Where People & Piggies Thrive

Newbie or Guinea Guru? Popcorn in!

Register for free to enjoy the full benefits.
Find out more about the NEW, drastically improved site and forum!

Register

General Cavy Questions

TheClone

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Posts
19
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Messages
19
I'm in the process of attempting to get my parents to agree to let me buy/adopt/find/resque several cavies. I have some general questions about them and don't know if this is the right place to ask but, here goes.

1. How many is the right number? I know not to get just one, but I don't want to just go out and get the first Cavy I see. I was under the impression that these are animals that are far more personal than say, gerbils (which I have several of). If I am only able to find one that I like at first, how hard is it to introduce new cavies to my pet? With gerbils, it's been my experience that it is next to impossible to introduce new gerbils to each other after they've reached sexual maturity. Is this the same with cavies? Or are they far more friendly? Would they be excepting?

2. What gender? This, also, is along the lines of the same question, how many of that gender. With gerbils, I made the mistake of buying males and females, which reproduced far faster than I could manage. I was thinking about getting three females. Would this be okay? Would I have dominance problems? Do cavies even have dominance problems? I was thinking three females because I've become worried about having to have male cavies neutered and I've heard that impaction is more common among them.

3. Where? The only places, locally, that I have seen cavies at are the local pet stores, and it seems that's really frowned upon here. I don't believe my local SPCA has them, either. Does anyone know of any sort of shelter in the Richmond, Virginia area? I did do some sort of shelter search for my local area (I can't recall the name of it though) but I believe that the only small pets I were able to find were ferrets. Does anyone have any suggestions here?

4. I was planning on having the cage in my room, any noises they make wouldn't be a problem for me, I was more worried about the fact that my room can get dusty. (Mainly from the fact that I have several gerbils in here). Would this be harmful for them? Would I need to either move the gerbils or buy some sort of air filter? It doesn't personally bother me, I just have to wipe off my computer monitor/tv a lot. And would loud noises bother them (such as from telivision shows or computer games). I personally don't play loud stuff often, but occassionally...

5. I have tried to do research on them, so I think I know what sort of responsibilities I'm getting into, however, the one thing I don't believe I'd read about is if they need to take normal (checkups, I'm not refering to a vet visit if I think there is something wrong) visits to the vet (as a dog or cat would.) If they do, what sort of cost would I be looking at?

6. Does anyone here have a border collie? What kind of experience have you had with him and the cavies? I have a border collie who, in my experience, has been good with the gerbils. (There was an instance where a gerbil escaped from a ball while in the same room as a cat and my dog, the dog chased the cat away.) While the cat, sadly, has passed away, if I keep the cavy cage elevated high enough off the ground, would I still need to make a top?

7. Temperature, I know that I've read that drafts are not good for them, and that rapidly changing temperatures arent' either. What sort of temperature do they prefer? Do they like it cool, cold, hot?

If I do end up getting cavies (which I hopefully will), I want to be able to provide the best home I can to them. So thanks for any responses. And if I've accidently asked something addressed somewhere else, could you please point it out? I did try to research as well as I could, but I'm not perfect.

Thanks. (And wow, this turned out a lot longer than I had thought, oops.)
 

TheClone

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Posts
19
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Messages
19
I don't mean to double post, but another question just occured to me and I don't see an edit button. (Psst, where's the edit button?)

8. Bedding. What should I use? It looks like a lot of people use Timothy Hay for their bedding. Is that necessary? Could I use something like Carefresh (I believe that is what it's called) for the bedding and just create a hayrack?

Edit: Well, now I see an edit button on this post, but still not on the original post. *Is all confused*
 

agpiggy

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Posts
207
Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Messages
207
Yes you can use carefresh as bedding or fleece which ive heard works well and create a hayrack if you want or you could just put a couple of handfulls of hay on the ground because i no that they do like to roll and run through it. :)
 

ParanoidEv

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Posts
207
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
207
My boyfriend has a cavy and they also have a border collie at home. The dog simply ignores the animal, except if he smells the droppings he tries to lick the piggies behind! :)
 

citronsoul

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Posts
903
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
903
1. You can intoduce guinea pigs to each other at any age. If you've started with one, some people suggest introducing a younger guinea pig afterwards. But ultimately, there is no age limit. They're very social animals & generally like company. It's best to have at least two.

2. Both genders have their pro's & con's. Boars have more chance of getting impaction at old age, but sows can get ovarian cysts. I don't have a personal favourite. If you got only boars then you wouldn't have to worry about neutering. Three sows can be good combination. There may be a dominance issue, but that depends on the sows individual personalities. But there's probably more chance that they'll get along.

3. www.petfinder.com & www.cavyrescue.com. You can try looking there.

4. I'm not sure about dust bothering them. I've never had a problem with this, but then again my room isn't dusty & I don't have gerbils. It's best not make noises that are too loud. I have mine in my room, which also has a TV & stereo but I don't play those too loudly.

