hands.
You may learn a lot here that is at odds with what your mom 'knew', and that is because piggie lovers have learned a huge amount over the last 30 years, and understand much more now about their behavior and physiology and true needs.
Good luck with your girls and learning all you need to know.

Cogni
05-27-11, 02:40 pm
My message crossed with your pic uploading so I did not see them. Gorgeous and gorgeous!! Lucky you!

GuineaGribbles
05-27-11, 02:43 pm
Don't use sawdust, it will stick to their bums and irritate them, and probably also they could breathe in fine particles which would be terrible for them. If you have to use a wood product, use hardwood shavings like aspen. I use that in their litter pans and as a bottom layer (over a vinyl liner) in their hay baskets. But fleece is definitely the nicest surface and most cost effective bedding for nice large c&c cages.

Chattering is a sound they may when they are protesting something, like getting picked up. As long as they are happy when once on your lap it is fine. But I like to avoid irritating my piggies so I pick them up carefully in some other object, like their haybasket (carefully surrounding it with my arms and moving slowly) or in one of their other containers --e.g. a bin on its side--that I lure them into with a treat and then gently turn so that they have to walk onto the bottom. Some people have luck with a 'piggie elevator', or piece of drain pipe that the piggie learns to go into and then the ends are covered with the hands.
You may learn a lot here that is at odds with what your mom 'knew', and that is because piggie lovers have learned a huge amount over the last 30 years, and understand much more now about their behavior and physiology and true needs.
Good luck with your girls and learning all you need to know.

Thank you! I think my sawdust I meant something more like woodshavings though...would that be okay?

And I definitely understand that a lot of things I will learn are different than what my mom knows, which is why I joined :) She fully admits that as well, so I am up for any advice.

If I use only one layer of fleece and a layer of towels, will that be enough?

pinky
05-27-11, 04:33 pm
If you use wood shavings you need to be sure it's kiln dried. Wood shavings have aromatic oils that can lead to liver and kidney damage when it gets absorbed in their skin. Cedar is dangerous. Kiln dried pine and aspen are acceptable. Wood shavings are dusty, though, so keep that in mind. I'm not sure about fleece in a dorm. People might be upset when you wash the bedding in the washers there and might complain. Going a full week with two guinea pigs might be too long and could end up smelling. I always run an extra rinse cycle with vinegar after washing my fleece.

Cogni
05-27-11, 07:01 pm
I use two layers of towels, OR an old cotton mattress pad.

I guess fleece and towels might be tricky in a dorm, depending on your setup. I live (well not right now as I am out of the country) in an undergraduate residential college, in an apartment, but I can get outside to shake and beat the fleece out so there is no hay or poops going into any washer. I have access to the student laundry room, which contains a large bank of coinless high efficiency front-loaders that wash beautifully with little detergent. The students all seem to wash at the same times --late afternoons and weekends--so I can easily avoid them. Tip: early mornings are the best times to throw in a load in any student washers! If you can get up early for your piggies, you won't have to worry about competing for washers. I change their bedding every 7 days but I admit that if you do not live in an air-conditioned or a naturally dry climate, your bedding might end up smellier in the same amount of time. My residential college is so efficiently air-conditioned and dehumidified in our hot wet climate that I have to go outside to get a little moisture in my lungs. (I'm living in a much better climate for my ridiculous sinuses right now--sea air.) The piggies like the dry cool air though, better than our less air-tight house which more moisture and heat got into despite the constant a/c.
Good luck!

GuineaGribbles
05-27-11, 07:58 pm
I use two layers of towels, OR an old cotton mattress pad.

I guess fleece and towels might be tricky in a dorm, depending on your setup. I live (well not right now as I am out of the country) in an undergraduate residential college, in an apartment, but I can get outside to shake and beat the fleece out so there is no hay or poops going into any washer. I have access to the student laundry room, which contains a large bank of coinless high efficiency front-loaders that wash beautifully with little detergent. The students all seem to wash at the same times --late afternoons and weekends--so I can easily avoid them. Tip: early mornings are the best times to throw in a load in any student washers! If you can get up early for your piggies, you won't have to worry about competing for washers. I change their bedding every 7 days but I admit that if you do not live in an air-conditioned or a naturally dry climate, your bedding might end up smellier in the same amount of time. My residential college is so efficiently air-conditioned and dehumidified in our hot wet climate that I have to go outside to get a little moisture in my lungs. (I'm living in a much better climate for my ridiculous sinuses right now--sea air.) The piggies like the dry cool air though, better than our less air-tight house which more moisture and heat got into despite the constant a/c.
Good luck!


I definitely think I'm gonna try the fleece, I don't think washing should be too big of a problem. Technically I will still live in dorms, but they are apartment style. Most of the time, I do my laundry at the landramat anyway, and shaking out poop/hay shouldn't be an issue. Thanks for the advice!

LightningPig1
05-27-11, 08:54 pm
Welcome to GPC! Your piggies are adorable!!


