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Thread: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    There have been quite a few threads on this site and others about pink guinea pigs showing up in pet stores. I figure I'm not the only one curious about the source so if you have one or have seen one in a store, I wonder if you'd share the info about the name and location of the store.

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    Cavy Slave blessedmom's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Never heard of it! Are they actually pink?

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    No. It sounds like they've come in contact with some sort of dye, either from a bedding or some procedure that the breeder is doing. I'm also really curious about this, and would love to see a list compiled of the stores where they were seen. The most recent post was about a guinea pig in a Petco store. Petco doesn't have its own breeders; they buy animals from distributors in their region that also sell to other stores. If we knew what stores they were found in, it shouldn't be difficult to ask a store manager which breeder the pink guinea pigs are coming from. Then we could email that breeder to find out why they're pink.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    I actually own one of the pink guinea pigs you guys are talking about. I didn't realize this epidemic has been going on for awhile, nonetheless, I'll share my pink guinea pig story.
    I work at a local pet store (which I will not name, hopefully that will be respected), and every week we receive a shipment of baby guinea pigs, about seven or eight at a time every week because they sell so fast. Typically the guinea pigs come to us as little babies, only a couple months old. And I'm sure you know the drill, we gotta hold them and cuddle them, give them kisses and love them because it's just so darn hard not to!

    Anyway, I'm one of the main openers for my store so it's my job to feed all the animals, give them fresh food and water, give the small animals fresh food and new water (if they need it), give them all treats I brought from home, and so on and so forth. Now, in the very back of my store, we have a somewhat small room where we keep "new arrivals" i.e. the guinea pigs, hamsters, birds and such. I also go back there to check the animals, give them food and water; I check the hamsters, make sure none of them have wet tail and if they do, they go in a deep cleaned habitat and separated from the rest until well again. Once that part of my routine is clear, I move onto the guinea pigs -- my favorite part.

    Now the guinea pigs are kept in very large, separate bins, with two water bottles, a big hut and a large feeding dish with timothy hay in the corner. This is where I encounter my current pink guinea pig, Wilbur. Wilbur was among a few fancy guinea pigs, some with long, crazy hair all different colored who were a bit erratic, super nervous and scared because they were in a new place. I thought they were adorable until Wilbur finally caught my eye. He was crouched in the corner, frightened and nibbling hay nervously and unable to contain myself, I quickly scooped him up to hold him in my arms and then I noticed he was pink! I thought perhaps it was his skin, so I pulled his fur back a bit to check only to realize his fur was pink. I spoke softly to him, telling him what a little cutie he was, especially since he's pink, and immediately Wilbur started cuddling me. He would nestle under my chin and make soft wheeking noises while I would pet him, and give him kisses.

    I think this is when I first fell in love with him, and realized I couldn't live without him. Once done there, I moved onto the isolation ward where we keep are sick animals, medicated them, observed any "injured birds" we had (someone thought a parakeet had a swollen foot because it got caught. Turns out this particular parakeet is just super clumsy, and isn't as graceful as her kin). I spoke to my manager about Wilbur, asked why he was pink and all that. She said she couldn't tell me why he was pink, but corporate was going to look into it. Apparently before I started working there, there was another pink guinea pig and he was super healthy, seemed to be sturdy, acted like a normal cavy, until one day they found he had passed.

    My manager didn't want to put Wilbur on the floor because of this, and worried about selling a sick or injured guinea pig to a customer, only for them to come back a week later complaining of a death. Well, to say the least Wilbur was kept in the back for three weeks with his guinea pig friends until it came to the day his friends had to be put on the floor...

    I wheeled the bin out of the back, Wilbur and friends in tow, unlocked the cage and put the three long haired babies in their new temporary home-- except Wilbur. I held Wilbur in my arms, let him cuddle me as I had usually done. At this point, it had become routine for me to tend to Wilbur first, as I had loved him and desperately wanted to take him home. Once his friends were secure in their new home, I took Wilbur into the back once more where he sat in his bin, alone.

    For the next week, Wilbur was...well, depressed. He was by himself in an unfamiliar place, his only companions in the world were sold immediately and he was by himself. This made me feel guilt and pity for poor Wilbur. I spoke with two of my managers, told them I'm taking Wilbur at the end of the day and I would be back for him after my shift. They were fine with this, as they had already known how much I adored Wilbur, and so I came back. I bought a brand new cage, pink litter to match his pink fur, fancy new chew sticks, ox bow food, Timothy hay and treats. Oh, and a small little bed he sleeps in every night, along with a harness and leash.

    It's been a week so far and I'm happy to say, Wilbur is the happiest he's probably ever been. Everyday he gets his favorite treat--romaine lettuce, cuddles, all the hay he can eat, a small amount of apples and whatever else his little cavy heart desires. He's very healthy, happy and piratically popcorn's all day, especially during playtime.

