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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My little 12 year old sister wants a pet of some sort for her birthday in October. She mentioned a guinea pig but I've seen degus at the pet store before and they are so cute. Which would be easiest for her to care for and funnest for her to play with??

I have ferrets, I'd love to get her one, but she is much to immature to realize how hard they are to take care of.
 

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GUINEA PIGS!!! Guinea Pigs are IMO the best small rodent. Chinchillas in a very close second. But Guinea pigs are very friendly if handled alot and bigger than a degus. I haven't had a degus but they need more care than a guinea pig. You just gotta feed/water/clean the cage/and love!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I'm figuring even a guinea pig she'll have to feed, water, clean it's cage and love it. Are guinea pigs easier to hold then degus??
 

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I don't know anything about degus, but I do know lots about guinea pigs. I think she would need help taking care of guinea pigs from a parent, or maybe yourself. They are definitely lovable, but they are a lot of work if they are cared for properly.

Guinea pigs can be very costly. I found this out the hard way. I would not give my boys up for anything, but I am going broke!

Petstore guinea pig pellets are usually not good. Avoid colored bits and seeds at all costs.
The best pellets are from www.oxbowhay.com

Hay is also a must. Alfalfa is best for piggies under a year, and timothy is good for full grown piggies. A good, quality hay is important. Try oxbow hay (link above) or http://www.kmshayloft.com/index.html The shipping is worth it!

They should have fresh hay, pellets, and water 24/7.

Then, twice a day you should feed veggies. No iceburg lettuce! A good list can be found here: http://www.guinealynx.info/nutrition.html#fave

Oh! Read this!! http://www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html Great info!!

For cages, bigger is always WAY better! www.cavycages.com These are the best cages ever! So easy to make, so easy to clean, and very cheap! Read everything on the site!

Also, piggies really shouldn't be alone. They are social creatures, and really enjoy the company of other piggies. BUT!! Definitely get a same-sex pair!! There are lots of homeless guinea pigs everywhere, and you don't want to add to the problem by making more babies.

On that same note....RESCUE!!! Try www.petfinder.com Or check your local shelters. Please save some homeless babies if you are going to get any!

Some other good sites are:
http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/ These people know their cavies!

Also, be prepared to have some major vet bills if you get guinea pigs. A lot can go wrong, but I have been lucky so far. But I have a vet fund (over $500) in the bank put away for emergencies. But that really goes for all animals.

Also, guinea pigs will live for up to ten years. The average is probably 6-8 years. Will your sister still want them when she is 20? You really need to plan for the future with guinea pigs.

Do lots of reasearch with her so she knows about the responsibilities.
Above all: Don't suprise her!!! Pets as gifts are not a good idea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmm, yeah, sounds like a lot of work, like a ferret or a rat. I have both and they are tons of work. She is 12 but ADHD so her maturity level is a few years behind. Maybe getting her something other then the dog she has isn't a good idea at this point!
 

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Yeah, sounds like she is not quite ready yet.
She can just enjoy your lovely pets for a few more years. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
yeah, she shows her dog, just got a blue ribbon at their local fair and gets to go to the state fair!!!
 

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Impressive! What kind of dog is it?
 

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I think both are great pets. I used to have a mating pair of degus, and they are great, Degus aren't alot of work at all, the only thing with them is to watch their diet, mainly their sugar intake, as degus are a high diabetes factor. They require dust baths just like chinchillas, and mine used to run around in their ball on the floor all the time, the ball is like one you would use for a hamster. They love climbing and jumping around and would beg for their treats and even would come when their names were called, well Joon would benny still needed some work. Although when I got mine they were adults and weren't handled often so I really had to work with them, but when they had babies I was able to hold them from the beginning and get them used to being handled by people. If you ever decide to buy a degu becareful getting them from a pet store, as I found out the hard way that NOT all are educated in the proper caring of a degu, they would feed them regular hamster food and that is a big NO NO, as it would contain alot of nuts and corn which is very high in fat and also not good for degus. I just thought I would give the degu opinion from somebody that has owned them, as I see from above they gave their guinea pig opinions. Here are a few links to help you read up on degus Link 1
Link 2
and a web ring with various degu sites
Web Ring
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
She had a hamster a few years ago and she had it in it's ball running around on the floor and it went down the stairs in the ball. Boy was that poor hammy freaked. She had a gerbil but it was vicious so she never held it, it eventually died, thank god, lol.
 

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It seems like animals are a good therapy for your sister. I know that it takes a lot of dedication to show a dog. What I would do with her until her birthday, is have her research and spend as much time as she can researching and learning about which animal she would want, either degus or guinea pigs.

On a Saturday, have her work on researching it for 10 minutes, the next weekend, work on it for 20 minutes, then 30 and so on.

Then by the time that her birthday comes around, she will figure out which pet she would want more, and also, she would condition herself to the understanding of taking care of them.
 

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Degus are easy to take care of. No harder than say the mice I breed for my Water Dragon. Diet is not a problem if you don't feed them things with sugar. Dust baths are actually fun, not a chore. It's great watching them roll around in it.
 
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