(by GuineaGribbles)
I do have a few questions. My first one has do to with guinea noises. My guinea pigs seem to love each other, they cuddle up frequently and purr at each other a lot as well...but sometimes they chatter at each other, and more recently, Bean chatters when you try to pick her up, but stops immediately when you are holding her and loves being pet and cuddled once out of the cage. Additionally, they are still quite skittish. Both enjoy being held and petting once in your arms, but usually run away when people try to pet them and sometimes even when people just pass by them. Any help? And is the chattering something to worry about? They have never bitten anyone, except one time when Bean bit an ex-boyfriend of mine, so it was definitely justified.The teeth chattering you described is perfectly normal dominance behavior and is nothing to worry about.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and is there natural instinct to be scared. They may be surprised at the sudden movement and get frightened which would cause them to do that. So we as owners need to be very gentle and let them know that we aren't going to hurt them!! But you sound like your doing pretty well with that.


(by GuineaGribbles)
Another question I have has to do with bedding. First, I am new to C&C cages, and my piggies have a 4x2 cage at home with an upper level but 3x2 cage with an upper level at college to save space (dorms...). We had guinea pigs when I was young, but usually only ever had one at a time and used pet store cages. My mom bred guinea pigs for years when she was in her teens and 20s (so about 30 years ago...), but from what I understand C&C cages are a newer development, so she didn't know about them until now. Anyway, I have been using Carefresh bedding, which is really absorbent but it is REALLY expensive...it also smells bad. I saw a video of a women using sawdust, and it came in a huge bag which is nice and I think is much less expensive. However, I have also been reading about using fleece. Does anyone have an opinion on the matter? The thing is I am still in college and only really have time to change bedding about once per week. I am fine with picking up poop every day or every other day though. I just need a way to save time and money.I use 2 layers of denim u-haul blankets with one layer of fleece on top. This system works amazing. I highly recommend it. Here is a thread all about it. http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/bedding/58123-review-uhaul-blanket.html 2 layers of towels and a layer of fleece on top works well too, but I prefer using u-haul blankets because it keeps dry for a week or more, looks nice and smooth under the fleece and doesn't get wrinkles.
All you have to do to keep it clean and smelling nice is stick the fleece and blankets in the washer once a week (using vinegar and detergent with no softener added) and sweep the poos up once a day!! I looks nice and smells nice 24/7. 1 u-haul blanket does a cage as big as a 2x5!! One blanket is normally just 8 dollars!! It's a really big money saver and it worth every cent!!

Your piggies also may be experiencing worse dominance behavior because 2x3 even with an upper level is too small for 2 piggies. Only ground space counts for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs get stressed out when in smaller areas and could be part of your problem. I understand your situation though. If possible, could you go a little bigger?


(by GuineaGribbles)
f I use sawdust, does anyone have an idea as to what brand I should buy, and if sawdust is okay for my guineas? I know cedar chips are not healthy, and I just want to know is there are any risks of using sawdust/wood shavings.Do not use sawdust, it is not good for guinea pigs health and it causes them to sneeze and it plain out just irritates them.


(by GuineaGribbles)
If I use fleece, is polar fleece alright? And, after washing the fleece about 3 times, would it be sufficient to use one layer of towels on the bottom, and then two layers of fleece to properly wick the pee?You only need one layer of fleece to properly wick the pee. For towels, I recommend using 2 layers because they get wet fairly fast and would need to be changed more often.

Welcome again to the forum!! You've definitely come to the right place :)

kathlaaron
05-28-11, 04:25 am
Hello there and WELCOME !! :)

Your girls are beautiful !! I wanted to pipe in to let you know that I too, highly recommend using two layers of u-haul furniture pads underneath one layer of fleece ! I have had no problems with smell and only need to clean and change my whole cage out every 7-9 days ! I do a daily sweep up of poops, and that is it ! One u-haul furniture pad is only $7.95 a blanket, and one blanket measures 68"x85" which easily folds in half, making two layers. Here is the online u-haul storage link below:

U-Haul: Moving supplies: Furniture Pad (http://www.uhaul.com/MovingSupplies/Protective-stuff/Furniture-Pad?id=2670)

Hope this helped, and again Welcome !!

GuineaGribbles
05-28-11, 05:39 am
Thank you for the advice on the denim u-haul blankets! I will check the thread out to see where to get them.



Your piggies also may be experiencing worse dominance behavior because 2x3 even with an upper level is too small for 2 piggies. Only ground space counts for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs get stressed out when in smaller areas and could be part of your problem. I understand your situation though. If possible, could you go a little bigger?


I wish I could go bigger :( They are at home quite often, so most of the time they are in the bigger cage. However, I was supposed to be living in a single room next year and I wanted to bring their big cage with me, but I ended up with a double and I can't force the big cage on her, nor can I force my parents to take care of them at home. Maybe she will be willing to let me bring the big cage though. :)

kathlaaron
05-28-11, 06:45 am
[quote=GuineaGribbles;555558]Thank you for the advice on the denim u-haul blankets! I will check the thread out to see where to get them.


The link I gave you up above is where you can purchase the u-haul blankets, silly !:p

Deb's4Pigs
05-28-11, 07:31 am
Maybe she will. She seems to like them. Sleeping with them outside. lol They are both beautiful.