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Thread: First time guinea pig owner with a few questions!

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    First time guinea pig owner with a few questions!

    Hello! This is sort of an introduction post, with a few questions since I keep finding mixed answers online! I bolded the questions since there is a lot to read through.

    As of about 3 weeks ago, I am now the owner of an adorable orange and white American guinea pig (only one for right now- I'll get to that question in a minute), named Henry. He seems to be doing well, I just moved him into his new, bigger cage that I finished last week and he's loving the extra space!

    In order to get to the questions I have, I have to explain the situation first. I got my guinea pig from Petco, which, in the time since then, I have learned was probably not the best place to get a guinea pig. Henry was in a small cage, smaller than the one I initially bought for him, with three other guinea pigs and only one hiding space and water bottle. I had known a bit about guinea pigs in the past, since the year prior I did some research because I wanted to get one, but it didn't work out at the time. I now have the time and space for guinea pigs, which is why I decided to go through with it. From the prior research I had done, I knew that guinea pigs do well in pairs since they're social animals. However, when I asked the employee if Henry would need a friend, he said it would be fine to only get one, especially if I gave him enough time, love, and attention. He was trying to sell me an aquarium tank, but I also knew that guinea pigs needed lots of space to run around, so I asked him if the aquarium was really the best option, and he said it would be good for one guinea pig. I know I should have confirmed this with a local shelter first or done more research prior to refresh my memory, but that is my mistake and I took the employee's word for it.

    When I got home, I did more research and found out about the cages that people make for their guinea pigs, which I have just recently completed (as well as making the switch to fleece, but keeping the paper bedding in his kitchen). I made about a 4x2 foot cage, so he has lots more space to run around and explore! I make sure that he has fresh pellets, hay, and a variety of veggies every day, which he also seems to really enjoy. I did have a few questions though, as I am a first-time guinea pig owner and I want to make sure that Henry (and possibly a friend) has everything he needs.

    I know that guinea pigs do well in pairs and read that it is good to get two guinea pigs of the same gender. However, a few different things I've read say that you shouldn't get two males because they could get aggressive or fight for dominance. Is having two male guinea pigs a good idea? Could fighting/aggression be remedied by having a bigger cage with more hiding spaces so the two could have space to get away from each other if they need it? If any of you have any advice on this please let me know! I would love to get Henry a friend.

    Another question: I got Henry from Petco, but after reading about a lot of the things they do and where they get their animals from, I would like to adopt from a nearby shelter. If I were to do that, how do you guys go about introductions? I've read a few different things but if any of you have tips or personal experiences from what you've done I'd love to hear about them!

    My last few questions are regarding food. When I was reading about Petco/Petsmart on the forums here, someone said that it wasn't good to feed guinea pigs food from those types of stores. The employee recommended Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food, since that's what they eat there, but I do remember reading somewhere on here that that also isn't the best option for pellets. I'm not sure of the post but are these pellets a good option for guinea pigs, or would you recommend switching? What types of pellets do you use for your guinea pigs? I also feed Henry timothy hay every day (or sometimes botanical hay) and he seems to enjoy this very much. I do also feed him fresh veggies every morning, and I've been experimenting to see what he likes. I usually always give him romaine lettuce and carrots, as those are staples that he will eat regardless of anything else I add. I've tried adding in a few veggies here and there, but they seem to be hit or miss. Since then, I've tried cucumber, as well as red and green bell peppers; he liked the cucumbers on the first day but doesn't eat them as much anymore if I mix them in with his veggies. He did the same thing with the green bell peppers, too. The red bell peppers he didn't touch at all, so I don't think he was interested in them. I'm going to try some parsley tomorrow, and I've read a lot of the charts on here and other websites, but I was just wondering what other veggies you guys feed your guineas, and how often! Seeing the charts has helped but hearing from an actual person would be good too. For fruits, he really likes apples, but I only give those to him once or twice a week.

    I'm sorry for the novel, but if you've read this far I really appreciate it! I'm just looking for some general advice from those who have had personal experiences. I know I made a mistake in where I got Henry from, but I'm really trying to make sure that he has everything he needs and that he's enjoying himself. This is my first time posting so I still have a lot to learn, but if anyone has any recommendations, advice, or anything to offer, I'd be glad to hear from you!

