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Cavy Slave
May 9, 2012

Obviously I am new here. I have 4 children under the age of 5. One is a high functioning autistic that really enjoys small critters and fish. I am also owned by a corgi/pom mix, 4 cats, some sea monkeys, and now 2 guinea pig.

I use to have guinea pigs before my eldest was born. Sadly they both passed away at about 6ish years old. So the older kids semi remember the guinea pigs.

We had been turned down by 2 local rescues because I do have younger children. Which I do understand their reasoning. And I do admit that part of the reason I went with guinea pigs (instead of a rabbit or something) was because my eldest is familiar with them and small creatures help him relax. It is one of those things that if you have an autistic person in your life you will understand, if not, then you kinda can but not quite. I also missed the piggies greeting me in the morning when I get up. I am their care giver not the kids. Anyway, my friend saw a woman was getting rid of her piggies on craigslist and told her about us and she gave us the piggies and all their stuff for free.

It all happened kinda fast, so tomorrow I need to go out and get some supplies to make them a larger cage. We are keeping them in our living room so they can be with the family.

I would love any tips about taking them outside. We do not use anything on our lawn. I am more than happy to build them their own outdoor enclosure outside. We spend most of our time outside during the summer. I do have a spot in mind that is mostly shaded (so they can get out of the sun). Last time I had piggies I was renting. We bought this house last year.
Welcome to the forum! We'd love to see some pigtures of your little furbabies! :p As for taking them outside, I'm not very helpful in that area. I was wondering the same thing. Also, are you building them a C&C cage? Pics of that would be awesome too! lol
Yes, I am going to build them a C&C cage with a top (because we have cats and I would rather be safe than sorry). I need to call around to find some stuff for it. I live in a different city than I use to. Needless to say, taking 4 little ones about looking for things is not fun. lol Much easier to find via phone and then pick it up.

Once the piggies become a little more comfortable around here I will definitely take pictures.
Welcome! Walmart sells the grids on line, and they ship to the store for free. You could order them and then just go in and pick them up. Otherwise, Bed Bath & Beyond carries the black grids. The white wire shelving works well for lids, and the cats can't lift it up-that's what I use. You were lucky to get 2 pigs and all thier stuff for free-what a great deal! If you are going to take the pigs outside, they'll need a cage with a lid, and maybe a fleece cover over one end (in case the sun moves and they lose they shade.) Please be really careful of predators outside. I hope you enjoy the forum, and I look forward to pics!
We have a fenced in back yard, but still I know cats and what not can get in. They will only be outside when we are outside and the spot is close to the house and right next to where I sit and watch the kids. :) Thanks for the tips.
Welcome to the forum! One of the rescues I work with fosters all of their pigs before they are adopted out. Certain pigs that are inclined to nip can't go to families with small children, both for the safety of the kids and because the child might actually drop the piggy if nipped or accidentally provoke it. Other rescues may have bad experiences with parents adopting for the kids, and not really for the family, and the pigs end up neglected because the kids lose interest. You're clearly interested in the piggies yourself, just wanted to throw some possible reasons out there for why they didn't let you adopt with small kids in your family.

Two of my kids have autism and some other disabilities and helping to care for the pigs has been great for them. They seldom get to hold the pigs and only then under very close supervision, but they aren't high functioning. They do like helping with the hay and the pellets and I like that they are learning how much it takes to properly care for them. They both also do better communicating with animals and I learn a lot about their thought processes by overhearing what they are saying to the pigs (and horses).

I'd love to see pigtures of your piggies when you get a chance. With four kids under 5, I can imagine things are just a little bit hectic for you.:)
I'd be very strict about not allowing the kids to pick up the guinea pigs alone and explain that you are the one to bring them out and hand the guinea pigs to them. Guinea pigs are much more fragile than other animals and a fall can injure or kill them. Little hands can't hold onto a determined guinea pig and if they jump, it can be a tragedy. I've been handling guinea pigs for most of my life and sometimes I'm even surprised how wiggly they can be. On the other hand,I think guinea pigs are great animals for kids. My son loved to sit and read while holding one on his lap. They're great stress busters and soothers. I'm glad that you'll be outside when you have them outdoors. Good luck.
Like I said, I understand why we were turned down. I was told flat out by one it was because of small children and because if something were to happen to me, they didn't think the piggies could be cared for. My SO has cerebral palsy and it effects one arm/hand and his legs. He also works long hours right now. Although we have an Aunt that lives close and she took care of the animals we had when I had my last child. I am sure they have been burnt many times. We do have great vet references.

Oh yes, little hands. Little hands are not allowed to pick up the piggies, touch the water bottle, or help me open the cage. I am picking up one of those play pens today for use later and once the piggies become a little more calm around here then they will be allowed to be out in the dining room supervised. There is nothing for them to get under in there and no cords or anything (just table and chairs) and it has a door on one end and a baby gate on the other. And only one child at a time who needs to remain sitting. We have a large family/play room upstairs (our garage is attached and it is on top of the garage, fully finished with heating and bathroom) and I took all the small toys out of the living room (where piggies live) and the bedroom and moved it all upstairs. I even put the puzzles up there.

My eldest has already named them. Their names are Gorgeous and something that sounds like Clarabell but I know it isn't. I just can't make it out. He named them last night and greeted them by the same names this morning.