5. It's best to do yearly checkups with the vet. That way they have some sort of reference if anything did go wrong. The cost probably depends on your vet. My checkups cost about $25-30.

6. It might be best to have some sort of top just incase. But if it's high enough so that the dog can't get to it, I think that would be fine too.

7. Not too cold & not too hot. I think someone on this forum mentioned around 65-70 degrees F?

8. You can use carefresh, aspen, kiln-dried pine & some people use fleece. The hay that people put down for them is mainly just for them to play on, not actual bedding.
 

dagwellismypigy

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Posts
2,673
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
2,673
they need hay to help trim there teeth and to play in. It isn't absorbant at all so you shouldnt use it as abedding.
 

carrotflavour

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Posts
152
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
152
I'd try really hard to get find a rescue to get them from, or look put up signs 'wanted: 2 female guinea pigs'.

Guinea pigs are very different from other pets, they'll love you as long as you love them :) I wouldnt put them in your room, as they love getting attention from the whole family...
 

Ly&Pigs

Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Posts
20,516
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Messages
20,516
If I were you, I would start with two of the same sex and then you could add a third cagemate later on if you wanted to. Please try to find pigs in a shelter/rescue or even from the local newspaper instead of buying from a petstore. There are lots of piggies that need homes. I don't know how far Alexandria or D.C. is from you but there are some pigs that need homes in those areas, but I saw only ferrets in the Richmond area on petfinder. Also you can post a message on the adoption forum here seeking a pair.

Pigs will need hay and veggies everyday, those are two of the most important things in their diets. They will need approx. 1 cup of fresh veggies per day per pig and unlimited hay.

The best temperature range to keep them in is from 65F to 75F and keep them in a draft free area.

If you have a dog you need a cage with a lid. It doesn't matter that the cage will be off the floor or not because some dogs can and will figure out how to get to the pigs. C&C cages are great and don't cost much to make and you can make a lid with wire shelving that is sold at places like Home Depot and Lowes. Pigs will also need floortime everyday. So you will need a place in your home where you can set up some type of playpen (grids and cable ties make good pens) or a place/room where you can let them run around in.

Cavies are totally different than having gerbils. They need much more care. They also require more money in their care as you have to buy hay and veggies and also if they get sick they will need to see a vet or they could die. One of the things you can do before you get any is to locate a cavy competent vet in your area and find out how much a general exam is and the approximate costs of things like bloodwork, x-rays, etc. That will give you a good idea on what the costs will be for a vet. If you opt to use carefresh, aspen, kiln-dried pine, wood pellets, yesterday's news for bedding then you have that monthly expense as well. Hay can be used as bedding but needs to be changed out several times a day as it is not absorbant. Fleece and towels can be used as well and they are good alternatives to shavings/wood pellets and once you purchase enough of either for several cage changes you don't have the added cost except for washing it. I personally use fleece and I love it.

As far as noise, you can have the tv on around them or a radio if the sounds aren't turned up really loud. Mine actually enjoy listening to the tv. I play computer games and I have the sound on but turned down to just where I can hear it good as my tv and computer and the piggies are all in the same room.

I admire you for doing all your research first before getting piggies. It shows you want to be a good and responsible cavy slave!
 

TheClone

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Posts
19
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Messages
19
Thanks guys for all the responses.

Unfortuently, it does appear that the closet shelter is in the Alexandria/DC area which is about two hours from me. I don't have my license yet, so that really rules out that as an option for me. :(

As for the lid, when making that, do you just make a flat sheet of the Cubes? If my math is right, then I should be able to do that all with one 30 pack from CostCo, right? (5x2 cage would be 14 cubes, plus 10 to make a lid leaves 6 left over.)

To address/reply to some specific things, ParanoidEv, I think that my Border Collie will pretty much do the same thing. He pretty much ignores the gerbils, except for when we let them run around in the little balls, and he'll get really defensive of them and chase all the other dogs away.

ChattyCoCo, thanks for all the helpful advice, but you've made me think of several other questions.

If I do use fleece/towels instead of something like CareFresh for the bedding, would I need to wash that in just plain water or is it safe to use detergent?

And if my parents do finally give me the okay for the guinea pigs, I'll watch the newspapers, since that appears to be my only option aside from going to an (awful) petstore.

And thanks everyone for the advice and help.
 

dagwellismypigy

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Posts
2,673
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
2,673
it wouldnt really be washing with out detergent. I dont use fabric softner though. go to www.petfinder.com to look for local shelters
 

John4216

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Posts
647
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Messages
647
I would not recommend trying to find out if your dog would or not. My German Sheppard is oddly attached to my piggies but I never let her get closer then seeing them trhough the grids/lid of their cage because she is still a dog and you never know. Her idea of being friendly/playing could easily kill one of them. Plus her instincts could kick in and something happen. Try this exercise and you'll see how easy this could accidentaly happen....take your dog outside...take off running from it....unless its trained not to chase you, its instincts will kick in and it will chase you and since its friendly play with you....same thing with the piggies could happen. Best to be safe cause you cant undo an accident and the piggies are prey animals and dogs are predators even though both are domesticated. I also dont think I'd put the piggies in a ball and let them roll around, I know mine would be not happy and a few of them would be terrified by it because they are not meant to be out in the open like that unless they choose to.

