View Full Version : Newbie Post & Questions

03-05-14, 06:59 am
Hey guys,

My names Heather and I'm a new guinea pig owner after rescuing the handsome man from a care home. I have a few questions, firstly we was told he was female, after looking at a number of different sites, I finally worked out that 'she' was a 'he'.

We was also told he had been neutered, but considering they couldn't decide whether he was male or female, I question that, is there any way to tell?

He's also on his own, in a L95 x W57 x H46cm cage, I've read that guinea pigs get lonely and depressed so I spend as much time with him as I can. However, I wondered if it would be better to get him a companion to keep him company when no-one is around?

If getting a companion is a best option, assuming he is an adult now, would he be okay with a young boar? As i'm not sure me, or the other two owners involved of him could afford getting him neutered?

Hope that you guys can help!

and Hello, from me and Milo-Frank! :)


03-05-14, 07:09 am
Hi and congratulations on your new friend! He is super cute! I don't think there's any way to tell if he's neutered or not though. Also, yes they do better with friends. My two are alone though because they don't like other piggies too much. He should do fine with another young boar as a lot of the time, the older ones that have already gone through puberty will be tolerant of the younger ones. If you get another, you will see them dominance humping each other and they might nip a little bit because they must figure out who is in charge. This is normal. If it turns to war(bleeding, etc.) separate them before it turns really bad.

Introduce them on neutral ground. Try giving them a bath together, called a buddy bath. It will help bond them in the experience. Clean out your guinea pig's cage and everything in it before introducing the new guy so most of the smells are gone, that way neither one will feel AS entitled to the whole place.

Hope that helped! And just ask if you have any more questions! :)

03-05-14, 07:21 am
Welcome! Cute pig! Guinea pigs need long grass hay such as timothy, orchard, and a few others 24/7 along with water. They can get 1/8 of a cup of pellets per day, per pig. And 1 cup of veggies a day per pig. Guinea pigs cant make their own vitamin c,you give him 1/8 of a green bell pepper a day and he will be fine. Guinea pigs nails get sharp, and there are tutorials on how to clip them or have someone do it for you. Good veggies to give your pig are: green/red leaf lettuce, cherry tomato, green bell pepper, fresh green beans, and carrots and apples in tiny portions.
Getting him a young boar friend would be the best option. You will need a bigger cage and introduce them where neither pig has been before. Put a big pile of hay and veggies in the area and put 1 pig at each end. Dont do piggie playdates before they meet because it stresses them out because they have to figure out who is the boss, over and over again. Good luck with your pig(s)!

03-05-14, 08:01 am
Thank you both for the advice, very valuable! Definitely with the vegetables and ways to introduce!

Is there a two week inclusion period if we do get another one? I've read somewhere you should keep them separate for two weeks? Only issue is, they would have to be in the same room?

He was with a male in the home for a short while, apparently they didn't get on, however, the other seemed more dominant. They were also inexperienced and just got them for the sake of having them, the poor little man had never been cleaned or anything. So, I just wonder if it was just the general dominant stuff, rather than a fight because neither seemed to get injured with blood and stuff as you mentioned.

We've clipped his back nails, he's lost one of his front nails, we've soaked it in salt water and it doesn't seem infected, he did this a couple of weeks ago, we wasn't sure whether you clip the front nails as the pink line seemed to be all down the nail? Again, doubt he had even been clipped until we did it, unless previous owners did.

Again, thank you so much for the advice! :)

03-05-14, 08:08 am
Welcome to the forum!

Adult male testicles are usually pretty hard to miss. See www.cavyspirit.com/sexing.htm for examples.

A very young boar would probably be easier to introduce than one his own age. A spayed sow would be better yet, but they're hard to find.

03-05-14, 08:13 am
non neutered boars have big balls, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I was totally amazed at how big my young guys were. If your new piggy is older it should be about the same as in the pictures.

03-05-14, 08:16 am
His balls, aren't really all that huge, they don't stick out obviously either?

03-05-14, 08:22 am
Try the sexing link bpatters gave you and see if you can have someone take a picture while doing it. Remember to press to get the penis to extend.

03-05-14, 08:25 am
I'll try that later, just wouldn't want to get a sow and end up with some babies! :)

03-05-14, 08:32 am
Thank you both for the advice, very valuable! Definitely with the vegetables and ways to introduce!

