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New and Overwhelmed!


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Nov 16, 2011
Hi! Maybe name is Christie and I am new to this forum...new to guineas in general. My 7 year old daughter has been begging for her own pet and for Christmas asked for a hamster. As a child, and adult pre kids, I had MANY pets...dogs, cats, hamster, rabbits...even a 6 foot long Iguana. I didn't think a hamster was the right starter pet for my little girl but after some research, I think a piggie is going to be the perfect fit. So I am a researcher by nature...I have to know all and do what is best for my pets so here I am. We have no guineas yet. I want to be prepared with caging, food, over all health care and well being. I have even contacted a breeder through the National Cavey Society so that we can get a good quality pet. (actually 2....I have read they like to be in groups and since I also have a 5 year old daughter as well, we will get 2 females).

So where to start? I am so overwhelmed. No more thoughts on get a cage and bedding and food and scraps and a little play yard for them to be able to get time outside of their cage. Looks like I have a lot of planning to do! We also have 2 cats and so I need to make sure they have a cage that is completely enclosed with no open top. Lots to see on this site....any advice on where to start would be great! (espeically with bedding. I love the look and the idea of the fleece but would love to litter train. We did this with my rabbit growing up) but not sure what to put under the fleece, how to get it looking so flat in the cage and how to train for litter box.)

Hi, and welcome :)

It's good that you came here to do some research - there's LOTS of information here. I'll happily try to give you some of the basics, and there will certainly be other users who will be able to offer more detailed information. In the meantime, however, have a look around the forum in the different sections and you'll find a wealth of information.

First thing you should know is this site is anti-breeder. Pet stores are also usually not recommended to get pets from, and if possible, it's usually suggested to buy supplies from a pet store that does NOT sell animals. You can find some pretty sickening videos online about how the animals are treated where some pet stores get their pets, which is part of the reason people strongly recommend against them.

Instead, try looking at a shelter or rescue to adopt from. A rescue will most likely take good care of their pets, so you'll know you're getting a well cared for pig. They also often have bonded pairs already, so you won't have to worry about that, either! And you'll know you're giving pigs a second chance to a good and loving home, since there are so many animals including pigs that need one.

Guinea pigs are also not considered a starter pet because of the level of care required to keep them healthy and happy. If you do get a pig, you have to be the one really responsible rather than your daughter. You can have your daughter help you when it comes to taking care of the pig, but it's important to make sure the pig is getting the proper care it needs as well as making sure it is not getting sick (which can happen quickly), so to ensure the pig is healthy, it's probably best that you be the primary caretaker for the pig rather than your daughter.

For 2 pigs, a 2x4 GRID (not feet) C&C cage is the recommended size, but if you have room to make it larger, that would be even better. You can find all the information you need about how to make the cage on this website (by clicking 'home') as well as bedding options, should you not like fleece. Guinea pigs are very sensitive to certain types of bedding, so if you end up wanting a different kind of bedding, be sure to check which kinds are okay first.

For grids, be sure they are 9 squares by 9 squares. Anything smaller and you're risking getting your guinea pigs' heads stuck through (it might not look like it, but it DOES happen).

Guinea pigs need a constant supply of hay. Hay is the most important part of their diet. Timothy hay is one of the most common types for pigs, but you will find some owners use other types (such as Orchard). It is important that you don't give them anything with too much calcium (such as Alfalfa).

For pellets, a timothy based pellet is what adult pigs need. 1/8 cup of pellets per pig per day is all they need.

As far as hay and pellets go, most kinds at the pet store aren't that good for them. Try Oxbow or ordering from Kleenmama's (KMS hayloft) for the best quality. (broken link removed)

They will also need 1 cup of veggies each day (per pig). You can find which veggies are good for them and how often they can be fed different types by going to this thread:

That's all the time I have right now, but hopefully I've given you an idea on how to start. Again, you'll find a lot of information just looking around the forums and from other posters. Good luck!
Welcome to the forum! And congratulations for doing your research before you get your guinea pig.

C1407 has given you a lot of good advice. But for some additional reading, read the articles on the home page of this website (the Home button at the top of this page), and at Guinea Pig Education, Care, Rescue and Adoption at Cavy Spirit (the articles are down the left-hand side of the page.