    But I have noticed, in the week that I have had him his pink is starting to fade a bit. I theorize that now he's happy and healthy, is getting treats that are rich in vitamin C and has constant stimuli, that maybe the pink was brought on by perhaps a dye or vitamin deficiency? If that makes sense? I can try to post a picture of him on the forum so you all can see him in his adorableness, and see how truly pink he is and make your own thoughts on the subject.

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    Cavy Slave sallyvh's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    It would be interesting to see photos of him then/now.

    On a side note, please consider adopting him a friend. Guinea pigs are herd animals and do infinitely better with a cage mate. Even if we have all the time in the world to spend with them, it will never compare to the companionship of another guinea pig. Unfortunately pretty much every pet store cage is too small for one pig, let alone two. Check the main page of the forum for recommended cage sizes and remember, bigger is always better.

    Also, almost all pet store treats are full of sugar and are really not species appropriate. The best treats you can give him are fresh veggies, red or green leaf lettuce and green bell pepper should be staples.

    Please do not use the harness and leash you purchased him. Harnesses are very dangerous and a guinea pigs spine can easily be broken by one.

    Welcome to the forum though! This place is a wealth of information and you can learn a ton to give your little guy the best life possible. We would love to see photos of Wilbur!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Sounds like you're a new guinea pig owner. Here are some links you may find useful:

    -- http://www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html
    -- http://www.guinealynx.info/emergency.html
    -- www.cavyspirit.com
    -- the stickies at the tops of the main forums here
    -- https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...us-Plants-List for what you can feed and how often
    -- https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...ur-guinea-pigs!

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    Cavy Slave blessedmom's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Pictures would be great. I'm curious about these pink pigs. Welcome to the forum. Please take time to read the wonderful info here! No matter what you already know about GPigs, there are so many knowledgable people here and you will learn so much! My piggies live wonderfully because I've read so much great info and asked lots of questions!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    I read the ingredients on the back of the treats to make sure he's not getting anything that's not good for his little tummy, but the treats I have are ox bow. I don't really give them that often; he'd much rather munch on romaine lettuce haha. And not to worry about the harness, we put it on him once and then never tried it again; he didn't like it, and I didn't like seeing him unhappy.

    And the cage I have for him now is definitely too small, I didn't realize this when I first purchased it. I do want to get him a bigger cage, though! I want him to be able to run around and be his silly self. Unfortunately, I have to wait until my next paycheck to get him the bigger cage I want, I have quite a few plans for it. And fortunately, there's a guinea pig at our store up for adoption; the owner came in because she had to give him. She was allergic to him, and you could tell she really loved the little guy.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a picture of Wilbur a couple days ago, I'll have to get a picture of him in the morning when it's brighter out. But he's definitely lighter than he is in that picture.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    And btw, thanks for the links and welcomes!
    I love learning new things about how to make my little guy happier and healthier.

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    Cavy Slave blessedmom's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    He's precious! I bought two GPigs from Petsmart almost 2 years ago and got their biggest cage only to come home and learn that the cage was not even big enough to meet minimum recommended requirements. I checked several sources and they all agreed that I needed a bigger cage. I felt so bad. First I ordered a Midwest Guinea Habitat that met you the minimum requirements but my boys weren't getting along so well and I felt like I was having to clean it so often. I then learned boys need even more space! I read this forum and with the info was able to buy the supplies to build my own C&C for less than I spent on the Midwest or the store cage! And my boys started doing zoomies and popcorning and acting so happy! Look at the info about building one yourself if you need to. You won't regret it! Congrats on the new baby! So sweet! Also be double extra sure he's a he before getting a mate! It's easy to be mistaken. Read about sexing them. Especially the part about making the penis "pop out". I brought home a new piggie recently that even a vet had said was a boy but it wasn't!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpootyBooty View Post
    And btw, thanks for the links and welcomes!
    I love learning new things about how to make my little guy happier and healthier.
    I also work at a pet store, and learning about how to care for my guinea pigs on this forum has also helped me talk to customers about proper guinea pig care. I love finding people browsing the hay or guinea pig food sections and asking about their pigs, teaching them about C&C cages, and letting them know about proper nutrition.

    I don't know if this would interfere with corporate's investigation, but you should be able to find out who your guinea pig supplier is by checking the invoice when they come in. I did a Google search of the breeder that supplies our store and found that they had a full website, public contact info, and even a few YouTube videos. If your breeder also has a website, you might be able to email them and ask, as the owner of a pink guinea pig that they bred, why he's pink and if there are any health concerns you should be aware of.

    If they're an open and honest company, I don't see why they wouldn't tell you.