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: First time guinea pig owner with a few questions!

    http://www.guinealynx.info/diet.html

    Congratulations on your new guinea pig and kudos to you for researching how to feed, house, and care for him. His life will be so much better in the large cage you built.

    I included the link at the top since there is a lot of really good info on guinea pigs. There are also lots of knowledgeable people here who have had guinea pigs for years.

    I have one guinea pig in a 2 x 3 grid cage. She was alone at our local humane society and I don’t have space to expand her cage more to accommodate another pig. That said, she’s healthy, active, eats well, and interacts with us throughout the day in a busy area of the house near the kitchen.

    I feed Oxbow products which is a quality brand. I get the adult pellets, vitamin C tabs, and Timothy Orchard blend hay.

    For fresh veggies, red or green leaf lettuce, cukes, bell peppers, and small amounts of carrots are good. If your little guy is less than 6 months old, the higher calcium veggies like parsley and cilantro are okay. Once they’re adults, high-calcium foods can lead to urinary tract issues and should be fed only very occasionally. Some pigs are sensitive to romaine and develop urinary stones so many of us avoid romaine. As you found out, a favorite food today may be passed over tomorrow so you never know what they like.

    Fruit is very high in sugar so only small treats every few days for most fruits.

    Avoid packaged treats like yogurt drops, dried fruit, or any pellet mixes with seeds or colored pieces. They are just filler and seeds are a choking hazard.

    Good luck with your new piggy. I’m sure others with more experience will offer opinions.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: First time guinea pig owner with a few questions!

    Here's some recommended reading for new pig owners: https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...nea-pig-owners

    You'll find many of your questions answered in those links.

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    Cavy Slave MaiaBex's Avatar
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    Re: First time guinea pig owner with a few questions!

    Welcome to the forum! (And I'd be avoiding that PetCo personally... an aquarium?!?! Holy cow! ) Beyond that...

    Is having two male guinea pigs a good idea? Could fighting/aggression be remedied by having a bigger cage with more hiding spaces so the two could have space to get away from each other if they need it? If any of you have any advice on this please let me know!

    I asked the same question a bit back -- my Tannim is a neutered boar and I was debating on boar vs. sow as a friend for him. The advice I got was that two boars can work together (several people around here have boar pairs). Yes, they do need a bigger cage than a sow pair would for exactly the reason you said. (And avoid a boar trio... that's asking for trouble!)

    how do you guys go about introductions?

    Can't answer that one from personal experience... Tannim is still an only. I'm closer to getting a friend for him though; it's just taking a lot longer than I'd planned.

    are these pellets (Kaytee Timothy Complete) a good option for guinea pigs, or would you recommend switching? What types of pellets do you use for your guinea pigs?

    I used the Kaytee Timothy Complete once, and I don't think they're that bad. Better than a lot of the other guinea pig pellets out there. That being said, Oxbow is considered the absolute best. I currently am using Oxbow Essentials Adult. Switching... ehh. I personally don't feel the Kaytee ones are so bad that it's a necessity, but the Oxbow ones do have better nutrients. So, your call on that one.

    what other veggies (do) you guys feed your guineas, and how often?

    Tannim gets a small salad of mixed greens and 1/8 yellow pepper daily. A baby carrot 3-4 times a week, a section of orange (I buy cuties) maybe 2-3 times a week, and cucumber and snap peas when I have them. Not the largest variety, I know, but I tend to buy veggies that I'll eat myself so that they don't go bad if he turns up his nose. So far the only thing he hasn't really liked is zucchini, which is okay because I love zucchini, so more for me!

    Keep up the good work of researching the best for Henry!

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    Re: First time guinea pig owner with a few questions!

    Actually, Kaytee Timothy Complete pellets are pretty much trash. Their calcium source is calcium carbonate (limestone) that has been implicated in stone formation. The only pellets on the U.S. market that I'd consider feeding my pigs are Oxbow and KMS Hayloft, both of which use a different calcium source.

    Here's the bible on guinea pig introductions: https://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html.

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