Sadly, contacting a breeder doesn't guarantee you a good quality pet. It may only qualify you for one of the breeder's culls that can't be shown. There are usually many guinea pig rescues and shelters around that have pigs who need good loving homes -- please consider taking one of those pigs rather than supporting a breeding operation. If you'll post a large city near you, we'll be happy to help you find a pig.

Pigs from reputable rescues will have been screened for illnesses, and the rescue owners will take the time to let you find pets that really suit your daughters. They'll probably have bonded pairs who can't be separated, and that would be ideal for you.

Let us know if we can help!
It sounds like they gave a lot of great info above on all the care stuff really. Something I will stress is to NOT buy from a breeder. They are usually low quality animals even the ones bred for show. Think about it like a dog, most purebred dogs have many health issues because they are purebred. You are more likely to get a healthy guinea pig from a rescue who have been PROPERLY sexed as many breeders make mistakes. Also the ones from shelters are usually taken better care of as they are usually in foster homes. Also with the veggies make sure you give a good variety. I made a menu and stuck it on my fridge and I rotate through about 8 veggies a week. Another thing you may have not thought of is if you go on vacation and don't have someone to take care of your pet. You can get a pet sitter or there are places to board. Vet wise you don't really need to take your guinea pig to the vet unless you think they may be sick and if you weigh them weekly then you are more likely to catch a sickness before it gets bad as they will lose weight. Make sure to look for a good exotic vet before taking your pig anywhere. Even vets who say they work with guinea pigs can give bad information. It is good to ask them a few questions that you already know the answer to, to make sure they know what they are doing. As far as bedding I've heard if you put a few layers of towels underneath you should be good. Also it needs to be a specific type of fleece and usually requires about 5 washings before being used to make sure it will absorb the urine. I keep mine on carefresh but I think I might switch to wood pellets. It is hard to litter train, most go where they eat. Mine has picked out 1 spot in her cage she prefers to go but I'll still find quite a bit all over her cage. Feel free to ask anything else, this is a very active forum with great information!!
Welcome! I really have nothing to add to the great advise above but I would love to see pictures of the piggies you end up with!
thanks for all of the information. I will look into adoption as well. We were going to get 2 female piggies but I just found some through a small animal rescue and it is a mama and her 2 young babies (born in September). They are 2 states away but I contacted them anyhow to see if they have a rescue transport (I did this when I worked with a dog rescue. A volunteer picks them up, drives an hour or so and they go from volunteer to vounteer until they reach their new owners). They contact me back and said they have someone who has volunteered who lives close to me and comes to town to see family and she will contact him to see if he would transport. So looks like we may end up with 3 piggies instead of 2 but I am excited! Now to work on getting their set up together. This I think will be the biggest challenge for me. Off to use all of the resources here. Thanks so much!
You will want to make sure the babies are both girls. If they are not both girls then you will want to have the boy fixed. (Easier to fix a boy than a girl) Piggies having babies is not a good thing, and these piggies would be related also. Good luck on getting your piggies and getting your cage set up. What an exciting time for you and your family!
they are all girls! It is a small animal rescue and they have been handling everyone daily and she said they are all very bonded so she wanted to find a home for all three and it has been a challenge because people will want 2 but not 3. So a mama and her 2 baby girls.
ChristieB, what city are you near? There might be people on here who could help with the transport.
Congrats on your three girls. :) Hope everything works out smoothly. :D
they are all girls! It is a small animal rescue and they have been handling everyone daily and she said they are all very bonded so she wanted to find a home for all three and it has been a challenge because people will want 2 but not 3. So a mama and her 2 baby girls.

YAY.....So glad to hear they are all girls. :eek: And already bonded, I mean who could just take 2 and leave one behind....I know I could NEVER! Such a cool thing to have a mommy and her 2 girls!:cool: Congrats to you! When you get your new piggies I would love to see some pictures.
I am near Frederick MD which is close to Baltimore, Washington DC and on the border of PA. The mama and her babies are in New Jersey but she has a man who has family there and lives in Maryland so she is going to contact him to see if he could bring them to me or at least closer to me.
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