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Rehoming Can't rehome: How much human interaction do pigs need?


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 16, 2012
Well, I've posted to rehome my three pigs on CL, and I've gotten several replies. I'm an extremely busy graduate student, and I also have pet rats. I don't have near as much time for my pigs as I thought I would. Every time I see the picture I posted of them, however, I realize that I can't rehome them. I'm way too attached to them! Therefore, I'm asking how much attention they need from me. Obviously, I keep their cage clean and odor-free (they are on fleece), I feed them KM pellets and high-quality hay, I change their environment to keep them interested, I feed fresh veggies every day, and watch them and pet them a small amount each day. I don't do floor time often, but they are in a decent-sized cage (2x6) which I will probably change to 3x5 soon. Am I being selfish by keeping them, or is it enough that I allow them to enjoy their lives together, even though I only pet them and give them lap time occasionally?
I don't know about all pigs, but I do know that my two love their floor time. I give it to them every day, and because I work at home, I'm able to give them 2-3 hours in their play pens. I also give each of them daily lap time; hard to tell if Borat enjoys it since he's so laid back that he appears to enjoy everything, but Amy snuggles and really gets into it. Personally I can't imagine not giving them both types of interaction daily.

On the flipside, you have to be very careful with rehoming, since you have no way to guarantee the person who takes your pigs would give them more attention or treat them appropriately. Did you have a good screening process in mind when you listed them? There are good adopters on Craiglist, but it takes a lot of questions etc. to screen them from the potentially neglegent ones. At the very least, a proper adopter should be able to describe good cavy care with no prompting and be willing to send you at least a couple of email updates and agree to return the pigs if unable to keep them.
Truth be told, pigs prefer the company of other pigs to humans. With a lot of effort, you can teach them not to run from you, and when caught, some will snuggle. But I think they're perfectly happy interacting with each other, just as long as you show up on a regular schedule with the food!
On the flipside, you have to be very careful with rehoming, since you have no way to guarantee the person who takes your pigs would give them more attention or treat them appropriately.

That's exactly one of my issues. I've thought about the things I would require potential adopters to know and do, and I've realized that I'm unnecessarily strict. That is, they must give them the same care I do. It seems logical to me, then, that I should just keep them. I just cleaned their cage and replaced the fleece. They are doing zoomies all over the place going nuts! lol I can't get rid of them!!
Keep them; odds are they'll still be much better taken care of by you than by anyone you'll find for them on CL.
i've also felt a little guilty about not giving as much time to my pigs as others say they do on the forums. i love them all, and they have each other, and a good sized cage. the cage is in my livingroom, right next to my couch - so they see me, i see them, and we "talk" all the time. they don't really like floor time - they just sit there, no matter what i put in their pen for them to play with. i have some significant physical disabilities which limit my energy most days. they get fresh hay and veggies every day and i spot clean their cage 2x a day, with a full cleaning very week. sometimes i just have the energy for one lap sitting time and i have four pigs! and one of them doesn't enjoy lap time at all. so, i do what i can, but it's nice to have read your post @TCTrun, and your response @bpatters - i feel a little less guilty now.
Try to gives as much floor time as you can. I'm having the same problem; full time student, I work part-time, and I run my own business as well. As others have mentioned, piggies don't really desire human company. However, floor time gives them a change of environment, something new to explore, and keeps them mentally stimulated. Since they don't really play with toys like dogs and cats do, it's something they really need.

Floor time is easiest to do if you have a room in your house that is always piggy-proofed. I used to try to set up a little grated area with a blanket down for them, but it's just so much hassle that I don't end up giving as much floor time as I should. So now I just do my best to keep a room clean and ready for them so I can just plop them down whenever and let them run while I get some work done.

Good luck!
Since your cage is a nice size, floor time isn't as important. You can switch things around from time to time in their cage to keep things interesting and keep them moving around.

Your home sounds wonderful. It's impossible to know what kind of life they will have with someone else.
Don't feel bad about being a busy person. You are taking care of them, feeding them, and giving them a wonderful place to live all while you are creating a future for yourself. Don't give up on them just yet. Like others have mentioned, you probably won't find very educated or dedicated owners on CL.

I understand where you're coming from. I'm not a graduate student yet, but I'm in college and I have a job. It's hard to balance guinea pigs, work, and classes. However, I'm able to give them at least a little bit of attention every day and I give them as much floor time as possible. On my days off, such as today, I make sure they have plenty of floor time and attention. Whenever I write papers or I am studying, I open up the cage and allow my pigs to run in and out as they please (my living room is pig proof).

Whenever you're done with school and you have more time on your hands, you'll be glad you kept them. They're a part of your life through thick and thin. :)
What you could also do is to pig proof a room for them to play in when you're not home, or add an attachment pen onto your cage if space allows.
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