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cavy in a classroom?

WendyK

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
189
I would like opinions about keeping a cavy in a classroom (during the week) on the weekend the cavy will be going home with me. Good, bad, mixed - what should I be careful about. Thanks in advance. WendyK
 
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I agree with the supervision part 100%. I think it would be rather easy to put a padlock on the lid of a closed C&C cage. Sounds extreme, but I'm sure you know how creative young (or older/should know better) children can be.

Here are some things that come to mind:
1. The pig will still appreciate a same gender a buddy. No matter how much human interaction, a guinea pig still prefers the company of its own species. Especially if its going to be alone all night.
2. If you adopt from a shelter or rescue, you can get a bonded pair of known personality and usually good health. However, be prepared that a rescue may not adopt out to a classroom situation unless you are very prepared to provide an excellent home.
3. The pig will still need a C&C cage in the classroom. They need lots of space 24 hours a day, not just on the weekends.
4. Chalkdust: You may use white boards, but be aware that any dust, cleaning solutions, etc... are very damaging to a guinea pig. Their respiratory systems are sensitive.
5. Traveling: If you live in a cold area, or seasonal area, taking your guinea pigs home could expose them to drafts and chills that may result in a URI (upper respiratory infection).
6. Emergencies: Pigs can go down hill very quickly. That means between 3:15pm on Monday and 8:00am on Tuesday. One night alone can mean the end of a pig in a medical emergency.

I'm going to split this into two posts to make it more readable...
 
I would think the piggy NEEDS to come home at night. If this pig stops eating... you won't know for hours. 16 hours of anorexia will kill a pig.
 
Continued...

7. Routine: Guinea pigs thrive on routine. They like to eat at the same time everyday, have floor time, cuddle time, etc... All at the same time. Also, guinea pigs have a personality. They may not want to be held when your class has time to hold them. And random, loud noises during the day will upset them. A loud sneeze still sends my pigs running after 3 years!
8. Availability: Guinea pigs sleep...a lot! You will probably find that if its not feeding or play time, the guine pigs are asleep in their hidey houses. They don't like to run in wheels, and are unlikely to hang out at the front of the cage when given a cozier option. This may dissappoint both you and the kids.
9. Expense: This is a note to anyone thinking about pigs: Initial costs: Approx. $168 to get all of the initial things, including adoption fees for two pigs. I used a very low $25 adoption fee. Monthly costs: $150 to keep them in bedding and good food. Vet Bills: For a Well Check it is $39 each, bloodwork $90 each, Medication $10 to hundreds, Surgery Hundreds.
10. Pigs will 'nip' from overhandling. And often have accidents while being held when they are young. I can just hear the calls from the parents now...
 
slap_maxwell said:
... 16 hours of anorexia will kill a pig.
Exactly. When the digestive track of a piggy stops, its very hard to reverse. Absolutely life threatening.
 
Continued...

So, based on those ten points, my personal experience with guinea pigs, and reading forums: My suggestion is that if you want guinea pigs as a personal pet, and can provide everything listed above, go for it. They are lovely pets and additions to your home. That way, as a special treat on warm days, the guinea pigs can travel to your classroom.

Good luck, Please keep us updated!
 
Well, since there is some negativity to a classroom guinea pig, how about hermit crabs? We had some in my elementary... they were fun to watch. (no petting, though)
 
Oh no, hermies are pulled from their natural habitats to live in captivity.

Don't support the people that do that.
 
I think Ketus and Slap pretty much said it all.
 
slap_maxwell said:
Oh no, hermies are pulled from their natural habitats to live in captivity.

Don't support the people that do that.
Oh, sorry! I didn't know that.
Live and learn
 
I think it also depends on the age of the kids in the class.

(And yes - you should get a bonded pair.)


Fawn
 
Thanks for all the very informative information. The students are fifth graders, ten and eleven years old - there are 13 kids in this class. The classroom is very big and the cavy would be housed in a corner which is away from the main hubub of the classroom. The ONLY time the kids would actually handle the cavy would be during a free period (they would have to sign up - only two at a time) OR after-school (same thing with sign up) both times would be supervised by me. Every student who is interested in handling the cavy would get a lesson on how to hold properly etc. My next logistical question is the following: one of the posts suggested that I bring the cavy home every night - if I do that, will the car ride become routine (and not stressful) and will the cavy adjust to having two different cages - an "at school cage" and an "at home cage". Thanks again for your thoughts here. WendyK
 
It depends how long the drive is, I wouldn't do it if it was over a 20 minute ride
 
If you have a safe carrier for the guinea pig, with plenty of padding and protection from drafts, I don't think it would be a problem. Yes, the car ride can become routine, and many pigs do just fine in the car. I can't make a suggestion about how long the ride should be, but the guinea pig should have lots of veggies with high water content for the ride. And hay, as well. I'm more concerned about them being taking into and out of the weather.

As far as at school cage and at home cage: I think the pigs will get used to it, as long as both cages are sufficent size (meaning 7.5 square feet) and they have all of the necessities. Hidey houses, water, unlimited hay, pellets, and fresh veggies.

Also, if all of this is happening with a buddy, the cavy will likely feel happier and more secure. Human attention is really not a substitute for a herd-dwelling animal like a cavy.
 
Well said, Ketus.
 
I just thought of a problem, what if one of your students is allergic to the pig, hay, bedding etc?
 
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