As for your lid, you can go to a place like Home Depot or Lowes and find Closet Maid Linen Shelving and have them cut them as wide as your cage is and then lay however many you need on top of the cage and connect them together with cable ties so they lift up like a lid. They come in 12" and 16" width and have a lip on them. You can look at this in the photo galleries under closed multi-level if you want to see it.

As for bedding I started with pine, found out that was a no-no, switched to carefresh and discovered this cost to much so switched to aspen or kiln dried wood or kiln dried pine then finally switched to fleece/newspaper and hay. Of them all I find the fleece and hay I use is the best. I use newspaper layers then fleece on top for the bottom level and shake it out every night and completely wash the fleece every other day and replace the newspaper also. (I get my newspaper free from a recycling place so that is a big $$ saver).
 

Ly&Pigs

Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Posts
20,516
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Messages
20,516
Clone, your welcome and questions are always good.

I wash my fleece with detergent and when I dry it I throw a dryer sheet in with it. I don't use fabric softener in the wash though.

Maybe you could talk your parents into driving you to Alexandria/DC area? Make it a family day trip or something. Sometimes too, rescues and shelters who want to place animals are willing to help get the pig/s to you, if you saw a couple you like then contact the place and see if they would be willing to meet you halfway or even bring the pig/s to you.

You can make a lid out of cubes. Just make sure you put a door somewhere so you can get the piggies in and out easily.

Newspapers are good too, I got my CoCo from an ad in the paper. She is the piggie in my avatar. Good luck with your search but please try to give it a little time and try to find piggies to adopt.
 

Ly&Pigs

Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Posts
20,516
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Messages
20,516
John, I get my newspaper from a recycling center too.
 

John4216

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Posts
647
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Messages
647
Yeah I saw someone on here awhile ago say they did and I did the head smack and said "Doh" and went to the recycling place and said I wanted to buy some old newspaper...they said just take whatever you want and it was all dry and still bound newspapers that hadn't been sold and I took a trunkful, it was great.
 

AngelsCavies

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Posts
1,330
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
1,330
not a bad idea.wow
 

TheClone

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Posts
19
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Messages
19
The soon to be cavy-slave (my parents finally said okay, we're going to goto costco to look for the Cubes) has several more questions.

The fleece, I'm unsure to as what it actually is. My mom has several fleece blankets (very soft and comfortable) and one that is homemade out what looks to be just a large peice of.... fleece. Is that what everyone is refering to? It has a pattern on it but that doesn't really matter to me (I'm not going to use it) but it that the "fleece" that is being refered to?

From reading the forums, it appears that people will use the fleece and then put something like puppy-pads under it. Would newspaper work just as well? I have plenty of leftover newspaper that I could stick under it, I'm just a little worried about the extra cost of things like puppy-pads.

I'm a little confused as to how much fresh vegtables/food I need to give them. I'm looking at the Guinea Lynx's List but it's a little confusing. If I were to use something like mustard greens, about how much would they need daily? I don't want to give them too much!
 

Katie

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Posts
666
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
666
Guinea pigs need at least one cup of a variety of fresh vegetables daily. You can't really give "too much"
 

TheClone

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Posts
19
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Messages
19
So would one cup of mustard/collard greens for each guinea pig be sufficent? Should (is it okay) to mix say, a lettuce in it? I'm just curious about what to feed them. (I won't be getting them for a while, but still, best home I can give them I will).
 

pennick

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Posts
1,761
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
1,761
romaine lettuce, kale and parsely 2 times a week, baby spinach 2 times a week, cilantro, peppers (not hot of course) fruits 3 times a week. Just give a variety and you will be fine.
 

John4216

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Posts
647
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Messages
647
If you go to (hate to say this name) Walmart they have fleece throws for like $5 that work very well for the cages and I personally think using newspaper is better than using pads and such and it reduces the smell because you throw it out. Newspaper under fleece works perfectly for me, just use a good thick layer of newspaper.
 
Status
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.

Similar threads

SSLee
Replies
3
Views
393
SSLee
SSLee
ChewChew
Replies
2
Views
398
Onxy&Jet
Onxy&Jet
DreamsInPink
Replies
7
Views
711
Guinea Pig Papa
Guinea Pig Papa
nebulous
Replies
4
Views
335
nebulous
nebulous
stephybond
Replies
8
Views
464
bpatters
bpatters
Top