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Cleaning Advice about housing please


Active Member
Cavy Slave
Nov 14, 2011
Sorry if this is in the wrong place but I'm new here and in general don't use the net much, I have a problem of sorts and would appreciate some advice please. I have 4 rescue pigs, 2 girls and then a year later i took on 2 boys, thinking they could all live together, for the first 2 months they were housed apart while the boys healed from being neutered then over the course of 2 weeks i gently increased the amount of contact they had with one another until i thought they could live together, within a few hours my dreams of a happy family saw me taping together off cuts of coroplast to make a temporary home for Sweep until i could sort something else out, Sweep had bonded with Mo and so i split my mom and daughter pair so both boys could have a companion. Previously where i lived i had a spare room so had 2 6x2 C&C cages set up, I've now had to move house, so the piggies were outside in 2 specially constructed hutchs 2x7, after 2 months outside i got a bit panicky about the damp and brought them inside, problem being i don't have the room i previously had, Egg and Sillychops C&C is 4x2 but Sweep and Mo's C&C is 1 and a half x 3 and a half, i notice even thought i spot clean twice a day and full clean every other day, the cage smells. At present i use shreaded Cardboard (previously tried carefresh and biozorb and didn't like either, i also used in the past a shreaded paper that was blue/white and fluffy which was great but i can't seem to find this again, any ideas anyone?) I do have a insulated garage that i could house one set of pigs in, in a bigger C&C anything up to 2x6 again, but i don't like the idea of no natural light, does it matter? also are the C&C better raised off the floor? Previously my other 2 cages were upstairs but these new ones are downstairs, it's a new house so i don't know how drafty it gets...previously i was really pleased with my cages but now i feel i'm letting my piggies down a little. I'm not sure if a smaller cage in a good place is better than a larger cage in a not so great one, Help please and sorry again if this is in the wrong place cheers lu
I don't know what to do about the smell from the smaller cage, but do have a suggestion:

Could you build a stacked cage so both sets of pigs could have a 2x4? It would save you some room and you wouldn't have to worry about moving either pair to the garage. There's quite a few pictures in the gallery you could check out for ideas, but here's one I just found real quick.

My first C&C cage - Guinea Pig Cage Photos
Smaller cages do tend to smell more than larger ones, but your problem may be the bedding. Can you try kiln-dried wood shavings (no cedar) or wood pellets? Either would be better than a paper-based litter.

They'd be better off housed inside with you. Piggies are great at hiding illnesses until just before they totally crash, and you'll be more apt to notice that something is going wrong. Besides, if they're in the garage, you'll miss out on all the entertainment.

But how did you introduce them? If you didn't put them in a neutral environment, and then into a cleaned cage that didn't smell like any of them, you may have sabotaged the whole process right off the bat. Read Guinea Pigs Social Life -- the Introductions section is about halfway down. Also, it doesn't help to put them together and then separate again -- they will try to sort out their dominance issues every time, and it's just stressful for them. You may want to try again for one cage, but it will have to be much larger than a 2x4 for four pigs.

I like Catahoula's idea of stacking the cages rather than putting two in the garage.
i replied but not sure where its gone, thankyou for the advice
i replied but not sure where its gone, thankyou for the advice

What are you thinking about doing? Different litter, a new introduction to see if all 4 can live together, or a new cage design?
Thankyou both for taking the time to reply, at present i am trying to relocate a fish tank in order to upgrade there home. I will check out the social guinea pig guide again to see if i can gleen any tips.

