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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-22-2002, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
Princess in Waiting
 
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Cool Some ?? for Piggy People

My daughter, who has a heart as hard as the rest of us for animals, has just bought her 4-year-old a guinea pig. Now, I know as well as anyone else that a 4 year old doesn't need a pet, just as I know that this is Erin's pet and not Zoe's. I had GP's many years ago when I was in high school, but haven't had a lot of experience with them since.

Can anyone suggest a really good book for her to get to have on hand as a reference - or for me to have so when she calls I'll know what to tell her! It's a pretty young one - not sure how old - and right now whenever Zoe is in bed Erin has "Ladybug" on her lap. Will this help her be a better pet? I mostly remember mine as being rather stand-offish and not very fulfilling in the "looking for something to love on" department.

She said when she brought it home it smelled of urine, but I warned her about being careful about giving her a bath. She bought some kind of wipes for GP's and ferrets and said the smell is going away somewhat.

Basically anything you can tell me will be of great help! Feel free to email me with your answers, because I don't want to clog the board with beginner stuff!

Thanks for the help -

Critter

CRITTERCALL


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-23-2002, 01:35 PM
Paw-Talk Lifer
 
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Quote:
Basically anything you can tell me will be of great help! Feel free to email me with your answers, because I don't want to clog the board with beginner stuff!
*ahem* Hey Critter! The more info the better, so let's post as much as we can here, beginner or not!!

Stephanie

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-23-2002, 01:40 PM
Paw-Talk Lifer
 
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Here's some basic info for ya!

Nutrition

Guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. Although guinea pig pellet food contains vitamin C it is sometimes not enough. It is very important to supplement vitamin C; a teaspoon of the vitamin C liquid can be added to the typical 12 ounce guinea pig water bottle. Since vitamin C deteriorates it must be added to fresh water daily.
Guinea pigs should be fed a diet of hay, pellets, and fresh fruits & vegetables. It is important that they are given hay every day to aid their digestive system, in addition to pellets. It is also important to provide fresh vegetables daily and fruits in small amounts as special treats. New foods should be presented one at a time to make sure your guinea pig does not have a bad reaction to them. Broccoli and cauliflower are wonderful vegetables for guinea pigs because of their high vitamin C content. Carrots, pea pods, and herbs are also good. In addition wild clover, dandelions, and grass can be picked from your yard but make sure pesticides have not been sprayed on them. Fruits to give in small amounts include apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, pineapple, papaya, and blueberries, but make sure to remove the pits and seeds.



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Housing

The guinea pig cage must have good ventilation, a solid bottom, and be large enough for the guinea pigs to freely move about in. Wire bottom cages can be used only if something is put on top of the wire to separate the guinea pig's feet from the wire bottom. A glass aquarium should never be used because of poor ventilation. When looking for a cage choose one with high enough sides to keep guinea pig bedding and food inside yet still allow the guinea pig to see over the edges. Sides around three inches are the best but make sure the wire part of the cage is at least ten inches to prevent guinea pig escapes. A guinea pig should be given a private place to go in the cage if he is frightened or just wants to get away from it all. A cardboard or wood box with an open bottom and a hole cut in the side is a good option.
Guinea pigs need daily exercise and in most cases their cage is not big enough to satisfy this need. Playpen fences can be bought or built to make a special play area. This area should include all the things necessary in the cage; the easiest way to do this is to have th cage in or attached to the play area. Another option is to give the guinea pigs free range of a room in your home or the whole home. The guinea pigs should always be able to get back into their cage for bathroom breaks or to be somewhere safe. It is advisable to place shallow boxes with hay or organic litter in the guinea pigs' favorite corners to avoid accidents on the floor.



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Bedding

It is best to start with a layer of newspaper at the bottom of the cage when it comes to bedding. Hay is a cheap and safe bedding material but must be changed every day. Guinea pigs usually eliminate where they eat so in this area a natural cellulose based cat litter can be used. Another option is to use towels or blankets but these must be washed every day. The cage should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week but the bedding must be changed daily to prevent ammonia buildup.


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Food and Water Dishes

Ceramic dishes are the best food dishes. Guinea pigs like to stand on the edge of their dish when they eat and anything lighter can be tipped over. Water bottles with sipper tubes are better than water dishes because no bedding or food can be kicked into them. Guinea pigs do however spit into their water bottles so it is important to clean the bottle daily with a bottle brush.


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Baby Guinea Pigs

Baby guinea pigs can be very cute but be sure there are homes for them before you let your animals breed. Guinea pigs may become sexually mature as early as four weeks so it is important to separate the different sexes by then. The babies are born with a full coat, open eyes, and can run and eat solid food. They will nurse for two or three weeks even though they are eating on their own. If the young are orphaned you can substitute a diet of mashed cucumber, grated apple, oat flakes, chopped bread, and pureed carrots and broccoli. Guinea pigs enjoy a family life and it is not necessary to separate the father from the babies but be sure the father does not stay with the females over four weeks old. Also be warned that the female can mate shortly after giving birth.


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When to See the Vet

Guinea pigs should have a physical exam twice a year. In addition if any of the following problems appear a veterinarian should be called.

Decreased appetite
Weight loss or large weight gain
Discharge from eyes or nose
Lethargy
Diarrhea
Lack of feces
Incoordination
Limping
Hair loss
Lumps or bumps
Bleeding
Failure or straining to urinate
Any unusual signs or behaviors


http://www.halcyon.com/integra/drdeeb.html
Check out the web page for some interpretations of their sounds too!!

Stephanie

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-23-2002, 01:46 PM
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Here's an expert Q & A page for ya!

http://www.allexperts.com/getExpert.asp?Category=1574

Stephanie

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-23-2002, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
Princess in Waiting
 
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Thanks, Jade. And thanks to Erin, too. I've forwarded the info to my Erin so she'll have something to read! I'll print it all out as soon as my printer is up and going again. You're right, Jade, and you have me pegged. You can never learn too much!

Critter

CRITTERCALL


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