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Thread: Hello!

  1. #1


    My name is Essence, I am a 13 year old, I live in an apartment. I have been asking my mom to get me guinea pigs, still waiting for approval. I have been doing lots of research on guinea pigs for weeks now, I am wondering if I should get guinea pigs since I will be responsible of taking care of them. I have the bedding already, and I could do floor time in the bedroom or in the bath tub. I still need to get prepared for their arrival, is there a list of supplies I should buy?

  2. #2

    Re: Hello!

    Hello and welcome! I'm glad to hear you're considering getting guinea pigs! They're pretty awesome. I'm glad to hear that they'll be receiving floor time! I can tell by that you've done your research. Below the list I'll also put a few things to consider just to make sure you're as prepared as possible.

    There is definitely a list of supplies you'll need. I want to warn ahead of time to NOT listen to anything a pet store employee has to say. They are likely very misinformed unfortunately.

    1. Unlimited timothy hay, orchard grass hay, or brome for adults; alfalfa for young pigs. (For example, I'm allergic to timothy so I use orchard grass instead) Pro tip: I like to buy 50 lb bales from Oxbow since they're good quality and you save a TON when you buy in bulk!

    2. A hefty savings for any vet expenses. These may be paid by your folks since you're 13, but let them know that since piggies are exotic critters a sick pig can easily cost $200-$600 per visit or more, and almost certainly more if you have to make a run to the emergency vet. Yearly (or preferably, twice yearly) regular check ups can run $50-$80 depending on your vet. You'll need to find a cavy-savvy exotics vet and emergency vet that's also cavy-savvy. A dog-and-cat vet won't cut it here and can accidentally cause harm to your piggy. Here's some questions you can ask to make sure your prospective vet is cavy-savvy:

    3. High-quality pellets (timothy-hay based for adults, alfalfa-based for young pigs). Gonna give another shout-out to Oxbow for this one. Make sure that the pellets you buy DON'T have seeds since these can be a choking hazard, and no colored pellets since these aren't nutritionally sound and aren't good for piggies. Plain pellets only.

    4. A large cage that is NOT from a pet store. Pet store cages are over priced and WAY too small for pigs. C&C cages are great for cavies and you can customize it! Here's a link to sizing:
    And here's a link on how to make them:
    If you need any help with cages, this forum is flush with knowledge, so ask away.

    5. Can I ask what kind of bedding you have? There are a few to avoid and some that have tricks to them so we want to make sure you're on the best path possible.

    6. Veggies - Your piggies will need about a cup of fresh veggies per day, a lot of it being something like green leaf or red leaf lettuce. You'll also want to make sure there's plenty of Vitamin C and not too much calcium. Here's a great link with a sortable chart of veggies by nutrient. The website also has foods to avoid:

    7. A kitchen scale and something to put the piggies in. Weigh weekly! Since guinea pigs are prey animals, they'll hide their illness and not show symptoms until it's often too late. But, the little critters can't hide weight loss! If you catch an illness early, your guinea pig has the best chance of surviving. This is saved my own guinea pigs so many times!

    8. Water bottles. I like to keep two in case one malfunctions. Pro tip: do NOT put Vitamin C drops in the water like pet stores will tell you to do. The Vitamin C degrades very quickly in the water and it makes the water taste bad, so your piggies won't drink it as much. Persnickety little buggers

    9. Hideys. Guinea pigs like to hide, so I always recommend at least one per pig.

    10. Wooden chews. Their teeth grow constantly, so make sure they have something to whittle their incisors down on! This is also why hay is so important; unlike pellets, hay has a texture that helps wear down incisors AND molars (yup, their molars grow constantly too).

    Whew! I think I got most of it, but I'm sure others will chime in if I forgot something! Now here are some things to consider:

    1. Guinea pigs live an average of 5-8 years at least and I've seen a pig that lasted 12 years. Once you turn 18, what will happen to your pigs?
    2. Do you and/ or your parents have enough saved so you can afford vet bills should, goodness forbid, your furbaby gets sick or injured?
    3. Where will your pigs be housed? It's strongly advised to not put them in bedrooms since you can develop allergies. If they're not in a family area (like the living room), subtle symptoms of illness can be missed, among other concerns.
    4. Will your folks be helping with pig care at all? It's usually not recommended that minors be the sole caretaker of pigs for a number of reasons, including but not limited to having a second set of eyes to catch subtle symptoms.

    I hope this was helpful! Of course, feel free to stop on by if you have any other questions. We're here to help cavies and their humans be as happy as possible.



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