Is there a two week inclusion period if we do get another one? I've read somewhere you should keep them separate for two weeks? Only issue is, they would have to be in the in the same room?
Yes there generally is a quarentine for the new pig, unless you get the pig from a shelter and they have done a quarentine already. The new other pig should be in the other room incase he is sick, you dont want it spreading to your pig. Not only does it give time to show if the new pig is sick, but it also gives them time to settle in and be away from other pig smells and noises that might freak them out when they first arrive.

03-05-14, 08:33 am
Yes, the new pig would need to be quarantined for at least two weeks (preferably 3-4) in another room to make sure it isn't sick. The second pig needs to be in another room during quarantine. On the main page there are minimum size requirements for different numbers of Guinea pigs (keep in mind males usually need more room than females, so if you have two male pigs you would need a 2x5 C&C or the equivalent amount of space) You do clip the front nails, but if they were never clipped you will have to go slowly by clipping a very small amount (avoiding the quick, of course) once a week or whenever the quick recedes until they are a good length.

Also there are lots of guinea pigs in rescues that need a home! Pet stores usually have their pigs cramped into a tiny space, without separating males and females, with pigs coming home missexed, pregnant, or sick, and most of the time the pet store employees do not know any better

03-05-14, 09:14 am
lunarminx, not all unneutered males have large balls. The vast majority do, of course, but it is possible for a male to have small testicles that aren't well defined. You should still be able to extrude a penis, though.

03-05-14, 09:27 am
Before you consider getting a friend for your pig, you would need to get a larger cage. The minimum size for ONE pig is 28in X 42in (2 grid X 3 grid) cage. What you have is a 22in X 37in cage. It's too small for ONE pig much less for TWO. Males need more space than females do. Not enough space can cause fights.

03-05-14, 10:02 am
Genuinely, this was the biggest cage in the pet store for a 'rabbit/guinea pig' and they state that two guinea pigs can live happily in their, go figure? Pet stores are rubbish, let alone, seeing the rabbits in their the other day, there is no way they would fit.
Also the cage he was in previously, was a small birdcage, he had no room what so ever, so this was definitely an upgrade for him!!

I found that they do sell the CC cages in the UK, but considering the cage we have has just been brought recently (not by myself, by the person who brought him home) I don't think that would go down too well? 65, $109.... There's also two cats and a dog in the house, I keep them away of course, but do they do CC cages with lids?

03-05-14, 10:55 am
http://www.candcguineapigcages.co.uk/cages-with-lids/ here is where you can purchase C&C's with lids in the UK, not too expensive either. You'd be looking at a 2x5 minimum really for two boars.

03-05-14, 10:58 am
http://www.candcguineapigcages.co.uk/cages-with-lids/ here is where you can purchase C&C's with lids in the UK, not too expensive either. You'd be looking at a 2x5 minimum really for two boars.

Thank you, if I got a sow and he was neutered, whats the smallest size then?

03-05-14, 11:26 am
2x4, any smaller and you're pushing it a little really IMO.

03-05-14, 11:40 am
Ok thank you, see what I can do! Just surely they Shouldn't sell cages that are unsuitable! :)

03-05-14, 11:50 am
Click on the Main tab at the top of the page. The recommended cage sizes for the number of pigs you have is there, but remember that more space is always better.

03-05-14, 11:58 am
Any type of business that is created purely with the intention of making a profit, will sell things regardless of how suitable they are. Pets at Home sells a cage called 'ferplast cavie 80' - it literally has cavie in the title. It's marketed as a specific guinea pig habitat. It's miles too small, it's a pet prison. They tried to sell me it and I told them I wasn't interested in something so small. As much as I'm all for being positive and seeing the good in people, the majority of businesses do not care about the consumer, only how deep the consumers pockets go unfortunately.

bpatters am I remembering wrong or did someone mention a while back that the main tabs sizing needs updating? It says that for two pigs, 7 sq ft is enough (minimum) but I've only ever seen people say 8 sq ft + (minimum) for two pigs in thread discussions?

03-06-14, 04:07 am
Yeah, we got that ferplast one but the 100. We was just 'saving' him and from the tiny birdcage he was in... it seemed massive, didn't really have a clue, so i've been trying to do my research to find out about what's suitable and the advice i've got here has been great, so thank you! :)

Princess_Piggie what cage type do you have now, the c&c one?