When i first brought the boys home i had a 6x2 set up opposite the girls, the boys lived in this while healing from being neutered. The vet told me i should have them in a different room as the scent of the girls would cause aggression and that they wouldn't ever be able to live together. I did notice aggression between the boys pretty much from the off, Sillychops has always been in charge and dominated Sweep, first there was nibling, biting the back, constant mounting from the side and front, tooth chattering, facing off, all this in between bouts of chasing, which never seemed to end, Sweep wouldn't eat as he was never in peace to do so he lost a little weight and was at the vet several times, I hope this might get better, but well... To introduce them i set up a third 6 x 2 kitted it out with houses, mini ramps, toys, and the like, bathed them all with a little help, but in a pile of fresh veg to deter the aggression and sat back, things were good for about an hour then the harrasment would start, Silly would also try it on with Mo, but she's stand her ground so he'd go back to "hunting" down Sweep. I never gave up, this was tried daily for weeks and at one point i just left Sweep in to see if it would sort itself out, but after several hours and me being on tenderhooks sat outside the cage, it didn't seem to let up, i then gave up on a community and now even though the pigs live apart, they have social time every day (for the last 9 months + ) in a big run in the garden apart from the last few weeks now the weathers turned and the grounds always damp. I will keep noseying around on the site to see if there are other things i can try...I did have a situation like this before with 3 females that could not get along and over the course of many long months it eventually sorted...I think because the boys are chunks the aggression seems worse, also i don't even know if they were actually pair bonded when i got them or if they were lumped together...The place they came from did not have a good rep...cheers again for the advice Lu
I will hunt a new litter out this weekend also, the cardboard doesn't seem to be as absorbent as i recall, I'm also gonna treat myself to a little me time checking out all the cage designs for ideas once the kids are in bed but at present homework calls
cheers again
PLEASE don't put them in a fish tank! Unless it's absolutely huge, it's way too small for even one pig, much less more than one. And even if it is large, they have horrible air circulation, and the pigs are breathing in the off-gases from their poop and urine. A fish tank is about the worst living conditions a pig can have, with the possible exception of a wire floor.

With introductions, you shouldn't separate them unless one pig is being bitten or harassed to the point that it can't eat and is losing weight. Humping, nose-offs, chuttering, rumbling are all very normal, and are not cause for separation.

You also should put them in a large neutral area first, like the floor of a room with towels or blankets over it, or on the kitchen floor. Leave them for several hours to give them a chance to get used to each other while they've got plenty of room to run. Put more hideys in than you've got pigs, and make sure they've all got two entrance/exits to them. If you just put them in a cage, they don't have enough room to get away from each other at first.
Thankyou both for taking the time to reply, at present i am trying to relocate a fish tank in order to upgrade there home.

She didn't say she was going to put them in a fish tank, just saying that she had to move a fish tank in order to have enough room to expand their C&C Cages out again
Sorry, my bad! I read that as locate a fish tank, not relocate a fish tank. **slinks away to get some more coffee**
I'd like to thank you all again for the advice...after reading and rereading a lot of stuff on here, i decided to give it another shot at them all living together. I've cleared space to build a 5x2 with a 1x2 loft (i know it's a grid smaller than it needs to be). I got some new coroplast within walking distance of my new house and spent a few hours with the kids measuring it out and cable tying the grids together. It was then set up with hidey holes and plenty of fresh veg, then i picked up all the piggies and put them in the laundry basket and whisked them off to the bath room. Filled the bath with warm water and bathed them all, Sweep the skittish one loved the water the best and Egg who's usually the sweetiest piggie ever and usually loves bath time hated it. I must say it was a nerve racking experience, I usually bathe them one at a time in the kitchen sink...anyhow they all had a bath and munched on lots of greens while i dried them and trimmed there nails, then settled them into there new home. touch wood it's been a full 60 hours and there has been no sign of trouble, i have kept the old C&C set up just incase there was trouble, but it looks like i won't need it, i figured i'd give it a week then if i don't need it i can take it apart to expand this new cage a little, Not sure if it's because they've spend time together previously or if it's the bathing together thing but so far it's worked, previously it's never been this good, my boys stoked seeing all the piggies together, anyway many thanks, off to find new bedding now
Glad you got it built! We'd love to see pictures.
Yeah! Would love to see pictures of your little heard. So happy Thayer are getting along.
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