The piggies have started to come out a bit now. They seem to be frightened of my 2 year olds laugh. We did coax them out with carrot coins (carrots cut) last night. So they are adjusting. They came from a single child household. So I am sure it will take a little bit for them to get use to it. The did greet my SO this morning though.
Sounds like the piggies already know they can trust you to be coming out to interact already. I love the morning greeting! One of our pigs took to my husband in particular and really honks at him when he's around. Of course, every moment is a salad moment -- they are convinced they are starving even when they have food right in front of them -- but it's a really nice way to start my day. Works almost as well as coffee!

And I apologize if I sounded like I was needling you in any way about the being turned down -- it wasn't so much defending the rescue's choice as my being concerned that you had any doubts about your ability to care for the pigs, when it looks to me like you've put a lot of thought into the process.
lol It's ok. I am sorry for being so defensive. I am so use to being told that there is no way we can do this, that, and the other thing because of either small children or because of disabilities in our household. Or one of the common ones I get hit with is we are not able to care for animals properly because of disabilities and people assume we are a welfare family. I actually get the last one quite a bit and have some good stories. My SO has a double BA and it took him years to get to where he is job wise. People see the disability and not the person and what they can do.

Some of the comfort level comes from having piggies while #1 and 2 were toddlers and #3 was under a year when they passed away (within a week of each other). I had them before the kids and was not one to give them up because I was pregnant and "just didn't have time". It's all about priorities. Those piggies made it through a lot of change, but I always made time for them. I still miss them.

On the other hand, I know of plenty of people who do get animals on a whim and the child gets bored and the animal becomes neglected. Or the animal is homed and re homed many times. There are actually people in the autism support group that seem to have that same view. Oh, I hear this animal my help my child. Darn, so and so hurt the poor critter or they have no interest. Time to find the animal a new home. *sighs*

Or the people who have little ones who can do no wrong... Till the little one feeds the critter something bad when the parents back is turned or said parent is to engrossed in the computer or tv.

Anyway, I promise we will love these piggies and they will become spoiled. Once I get the cage up and what not (within the week, things take a little longer here) then I will be hitting people up for ideas for toys and what not. I notice things have changed a bit in the last few years with cage set ups. Fleece was not so common when I had my last pair. I used hay. Most people used hay or wood chips in the C&C cages. lol I actually remember when people first started using them. Man, I feel old! Everyone else here is spoiled, the piggies might as well be too!
Welcome! Can't wait to see pigtures. Animals can be so therapeutic, and it sounds like things fell into place perfectly for you to get your piggies, even though the rescue turned you down. It sounds like they're settling in, and I second Wildcavy that the morning greeting is so much fun. My husband usually gets it because he goes downstairs first so he's the one to serve the morning salad. It sounds like your piggies have a great forever home.
I understand what you mean on the assumptions issue. I have muscular dystrophy, my husband has basically inverted femurs, two of my kids have autism (compounded by other issues), etc and so forth. With some of the things that have been said about my kids, horrible things I won't repeat here, I shouldn't be surprised what people will do to animals. I get a little cranky and over-sensitive sometimes, but at other times the people need to be put on blast (my daughter is teaching me teen English, can you tell?).

But sorry to hijack the thread; probably should do this elsewhere! What you've said just really resonates.

The discussions about fleece and cage setups are some of the most interesting and fun ones. There is no end to the possibilities!
2nd @Wildcavy Enjoying DIY projects with your piggies is something I look forward to!

Welcome to the forum! I'm Critter and currently researching guinea pigs. I don't have any of my own yet. We're looking for a more stable income first.

If you haven't gotten the cubes yet, I would go with Bed Bath & Beyond. They have the best deals on cubes- 20 cubes for $18. At WalMart, it's 17 for $22 and at KMart it's 22 for $23. (I've been comparison shopping! :D)

As a cavy newby, you sound like a cavy slave already! Sounds like you've got all your ducks in a row. I don't have any free advice here, but I can say I know where you're coming from on the therapeutic side of things. I have mental disorders that make human relationships sticky for me, but I still get lonely and need companionship. I'm hoping doing something positive for verbal cavies will help add a new light to this home. Very glad to have another responsible Mom/pet parent on the forums!
people need to be put on blast
I love that! I'm definitely going to use that phrase.
(broken link removed) Are you getting the coupons from BB&B?
(broken link removed) I'm glad you know how to handle 4 kids and pigs at the same time. I don't know if I could do it. Thanks for understanding everyones concern over the children handling the pigs. There have been some tense moments here when someones pig gets hurt (not just by kids, adults too). I find I get very attached to the stories of peoples pigs, then I get upset when something happens to the pigs. I hope you find everyone as supportive as I do on this site, and enjoy your time here.
@Petovr What coupons? I just looked on their website and happened to notice their price. Maybe they were on sale when I looked last, because i remember it saying $18. Now it says $20. Still a good deal, though. :)

(broken link removed)

I know how you feel about getting drawn into people's piggy lives. I watch YouTuber PiggyPigPigs and she takes such good care of her piggies! She has a solid following. Recently she lost one of her trio (she had a duo and a trio- now she has two duos!) and you could just feel the outpouring of effection during his crisis and the support that followed after his death. It was so sad, but also inspiring knowing that that many people cared!
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