03-06-14, 05:13 am
I currently have the rabbit 160 cage from ferplast, which is just under 10 sq ft (inner measurements) so it's around the size of a 2x4 C&C. While it is suitable and the girls have plenty of space, ideally I'd like to have a C&C myself, but I just can't afford it at the minute. I'm probably going to get round to getting one in the next few months, but since it's not imperative I'm not pressing myself too much.

03-06-14, 05:21 am
Ah right, thank you! I've discussed getting one, if the cost is split three ways, along with fleece and some washable 'pee pads' to be more cost effective! Is that suitable?

One thing I've noticed is that he doesn't run around much, he has his mad 2-minutes every now and then, but thats about it?

03-06-14, 06:33 am
For pee pads you can always use towels, I use towels as my absorbent layer and they work just fine! Even more cost effective if you have some old ones lying around you don't want to use any more. I just bought a set from Argos for 10 for mine. If you're going with actual pee pads though, like the kind you'd put in a babies crib, try and find incontinence pads instead, bed sized ones, that way you won't have to fit loads together.

Do you know how to do the fleece wicking already or do you need some tips? :)

You haven't had him very long, it'll take a while for him to get comfortable enough to popcorn and zoom loads. My girls wouldn't leave their hideys for a while, but now it's got to the point where when I'm putting hay in the cage, I have them doing zoomies around me and popcorning over my hands! Just give him time to warm up.

03-06-14, 06:57 am
I was going to get the incontinence pads, however if towels work just as well, i'm sure there could be some spare. Dependent on how many towels are needed?

I haven't a clue on fleece wicking, so some tips would be great! thank you!

That sounds adorable! He popcorns when he's under this sheet thing and it's adorable haha :)

03-06-14, 07:48 am
Well, I only use one, (at a time), but you'd need to allocate 2 (or more) so as when one's being washed, there's another one to go in. I can get away with one because I have extra pee pads (that I made myself) strategically placed in places that get peed on the most, so as it's got extra absorbency. I think people who just have fleece and towel without any extra pads use two at a time generally.

Your fleece needs to be 100% polyester. I use argos fleece blankets, but any polyester fleece will do. It needs washing 3-4 times before putting in the cage (and allowed to dry in between washes), with detergent only, no fabric softener or dryer sheets etc. You can also put 1 cup of vinegar in, some people say it speeds it up, I've never done it personally. After the few washes, just pour a little bit of water on to the dry fleece, with kitchen towel or something underneath. If it soaks right through to the towel, it's wicking the moisture. If it takes any longer than about 10 seconds, it needs washing more. Basically you have to break down the fibres, so as any urine will go right through the fleece on to your towels, leaving the fleece dry (and more importantly hygienic) for the pigs to sit on.

03-06-14, 09:24 am
I read somewhere that micro-fleece does it straight away? I'm not sure. I never gave argos a thought though, will have a browse now! Thanks!

How often do you change the towels? If their was no pee pads?

03-06-14, 09:42 am
Regardless of the fleece type, it still needs wicking before it can be used. Different people find different fleece works for them. Some will say anti-pill is the best, others swear against it.

I imagine if there was no pee pads, every 4 days would probably be best. To start off with, I'd just keep looking under the fleece. If the towel still looks relatively dry, it doesn't need changing. When you start to feel/notice dampness in the towel, change it.

Pee pads are pretty easy to make, though. I haven't done anything fancy, literally just sandwiched towel between two piece of fleece and stitched it all together in the size I need it in.

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/1113518.htm this is what I use, I have a few in different colours. I find it wicks better than other fleeces because of it's texture (it's cuddle fleece, it's hot a higher pile to it).

ETA: I hand stitched the pads, in case you're thinking you'd need a sewing machine. If you buy darning needles, they go through all the fabric pretty easily.

03-06-14, 09:54 am
I might try my hand at sewing then!
So if I made some, i'd put the pee pads, towel and fleece?

Thank you ever so much for your help! :D

03-06-14, 10:04 am
I put the pads on top of the fleece, so as I can change them every few days. The two corners where they pee the most also happen to be where they lie/sleep the most, so being able to change them and flip them regularly means they're pretty much never sitting in anything dirty.

You're absolutely welcome! :)

ETA: If you plan on putting a pad in their hidey like I do, make it a bit bigger than the hidey so as the hidey holds it down, otherwise you'll just end up with them getting under it or pooping under it and stuff.