  13. #12
    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Yesterday I read that Holmes Farm in PA, a massive pet mill and one of the largest suppliers of pet stores including Petco and Petsmart, is under federal investigation. Petco has dropped them as their supplier.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/64e88...-federal-probe

    I wonder if this is where all the pink guinea pigs are coming from. Someone from PETA went undercover and was hired there which allowed them to document the horrific conditions. Years ago, I adopted a guinea pig from a rabbit rescue where the animals were also kept in poor condtions. I contacted Dept of Agriculture in Springfield IL to report them. Someone from PETA contacted me and asked if I could go back there with a camera and take photos. There's no way I could do that since they were housed in an old farmhouse that was converted to the rescue. I've never been a big fan of PETA but I give them a lot of credit for being able to infiltrate this mill to get those poor animals help. I'd still like to know why these animals are pink.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here he is two minutes ago before he started popcorning everywhere. I know it's a little late, but I just got home from work. I don't know if you can tell or not, but the pink has faded a bit.

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    Cavy Slave PeanutnCookie's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    @kairi26 Just curious, How do you convince people to buy better food like Oxbow? A pet store associate recently convinced my dad to buy cheap pellets with a lot of colored bits in it, and when I tried to tell him that those are bad for guinea pigs, his argument was "If they are bad for guinea pigs, why do they sell them?" Do you run into people like that?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    You can tell you dad that pet stores are not in the business of providing good care for the animals they sell, they're in the business of making money. It's why they sell cages that are too small, and harnesses for guinea pigs that can damage their backs, and pellets that are no good for them. They don't make any money on the animals they sell -- they're called "loss leaders." Instead, they make their money on the crap they carry that is supposedly good for the animals.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutnCookie View Post
    @kairi26 Just curious, How do you convince people to buy better food like Oxbow? A pet store associate recently convinced my dad to buy cheap pellets with a lot of colored bits in it, and when I tried to tell him that those are bad for guinea pigs, his argument was "If they are bad for guinea pigs, why do they sell them?" Do you run into people like that?

    I've had this problem numerous times at my pet store. When I'm walking with them about the guinea pigs or any of the animals we offer, I tell them about oxbow, the hay, and when they ask why some companies sell food that's unhealthy for them, I simply say, "To be quite honest, I don't know. It could be about money or cheaper products for the food."

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  20. #17
    Cavy Slave PeanutnCookie's Avatar
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Ok. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks !

    Unfortunately, I told him this and he had a counter argument. He said, "Well it's not killing them and people still buy it. If the food caused the guinea pigs to die, what do you think would happen to the business' reputation? No one would buy their stuff. But since it's not, the food must not be THAT bad."
    Last edited by PeanutnCookie; 01-27-16 at 08:54 pm.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutnCookie View Post
    @kairi26 Just curious, How do you convince people to buy better food like Oxbow? A pet store associate recently convinced my dad to buy cheap pellets with a lot of colored bits in it, and when I tried to tell him that those are bad for guinea pigs, his argument was "If they are bad for guinea pigs, why do they sell them?" Do you run into people like that?
    Sometimes a junk food analogy helps. Saying something is like Cheetos for your pet can work. I'm also not afraid to say when our products are flat out dangerous, like guinea pig foods with seeds, homeopathic dewormer, and cages that are too small. I think most people have had enough experience buying defective, damaging, or worthless products that they don't blindly believe that something must be good just because it's on the shelf.

    The problem with an undereducated customer or employee is that without additional knowledge, people tend to assume that more expensive/more ingredients = better product. It's a rule that works for a lot of products (wine, computers, and jewelry, for example) but not for others, like medicine, clothing, and, as we know, guinea pig food. A lot of that bad food is very expensive/lb, so customers assume it's better quality.

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  23. #19
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    You're welcome
    So far, I haven't had any problems convincing customers to go with oxbow or another good pellet food, especially if they ask about the price of the food.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Source of PINK guinea pigs?

    Quote Originally Posted by kairi26 View Post
    Sometimes a junk food analogy helps. Saying something is like Cheetos for your pet can work. I'm also not afraid to say when our products are flat out dangerous, like guinea pig foods with seeds, homeopathic dewormer, and cages that are too small. I think most people have had enough experience buying defective, damaging, or worthless products that they don't blindly believe that something must be good just because it's on the shelf.

    The problem with an undereducated customer or employee is that without additional knowledge, people tend to assume that more expensive/more ingredients = better product. It's a rule that works for a lot of products (wine, computers, and jewelry, for example) but not for others, like medicine, clothing, and, as we know, guinea pig food. A lot of that bad food is very expensive/lb, so customers assume it's better quality.
    That too.
    I once had a customer ask me to show them the cheapest cage we had, and unfortunately it was super small, so they then decided to announce they were going to buy a plastic bin to keep their piggy in! Needless to say, I did not sell them a guinea pig that day.

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